Exceptional radical thinkers, dreamer and doers such as John Humphrey Noyes, unfortunately are rare prophets and reformers of their era, who seldom if ever have their ideas and philosophies accepted within their lifetimes. But be that as it may, Noyes did manage to convey his ground-breaking ideas regarding the transformation of the human sexual passions and reproduction to the point these were not only ‘heard,’ but also within a very short time of taking to preaching his radical message, his methods were not only understood, but adopted and thus practiced by hundreds of his followers.
Certainly Noyes made converts by reasoning with intelligent spiritually-minded adult men and women, helping them to overcome ageless automatic and primitive commonly held beliefs regarding their sexual habits. Around 1844, Noyes recognized the enormous needless suffering his own sexual relating methods were causing his wife. After the tragic loss of several of his own newborns, Noyes himself took to the practice of stopping short of orgasm and thereby curtailed the emission of his semen within his wife and as a result ceased to put her at constant risk of pregnancy and the heartbreaking bearing of stillborn children.
Soon after Noyes had proven not only the possibility, but also the value of exercising ejaculatory control, and thereby the retention of life essences, he began preaching far and wide, his system of what was essentially the ticket to absolute sexual freedom, within and without singular marriage. At once he saw the vision of how to raise the race to new heights of vigor and perfection; morally, socially, physically as well as spiritually.
Undoubtedly Noyes was on a roll. He had seen a vision of heaven; a vision of how the Angels relate. He wrote and I quote: ‘The refining effects of sexual love, (which are recognized more or less in the world), will be increased a hundredfold when sexual intercourse becomes a method of ordinary conversation and each becomes married to all.’
This statement Noyes unashamedly bandied about during the reign of the ultra-conservative Queen Victoria; who was more commonly known as the queen of prudes. Now is it any wonder that the man was destined to have his name and face plastered about on a ‘Most Wanted’ Poster, and living out his final days in exile, away from his beloved community at Oneida to escape arrest and imprisonment.
Whatever Noyes’ tarnished end; deserved or not, while he could, he zealously put forth his vision of amative intercourse one day taking its place among the ‘finer arts’ of a deliberately Christian-love centered society. Noyes is quoted as saying, ‘Indeed, it will take rank above music, painting, sculpture, and the like; for it combines the charms and benefits of them all. There is as much room for cultivation of taste and skill in this department as in any.’
Even in the 1800’s Noyes was advanced enough to recognize sexual arousal and love as a cognitive - mental act. He states in his writing and call for all Christians to come into living ‘the Love of all’ by adopting an enlightened social sexuality: ‘We speak — or at least we used to speak — of carnal knowledge. This knowledge is of a kind that can be deepened indefinitely.’ He preached. ‘To a true heart, one that appreciates God, the same woman is an endless mystery. And this necessarily flows from the first admission that God is unfathomable in depths of knowledge and wisdom.’
From there Noyes went onto expound the social, spiritual and health benefits of ‘social magnetism’, a term he and his followers coined and adopted to denote this prolonged exchange of ‘love’ that made it endlessly possible to deepen the knowledge of the mystery of human nature; ‘a mystery which merges ultimately, and becomes one with the mystery of Life itself.’
Clearly the statements above prove that the founder of the Oneida complex marriage between more than three hundred professing Christian adults, understood that when the basic sexual act was performed properly, it was at once, not only a religious sacrament; a mode of mystical knowledge, but also a superb socially refining and civilizing discipline... read more