Richard Ganly reviews a book which challenges the notion that a monogamous, heterosexual marriage is truly superior to all others
“A democratic state has no business favouring any particular brand of intimacy or family life.” So Judith Stacey argues forcefully in Unhitched, her study of unconventional families from Los Angeles to rural China. Everybody, Stacey shows, is working to find a balance between love and domesticity – that is, between the urge to sleep around and the need for a loving, stable family life. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of people think the perfect balance is to be found outside of the confines of a traditional nuclear family.
Unhitched provides a lively tour of several more or less polyamorous communities, explaining the benefits and difficulties of these family arrangements and ultimately arguing that society must fundamentally rethink its attitude towards such relationships.