This section is from the book "Free Love: Or, A Philosophical Demonstration Of The Non-Exclusive Nature Of Connubial Love", by Austin Kent. Also available from Amazon: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures.
We return to Mr. Wright's book. "The ideal of love and marriage, in every young heart, is with one, never with more than one. Social discord and wrong may introduce other notions, but I understand a deep signification in the old story that for Adam there was but one Eve created."
Whether the statement be true or false, that the first development of any young mind towards connubial love is to one, is comparatively of no importance. The mind, in developing to any new thought or feeling towards woman, may generally be so enlarged, while it is on some person in whom there is some thing to create, or call forth such thoughts and feelings. Besides, by precept and example, every person from his earliest thoughts of marriage love, is made to understand that his only chance of honorable participation, is with one, and only one. However general his entire love may be, he knows well, as he develops to the normal desires and calls of manhood, that he must remain in his fractional state, or more or less call in his scattering and free loves, and concentrate them on one. And he certainly may as well do this, for if he long delays, all corresponding loves, one after another, will be leaving him from a like necessity on the part of others. Exclusive marriage, by her process of sexual draining, absorbs to itself almost the entire love atmosphere, and so leaves all who from necessity or otherwise remain out of her bonds, in a state of double starvation.
In this way she has had power to compel compliance to her rule and order.
In our day, it is wiser for most men and women to submit, or choose what to them may be the least of two evils. But who, from all of these causes, knows the power of mind over mind, in the dualizing and concentrations of love or the power of habit in leading to it? Mr. Wright would appreciate the full force of all these influences if brought to bear on his side of the controversy.
Mr. Wright is the last man whom we should have supposed would have referred for his support, to the mythological "story" of Adam and Eve. We are glad of it. A little while ago, it was a first argument in the minds of nine-tenths of the sticklers for dual marriage. Admitting this "story" taught just what Mr. W. wishes to draw from it, it is going back six thousand years for the testimony of men as to marriage. What would any reformer think of a man who should go back so far to settle the order of society in other reepects? Mr. W. would pronounce such a man beside himself. He knows very well what he would think, if I were to cite him back to feudalism, back to savagism, for arguments to defend any moral question ! Mr. W. so we think of you in this case ! Even this would be less than half way back to his supposed dual pair. Truth is never so straightened for foreign aid.
But admitting every word of Genesis to be a literal and truthful revelation from God, it does not help the friends of exclusive marriage. Every argument which Mr. Wright could bring from it, would be equally good in favor of an entire dual hermitage. Adam was as fully shut up by that dual Providence of his creation, to one woman socially, adhesively, as he was connubially. So of Eve to Adam. Each were shut up to one person. How long will real reformers - for in some respects Mr. W. is one - make it necessary for us to waste ink, pen, and time, in reply to such shallow and sophistical inferences as this? Can not so aged an institution do better than referr us to its gray hairs to command our respect? We tell the reader that Mr. Wright will never allude, in this manner, to "Adam and Eve," in a public discussion with an opponent of good common sense. He is too wise and too shrewd to risk himself in such a position.
* * * "Is the marriage tie capable of extension? If a man finds in half a dozen women equally powerful attractions to marriage; if each exercises an equally deep, vitalising, elevating influence on his life; if the union with each one would be enough to bless his life, were all the others exterminated, then he has a right, if all equally desire it, to be the husband of them all! But what does experience prove in this matter? The case is not even sapposable. It is absurd in the statement."
Mr. Wright here fairly puts the question. "Is the marriage tie, (connubial love,) capable of extension?" But his reply to it here is superficial, and to us it seems evasive. Again, we say, admitting every word of his answer to his own question, it does not prove anything in support of his exclusive marriage. If true, it reveals an undeveloped state of mind. Let those who covet a state of mind which would be entirely satisfied with the one, "were all the others exterminated," pray for it. We respectfully dissent from such a sentiment, and from such an experience. We ask no alliance to one who is capable of being so filled by and absorbed in us. We leave with Mr. Wright the entire glory, chastity and purity of such marriages. Our opponents need never be jealous of us. We have no attractions towards so confined an atmosphere.
It is not true that a man may not feel an equally strong connubial regard for more than one. It is not uncommon for some of the most spiritually developed minds, to find it difficult to select between two or more. The idea is entirely possible in nature. But the mandates of society must be obeyed - the selection must be made. One may be received; the other must be cast off. Mr. Wright, to do justice to his side of the subject, should give his philosophical reasons for confining amativeness and not adhesiveness, as both may and do generally have their preferences.
"The sentiment of love finds satisfaction in one object. The passional element, which borrows the holy name of love, may crave a wider range. When men say they need a variety, they say, in other words, that in them, the passion has the ascendency over the sentiment. The man in whom the need exists, should not take the high social rank implied by the desire for true marriage, but descend to that level in creation wherein criminal passion makes no distinction in its objects, and finds equal satisfaction in them all. Men who advocate a "variety," know that true, pure marriage-love cannot be felt to more than one; but they wish to find, in their various attractions to woman, a sanction for what were otherwise unqualified brutality."