The History of Sex: Prague -- Hammer-and-Sickling Out a Solution -- (Chapter X, Part 2)

In theory—particularly the Marxist-Leninist variety—it was never meant to turn out that way.

In trying to build their secular paradise on earth, the founding fathers of Communism were downright puritanical.

Marx, for instance, seems to have been too busy fathering children and a misbegotten economic theory to dabble in infidelity.

Likewise, his money man, Engels, contended that 'marriage founded on sexual love is of its nature monogamous,' arguing that more men would be faithful if women were truly equal.

Decades later, Lenin also supported women's liberation, mainly because he needed all the lumpenproles he could get to prop up his revolution-wrecked economy.

Even so, when it came to the ancient problem of sex, the first Communists had some trouble hammer-and-sickling out a solution.

Sex in the USSR:
a fascinating book from the 1970s
by Dr. Mikhail Stern

Traditional Russian society had been religiously patriarchal, so one of Lenin's first acts—barely a month after the Revolution—was to outlaw church marriage and replace it with civil registration.

A series of truly revolutionary laws put cohabitation on a par with marriage and made it so easy to divorce that a husband could dump his wife without even consulting her: his ex would be informed via an official 'divorce postcard.'

A dissident Soviet sexologist, Dr. Mikhail Stern, later described the social chaos as a 'total collapse of moral values;' by comparison, America's Roaring Twenties were a feeble meow.


While a few bohemians in the West fooled around with 'free love,' Russia's Young Communists went for the full shag, hailing it as the perfect anti-bourgeois model for society.

In one of the more bizarre episodes, crowds marched naked through the streets of Moscow and other cities in 1922 shouting 'Love! Love! Down with Shame! Down with Guilt!'

In the countryside, wily peasants capitalized on the Communists' sex laws by getting hitched to starving 'seasonal wives' in the spring, using them to help plant and harvest, and then throwing them out during the winter.

In the cities, too, the new economic approach to love tended to be freer for men than women.

'Male students despise the girls who refuse to sleep with them,' a female comrade complained to Pravda. 'They consider them to be politically backward petty bourgeois who haven't been able to free themselves from the prejudices of the old society.'

To liberate their classmates, students at Odessa School Number 49 set up a porn group, while a secret society at another school published a magazine called 'Down With Virginity!'

Meanwhile, their elders held public meetings to discuss whether they should build special booths next to public toilets for the sexually incontinent.

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