Radical Love

A Revolution for the 21 st Century

by Lídia Puigvert (Author)
©2015 Textbook X, 151 Pages
Series: Teaching Contemporary Scholars, Volume 8


Radical Love is a study about the phenomenon of love. Radical love allows for both passionate and egalitarian relationships and, in Gómez’s words, «a revolution for the twenty-first century.»

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Attraction and Choice Theories and Choice in Sexual-Affective Relationships
  • Socialization
  • Attraction in relationships
  • Social basis and attraction theories
  • The conqueror and the sufferer
  • Choice in relationships
  • The theory of rational choice, social norms, and emotions
  • Rational choice
  • Choice based on social norms
  • Choice that is dependent on emotions
  • Choice through intersubjectivity
  • Theory of communicative action as applied to choice
  • Truth claims (true or false)
  • Rightness claims (good or bad)
  • Claims or standards of value (pretty or ugly)
  • 1. Teleological
  • 2. Normatively regulated
  • 3. Dramaturgical
  • 4. Communicative
  • By way of reflection: Toward a social and intersubjective love
  • Chapter 2. Contemporary Love Theories: Elements of Change
  • Contemporary love theories in the social sciences
  • Key elements for tackling love
  • The radicalization of democracy
  • The protagonism of social actors
  • The central role of dialogue and consensus
  • Meaning and re-enchantment in communication
  • By way of reflection: Toward a Dialogic modernity
  • Chapter 3. Two Sexual-Affective Relationship Models: Traditional and Alternative
  • The traditional model of sexual-affective attraction and choice
  • The social basis
  • Characteristics of the social context
  • Theories on attraction and choice
  • Educational philosophy
  • A traditional relationship typology
  • Womanizers
  • The female version of the womanizer
  • Stable but passionless relationships
  • An alternative model of sexual-affective attraction and choice
  • The basis of this model
  • Characteristics of the social context
  • Theories of attraction and choice
  • Educational philosophy of the alternative model
  • An alternative relationship typology
  • Guiding principles
  • Dialogic action and dialogic learning
  • By way of reflection: Toward a new model of relationships
  • Chapter 4. The Voices of Adolescents
  • Voices from magazines
  • Voices from communicative life stories
  • Voices from communicative focus groups
  • By way of reflection: In practice, the traditional model rules
  • Chapter 5. Conclusions and Future Prospects
  • Conclusions
  • Future prospects: The educational model and basic sexual-affective competencies
  • Educational model
  • Basic competencies
  • Attraction-related competencies
  • Choice-related competencies
  • Equality-related competencies
  • Afterword
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index

← viii | ix → FOREWORD

Ramon Flecha

Since 1992 Jesús Gómez (Pato) understood that radical love would be the revolution of the 21st century. After millennia of oppressive societies which socialized us into desire without love for those who treat us badly and into stability without desire for those who treat us well, the theory of radical love has finally started to transform the deepest foundations of our human relations. Pato demonstrated in both his theory and his daily life that it is possible to go beyond this binary desire and mindset by “uniting affection and excitement, friendship and passion, stability and madness in the same person.”

Feminist theories have already demonstrated that dominant men have always used all their power to try to keep women subdued, oppressed, and under control. The so-called double standard has been used to distinguish between two types of subordination: some women were useful for the production of the heir, and the others should be always available for sex. The new masculinities have shown that these dominant men not only oppress, subdue, and forcibly control women, but they also do so with many men. There is no doubt that Pato was in both theory and his practice one of the most revolutionary new masculinities. He lived stability and madness with terrific intensity with one of the most revolutionary feminists in theory and practice. How far he was from those men who say they are revolutionary and treat women ← ix | x → with disdain! How far she was from those who regard themselves as feminists and yet feel desire for men who despise women! This book is not about Pato’s life, but all its content is the result of the passion he put into every single moment of his existence, with an intensity that those of us who met him have never seen in any other person.

While reading these pages, readers will be reflecting about their own lives, thinking about and reliving the most important moments. But at the same time, they will be experiencing a revolution, dreaming of a much better world in each one of their own relationships.


This book’s concern with love, sex, and affective education, mainly in relation to attraction and choice, arises from the problem of gender violence, including physical and psychological violence. A friend of mine dedicated his life to discovering the causes behind all of this. According to my friend, somehow, when exploring the causes of poverty (the iceberg that we see), we find the capitalist system and its multiple ramifications, which are indeed the causes of poverty. Similarly, when examining the causes of gender violence, one has to look at the entanglement of sexual-affective relationships and the historical and socialization processes that accompany them. Once again, the tip of the iceberg (in the case of gender violence) hides the deeper and more serious problem – the system of sexual-affective relationships.

In the early 1990s, when these issues were brought to my attention, I could not even imagine that female victims of gender violence included not only women who were financially dependent on their husbands but also university students who were victimized by their partners or casual lovers. However, I had to admit these facts after an increasing number of cases came to light. I learned that as a result of the established traditional model of relationships (with centuries of history behind it), many women victims of gender violence were not only financially and emotionally dependent on their abusers but also ← 1 | 2 → wished to continue these destructive relationships. I would have preferred to be able to refute this evidence. I would have also preferred to disprove the fact that some of these women victims reported that the best sexual intercourse occurred after a fight. However, such evidence was clear and appears in research each day. Our society, aptly named the Risk Society, has generated many advantages, but it has also aggravated the precarious system of sexual-affective relationships.

Based on my friend’s suggestion, we surfed television channels to determine how many of the men who drive women wild in bed in different films are those who also change their child’s diapers and how many of these men are actively involved in violent situations. Then, we examined teenage magazines to determine whether good boys or aggressive boys are presented as more attractive. My friend also suggested that we interview adolescents and focus on the sort of boys they talk about with sexual desire and the type of boys they talk about only in a friendly way. He stated that although people in stable or casual partnerships may not be touched by the socialization of a desire for violence, this desire is currently the dominant model of sexuality in our society, which is marked by sexism. My friend claimed that it is another case of the “tip of the iceberg” and thus reports are increasing of gender violence among financially independent young people who are viewed as liberals and even feminists within their environment.

Then, I began to hear about more serious cases at earlier ages. Blow by blow, a world that I was unaware of, although it was close to me, began to appear. I became convinced of the truth of a statement that my friend repeatedly professed: if we do not transform ourselves so as not to be attracted to perpetrators of gender violence, then we will never eliminate it. If chauvinists and perpetrators of gender violence continue to be more successful in affective and sexual relationships than egalitarian and nice people, then the situation will not change and will only grow worst.

In one case, a 12-year-old girl refused to return to school. She had performed acts of masturbation on six of her male classmates. She enjoyed the first experience but felt forced into it. However, she believed that she would look bad in front of the boy and her classmates if she refused. The other male classmates approached her with the assumption that she would also do the same to them. She even boasted that the boys who were most desired by her friends were chasing after her. Her teachers and parents were not aware of the situation. One day, her mother returned from the supermarket and stated that the mother of one of the six boys thought that her son had a crush on the ← 2 | 3 → girl based on hearing him talk about her to a friend. Shortly thereafter, one of the girl’s friends began dating one of the six boys. From that point forward, all of the girl’s friends stopped talking to her, stating that she was a whore. She could not handle the situation and refused to return to school. When the headmistress was informed about the situation, she exclaimed, “It’s just kids’ stuff.”

Given these hidden situations in our daily lives and the realization that teachers and family members can be as misled as I used to be, I asked myself the following questions: Why do we feel attracted to certain people, and who satisfies our need to attract? Who do we like and why? Who do we choose and why? Who do we attract, and who chooses us? The answers to these questions reflect the basis of our current model of attraction and choice.

This book was written in the Department of Methods of Research and Diagnosis in Education of the University of Barcelona and also in the Center for Research on Theory and Practices for Overcoming Inequalities (CREA). In CREA, I discovered a great degree of concern for and scientific dedication to the Center’s goals thanks to a serious line of research on the preventive socialization of gender violence as well as a communicative methodology with a considerable international impact. In the department of Research and Diagnostic Methods in Education, I discovered rigorous work on research methodologies and unanimous scientific and human support during difficult times. My work there provided empirical evidence that another world and other types of sexual-affective relationships are possible.

This book deals with a field in which science is conspicuously absent and superstition reigns. One hears such expressions as “love is blind”; it is “chemistry”; “it hits you like lightning”; “it comes and goes like a thief without warning”; and “a couple’s passion lasts for a maximum of 18 to 36 months” as well as many other misconceptions and old wives’ tales. Scientific knowledge that is linked to sexual-affective relationships is vital and must be incorporated into the educational process. The social repercussions of misinformation are substantial, as it is a subject that affects all people.


X, 151
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (January)
phenomenon revolution egalitarian relationships
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 151 pp.

Biographical notes

Lídia Puigvert (Author)

Jesús Gómez (1952–2006), former Professor in Research Methods at the University of Barcelona, developed his theory of «radical love» while he was actively involved in fighting against gender violence in secondary schools and universities. He also developed the communicative methodology of research, internationally acknowledged for its social impact. A sociologist with a doctorate in education, he was a co-author of the book Contemporary Sociological Theory (Peter Lang, 2001).


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164 pages