Twin Oaks's founder Kat Kinkade wrote this book about the community just after we celebrated 25 years of existence. We're now coming up on 50 years (in 2017), and while some of the information in the book is now historic, much of it still relevant:
Personal Relationships: "Legal marriage, lifelong monogamy, and celibacy are not dominant patterns of relationships at Twin Oaks, although we do have some of all of those. Both serious relationships and casual sex are treated as normal and usual. 'Coming out' is a matter of interest mostly to those directly concerned. The usual pattern is pairing up and breaking up, with their attendant euphoria and misery. A frequent reason for breaking up is the temptation of an attractive third party. Thus I describe and dismiss, in two sentences, the most important thing that happens in most people's lives, the events that take the most energy, cause the most membership turnover, most profoundly affect each individual's future."
The Communal Economy: "When I say that Twin Oaks has a fully communal economic system, I mean that we generate income almost entirely from on-premises activities, and all of that money goes into a communal bank account. We are not employees and we get no wages. Instead the Community takes care of all our needs. By 'all our needs' I mean food, clothing, housing, medical and dental care, toiletries, furniture, automobiles and trucks, recreation and a dozen other things. I do not mean 'all our wants', which is different. The Community buys food, but not candy. It does not buy cigarettes or booze. It does not pay for much vacation travel. The Community reserves the right to determine what is and is not a 'need', and this will vary according to our income. In spite of these exceptions, I consider that we have complete social security within the Community."
Decision-Making by the Planners: "The biggest part of a Planner's job is administrative - gathering input and analyzing it, expressing the group's will if and when it can be determined.
In fact, one of the questions asked a prospective Planner is, 'Do you have any agenda you would like to implement during your term?' God help the poor innocent who answers, 'yes'.
Why would anyone apply? There seem to be three main motives: 1) People who haven't tried it yet and want the experience, for personal growth; 2) People who see the need sometimes take it on as a duty; 3) A few people actually enjoy the work."
To order a copy of Is It Utopia Yet? for $15 (plus shipping)