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By Olivia Fane, Jan 28 2017 10:44AM

Western culture has givien an unconditional thumbs up to consensual sex: it is the expression of love, health and happiness.

I used to wonder why I wasn't quite persuaded, but some years ago (when I thought I might write a history of marriage) I learnt that the love and sex bond was literally promoted by the US Government in the aftermath of the first world war. Divorce was at an all time high (2%) because women had learned they could be economically independent and didn't have to stay in loveless relationships for the rest of their lives.

A convention asked the question: now we've lost the economic bond, how are we to keep marriages together? The answer: Let's try to persuade people that sex and love are as one.

All the delegates at the convention were men: our first social scientists, sexologists, psychiatrists etc. The works of Freud were de rigeur. They debated long and hard, many were sceptical. The trouble with women, some suggested, was that they grow old and grey and fllabby. In a word, they are no longer sexually allurring. The American Government, however, was not put off. They thought they were on to a winner.

We confuse love and sex, I disovered, becasue of an outragious act of American hegemony. Dye your hair! Keep your figures in trim! Smell sweet and keep yourself desirable! If you don't, your husband will look somewhere else and it'll be your fault!

Whatever happened to love proper? That does not alter when alteration finds?

That was too boring by half,: 'Making love' (another clever American Hollywood invention) shoved the old-fashioned Christian virtues into second place.

Isn't it time we worshipped sex less and loved love more?

By Olivia Fane, Jun 30 2016 11:56AM

Politicians of every colour are keen to promote social mobility. There are winners and losers in our society, they say, so let's give everyone a chance to be a winner. But what if happiness were the goal of our society instead? What if the flourishing of every indivdual, rich and poor, became the aim of society instead of being the 'winner' in thiscompetitive, cutthrooat world we live in?

What if education became something which nourished you rather than whipped you? An academic education for those who wanted it, and a broader education for those that didn't - based on personality, not on exam results. Isn't the forcing of every child into the academic straightjacket the equivalent of making left-handed children right-handed?

By Olivia Fane, Jun 17 2016 01:10PM

If you were a cow, would you rather be bred for your beef - short life, but more freedom - dairy, or not have been born at all?

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