Lafayette Morehouse

Lafayette Morehouse is an intentional community conceived in 1968 in Lafayette, California. The lifestyle it practices is often referred to as “Morehouse”. Inspired by its founder Dr. Victor Baranco and his first wife Dr. Suzanne Baranco, and now by his widow Dr. Cynthia Baranco, Morehouse has been a continuous experiment in group living for nearly 50 years, one of few intentional communities still existing from the 1960s.

Residents of Lafayette Morehouse consider themselves to be social researchers studying the nature of pleasurable group living. They believe that group living best fits the nature of humans and can lead to the most enjoyable life. Victor Baranco recognized that to sustain a cohesive group it was imperative to handle communication, sensuality and decision-making. Those areas became among their topics of research. The group’s findings are presented to the public in the form of courses, and the group receives no outside funding that could bias its findings.

The cornerstone of the “More philosophy” is the concept of perfection - the belief that people and situations are right the way they are and that perfection includes the potential for change. This includes the viewpoint that individuals are totally responsible for their lives, including thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

The term “More” is used in the sense that “if the world is good, then more can only mean better.” Residents consider themselves to be “responsible hedonists” - with the idea that the best possible life includes concern for the welfare of others and that apparent pleasure at the expense of others is not pleasure. This viewpoint is expressed in a quote from Dr. Baranco: “Fun is the goal; love is the way.”

The community was founded by Dr. Victor Baranco (son of the Oakland jazz pianist Wilbert Baranco), a self-made millionaire who had achieved “the American dream” but was still looking for more in life. One night in 1966 he deliberately examined his life and concluded that he and everything in the world were perfect and that he was responsible for everything that had happened to him. Based on this realization, in 1968 he conceived of the Morehouse lifestyle as one in which people could live together pleasurably without doing anything they didn’t want to do, while serving the world unselfishly and profiting by it.

Since its inception, Lafayette Morehouse has conducted extensive research in how a group can live together pleasurably, including groups as small as two, focusing on topics such as lifestyles, communication, coupled relationships, and sensuality. While sensuality was only one among many areas of investigation, this was the topic for which the group became best known. Their investigations of female equality and the importance of the clitoris in female orgasm were pioneering in the late 1960s and 1970s, and these findings were sometimes sensationalized in the press. The group gained notoriety for the 1976 public demonstrations of a woman in continuous orgasm for three hours, which it claims were the first known demonstrations of that kind. The group has since trained many people to this standard.

This page was last edited on 19 June 2018, at 08:54 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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