Heinlein is known for sprinkling his books with less-traditional sexual dynamics shown positively (e.g. polyandry in "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress", general sexual freedom in "Stranger in a Strange Land"). But that was quite possibly largely driven by the demand of storytelling (male to female ratio on the Moon) and not necessarily his personal views.

Did he ever express an opinion on the topic in actual real life society?

Please note that I'm excluding "normal" homosexuality, for which I already know the very-libertarian-attitude answer; to quote RAH's letter:

But moral repugnance? So far as I can see, the behavior of homos is harmless and none of my business. I habitually smoke cigarettes — a habit at least twice as “dirty” and ten times as harmful — or perhaps infinitely more harmful, since cigarettes are probably harmful and homo play probably is not.
The only thing shocking to me about homosexuality is the shocking way in which we persecute these eccentrics.

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    Just for background, relationships like the group marriage in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" were based on actual structures in various societies.
    – Tango
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 2:07
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    @DVK: While I don't think your question meets any of those 3 criteria, I'm unsure if it's actually applicable to SFF - it's a question about a SF author's personal beliefs, not about a Sci-Fi/Fantasy work or world. That said, I'm not going to VTC...I think this one just barely squeaks by on relevance.
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 2:46
  • @Jeff - I am pretty sure I saw this discussed on Meta but can't seem to find it. Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 3:27
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    I think we can safely surmise that Heinlein's attitude to sex managed to be both extremely tolerant for his time and ridiculously juvenile all at once. His writing practically screams; "why won't girls sleep with me!" despite his long and happy marriage. Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 9:11
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    @Jeff I think it's very interesting to know if an authors beliefs and ideas align with those espoused in his works, especially with an author like RAH, who regularly used an author avatar like for instance Jubal Harshaw or Jean Dubois, who serve as mouthpieces for his ideas.
    – SQB
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 11:03

1 Answer 1


I don't know if there is an answer to this question but I found this on serolynne.com:

While there have been no documented references regarding whether Heinlein actually lived an open marriage with his wife, Virginia, Heinlein’s views on sex were far from the mainstream, as he considered restrictions on sex to be based on religious superstition (Allyn 78). In Grumbles from the Grave, published post-mortem, a copy of Heinlein’s letter to his editor defends alternative styles in response to his editor’s request to remove the nest concept from Stranger in a Strange Land:

Monogamy is merely a social pattern useful to certain structures of society – but it is strictly a pragmatic matter, unconnected with sin … and a myriad other patterns are possible and some of them can be, under appropriate circumstances, both more efficient and more happy-making. (229)

I also found these articles:

And there's also the popular essay by M.G. LORD which may not be as helpful as the above but I do feel it might put RAH's views on gender in a somewhat better focus Heinlein's Female Troubles

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    Whenever I hear "Female troubles", I always recall: "d'Artagnan, my friend, you are brave, you are prudent, you have excellent qualities; but the women will ruin you!" Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 23:49

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