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Is sex in Iain M Banks's Culture limited to orgies and one-night stands? The only romantic love I can think of is in the one that has a Hell and the one where they're descended from carnivores and they have a war that isn't their fault. But both of those are societies outside of the Culture. Can anyone think of examples within it?

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    Consider that a "long term" relationship in our way of thinking is one that lasts a decade or more, and that six or seven decades is the limit admitted by current medical standards. Now compare that to the length of a life in the culture. Finally, not that Banks mostly writes about people who are in a high pressure, high risk link of work. Jul 27 '15 at 22:38
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In the back story to Excession, two characters - Dajeil and Genar-Hofoen - were a dedicated couple, going so far as to get one of them pregnant and then undergo sex changes and getting the other one pregnant too. The relationship only broke up when Genar-Hofoen was unfaithful.

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  • If memory serves, their friends thought their relationship was weird and icky
    – Valorum
    Jul 27 '15 at 7:48
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    I don't think so. Genar-Hofoen himself had previously thought that "mutualling" (the dual babies thing) was pretty icky, but it was clearly prevalent enough to have a name. Jul 27 '15 at 7:56
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    In the Culture, anything goes as long as it isn't harming anyone without their consent. That includes long term monogamy. It might be considered an eccentric minority interest, but an "insignificant minority" in the Culture could still be several billion strong. Jul 29 '15 at 20:59
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    When she's upset about him sleeping with her friend, he protests "it wasn't like we were juveniles or in some dumb monogamy cult or something", so monogamy exists, but is considered childish
    – endolith
    Oct 12 '20 at 15:51

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