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THE MOSUO, CHINA

Deep in south-west China lies Lugu Lake, a place known as the Kingdom of Women. Here you’ll find the 40,000-strong Mosuo, one of the world’s last matrilineal societies. As befits a culture with no word for ‘father’ or ‘husband’, Mosuo women do not marry. Instead, they take as many lovers as they wish, cherry-picking them from within the tribe and inviting them for secret evening trysts (usually after the men have spent all day slaughtering pigs, while females sort out household finances). Property is handed down through the female line and there’s no stigma in not knowing who a child’s father is. Such matriarchal utopia does have drawbacks – curious visitors have descended upon the once-isolated region under the mistaken suggestion Mosuo women offer free sex. Sadly, some of the previously peaceful villages have been overrun with hotels, casinos, karaoke and even a red-light district.

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