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And yet, "the Boneularity" (nsfw link) is still Serious Business.

In some branches of sci-fi, a major aspect of the Utopia is the decline of monogamy.

Or, to put it bluntly, everyone sleeps with everyone and has a right to do so.

There is no longer any social stigma attached to promiscuity. In fact, the few who are strictly monogamous are likely to be the ones who get weird looks. No-strings-attached sex may be seen as a great way of getting to know people, a good method of recreation or, alternatively, it may be suggested that it's a biological imperative to have children by as many people as possible (a popular concept when the resident population is limited - such as colonies or After the End events). The attitude to sex may vary from a cheerfully accepted part of life ("Hey, I'm bored. Wanna test the bedsprings?") to a pragmatic one ("Damn, the kid I had with George turned out to be Ax Crazy. Better have the next one with John."). No-one really cares who you sleep with either - any and all partners are acceptable.

Occasionally, Fridge Logic will creep in. Contraception and sexual protection is rarely mentioned, and as any govenment information advert is quick to tell you, if you're sleeping with more than one person you better demand a full medical certificate from every partner or take the appropriate precautions. This might be handwaved by the author if they claim that STDs have been wiped out, or that there's some sort of stealth contraception that everyone in the population uses.

Less easy to handwave, though, is the issue of jealousy. In the present day, many people would take a very dim view of their partner sleeping with one other person, never mind having sex with anyone who took their fancy. Idealistic views of love often include ideas of one, single soul mate. Conversely, in its more negative incarnations, love is commonly associated with jealousy (or even, possession). While a few stories will make a real attempt at explaining the decline of jealousy (since we already acknowledge it as one of the more negative emotions), a more common tactic is to demonise or mock anyone who expects a partner to be exclusive to them. They will probably be regarded as backward, repressed or selfish in a Free Love Future. They don't have to go Axe Crazy or bunny-boiler to be labelled a jealous nutcase - even asking a partner to be faithful will probably be seen as a laughable expectation at best, and a selfish demand that infringes on the other person's rights at worst. It could, however be explained as everyone being raised that way, and therefore most everyone not caring because it's been ingrained in them since birth.

Commonly, a Free Love Society will socially legitimize extra-marital affairs, where you may be married to one person, but it's socially acceptable to explore other people.

Openly sexual societies are also frequently predicted to be the result of disassociation between sex and reproduction, for example, in a civilization that embraces Ectogenesis (*) or selective breeding (in which cases contraception may be not only popular but mandatory) and sexually-transmitted diseases would be given the same regard as influenzas. Families as a standard child-rearing unit may or may not exist, and most likely would deviate from the "traditional" nuclear family; at the very least, coupled biological parents of children won't be expected to live together or with their children. Expect No Blood Ties to be commonplace, if not the norm. In this case, you might see a lot of Parents as People.

Dystopian free-love societies will emphasize depersonalization of sex. In works depicting less extreme societies, expect a lot of polyamorous relationships, that is, full-spectrum friend and lover relationships in which intimacy is part of the mutual trust, but exclusivity is outside the defined commitment. Also, in most such speculative fiction, expect Author Appeal to reveal itself less than subtly.

Often involves an Everyone Is Bi society. A Double Standard may be in operation, often ensuring that one gender is sexually available for their entire lives while the other can only do so until they get married, whereupon they are expected to be faithful to their partner. Often interpreted as wish fulfillment or Author Appeal, especially if they remember The Sixties.

See also Eternal Sexual Freedom, Fetish Fuel Future. This trope is also the logical future extension of the Everybody Has Lots of Sex setting. Contrast with No Sex Allowed

No real life examples, please; it isn't "The Future" yet.

Examples of Free-Love Future include:

Comic Books

  • Elf Quest is a variation. The elves are descended from an advanced species who are implied to have outgrown the need for physical pleasure. Acquiring elf form restored their ability to feel sexual pleasure, and they've been exploring every possible (Consenting Adults) variety ever since. It helps that the elves' birthrate is low.
  • In The Authority, Midnighter encounters people from a future where "everyone does everyone", and no-one remembers what heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality even means. It's more implied to be an Everyone Is Bi future, though, as the head time agent points to her two (male) partners and says, "They got together after they found out their girlfriends were seeing each other."
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe gives us Zeltrons. Just...Zeltrons. They don't feel any sort of jealousy, and they're attracted to Force-sensitives. Now, who is there who is the most powerful Force-sensitive in the galaxy? Leia gets her own Zeltron fans, but while Luke doesn't canonically sleep with any of the Zeltrons, he doesn't hate them. Leia can't put up with their amorous advances.
  • In the hedonistic future of Transmetropolitan, sex is as trivialized as everything else; the most popular children's cartoon is the Sex Puppets, and Channon orders oral sex along with her meal at a restaurant. All kinds of perverse fetishes are implied, but pedophilia remains illegal and reviled, at least by Spider.


  • In the future world of Logan's Run, sex is viewed as a casual activity to pass the time. Almost to the point of, "I'm bored... wanna shag?"
    • The plot addressed this twice; once when Logan and Frances are watching the infants be implanted with Lifelocks, and later when Logan and Jessica meet the old man and are amazed that he not only knew who his parents were but was raised by them. It's not specifically stated, but the implication seems to be that all babies are conceived in vitro. When Logan 5 points out Logan 6 to Frances, he openly states he has no idea who the mother is, and seems to imply that he's the father.
      • There is also one scene in the book where a female runner gets caught because she detours to a nursery she happens to see thinking "my baby might be in there!" implying that babies are taken away from their mothers immediately or shortly after birth.
    • Also of significance is The Circuit, an electronic carousel for sex-seeking singles looking to hook up with an anonymous partner.
  • The original script for Alien had a scene where Ripley casually says to Captain Dallas that she needs 'release' and starts taking off her clothes. Of course this could be simply be the norm among long-haul spaceship crews, or it implies a previous sexual relationship between the two.
  • Double Subverted in Demolition Man. Huxley proposes sex with Spartan so casually that it completely takes him aback. However, it snaps back when he learns that their version of sex is in some ways more conservative than the modern version, but also feels like Mind Rape to him (i.e. too personal). Just because you want to sleep with someone, doesn't mean you want them in your head.


  • Iain M. Banks' Culture novels are suggested to be extremely open, same sex, multisex and sexchanging are all common. Near the start of Player of Games, it's suggested Gurgeh is kinda weird for only seeing woman and trying monogamy. Confirmed in Excession where it is stated that monogamy is extremely rare, it is far more normal for a couple to stay together throughout their offspring's childhood and adolescence but even this isn't a given.
  • Anne McCaffrey loves this trope.
    • Dragonriders consider it detrimental to their dragons to be strictly monogamous and will sleep with whichever rider is bonded to the dragon that mates with their own. Even if dragon mating isn't involved, the dragonriders have a habit of taking multiple lovers and most (heterosexual/bisexual) riders will have many children by several different partners. In a bit of a Rule-Abiding Rebel moment though, the "best" of the characters - such as F'lar and Lessa - are all in exclusive partnerships. A Double Standard is involved here - most women are mongamous, and those that aren't were either unpleasant (Kylara), raped (Tai) or romantically unfulfilled (Moreta). In-universe, non-dragonriding women can sleep with who they like until they marry, while men (particularly Lord Holders) retain this privilege even after marriage.
      • It makes sex literally a way of promotion among dragonriders. You want to be a Weyrleader? Get a senior queen’s rider into your bed and make sure she stays there long enough.
    • The author has also written several short stories on the theme, including Changeling, which dealt with a woman who bore the children of three different men (including one who was exclusively gay...)
  • Most of the later works of Robert Heinlein feature a cheerfully polyamorous future, especially if Lazarus Long is involved. Heinlein was also fond of legitimizing expanded families (i.e. non-polygyny-centric polygamy) in which sex was consensual within the group.
  • Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun depicts a future like this. Jang (young adults) are considered deviant if they're not sleeping around.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley takes the Ectogenic route, and visualizes a not-so idealistic society in which participation in public orgies is mandatory, as is contraception or sterilization.
    • Note that citizens are expected to demonstrate no less than full involvement in the community, including participation in orgy porgy, and centrifugal bumblepuppy. Even the slightest deviation (say, that for a sexually exclusive relationship, a modicum of privacy, or an extraordinary predilection for solitude) results in extreme pressure to conform.
  • In George Alec Effinger's Budayeen trilogy, transsexual surgery is so common that sexual mores are thoroughly blurred. Anyone who insists on "pure" gender roles is likely to be considered kinky.
    • Likewise in John Varley's Eight Worlds stories, though a surprising number still do adhere to some forms of traditional sexual mores as they struggle to reconcile 300 years of technology with thousands millions of years of evolution.
  • The Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley. Sex is no big deal, and "love" is unheard of; the word doesn't even exist in their society.
  • In the Ringworld novels, where the species that have evolved on the Ringworld are mutually infertile, sex is used as a way of opening negotiations between them.
  • In the One State, the setting of Yevgeny Zamyatin's novel We—which inspired both Brave New World and 1984—it's the law that "every number has a right to every other number, as to a sexual commodity." "Number," in the usage of the One State, replaces both "person" and "citizen," by the way.
  • In the second part (of three) of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End the perfection of contraception, STI treatment and paternity-tracking technology are all that are necessary to cause civilization to become a global Free Love Society inside a single generation. Clarke notes that the Overlords didn't have anything directly to do with these developments.
  • In Imperial Earth by Arthur C. Clarke the protagonist has a homosexual love affair with his best friend when they are teenagers, which becomes a three-in-a-bed triangle when they both fall in love with a female visitor.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga Beta Colony is described has having very relaxed mores. The age of consent is approximately puberty, and for girls there is a small rite of passage with the first contraceptive implant, and the Orb of Unearthly Delights is a bordello famous throughout the galaxy. There are no prostitutes as such, but there are plenty of licensed sexual therapists. Betans wear coded ear rings to advertise their partnership status and avoid complicated guessing games.
  • In Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time novels humanity has shed all its taboos as a result of acquiring immortality and godlike powers.
  • In Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series, this is one of the things that sets apart the conservative, magical world of Phaze and the decadent science-based Proton. In Phaze Doubt, an android has to be badgered into not pressing her attempts at sex with the protagonist on a public transport; not because it's taboo, but because she was clearly annoying him.
  • In the Honorverse residents of the planet Beowulf have a very relaxed attitude towards sex and personal relationships. The title character's mother is from there and has a habit of outrageously sexual comments in public, and once wore a...trampy cocktail dress at a part on a highly conservative planet. By Beowulf standards, she's fairly conservative.
    • Manticore takes the trope in another direction: so long as it's between consenting adults, whatever relationship or lack thereof one wants and can find partners for is acceptable, and nobody raises an eyebrow about strict monogamy, asexuality, homosexuality, Polyamory or a girl in every port. (Cheating on a committed relationship is not okay, but that's because you're breaking your word.) The author makes an Anvilicious contrast between this and Beowulf's version; Manticore's is portrayed as the Utopian version, while Beowulf pushes a bit further down the Dystopian road than would be ideal.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry realizes that this is the ultimate goal of the White Court. This is NOT a good or altruistic thing. They want this for two reasons. For food, and to eliminate Love, the one thing they're allergic to.
    • The Raith family in particular wants this. Other families in the White Court feed on other emotions, like fear, and are allergic to their opposites; they wouldn't necessarily take a direct benefit from the elimination of love, although they might just be cartoon-villain enough to want it gone anyway.
  • Fred Saberhagen's Love Conquers All is set in one of these, where casual sex is so common that people looking for a meaningful relationship, or even a platonic one, are considered perverts, and having children is looked upon as an unfortunate necessary evil; prostitutes no longer sell their bodies, but are paid to talk philosophy with their clients. Overhanging all this free love, as the protagonists learn, is the threat of a massive, catastrophic decline in population once the current generation starts dying off.
  • Many of Vonda N. McIntyre's works, including Dreamsnake and the Starfarers series.
  • Brian Aldiss's The Primal Urge is a satire in which a machine that makes it impossible to hide sexual attraction has a dramatic affect on British reserve.
  • Robert Silverberg's The World Inside is set in a huge skyscraper (Urban Monad or Urbmon), in which men are expected to go "night walking", wandering into other peoples' homes for sex, and it's unthinkably rude for a woman to refuse an advance. Silverberg goes into a bit of detail as to how such a society would produce unique sexual hangups of its own. One character is trying to make her husband jealous, which he points out is ridiculous. Meanwhile, she mocks him for sleeping with a woman because he's attracted to her brother—instead of sleeping with the brother.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Sea of Glass, the protagonist is a modern-day man who ends up in the 22nd century at the end of the previous novel. At one point, he encounters a group of people known as rodders (a mix of bikers and hippies), who choose to live on the road (no bikes, though). He then sees three of them (two males and a female) having wild sex in the middle of the woods. He returns to an old rodder and asks if this is how things are done now, especially since one of the males is 13 (age in the 22nd century is no longer a sign of maturity; once a person can prove his or her independence, he or she is considered an adult). The man replies that this is a price to pay for the complete freedom their society enjoys. Freedom and arbitrary rules don't mix. It is not clear if this behavior is only limited to rodders or is prevelent in the general population. The protagonist himself is happily married to his Human Alien princess wife, but both of them are from the late 20th century.
  • The Rainbow Cadenza by J. Neil Schulman takes the slogan "Make love, not war" to its dystopian conclusion. In a society where men vastly outnumber women, the latter are conscripted into brothels (with accompanying propaganda and social/legal pressure) under the rationale that male aggression needs to be diverted into sex rather than fighting. Those women who refuse can legally be hunted down, raped and killed.
  • The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. By law no-one can be conscripted into the military unless they are already promiscuous, and in basic training all recruits have a 'sleeping roster' where they're assigned a different partner every night (which leads to grumbling that you always get the dead-tired ones when you're horny, and vice versa). By the end of their first tour though, everyone has settled into a regular (though still not strictly monogamous) relationship with someone. Due to Time Dilation however human society has changed vastly since they left; promiscuous heterosexual relationships are discouraged due to over-population. With homosexuality the norm, such behaviour is regarded (at best) as a quaint anachronism and at worst outright perversion.
  • A rather startling example for young adult novel is in the Green-Sky Trilogy. Kindar "youth" (from age 13-25) are expected to live communally, and have "close communion" (sex) with others as they wish. This is facilitated by a ritualistic form of birth control. After they leave the halls and "pair-bond" (marry), they're supposed to remain more or less monogamous. The Erdlings, without the contraception access and with limited supplies of food, have a much stricter set of sexual mores. The Ol-Zhaan elite are forbidden marriages and family, but are free to have "close communion" with other Ol-Zhaan.
  • There are elements of this in Susan Price's Odin's Voice trilogy: early on in the first book the teenage protagonist avoids an argument by asking a male friend if he wants 'to sex'. They sign a consent form and go off to a dedicated room. Of course, this is a society where classical gods such as Hera are still worshipped, so you might assume there are still conservative attitudes around as well.
  • In Isaac Asimov's The Robots of Dawn the hedonistic robot based culture of Aurora has 'free love' completely divorced from reproduction, making sex meaningless and far less satisfactory. At least, that's how an outsider from a No Sex Allowed society sees it; the locals keep insisting it's not that bad. Jealousy is considered an obscene word.
  • In The Dispossessed, it is mentioned that people who aren't coupled frequently engage in one-night stands. Also, it is not uncommon for friends to have sex with each other to affirm their bond. The main character Shevek has sex with his male friend, even though Shevek is not particularly attracted to him
  • In Replay, Jeff Winston muses about the "future" of sexuality of the 1980's when he's stuck in 1963.
  • In David Brin's Uplift series many humans have little trouble sharing their spouses. Possibly influenced by our chimpanzee and dolphin clients who are by no means monogamists.
  • Gene Wolfe's Home Fires is set in a future where marriage is a largely unknown anachronism restricted to religious people. Instead, people form "contracts" (basically civil unions - and they can be same or opposite sex), and monogamy is not expected. Except that people still get jealous and react badly to their partners having relations with others - however they also don't understand why they feel jealous and even try to rationalize away their feelings.
  • The Fall of the Sea People is not a free-love future but a free-love past. Mostly it ticks the poly and bi boxes, although it is a dystopian example and more unusually the protagonist is forbidden from participating.

Live-Action TV

  • Word of God says this is how things are in the universe of Star Trek, whether or not it was actually seen onscreen.
    • Aside from the Federation, this was the Hat of Edo in The Next Generation and the Betazoids in the novels, to say nothing of Risa, which has varied from "classy resort planet" to "Space Vegas".
    • Interestingly, the onscreen depictions mainly skew towards the idea of inter-species sexual relations being widely-accepted (at least in the Federation) so long as they involve the opposite-sex, but same-sex relations even within a species seem to be very, very rare. In the instances where such do appear, they are either connected to demonstrations of villainy or else aliens with different biology than humans.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Holoship," the ship of advanced holograms regards sex as excellent physical exercise. They even have an entire deck devoted to it. The other holograms are very puzzled at the notion that you might "fall in love" and sideline your own agenda for the benefit of someone else; predictably, this is exactly what happens to Rimmer's entrance exam opponent.
    • There's a reason for that. The crew of the Holoship are notoriously arrogant and all speak very coldly and professionally, even while having sex. Rimmer's passion for joining the crew ended up making him the most attractive man on that ship.
  • In Doctor Who and especially Torchwood, future humanity is revealed to have taken it upon themselves to "dance" with as many new life-forms as possible. The trope's poster boy is Captain Jack Harkness of the 51st century, who gets into serious trouble a few times in the 20th century just for being himself. Professor River Song also revels in the trope, having studied at a 52nd century university.

Tabletop Games

  • Eclipse Phase has this as a characteristic of its immortal society. STD Immunity and easy contraception are, of course, among the basic modifications attached to any biomorph except the completely unfixed.
  • Ironically given how rigid Clan society normally is in BattleTech, Clan warriors pretty much practice this. The casual attitude they have regarding sex as simple off-duty recreation is specifically one of the things that make them seem more alien to the average citizen of the Inner Sphere; it helps that the upbringing of the average 'trueborn' Clan warrior is rather alien to anybody used to concepts like natural conception and birth (considered inferior to the default in vitro method involving the careful deliberate selection and use of genetic material donated by earlier generations) or traditional family structures (basically nonexistent unless one wants to count 'sibling companies') as well.
  • In Cthulhu Tech casual sex is seen as perfectly normal, although most people use it as a way to eventually meet someone with which they want to have a monogamous relationship.


  • In Culpa Innata, the Union society has been restructured to be based on purely scientific principles. One of which completely dissolves the traditional family unit and the concept of marriage... sorry, a "nuptual agreement." People are expected to have multiple sexual partners, although you can have a primary sexual partner, which has no legal status. Also, for some reason, men are no longer the courtiers. Women are expected to ask men out and pay for dinners and the like. If a man starts hitting on a woman, she will usually leave in disgust. This can be a problem for immigrants from the "rogue states" (Russia, India, China, etc.), which still cling to old traditions. Phoenix even warns an Indian immigrant applying for Union citizenship, who confesses to having multiple affairs, while his wife couldn't due to a Double Standard stigma, that he should have no such expectations in the Union. Jealousy is never mentioned, as attachment is frowned upon. Phoenix also speaks with her best friend about nuptial agreements and the thought of being with the same person for more than a week, let alone decades, is disturbing, as boredom would set in.
    • Of course, there are varying degrees to which people abide by this. Phoenix, for example, is pretty concervative by Union standards. While she frowns on long-term attachments, she never appears to have more than one partner at a time. Her best friend, though, appears to be more promiscuous (not that this word has any negative connotation in the Union) and her usual answer to Phoenix's problems is "You Need to Get Laid". The game involves Phoenix investigating the murder of a recent Union citizen, a Russian immigrant. While interviewing his "prime sexual partner", she finds out that the woman was his wife in Russia, but they were forced to annul their "nuptual agreement" in order to obtain Union citizenship. She appears to have remained faithful to the victim, while he was reported to having attempted to hit on several women. Given that women are expected to hit on men in the Union, all his attempts were unsuccessful.


  • In Linburger all the Demihuman races live a life of hedonism, with most having or seeking a primary partner, but exclusivity apparently the exception rather than the rule, and are (with some reason) stereotyped as being members of a religion built around it. Humans up on the surface, however, still seem to cling to their old notions of monogamy, but most find reason to nip downstairs and indulge their more libertine fantasies once in a while.
  • A likely future (and present) in Ménage à 3, as seen in the page image.

Web Originals

  • Chakona Space seems to fit the description, at least as far as morphs and especially Chakats are concerned. And their human lovers usually learn to accept it, Admiral Boyce eventually has five wives (three cat-like aliens from two different species and two chakats).
    • You should also consider that it was originally intended as a Star Trek fanfic.
    • The Faleshkarti have the dystopian version, due to their biology. While they're emotionally mature and quite intelligent at a young age, sexual maturity makes them wildly horny. And loss of virginity makes them stupid until they get pregnant. Therefore, once they're sexually mature, they're doing their damnedest to get knocked up.
  • The online adult science fiction novel A Perfect World by Al Steiner depicts a future where all STDs have been eliminated, people are infertile until they decide they want to procreate (at which point they just go to the doctor and tell them they want their fertility activated), and open attitudes toward sex are the norm. As a result it's very common for people to "get acquainted with each other" by having sexual relations (sex in public places is legal, and nobody even bats an eye when it happens), and monogamy is considered a primitive and outdated concept.

Western Animation

  • In Futurama, it was apparently so common for humans to fall in love with Sex Robots that the Space Pope (Crocodylus Pontifex) and the Space Catholic Church had to produce PSA warnings against it. The idea was explored further in "Propositon Infinity," which revolves around an attempt to legalize robosexual marriage.
    • This is hinted at as far back as the pilot episode, which has Bender hesitating to hang out with Fry because "I don't want people thinking we're robosexuals. If anyone asks, you're my debugger."
    • Futurama went on to explore a "true" free-love future with The Beast With A Billion Backs. Everyone seems perfectly happy to exist like this, until mutually-exclusive bonds like friendship and love muck it up. Bender delivers the show's Spoof Aesop, claiming that love is, by nature, jealous, possessive and exclusive, and therefore "free love" isn't love at all.
    • In one of the newer episodes it appears that "Robosexuality" is the 31st century equivalent of homosexuality. At one point it's stated that not only a man and woman are allowed to marry, but also man and man, fembot and manbot, interracial, interplanetary, and even a ghost and a horse.