Coining the Term, Free Love


Screenshot from VenusPlusX video montage on sexual freedom, below

We reminded everyone yesterday that long before Hillary Clinton, it was trailblazing sexual freedom advocate Victoria Woodhull who was the first woman to run for the US Presidency. That was in 1872, nearly 50 years before women were allowed to vote in this country.

Woodhull preached “free love” and was perhaps singularly responsible for coining the term. Almost 250 years ago, though, the terms, free love and sexual freedom, meant something very specific and vastly different that what they mean today.

Woodhull’s free love was about two things, only: A woman’s right to choose a husband; and her right to divorce her husband. Sit in the space for a moment. Feel what that level of sexual oppression must have been like. This was what free love meant to Woodhull’s contemporaries, a kind of love that spared a woman the indignity of being bestowed on a man without her consent.

This makes Woodhull one of our foremothers of women’s choice, a fight today that’s about to be won, giving women agency over their own bodies and the right to an abortion, and not just for an entitled few but for all women. This is the birth of true sexual freedom.

This is also a great time to pause and consider the long road we have traveled, standing on the shoulders of people like Woodhull, and be amazed at the progress we have made, especially since Roe v Wade.

Here is an inspirational montage video VenusPlusX produced, asking people what sexual freedom means to them.

Alison Gardner

The struggle continues but the path as clear. As Vice President Joe Biden just said tonight at the Democratic National Convention  that is nominating the first woman president this week speaking about the stakes of this momentous election, “The deadline belongs to us!”

Check out some of our hundreds of short-form videos by real folks telling us what they think sexual freedom. We send each contributor one of our prized VenusPlusX T-shirts (with our round seal and slogan: Sexual Freedom, You Are Born With It) when they send us a video (or an essay, work of art, etc.) expressing what sexual freedom means to them. So get out your phone or video camera and let us hear from you!

Also: A Manifesto for A New Age of Sexual Freedom (2014)






Alison Gardner