Or, to put it bluntly, everyone sleeps with everyone and has a right to do so.
There is no longer any social stigma attached to promiscuity. In fact, the few who are strictly monogamous, or virgins/celibate are likely to be the ones who get weird looks. No-strings-attached sex may be seen as a great way of getting to know people, a good method of recreation, a good method of resolving conflicts and keeping the peace or, alternatively, it may be suggested that it's a biological imperative to have children by as many people as possible (a popular concept when the resident population is limited — such as colonies or After the End events). The attitude to sex may vary from a cheerfully accepted part of life ("Hey, I'm bored. Wanna test the bedsprings?") to a pragmatic one ("Damn, the kid I had with George turned out to be Ax-Crazy. Better have the next one with John."). No-one really cares who you sleep with either — any and all partners are acceptable.
Occasionally, Fridge Logic will creep in. Contraception and sexual protection is rarely mentioned, and as any government information advert is quick to tell you, if you're sleeping with more than one person you better demand a full medical certificate from every partner or take the appropriate precautions. This might be explained by the author if they claim that this has been specifically enabled by science wiping out STDs and developing foolproof, convenient stealth contraception that everyone in the population uses.
Less easy to handwave, though, is the one issue technology isn't likely to fix: jealousy. In the present day, many people would take a very dim view of their partner sleeping with one other person, never mind having sex with anyone who took their fancy. Idealistic views of love often include ideas of one, single soul mate. Conversely, in its more negative incarnations, love is commonly associated with jealousy (or even, possession). While a few stories will make a real attempt at explaining the decline of jealousy (since we already acknowledge it as one of the more negative emotions), a more common tactic is to demonise or mock anyone who expects a partner to be exclusive to them. They will probably be regarded as backward, repressed or selfish in a Free Love Future. They don't have to go Axe-Crazy or bunny-boiler to be labelled a jealous nutcase — even asking a partner to be faithful will probably be seen as a laughable expectation at best, and a selfish demand that infringes on the other person's rights at worst. It could, however be explained as everyone being raised that way, and therefore most everyone not caring because it's been ingrained in them since birth. There are also the cases where sex is entirely separated from romance, allowing the characters to have a single soulmate, but considering that sleeping with someone else is perfectly normal because there's just no correlation between the two, from their point of view.
Commonly, a Free-Love Society will socially legitimize extra-marital affairs, where you may be married to one person, but it's socially acceptable to explore other people.
Openly sexual societies are also frequently predicted to be the result of disassociation between sex and reproduction, for example, in a civilization that embraces Ectogenesis (gestation outside the body, as through artificial uteri) or selective breeding (in which cases contraception may be not only popular but mandatory) and sexually-transmitted diseases would be given the same regard as influenzas. Families as a standard child-rearing unit may or may not exist, and most likely would deviate from the "traditional" nuclear family; at the very least, coupled biological parents of children won't be expected to live together or with their children. Expect No Blood Ties to be commonplace, if not the norm. In this case, you might see a lot of Parents as People.
Dystopian free-love societies will emphasize depersonalization of sex. In works depicting less extreme societies, expect a lot of polyamorous relationships, that is, full-spectrum friend and lover relationships in which intimacy is part of the mutual trust, but exclusivity is outside the defined commitment.
Often involves an Everyone Is Bi society. A Double Standard may be in operation, often ensuring that one gender is sexually available for their entire lives while the other can only do so until they get married, whereupon they are expected to be faithful to their partner. Often interpreted as wish fulfillment or Author Appeal, especially if they remember The '60s.
See also Eternal Sexual Freedom for when this is applied to real past societies, and Fetish-Fuel Future for the more general trope of "in the future, everyone will share/accept my personal sexual kinks" Author Appeal. This trope is also the logical future extension of the Everybody Has Lots of Sex setting. May involve or allow Exotic Extended Marriage. Contrast with No Sex Allowed.
One may notice from the description that neither "Free" nor "Love" truly define the trope. "Free Love Future" may entail mandatory sex without love.
- Played for Laughs and mock horror in My Monster Secret. Rin (Asahi's future grand-daughter) comes from a Bad Future where sluts and perverts rule the world, due to the actions of the Charismatic Pervert II. The resistance comprises the ten percent of men who are not masochists, and the thirty percent of women who are not sadists.
- ElfQuest is a variation. The elves are descended from an advanced species who are implied to have outgrown the need for physical pleasure. Acquiring elf form restored their ability to feel sexual pleasure, and they've been exploring every possible (Consenting Adults) variety ever since. It helps that the elves' birthrate is low.
- In The Authority, Midnighter encounters people from a future where "everyone does everyone", and no-one remembers what heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality even means. It's more implied to be an Everyone Is Bi future, though, as the head time agent points to her two (male) partners and says, "They got together after they found out their girlfriends were seeing each other."
- In the hedonistic future of Transmetropolitan, sex is as trivialized as everything else; the most popular children's cartoon is the Sex Puppets, and Channon orders oral sex along with her meal at a restaurant. All kinds of perverse fetishes are implied, but pedophilia remains illegal and reviled, at least by Spider. Of the two pedophile characters we meet, one is driven to suicide by the public revelation of his behavior, while the other is a religious leader who used his influence to escape charges of child rape (but not Spider's Extreme Mêlée Revenge) and who also leads a NAMBLA-like organization... which seems to get as much respect as the real NAMBLA. So it appears Spider is not alone. Nothing is really safe or sane in the City, least of all sex, but consent still seems to be an absolute requirement.
- Naruto's and Xanna's Celestial Empire on Erius in The (Questionable) Burdens of Leadership of a Troll Emperor is very sexually open. By the time SG1 arrives, mentioning that a famous celebrity has a sex tape only garners mild interest. However, Naruto still strictly enforces that the age of consent is eighteen Earth years (or roughly fifteen Erius years). It certainly helps that eventually all citizens of the Celestial Empire are implanted with a microchip at birth that acts as perfect birth control and cannot be turned off until they're twenty-five.
- The original script for Alien had a scene where Ripley casually says to Captain Dallas that she needs "release" and starts taking off her clothes. Of course this could be simply be the norm among long-haul spaceship crews, or it implies a previous sexual relationship between the two. It was supposed to go even further. Word of God from Ridley Scott is that casual sex is rampant in ships such as the Nostromo, seeing as how they could be in space for months at a time and there's not a whole lot else to do. A deleted scene had Ripley nonchalantly ask Lambert if she had ever slept with Ash, to which she shrugs and says that he never appeared interested (one of the first hints that Ash is a robot).
- Double Subverted in Demolition Man. Huxley proposes sex with Spartan so casually that it completely takes him aback. However, it snaps back when he learns that their version of sex is in some ways more conservative than the modern version (no physical contact), but also apparently uncomfortable for him. It's unclear whether this is because of something inherent in the technology or because he was expecting something closer to boning, the wild mambo, the hunka-chunka. She on the other hand considers "exchange of bodily fluids" disgusting, since the rise of STDs such as AIDS have greatly stigmatized it in her society.
- In the future world of Logan's Run, sex is viewed as a casual activity to pass the time. Almost to the point of, "I'm bored... wanna shag?"
- The plot addressed this twice; once when Logan and Frances are watching the infants be implanted with Lifelocks, and later when Logan and Jessica meet the old man and are amazed that he not only knew who his parents were but was raised by them. It's not specifically stated, but the implication seems to be that all babies are conceived in vitro. When Logan 5 points out Logan 6 to Frances, he openly states he has no idea who the mother is, and seems to imply that he's the father.
- There is also one scene in the book where a female runner gets caught because she detours to a nursery she happens to see thinking "my baby might be in there!" implying that babies are taken away from their mothers immediately or shortly after birth.
- Also of significance is The Circuit, an electronic carousel for sex-seeking singles looking to hook up with an anonymous partner. In the book, the glasshouses fill a similar role. The places get their name from the rooms; they're made of transparent glass, intermittently lit with colored lights so that the patrons can watch and be watched by others who are getting it on with virtual strangers.
- Probably the case in Starship Troopers, given how everyone regarded the unisex, communal showers as no big deal. In the shower scene it was mentioned that you need a license to reproduce, so perhaps they have mandatory use of contraception.
- In Six: The Mark Unleashed, the Community's holographic program instructs new initiates of the Holy Implant that with the New Order brought about by the Leader, things such as monogamy have been done away with so that people are free to move about with partners of either sex. Procreation is only allowed according to the will of the Leader. The real downside to this "blessing", however, is that those with the Holy Implant are destined for the Lake of Fire.
- Iain M. Banks's Culture novels are suggested to be extremely open, same sex, multisex and sexchanging are all common. Near the start of Player of Games, it's suggested Gurgeh is kinda weird for only seeing woman and trying monogamy. Confirmed in Excession where it is stated that monogamy is extremely rare, it is far more normal for a couple to stay together throughout their offspring's childhood and adolescence but even this isn't a given.
- In Anne McCaffrey Dragonriders of Pern series, dragonriders consider it detrimental to their dragons to be strictly monogamous and will sleep with whichever rider is bonded to the dragon that mates with their own. It makes sex literally a way of promotion among dragonriders. You want to be a Weyrleader? Get a senior queen's rider into your bed and make sure she stays there long enough. Even if dragon mating isn't involved, the dragonriders have a habit of taking multiple lovers and most (heterosexual/bisexual) riders will have many children by several different partners. In a bit of a Rule-Abiding Rebel moment though, the "best" of the characters — such as F'lar and Lessa — are all in exclusive partnerships. A Double Standard is involved here — most women are monogamous, and those that aren't were either unpleasant (Kylara), raped (Tai) or romantically unfulfilled (Moreta). In-universe, non-dragonriding women can sleep with who they like until they marry, while men (particularly Lord Holders) retain this privilege even after marriage.
- McCaffrey has also written several short stories on the theme, including "Changeling", which dealt with a woman who bore the children of three different men (including one who was exclusively gay...)
- Most of the later works of Robert A. Heinlein feature a cheerfully polyamorous future, especially if Lazarus Long is involved. Heinlein was also fond of legitimizing expanded families (i.e. non-polygyny-centric polygamy) in which sex was consensual within the group.
- Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun depicts a future like this. Jang (young adults) are considered deviant if they're not sleeping around.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley takes the Ectogenic route, and visualizes a not-so idealistic society in which participation in public orgies is mandatory, as is contraception or sterilization.
- Citizens are expected to demonstrate no less than full involvement in the community, including participation in orgy porgy. Even the slightest deviation (say, that for a sexually exclusive relationship, a modicum of privacy, or an extraordinary predilection for solitude) results in extreme pressure to conform.
- In George Alec Effinger's Marîd Audran trilogy, gender reassignment surgery is so common that sexual mores are thoroughly blurred. Anyone who insists on "pure" gender roles is likely to be considered kinky.
- Likewise in John Varley's Eight Worlds stories, though a surprising number still do adhere to some forms of traditional sexual mores as they struggle to reconcile 300 years of technology with
thousandsmillions of years of evolution.
- The Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley. Sex is no big deal, and "love" is unheard of; the word doesn't even exist in their society.
- In the Ringworld novels, where the species that have evolved on the Ringworld are mutually infertile, sex is used as a way of opening negotiations between them.
- Louis Wu, an Earthling, doesn't see any problems with this, especially since he himself hasn't really been in a long-term relationship and just sleeps around. However, even he is a little taken aback when a women from one of the Ringworld races suddenly demands why has yet to offer rishathra (interspecies sex) to seal their verbal agreement. The sad irony is that Louis keeps his side of the bargain (to save the Ringworld no matter what) even when the only way to do that is to irradiate the chunk of the structure her race lives on.
- In the One State, the setting of Yevgeny Zamyatin's novel We—which inspired both Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty Four— it's the law that "every number has a right to every other number, as to a sexual commodity." "Number," in the usage of the One State, replaces both "person" and "citizen," by the way.
- In the second part (of three) of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End the perfection of contraception, STI treatment and paternity-tracking technology are all that are necessary to cause civilization to become a global Free Love Society inside a single generation. Clarke notes that the Overlords didn't have anything directly to do with these developments. Since the dissolution of most major Earth religions (thanks to the Overlords) was going on at the same time, this may have been a factor in the death of monogamy.
- In Imperial Earth by Arthur C. Clarke the protagonist has a homosexual love affair with his best friend when they are teenagers, which becomes a three-in-a-bed triangle when they both fall in love with a female visitor.
- Vorkosigan Saga:
- Beta Colony is described has having very relaxed mores. The age of consent is approximately puberty, and for girls there is a small rite of passage with the first contraceptive implant, and the Orb of Unearthly Delights is a bordello famous throughout the galaxy. There are no prostitutes as such, but there are plenty of licensed sexual therapists.note Betans wear coded ear rings to advertise their partnership status and avoid complicated guessing games. Also, hermaphrodites are somewhat common. It's worth noting that unlike other examples, fidelity and monogamy are considered perfectly valid choices. And while sex mores are rather loose, reproduction is very strictly controlled.
- Cetaganda, with their insistence on Designer Babies and pre-negotiated genetic matches between parents who may have never even met combines Free Love Future with Darwinist Desire, particularly for the haut class nobility.
- In Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time novels humanity has shed all its taboos as a result of acquiring immortality and godlike powers.
- In Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series, this is one of the things that sets apart the conservative, magical world of Phaze and the decadent science-based Proton. In Phaze Doubt, an android has to be badgered into not pressing her attempts at sex with the protagonist on a public transport; not because it's taboo, but because she was clearly annoying him.
- Honor Harrington:
- Residents of the planet Beowulf have a very relaxed attitude towards sex and personal relationships. The title character's mother is from there and has a habit of outrageously sexual comments in public, and once wore a...trampy cocktail dress at a party on a highly conservative planet, in part for Trolling purposes. By Beowulf standards, she's fairly conservative.
- Manticore takes the trope in another direction: so long as it's between consenting adults, whatever relationship or lack thereof one wants and can find partners for is acceptable, and nobody raises an eyebrow about strict monogamy, asexuality, homosexuality, polyamory or a girl in every port. (Cheating on a committed relationship is not okay, but that's because you're breaking your word.) The author makes an Anvilicious contrast between this and Beowulf's version; Manticore's is portrayed as the utopian version, while Beowulf pushes a bit further down the dystopian road than would be ideal.
- It's also stated that Earth isn't that much different from Beowulf in that respect. However, since humans have a tendency to adopt the Planet of Hats mindset, Beowulf is the one that's seen as the "free love" planet, Earth being the cradle of humanity and the heart of the Solarian League.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry realizes that this is the ultimate goal of the White Court. This is NOT a good or altruistic thing. They want this for two reasons. For food, and to eliminate Love, the one thing they're allergic to. The Raith family in particular wants this. Other families in the White Court feed on other emotions, like fear, and are allergic to their opposites; they wouldn't necessarily take a direct benefit from the elimination of love, although they might just be cartoon-villain enough to want it gone anyway. Or it might benefit indirectly — the house of Skavis, for example, feeds on despair and is injured by hope in the same way the Raiths are by love, and real love can help give one hope.
- Fred Saberhagen's Love Conquers All is set in one of these, where casual sex is so common that people looking for a meaningful relationship, or even a platonic one, are considered perverts, and having children is looked upon as an unfortunate necessary evil; prostitutes no longer sell their bodies, but are paid to talk philosophy with their clients. Overhanging all this free love, as the protagonists learn, is the threat of a massive, catastrophic decline in population once the current generation starts dying off.
- Many of Vonda N. McIntyre's works, including Dreamsnake and the Starfarers series. This seems to coexist with stable, exclusive relationships, in Dreamsnake when a someone falls in love without quite realizing it, this is manifested in their not wanting to sleep with anyone else and when they turn down an offer of sex, being in love is accepted as a very reasonable excuse. Quite a nice gender inversion as it is the man who goes all monogamous.
- Brian Aldiss's The Primal Urge is a satire in which a machine that makes it impossible to hide sexual attraction has a dramatic affect on British reserve.
- Robert Silverberg's The World Inside is set in a huge skyscraper (Urban Monad or Urbmon), in which men are expected to go "night walking", wandering into other peoples' homes for sex, and it's unthinkably rude for a woman to refuse an advance. Silverberg goes into a bit of detail as to how such a society would produce unique sexual hangups of its own. One character is trying to make her husband jealous, which he points out is ridiculous. Meanwhile, she mocks him for sleeping with a woman because he's attracted to her brother—instead of sleeping with the brother.
- In Sergey Lukyanenko's Sea of Glass, the protagonist is a modern-day man who ends up in the 22nd century at the end of the previous novel. At one point, he encounters a group of people known as rodders (a mix of bikers and hippies), who choose to live on the road (no bikes, though). He then sees three of them (two males and a female) having wild sex in the middle of the woods. He returns to an old rodder and asks if this is how things are done now, especially since one of the males is 13 (age in the 22nd century is no longer a sign of maturity; once a person can prove his or her independence, he or she is considered an adult). The man replies that this is a price to pay for the complete freedom their society enjoys. Freedom and arbitrary rules don't mix. It is not clear if this behavior is only limited to rodders or is prevelent in the general population. The protagonist himself is happily married to his Human Alien princess wife, but both of them are from the late 20th century.
- The Rainbow Cadenza by J. Neil Schulman takes the slogan "Make love, not war" to its dystopian conclusion. In a society where men vastly outnumber women, the latter are conscripted into brothels (with accompanying propaganda and social/legal pressure) under the rationale that male aggression needs to be diverted into sex rather than fighting. Those women who refuse can legally be hunted down, raped and killed.
- The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. By law no one can be conscripted into the military unless they are already promiscuous, and in basic training all recruits have a 'sleeping roster' where they're assigned a different partner every night (which leads to grumbling that you always get the dead-tired ones when you're horny, and vice versa). By the end of their first tour though, everyone has settled into a regular (though still not strictly monogamous) relationship with someone. Due to Time Dilation however human society has changed vastly since they left; promiscuous heterosexual relationships are discouraged due to overpopulation. With homosexuality the norm, such behaviour is regarded (at best) as a quaint anachronism and at worst outright perversion.
- A rather startling example for young adult novel is in the Green-Sky Trilogy. Kindar "youth" (from age 13-25) are expected to live communally, and have "close communion" (sex) with others as they wish. This is facilitated by an herbal method of birth control, consumed in a weekly ritual. After they leave the halls and "pair-bond" (marry), they're supposed to remain more or less monogamous. The Erdlings, without access to the contraceptive plant and with limited supplies of food, have a much stricter set of sexual mores. The Ol-zhaan elite are forbidden marriages and family, but are free to have "close communion" with other Ol-Zhaan.
- There are elements of this in Susan Price's Odin's Voice trilogy: early on in the first book the teenage protagonist avoids an argument by asking a male friend if he wants 'to sex'. They sign a consent form and go off to a dedicated room. Of course, this is a society where classical gods such as Hera are still worshipped, so you might assume there are still conservative attitudes around as well.
- In Isaac Asimov's The Robots of Dawn the hedonistic robot based culture of Aurora has 'free love' completely divorced from reproduction, making sex meaningless and far less satisfactory. At least, that's how an outsider from a No Sex Allowed society sees it; the locals keep insisting it's not that bad. Jealousy is considered an obscene word. One villain claims her life was ruined and her mind warped because her father raised her personally (thus socially isolating her), then refused to have sex with her when she asked.
- In The Dispossessed, it is mentioned that people who aren't coupled frequently engage in one-night stands. Also, it is not uncommon for friends to have sex with each other to affirm their bond. The main character Shevek has sex with his male friend, even though Shevek is not particularly attracted to him. That being said, there are strong hints that the most mature relationships are long-term and monogamous. Shevek himself is Happily Married in all but name with his partner Takver.
- In Replay, Jeff Winston muses about the "future" of sexuality of the 1980's when he's stuck in 1963.
- In David Brin's Uplift series many humans have little trouble sharing their spouses. Possibly influenced by our chimpanzee and dolphin clients who are by no means monogamists.
- Gene Wolfe's Home Fires is set in a future where marriage is a largely unknown anachronism restricted to religious people. Instead, people form "contracts" (basically civil unions — and they can be same or opposite sex), and monogamy is not expected. Except that people still get jealous and react badly to their partners having relations with others — however they also don't understand why they feel jealous and even try to rationalize away their feelings.
- The Fall of the Sea People is not a free-love future but a free-love past. Mostly it ticks the poly and bi boxes, although it is a dystopian example and more unusually the protagonist is forbidden from participating.
- In Donald Kingsbury's Courtship Rite, the people of the Lost Colony of Geta have at least a mild version, possibly justified in part by the need to keep birth rates high to match the high death rates, as well as the need to avoid excessive inbreeding. Most Getan clans may be trying to breed themselves for specific traits, but they're very aware of the dangers of inbreeding. In any case, casual sex seems common, even for married people, although jealousy is far from unknown.
- In an inverted example of a Free Love Past, both the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons in the Earth's Children novels are fairly blase about who's getting it on with whom, mostly because neither society is clear on the concept that sex leads to pregnancy.
- The Takisians from the Wild Cards series have this. While their Psi Lord nobility practice Arranged Marriage as part of a Super Breeding Program, nobody expects either the men or the women to remain monogamous, only to restrict actual procreation to partners specified by the breeding plan. Both genders keep concubines. Takisian commoners likewise have very open sexuality. The entire civilization has no concept of homophobia and procreation and love are regarded as two different things. Interestingly, Takisians have a very strong cultural taboo against rape and even Psi Lords, who have Mind Control powers, consider rape to be a sign of total depravity on the part of the rapist.
- Turns up a lot in the novels of Olaf Stapledon, where the future features lots of polyamory, group marriage, and a general loss of sexual taboos. Stapledon (who wrote in the 1930's) was possibly one of the earlier authors to portray such a future in a positive light.
- In the Star Carrier series, people who live in arcologies (and many others, especially in the Space Navy), don't form permanent attachments or enforce them legally (i.e. marriage). Instead, they live in close sexual groups and look down on those who do form such attachments and permanently pair up, often using the derogatory slur "monogie" (from "monogamy"). Often enough, "monogies" are those who squat in the ruins of old coastal cities, flooded when the oceans rose. It's stated several times that the "prims" (from "primitive") who live in the Periphery become "monogies" because 2 is the optimal number for survival in the Scavenger World (i.e. someone to watch your back, but not too many mouths to feed).
- Some of the settled worlds in Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise have this, to an extent. The denizens of Barsoom don't view sex as taboo and have to problems sleeping around. Averted on more conservative worlds (or worlds currently undergoing a burst of conservatism), such as Poitex, where Culture Police watches over all.
- The future scenes in Redfern Jon Barrett's The Giddy Death of the Gays and the Strange Demise of Straights show a society in which polyamory is increasingly accepted, the younger generation are unconsciously pansexual, and three-way marriages are becoming legal reality.
- The Space Opera Lucifer's Star by C.T. Phipps has it as a minor plot point. Individual planets and cultures like the Archduchy of Crius may be conservative (though nobles of both sexes are expected to keep concubines as examples of status) but even the A Nazi by Any Other Name culture has no problems with homosexuality. Defector from Decadence protagonist Cassius is a bit off put by "spacer" culture sexual mores. Humans who live on ships or space stations invariably have multiple partners and care nothing about casual hook-ups while being in committed relationships. Notably, Cassius ends up romantically involved with two women on his ship who are involved with each other—which he finds off-putting than titillating. It's also noteworthy there's a thriving trade in Sex Slave Ridiculously Human Robot units called "Bioroids" which is depicted as repugnant but widely practiced (since they're completely sentient—just Brainwashed and Crazy).
- In Rangers At Roadsend Chip Coppelli happily exploits the fact that many women consider uniforms sexy, no taboo against extramarital sex or lesbianism is mentioned.
- In the Imperial Radch trilogy, the Radchaai empire has no universal institution of marriage, no taboo against casual or non-exclusive sexual relationships, and no societal concept of gender. While sex and/or romance can be elements of a "clientage" between a higher- and a lower-ranked person, there's some stigma against people who appear to be Sleeping Their Way to the Top.
- In The Machineries of Empire, the Hexarchate, for all its flaws, is rather chill with all sexualities and gender identities, and has nothing against polygamy — one character is mentioned as having multiple children with four partners.
- The Marquis de Sade dreamed of this future and extensively advocated it through his written works. A direct witness to The French Revolution, he, along with many of his characters, identified as a libertine, one who believes nothing, not even God, should stop one's pursuit of physical pleasure of all types— especially sexual, which was the primary focus of his works. Some were written strictly to offend (The 120 Days of Sodom), others to actively promote his viewpoints as said earlier and do all the things he wanted to do (Philosophy in the Bedroom), but virtually all his written works, including what survives that he didn't publish, are marked by extreme erotica not just between consenting adults of all genders and orientations but also between adults and children, between non-consenting adults, and even family members. He believed such a future was the best path for humanity going forward, and that it should have been an inevitable consequence of the Revolution. Arguably, Sade exaggerated this trope because he believed that literally nothing, not even mass murder, should be criminalized, as long as such things are committed for the sake of pleasure. Of course, that includes things that don't provide sexual thrills, but he loved integrating torture into his love life, and believed it should be allowed to escalate to murder if that pleased whoever was committing it. His novels are rife with examples of victims being tortured, sometimes to death, by people who derive sexual satisfaction from the act. There's a reason he is the namesake of sadism, though nowadays most would prefer Safe, Sane, and Consensual instead of the depravity he advocated. To top it all off, he did try to live out his fantasies; he spent many years in and out of prison for his troubles, and even died in an asylum.
- It's treated as a background detail rather than getting a lot of attention in the plot, but it's pretty clear that most people in the far-future human society in Embassytown by China Miéville are bisexual, and either polyamorous or accepting as a matter of course that people will have several different monogamous relationships over their lifetimes.
- The Fifth Sacred Thing takes place in a Solar Punk future that practices this. Madrone and Bird are an Official Couple and used to have a third member with their friend Sandy, but they still get involved in an orgy with three of their other friends and take other lovers when they feel like it on their journeys. Culture Clash happens later in the book when Madrone sleeps with a man who's married to her southern friend Katy, believing she will appreciate Madrone teaching him more about making love, and only finding out after the fact that what she did was considered a betrayal.
- Deconstructed in Tomorrow Town. The title town is a "community-of-the-future" where past relationships are supposedly irrelevant, but this is only because the founder is a misogynist lecher who just wants an excuse to have sex with anyone he wants. In a further irony the story takes place in The '70s, and the inhabitants seem unwilling to admit there's a real life sexual (and social and technological) revolution going on outside that's long-since made them obsolete.
- Technically, it's Free Love Then-Present, but while the people of Pala live in family units, they have no trouble with casual sex, as long as it's consensual (a girl has absolutely no problem with the possibility that her boyfriend could sleep around, and she herself has done it at least once).
- Terence McKenna, in his book "The archaic revival" did not only depict a free love future, but also a free love past.
- Julius Evolas "Eros and the mysteries of love" subverts that often. He depicted many freer practices and customs of ancient cultures like Babylon and promises a return to them, but at the same time, often, restrictions of sexuality have been replaced by other restrictions, instead of being completely abolished. One of the main points of the book is that "free" sexuality needs discipline.
- From what we see of it, Anglia in Who Needs Men? seems to view sexual liaisons very casually. To be fair, this may be because most of the major Anglian characters are military cadets or young officers, but there is not even any mention of such a thing as marriage, the closest thing being lovers in regular (but still informal) relationships.
- Ecotopia: At least in Ecotopia there's a far more forthright sexual culture by 1999.
- In Crystal Lattice, a variation has been adopted by the Gaian Republic. Since only females can be successfully genetically modified, males are only born of natural pregnancies, so they make up only about 90% of the Gaian population. As such, all women are taught that no woman has a right to claim any man for herself, since that would be detrimental to society. This also means that men are discouraged to form exclusive pairings with women and are strongly encouraged to regularly visit the so-called "Dating Houses", where partners are randomly paired for casual sex. Basically, men in this society are largely treated as sex objects... and don't appear to mind in the slightest, especially since they get many other perks in exchange (the Republic is a cashless society, where one's access to goods and services depends solely on one's social rank). On the other hand, it's not uncommon for women to form long-term relationships with other women, if they happen to swing that way.
- In Trevelyan's Mission books, it's heavily implied that this is the case on many human planets. The conservative worlds are more the exception than the rule. Ivar Trevelyan is used to engaging in a series of flings (although never with more than one woman at a time). This comes to an end when he meets and falls for a woman from T'har, one of those conservative worlds. Her condition is that they be exclusive, even if it is considered to be outmoded in most of the Earth Federation. Ivar agrees and even swears to her that he will avoid engaging in sexual encounters during his infiltration missions. In a later novel, Ivar meets a Teruxi female, who has the hots for him. She is utterly baffled by Ivar's reluctance to sleep with her, especially since he's clearly physically attracted to her (to be fair, all Teruxi look like Greek gods and goddesses, so it's difficult not to be attracted to them). He explains that, as a married man, he is devoted to his wife, who also happens to be a trained combatant and a crack shot. She then tries a different tactic and argues with his wife that it's not uncommon for men to have more than one woman on Earth. Ivar's wife counters that things work differently on her own home planet. Apparently, in Teruxi society, a core belief is that nothing should stand in the way of love or attraction, so all the rules humans assign to such relationships baffle them.
- In the December 1955 The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction a controversial article "The Day After We Land On Mars" by Robert S. Richardson suggested that given that men would be cooped up for years on an expedition to Mars, some "nice girls" be sent along to relieve their tension.
- Implied to be the case of the world under the rulership of Nicolae Carpathia in the Left Behind series, though the Christians who become Tribulation saints refuse to partake of this because it violates God's design of sexual relationships through marriage. Generally averted in the Millennial Kingdom that follows this period, as God's principles of sexual relationships are enforced upon the people, though there are some possible exceptions like Rehema having a child out of wedlock.
- Also implied to be the case of the world under the rulership of Christopher Goodman in the Christ Clone Trilogy series, as one of Petra's citizens comments that the world's citizens are engaging in sex without limits, including bestiality.
- A background detail of the The Murderbot Diaries, everyone whose marriage is mentioned is married to multiple "marital partners"; the terms 'husband' and 'wife' never appear. This passes completely without comment.
- Charles Fouriers Works describe the Need to build a free love Utopia.
- Eduard Limonovs "The Other Russia" also depict an utopic future russia with free love aspects.
- Star Trek:
- Word of God says this is how things are in the Federation, whether or not it was actually seen onscreen. Relatedly, there is no sign that Starfleet has any rules against sexual relations between crewmates or people in the same chain of command.
- Aside from the Federation, this was the Hat of Edo in The Next Generation and the Betazoids in the novels (who may not have worn clothing at all until their First Contact, and still perform weddings in the buff), to say nothing of Risa, which has varied from "classy resort planet" to "Space Vegas".
- Interestingly, the onscreen depictions mainly skew towards the idea of inter-species sexual relations being widely-accepted (at least in the Federation) so long as they involve the opposite-sex, but same-sex relations even within a species seem to be very, very rare. In the instances where such do appear, they are either connected to demonstrations of villainy or else aliens with different biology than humans.
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Holoship," the ship of advanced holograms regards sex as excellent physical exercise. They even have an entire deck devoted to it. The other holograms are very puzzled at the notion that you might "fall in love" and sideline your own agenda for the benefit of someone else; predictably, this is exactly what happens to Rimmer's entrance exam opponent. There's a reason for that. The crew of the Holoship are notoriously arrogant and all speak very coldly and professionally, even while having sex. Rimmer's passion for joining the crew ended up making him the most attractive man on that ship. One of the holograms says that humanity abandoned the concept of family in the 25th century when scientists proved that all psychological hang-ups are caused by parents.
- In Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood, future humanity is revealed to have taken it upon themselves to "dance" with as many new life-forms as possible. The trope's poster boy is Captain Jack Harkness of the 51st century, who gets into serious trouble a few times in the 20th century just for being himself. Professor River Song also revels in the trope, having studied at a 52nd century university. He only appeared in Torchwood briefly, but let's not forget John Hart. Jack's ex-partner "in every way", 51th century too, and behaving consequently. Only the 51st century would think to develop lipstick as a weapon... for men, too. Actually, it was Jack Harkness who introduced it to John.
- The BBC TV movie The Year of the Sex Olympics. Though actually about a lethal Reality TV show, the eponymous Sex Olympics is part of the Bread and Circuses used to keep the masses entertained in this future dystopia.
- The Man in the High Castle: Berlin in the 1960s has developed a counterculture among the Nazi youth who indulge in casual sex and drug use. By contrast, the Nazi puppet state in the United States has a stronger emphasis on Stay in the Kitchen values.
- Future Man: In the future, sex is apparently so casual that it's just for "re-charging" before you go into battle. While Wolf and Tiger both say their sterile, there is a plot point that they aren't immune to STDs. However Tiger does say that one of their comrades died from AIDS, perhaps due to all the casual sex. Prior to the last mission, there's an orgy.
- The Outer Limits (1995): In "Lithia", Miranda casually comes on to Mercer, having sex with him without hesitation. Ariel later easily accedes to his seduction as well. It may be due to a looser attitude on sex, as with an all-female society, most of the STDs and unplanned pregnancies wouldn't be issues.
- Defiance: Countless characters are in same-sex relationships, polyamorous relationships, or otherwise have lots of sex, and nobody bats an eye. Castithans don't even mind adulterous relationships, as long as it's men having them.
- Brave New World: A dark version, in which the people of New London are more than just allowed to have casual sex with anybody they like, but strongly encouraged to, with monogamy being socially forbidden. Lenina is reprimanded as she's had sex with the same man 22 times in a row, rather than moving on to someone else. Citizens are often seen participating in public sex and orgies, while unlike the book this also extends to same-sex couplings. STDs don't appear to exist, as someone must have what viruses were explained.
- In Paul Kantner's 1970 sci-fi concept album Blows Against the Empire, this is one of the things the protagonists are seeking when they hijack a starship and set off to found a hippie utopia.
- The Ninja Sex Party song "6969" have Danny Sexbang and Ninja Brian traveling to the titular year expecting to find this only to discover, to their horror, that human touch has been outlawed. The rest of the song follows their journey to start a sexual revolution and overthrow the Council of Dick Elders.
- Ironically given how rigid Clan society normally is, Clan warriors pretty much practice this. The casual attitude they have regarding sex as simple off-duty recreation is specifically one of the things that make them seem more alien to the average citizen of the Inner Sphere; it helps that the upbringing of the average 'trueborn' Clan warrior is rather alien to anybody used to concepts like natural conception and birth (considered inferior to the default in vitro method involving the careful deliberate selection and use of genetic material donated by earlier generations) or traditional family structures (basically nonexistent unless one wants to count 'sibling companies') as well. This was deliberate: the founder of the Clans, Nicholas Kerensky, wanted to make sure that warriors would be loyal to their Clan and not form other attachments, such as to romantic partners. This is sometimes taken to the point where terms related to conception, birth, childrearing, and parenting are so offensive to Trueborn Clanspeople that they can make them violently ill (emphasis on the "violent" part with the Warriors, who will answer accusations involving this functions by trying to kill their accusers.) Among the "Freeborn" (Clanspeople conceived and born the old-fashioned way), family units and such are much like they are in the Inner Sphere, but owing to the Clans' emphasis on creating the perfect warrior society, everything, even procreation in the lower castes, is seen as being in service to the Clan (making more Laborer/Techs/Scientists to support the Warriors). It's implied that even among the Freeborns, Clan society is something of a free love future: You're expected to have children with your partner (who the Scientists have verified will produce acceptable offspring with you), but you can fool around with just about anyone you want in your (very rare) free time.
- The Magistracy of Canopus, on the other side of the Inner Sphere from the Clan Invasion Corridor, has long been known for having much more liberal views on sex than basically everyone else, to the point that sex tourism was a major portion of their economy for centuries (while it's still important now, they've been able to grow their industrial power following the technological resurgence of the mid 31st century). It's perfectly acceptable among Canopians to marry someone and stay monogamous with them if you want, but there's no expectation that people ought to do that.
- In CthulhuTech casual sex is seen as perfectly normal, although most people use it as a way to eventually meet someone with which they want to have a monogamous relationship. Most people lose their virginity at age 12. This is a Justified Trope as the government relaxed laws on sex to distract the people from the fact that they are in a Cosmic Horror Story.
- Eclipse Phase has this as a characteristic of its immortal society. STD Immunity and easy contraception are, of course, among the basic modifications attached to any biomorph except the completely unfixed.
- Numenera has some cultures fitting this trope.
- As the world of Transhuman Space is in many ways the present Turned Up to Eleven, with advanced medical technology, fairly relaxed sexual mores are generally assumed — but are not universal everywhere.
- In Culpa Innata, the Union society has been restructured to be based on purely scientific principles. One of which completely dissolves the traditional family unit and the concept of marriage... sorry, of "nuptual agreement". People are expected to have multiple sexual partners, although you can have a primary sexual partner, which has no legal status. Also, for some reason, men are no longer the courtiers. Women are expected to ask men out and pay for dinners and the like. If a man starts hitting on a woman, she will usually leave in disgust. This can be a problem for immigrants from the "rogue states" (Russia, India, China, etc.), which still cling to old traditions. Phoenix even warns an Indian immigrant applying for Union citizenship, who confesses to having multiple affairs, while his wife couldn't due to a Double Standard stigma, that he should have no such expectations in the Union. Jealousy is never mentioned, as attachment is frowned upon. Phoenix also speaks with her best friend about nuptial agreements and the thought of being with the same person for more than a week, let alone decades, is disturbing, as boredom would set in.
Of course, there are varying degrees to which people abide by this. Phoenix, for example, is pretty conservative by Union standards. While she frowns on long-term attachments, she never appears to have more than one partner at a time. Her best friend, though, appears to be more promiscuous (not that this word has any negative connotation in the Union) and her usual answer to Phoenix's problems is "You Need to Get Laid". The game involves Phoenix investigating the murder of a recent Union citizen, a Russian immigrant. While interviewing his "prime sexual partner", she finds out that the woman was his wife in Russia, but they were forced to annul their "nuptual agreement" in order to obtain Union citizenship. She appears to have remained faithful to the victim, while he was reported to having attempted to hit on several women. Given that women are expected to hit on men in the Union, all his attempts were unsuccessful.
- In Crusader Kings III, Polyamory is a valid tenet for religions you've reformed or created yourself (none of the historical ones start with it), and requires that adultery for both genders is tolerated by said religion. Polygamy essentially removes all penalties associated with sleeping with someone who isn't your spouse from all adherents of the religion. When combined with the Carnal Exaltation tenet and the Unrestricted Marriage doctrine, the result is a religion that promotes sleeping around with anyone and everyone.
- In Linburger all the Demihuman races live a life of hedonism, with most having or seeking a primary partner, but exclusivity apparently the exception rather than the rule, and are (with some reason) stereotyped as being members of a religion built around it. Humans up on the surface, however, still seem to cling to their old notions of monogamy, but most find reason to nip downstairs and indulge their more libertine fantasies once in a while.
- What seems like a likely future (and even present) in Ménage à 3, as seen in the page image (though that's from a doubly tongue-in-cheek guest strip).
- Chakona Space seems to fit the description, at least as far as morphs and especially Chakats are concerned. And their human lovers usually learn to accept it, Admiral Boyce eventually has five wives (three cat-like aliens from two different species and two chakats). It was originally intended as a Star Trek fanfic. The Faleshkarti have the dystopian version, due to their biology. While they're emotionally mature and quite intelligent at a young age, sexual maturity makes them wildly horny. And loss of virginity makes them stupid until they get pregnant. Therefore, once they're sexually mature, they're doing their damnedest to get knocked up.
- The online adult science fiction novel A Perfect World by Al Steiner depicts a future where all STDs have been eliminated, people are infertile until they decide they want to procreate (at which point they just go to the doctor and tell them they want their fertility activated), and open attitudes toward sex are the norm. As a result it's very common for people to "get acquainted with each other" by having sexual relations (sex in public places is legal, and nobody even bats an eye when it happens), and monogamy is considered a primitive and outdated concept.
- Mundo Ultimate News Cp shows a futuristic liberal civilization where the population is mostly bisexual. Heteronormativity was broken after consecutive and accelerated advances in genetic engineering and sexual reassignment surgeries.
- The SCP Foundation has SCP-3651, a portal to an alternate Earth where the love gods from humanity's various mythologies took over the world in the wake of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima to prevent humanity from destroying themselves via nuclear war. The result is a free-love present with the article focusing on how their society changed as a result.
- The world of Faeophobia is this due to the return of the Fae, supernatural beings from another world who are eager to interbreed with humans. Magic-fulled public orgies are fairly common.
- It was apparently so common for humans to fall in love with Sex Robots that the Space Pope (Crocodylus Pontifex◊) and the Space Catholic Church had to produce PSA warnings against it. The idea was explored further in "Proposition Infinity," which revolves around an attempt to legalize robosexual marriage. This is hinted at as far back as the pilot episode, which has Bender hesitating to hang out with Fry because "I don't want people thinking we're robosexuals. If anyone asks, you're my debugger."
- Futurama went on to explore a "true" free-love future with The Beast with a Billion Backs. Everyone seems perfectly happy to exist like this, until mutually-exclusive bonds like friendship and love muck it up. Bender delivers the show's Spoof Aesop, claiming that love is, by nature, jealous, possessive and exclusive, and therefore "free love" isn't love at all.
- In one of the newer episodes it appears that "Robosexuality" is the 31st century equivalent of homosexuality. At one point it's stated that not only a man and woman are allowed to marry, but also man and man, fembot and manbot, interracial, interplanetary, and even a ghost and a horse.
- Prior to that, Farnsworth invokes a minor version of this trope, announcing that "your primitive notions of modesty" had been extinct for over eight hundred years, before stripping naked to play chess with Hermes. Of course, he's also apparently been arrested for public nudity, and conspiracy to commit public nudity, so that may just be his opinion (or it's illegal for him, specifically).