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Boston marriage

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Boston marriage was a term used in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for households where two women lived together, independent of any male support. These relationships were not necessarily sexual; the existence of platonic Boston marriages was used to quell fears of lesbianism following the loss of men in World War I.[1] Today, the term is sometimes used when referring to two women living together who are not in a sexual relationship. Such a relationship may have intimacy and commitment, without sexuality.

Origins of the termEdit

The term "Boston marriage" came to be used, apparently, after Henry James' book The Bostonians detailed a marriage-like relationship between two women—"New Women" in the language of the time, women who were independent, not married, self-supporting (which sometimes meant living off inherited wealth or making a living as writers or other professional, educated careers). Less common but nonetheless used was the term "Wellesley marriage."

Modern relevanceEdit

The 1999 play Boston Marriage by David Mamet depicts such a marriage as having an explicitly sexual component. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to allow legal same-sex marriages.

See alsoEdit


  1. McLaren, Angus (1999), Twentieth-Century Sexuality: A History, Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishers Ltd, pp. 16, ISBN 0-631-20812-7 

External linksEdit

he:נישואי בוסטון pl:Bostońskie małżeństwo

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