Sexual Morality and Stranger in a Strange Land.Sexual Morality, an issue seldom brought up during the fifties, became tested by the sixties generation, in that people were more open about it, girls wearing smaller bikinis and using birth control pills which prompted artists of all walks to reflect this view, whether through artwork, music, or literature. Robert A.
Heinlein criticized the view on sexuality in his novel Stranger in a Strange land. In the beginning chapter, Michael Valentine Smith is introduced; a product of the first voyage to the planet Mars, he is raised by the native species and cut off from the human race, thus assimilating martian customs. Although never giving out Mike’s real age, the reader learns that twenty five years pass before another ship, the “Champion” consisting of an all male crew reaches Mars; a fact that helps setup Mike’s sexual naivety. Although Mike learns of the female gender from the crew, strict rules forbid female interaction with the patient, especially because Mike tended to go into near death states whenever confused and distressed. Mike eventually meets Gillian “Jill” Boardman, an upbeat nurse curious enough to see the “Man from Mars” to sneak into his room, who offers him a glass of water not knowing that water meant life to martians; offering him the glass meant that she created a bond martians held most sacred. After the “sharing of water” ritual, Mike asks Jill to take off her clothes, his naivety and lack of knowledge towards social taboo do not offend Jill because she understood he did not mean it sexually; another example of his innocence. Ben Caxton, a reporter, discovers that Mike is heir to a sum of money, and is convinced that the Federation is trying to take it away, so he attempts to rescue Mike through the help of Jill, a close friend whom he loves, but his efforts are thwarted, ending up in a Mexican back alley. After Ben disappears, Jill risks her job and life to rescue the real Mike by taking him to Jubal Harshaw, a renowned lawyer.
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Jubal’s House in the Poconos contains three beautiful women, Anne, Dorcas, and Miriam; each having her own hair color and build, enabling Mike to become exposed and more comfortable with women. The Federation comes looking for Mike, but because of Jubal's knowledge of the law, and Mike’s ability to make things “disappear”, Jubal is left with the Secretary General on the videophone; Mike experiences his first kisses during this time. It is these four women that surround Mike, protect him in his meeting with the Secretary General. Because of his “Man from Mars” title, he gets fan mail from women containing colorful photos. After constant badgering by Fosterites, Jubal takes Mike to a Fosterite service; it is here Mike meets Dawn, who later becomes a head priestess at Mike’s church. It is also here that Mike attends his first sermon, enjoying the mood yet constraining himself.
After the sermon, Mike and crew are taken to see Bishop Digsby who manages to get Mike alone; a poor decision that costs Digsby his life. He coins the term, “Thou art God” and walks around late one night because “He felt a puppyish need for company as strong as his earlier necessity for quiet,” he ends up having his first sexual encounter. This gives him the confidence and security to move out into the world accompanied by Jill. (Heinlein 250) Mike and Jill end up performing at a circus where they meet a tattooed lady named Patty Paiwonski, a Fosterite with such.