Fourier worked out how the most varied erotic passions could be satisfied while at the same time enhancing social integration. A first prerequisite for the birth of the new amorous world was, according to Fourier, acceptance of the fact that sexual needs differed enormously. In Fourier's utopia, all sexual expression would be permitted so long as people were not abused. But he excluded children up to the age of fifteen-and-a-half, claiming that children had no sexual desire at all, only the passions for friendship and ambition. A second prerequisite for the new amorous world was a radical change in the position of women. It was necessary to recognize that women had the same sexual needs as men: 'Woman is not a subject of lust, but an active participant' (Debout, p.cxi). The third prerequisite formulated by Fourier was the sexual minimum. This minimum would transform amorous relationships by ridding them of any sort of constraint or need. Only after the fear of sexual deprivation had disappeared would men and women be free to develop their full sexual potential.
Some months before, the Saint-Simonian women had founded their own organizations and publication, La Femme Libre (August 1832-spring 1834). The editors were all working-class women and called themselves 'we women of the people', but they explicitly addressed their newspaper to all women. They vehemently criticized the status of the housewife and the dominance of the family. The paper provided a platform for an impassioned discussion about the importance of sexuality. 'We shall love without hypocrisy and laugh about prejudices', they stated (Poldervaart, 1993, pp.162-165). Some women who were active in the journal were known to have tried to practice their ideas of free love in the here and now. Claire Demar pleaded passionately for passionate love, against fidelity, for the abolition of fatherhood, and for social motherhood instead of biological motherhood. But her ideas and the fact that she lived together with her younger lover were too radical for the Saint-Simonian women, which led to her increasing isolation within the movement. Pauline Roland planned to be a mother without having to marry and was proud of that. She had four children, all of whom bore her name and for whom she had sole responsibility. All went well until there was major unemployment in the 1830s; then Roland had to humiliate herself by begging food for her and her children from wealthy Saint-Simonian men.
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