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Sexual Promiscuity in the Mosuo Community

Living it up in the Chinese mountains

It’s hard for me to picture a polygamous relationship, let alone a society without any sort of relationship distinctions. A recent blog post on Psychology Today discussed a society in China called the Mosuo; they’re a matrilineal, agricultural society that practices sexual freedom. What exactly does this mean? For one, property is only passed down to daughters. Like the article says, “When girls turn 14, they get their own bedroom with a separate entrance, so they can have nightly visitors of their own choosing. Once a girl gets pregnant, her brothers are expected to assist her in the rearing of her children.” I don’t think I’m the first to admit that if I were to have help from my siblings (let alone brothers!) with raising my kids, it would make the whole idea a lot more appealing…and a lot less daunting!

But that’s not what I’m here to discuss, which is sexual promiscuity. Callers come and go as they are asked. The kicker? A gentleman can stay the night, but he’s gotta be out by sunrise! Talk about love ’em and leave ’em. The Mosuo generally maintain numerous sexual partners and any type of jealousy is seen as aggressive and an infringement on their way of life.

This idea seems so foreign nowadays, but according to the article, our prehistoric ancestors lived quite a similar lifestyle. They lived in “tribes of 100-150 in which everyone maintained several casual sexual relationships and paternal responsibility was distributed among all of a woman's lovers.”

When I stop to think about all these people caring for one child, the family support structure is inspiring. One of your fathers dies prematurely? You have x more to support and love you until adulthood. So is their key to happiness the communal child rearing or constantly sharing your bed with a new partner?

Either way, I’m not sure I can get on-board. I certainly give a tip of my hat to the ballsy Mosuo women, they are the ultimate bachelors. They get to have tons of sex and sure they’ll get pregnant, but they don’t have to worry about the burden of taking care of a fatherless child, because they’ll have a plethora of fathers to watch after the kids.

What do you ladies think? Are you packing your bags and heading for China to join the ranks of the Mosuo? Do you think the Mosuo society is possible in the US? I have a feeling in our society the Mosuo women would be called whores or sluts. It kind of reminds me of Sister Wives, but where the women can have multiple lovers… thoughts?

-- Holly