trapped by a fetishist

It appears to me that more people in the arts have polygamous relationships than us ordinary folk. Or maybe no one writes about the ordinary folk who are having them


Wonder Woman was created by Harvard-trained psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston, who wrote the stories under the pseudonym Charles Moulton. Marston is also known as the inventor, or at least the most enthusiastic advocate, of the polygraph lie detector. Marston led a colorful and unconventional life. In his first of several popular psychology books, Emotions of Normal People, he discussed emotional states in terms of “elementary behaviour units” in the activities of dominance, compliance, submission and inducement.

One study in Marston’s book involves the “baby party,” a strange sorority ritual held at Jackson College. Freshman initiates were required to dress like babies, bound, prodded with sticks, and wrestled when they resisted. One of Marston’s theories was that America would become a matriarchy, and in many of his writings he espoused the view that women could and would use sexual enslavement to achieve dominance over men.  His ideas landed him the post of consulting psychologist for the women’s magazine Family Circle.

order your adult baby dresses here

His research assistant on that study, Olive Byrne, was also the woman who, as Olive Richard, conducted the seminal interview published in Family Circle. In fact, Olive moved in with Marston and his wife Elizabeth. William Marston fathered two children each by each woman, and the extended family lived together harmoniously.


Artist Sir Stanley Spencer also had an unconventional love life.

“He viewed sexual union as a sacrament. A man raises a woman’s dress with the same passionate admiration and love as the priest raises the Host on the altar,’ he wrote.


Stanley met his first wife, Hilda Carline in 1923 and they eventually married in 1925. Their first daughter, Shirin, was born the same year and their second, Unity, in 1930.

In 1933 a fellow artist, Patricia Preece, began to model for him, first in a conventional way – there is a portrait of her in striped jersey in front of his gramophone – and later wearing increasingly few clothes.

Patricia Preece – Self Portrait

Stanley quickly became infatuated. Hilda wrote to a friend: ‘She vamped him to a degree unbelievable except in cinemas. If he went to her house, she always received him half or a quarter dressed. He showered her with presents, from the lacy lingerie in which he painted her, to gifts of cash.

Carline divorced Spencer in 1937. A week later he married Patricia, knowing she, however, was a lesbian. She continued to live with her partner, and though she frequently posed nude for her husband, refused to consummate the marriage.

Patricia found herself trapped by a fetishist. As she said years later, he bought her ‘innumerable pairs of bright, beastly shoes with enormously high heels, in which he stared at my legs and feet with fascination‘. When Spencer’s bizarre relationship with Patricia finally fell apart (though she would never grant a divorce), he returned to visiting Hilda.


Then there’s Australian actor Jack Thompson who spent 15 years in a ménage à trois with two sisters, Leona and Bunkie.

“Know how difficult it is living with the woman you love?” Thompson is fond of saying. “Try doubling it”. Though the living arrangement came to an end, Thompson has no regrets, “I wouldn’t have missed it for quids.”

Glenda Jackson & Jack Thompson 1975

Perhaps most famous of all were the complicated goings on of the Bloomsbury Set.

Duncan Grant had always been actively homosexual but a relationship blossomed with Vanessa Bell who was in a relationship with his friend, artist Roger Fry. Grant eventually moved in with Vanessa and her two sons by her husband Clive Bell. Then Grant’s new lover, David Garnett arrived.

Vanessa Bell aged 2

Relationships with Clive Bell remained amicable, and he too stayed with them for long periods fairly often – sometimes accompanied by his own mistress, Mary Hutchinson. Vanessa very much wanted a child by Duncan, and became pregnant in the spring of 1918. Although it is generally assumed that Duncan’s sexual relations with Vanessa ended in the months before Angelica was born, they continued to live together for more than 40 years.


Published in: on October 24, 2010 at 6:17 am  Comments (36)  
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  1. I’ve always had a sneaking admiration for Augustus John and his travelling menage.Perhaps it’s the Welsh?

  2. I never mind a little kink here and there but there is something about the adult baby thing that makes me a little sick. I’d much rather her put some pink, fuzzy handcuffs on or something!

    • Here is where you can hear a very interesting interview about “age-play” and adult babies:

      • I listened to 25 minutes Mitzi. It was pretty interesting but I haven’t got an hour to devote to a podcast

  3. I actually find examples of non-conventional relationships and ways of living really inspiring. I actually started collecting interviews with some of the “ordinary’ people I know of living and having relationships in some of these ways, with the view to putting together some stories….hmmm, I wish I was better at finishing these little projects of mine! – but thanks for this little bit of inspiration to nudge me on my way again Nurse Myra

    • I think there are quite a few websites and newsgroups devoted to this kind of thing Ruby. Plenty of fodder for inspiration…..

  4. Polygny and polyandry are both subjects of endless fascination. Personally, coping with one woman is quite enough. Whether she can cope with more than one male is a completely different subject.

    • So you’re in the Jack Thompson camp 😉

  5. Personally, I found living with one woman to be enough of a challenge. Living with two or more, some would think a sign of masochism 😉

    • some would think it a sign of good luck 😉

  6. I’d like my own Wonderwoman outfit… I’m always intrigued to hear tales of the Bloomsbury folk.

    • Me too. I would like to have been part of Bloomsbury. That, or part of The Factory…..

  7. Marston was right. Men may rule the country but women rule the men.

  8. gives such enhanced meaning to the phrase “why can’t we all just get along?” i’m a fan, but will NEVER share a bathroom with anyone. nobody uses my mascara, damn it!

    • C’mon baby I won’t give you conjunctivitis

  9. Gah I just don’t have the energy for polygamy… Or perhaps that’s just because the not-wife is enough for any man!

  10. “His ideas landed him the post of consulting psychologist for the women’s magazine Family Circle.” That’s one of the funniest things, ever. Made my day.

    Why is it never polygamy with a bunch of husbands? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question.

    • Polygamy IS a kind of a family circle, is it not?

    • Robin, it’s the best line in the whole post. I now look at Family Circle in a whole new light

  11. I never had any luck keeping tabs on how much trouble I was in with one woman, let alone a lucky bag of mixed individuals!

  12. Jack Thompson! Now there was a randy old billy-goat! In a good way.

    I tried to google his Cleo centrefold, to evaluate his…er, qualifications for such a demanding love life. Alas, the search reveals a thousand other less famous Jack Thompsons, all naked. And inexplicably, pictures of Ethel Merman and DR. Kildare.

    Was “Jack Thompson” not a slang synonym for “John Thomas” in our Australian youths, nursie?

    • I tried to find his centrefold photo too…. how odd that it’s not googleable 😦

  13. Creepy flipper shoes. But Linda Carter could make those babies look good! She could make anything look good, yes? Was just reading about some of the Native American groups, with which several wives was the norm.

    • Serendipity! I was just over at your place leaving a comment at the same time

  14. Why is it never polygamy with a bunch of husbands? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question.

  15. Have you seen the film ‘Carrington’ about the complex relationship between Bloomsbury Groupers Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington and her husband? I loved it. Also, it has beautiful music by Michael Nyman (I have the soundtrack).

    • Oh yes! I loved it too, so sad. Interestingly, it’s believed Strachey may have had Marfan’s Syndrome and I once worked for someone who probably had it too

      • Interesting. I’ve never heard of Marfan’s Syndrome, but reading the description I realise a man I know called Mike has it.

  16. Malach is Monogamous, I am too nervous to do other wise

  17. First, I ordered my baby dress. I want someone to wrestle me.

    Second, I love that global warming high heel flipper.

    • Me, me! I’ll wrestle with you VaGB

  18. Bardot was smoking hot. She got a little kooky in her older years but she got 2 things right. She loves animals and she hates muslims.


  19. I feel quite bad for Hilda – ’cause really , that’s prob not the kind of guy you want to take back.

  20. Yeah living with two may be difficult BUT I would not miss it wither. That’s a good time.

  21. it’s the best line in the whole post.

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