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  #1    
Old February 10th, 2014, 08:47 PM
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Monogamy is something that a lot of people think is natural and others struggle with it. Some people are lucky to find someone and only be able to be attracted to them and think about them in a romantic and/or sexual way. Do you believe that human beings as a species are naturally monogamous or is it something that society has made us into? Please explain!

Also, if you could, would you choose to not be monogamous if it was acceptable in society? I know jealously would come into play here and it'd be difficult to handle since you may not want to be monogamous, but you don't want to share either. So basically, you'd want to be a the man with many wives, but if one of them got another husband, you'd be very upset. In a perfect society like this, there would be no jealousy.

What are your thoughts on the matter? I've included the link below for an opinion piece that I found to be quite interesting.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/21/opinio...gamy-marriage/

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Old February 10th, 2014, 09:01 PM
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Well, I think that our tendency to monogamy comes from the fact that, as a society, we tend to value commitment. I don't really have any problem with the idea of polygamy or anything, but relationships would be a lot less meaningful if polygamy were socially acceptable, don't you think? The best thing about a relationship, in my opinion, is finding someone who you're willing to be committed to (and only them). If I were with someone, I'd feel a lot less special if he were with x number of other girls.

But of course, to each his own. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with polygamy as long as all parties involved are cool with it
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Old February 10th, 2014, 09:37 PM
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I read through the article and to say that monogamy is "unnatural," in a way, seems plausible. Like zomgitscathy mentioned, monogamy has become a cultural norm and thus members of society are expected to follow such standards. Though I do recall that there are people in North American societies that still do practice polygamy through television shows, but to be honest, I've never given them the time of day. To each their own, yes, but my morals and values regarding monogamy is that individuals should learn to love one person should they be in a committed relationship. Having a relationship go awry and then move on is a different story, but dating/marrying multiple people seems strange to me, personally.

There was a comment made in reference to that article stating that (if I'm interpreting correctly; correct me if I'm wrong) monogamy is unnatural mainly because of our animalistic instincts. For example, emperor penguins that mate for one year and then move on. I'm just going to reiterate the comment author's point here in that monogamy feels like we're overcoming our animalistic natures. For better or for worse, who knows?

But in my opinion, I value monogamy strongly because I'm not the type of person who would cheat or even consider having multiple partners and I expect the same from my significant other. I understand it's hard to imagine living with one person for the rest of your life, but it's not impossible. I recall watching a video in one of my psychology classes and it showed couples who have managed to be together, faithfully, for 50+ years, which is absolutely astonishing! And I think that's something worth celebrating.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 03:03 PM
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What about looking at it from the other perspective? What if we lived in a world in which sexual polygamy is the norm. Would we look at our own behaviour and say "no, polygamy is unnatural?" We say monogamy is unnatural because so many people are exceptions to that rule, but I propose that polygamy would be just as "unnatural" because if it were a rule, I think there would be many exceptions to that as well. It just so happens that one is a societal norm and the other isn't. To say that monogamy isn't natural isn't to say that polygamy is any more natural, nor is it to say that monogamy isn't a part of human nature. Social norms, on the other hand, can be unnatural.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 03:27 PM
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First off, their is a lot of "natural" this or that. I'll start by saying humans are, by nature, mildly polygynous, meaning, multiple female partners to fewer male partners. Men have a lot of sperm cells and are able to produce offspring simultaneous, thus men tend to be more apt to cheat or possess a higher number of sexual partners statistically. Whereas women have few eggs, and only have the ability to produce offspring one at a time (aside from the occasional multiple-birth). Therefore, women, in order to increase odds of good genetics have to be more sexually selective.

With this dynamic, hunting and gathering groups and earlier civilizations mostly consist of few men controlling the reproductive resources. Many other social organisms including lions, chimpanzees, and wolves are the same is this respect.

In earlier civilizations, this was to benefit of these men, having a monopoly on resources as well as women, more able to select more desirable men and marry into wealthier circles and enjoy a more comfortable life.

However, the majority of men that didn't possess wealth and power were often left wifeless and unable to reproduce. And thus frustrated, angry, ect.

In order for leaders to maintain power and control, many allowed and instituted marriages among "commoners" and took fewer wives for themselves. After all, strategically, what good is having the ability to reproduce only to be conquered by revolutionaries?

Therefore, yes, it's unnatural to an extent for humans to be monogamous. Let's not invoke the naturalistic fallacy and say, well it's unnatural and therefore it's good or bad, but this discussion of monogamy's origins is interesting and might give some light to how we perceive monogamy, marriage, and society in the present.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 03:28 PM
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It would be interesting to hear what someone who practices polygamy or came from a polygamous family would say regarding their view on monogamy. From a society that values monogamous relationships, it's hard for members of the society to imagine being partnered to multiple individuals and those people are also willing to essentially share their partner. As it stands currently, polygamy just does not seem or feel right to the majority of North American population. I say North American because I honestly do not know what other cultures are like and would rather not impede on trying to explain a matter in a different culture in which I know absolutely nothing about.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 04:42 PM
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To clarify, I'm referring to sexual polygamy - having multiple sexual/romantic (if you swing that way >>) partners. Multiple marriage partners is another matter, and I don't think most of us have anything to say about that.

I feel that both men and women have a propensity to have multiple partners. Sex in today's world is seen as something other from the transmission of genes.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 05:41 PM
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From BlahISuck's description sexual polygamy sounds like something I could totally get on board with. To me a relationship is a relationship and sex is sex. I know not everyone can compartmentalize those two things but I think as long as both parties know what kind of relationship they are getting into there is nothing wrong with it. Even one sided sexual polygamy (see cuckolding) can be one hell of a kink for certain people...
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Old February 11th, 2014, 08:56 PM
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Personally I've grown up with the ideal that relationship, sex, (and marriage) is mutual. I respect other views, but polygamy is personally not my "cup of tea," if you call it that. Besides, my family will probably disown me if I was in a polygamous relationship.

Now if I grew up in a society that accepts polygamy? What would've happened is as good as anyone's guess.
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Old February 11th, 2014, 10:22 PM
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There was a time when polygamy was normal or made sense because it was necessary to maintain power or to ensure the survival of ones family line throughout the ages but we have long since evolved passed that point.

These days it makes more sense to, once we're in a committed relationship to be dedicated to that one partner. It saves hassles and leaves everyone happy because whether we like it or not emotions are important now whilst they were not back when polygamy was needed.
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Old February 12th, 2014, 08:50 AM
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I find monogamy to be something that has evolved over time, but as many have pointed out, it wasn't originally meant to be this way as we were hunter/gatherers and we were simply trying to survive since many children wouldn't survive. So, the men were naturally more polygamous than the women, who would have to nurture all the children. We've already discussed this at length, so I'm not going to go more into it.

Jealousy is something that is very common, but even with that, sometimes when we're in a relationship, be it good or not, we always wonder 'what if' there was someone else too. Some people, who're either brave or stupid, seek out that 'what if' and everything. A lot of men, and some women, are able to compartmentalize their life so they have different ties to people at different places. I know that some have a spouse at home and then people elsewhere that they spend time with (such as at work). Is this wrong? By our society's standards, YES. It's just all interesting to think about.

Human beings can be polygamous, but it would be disastrous. I also believe that marriage is between two people. Unfortunately, we cannot pick and choose who we have feelings for and some people are weaker than others and completely give in to temptation, even when they know it's bad for them. Yeah, they're doing wrong... but it's not because they're always dumb or anything, they're just weak.
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Old February 12th, 2014, 11:47 AM
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^ In addition to this.

Courting is essentially non-existent in modern society. People meet at a party, the bar, or perhaps online, immediately have sex, develop artificial feelings without truly knowing a person since sex helps bond a relationship, and then, when they finally get to know each other, there is often a disconnect. At this point, no one wants to hurt feelings so they don't break things off, and almost want to hold on to a safety net of their current relationship while pursuing others.

Everything from television to movies to music encourages sexual liberation, when in fact, if someone actually wants to develop a relationship, sex should come into the picture once both participants are aware of the other person, their life/personal goals, how they interact with others, their strengths and weaknesses (as percieved by you). Once both people develop this understanding and can assess whether or not they are both sexually attracted and romantically compatible during courtship, then sex should come into the picture to strengthen the bond.

The, no sex before marriage rule has more merit than it gets credited, but I think it's a bit of an extreme to what I am describing. I'd say at least a few months. Again, others will say that to hold off on sex for some arbitrary reason such as morality or sentiment. Sex is utilitarian, and if there is a wait, can yield more desirable results to strengthen high potential relationships while avoiding low potential ones. If sex is not in the picture, and one begins to see red flags, this person will more likely be able to walk away leaving both people less hurt.

Now, polyamory over-complicates this dynamic. If there are three people in the relationship, that is three relationships rather than one. Person A+B, B+C, A+C. And with more people it can only become more complex. A+B, A+C, A+D, B+C, B+D, C+D. Any weak link is a cause for jealousy or instability in a relationship. Though, multiple sex partners for those not seeking a relationship would probably work out fine, but as every satisfaction of life poll demonstrates those that get married and have children are more happy than their unmarried/childless counterparts, regardless of income. This sentiment of happiness is in part natural and in part societal. Natural in that passing down genetic material is the ultimate goal in any organism, and there could certainly be some chemical reaction that causes dissatisfaction as a way of motivating ourselves to produce progeny. This, given with the fact that producing progeny requires investment whether the mother (by nature) or the father (obligated by society's laws), it is therefore imperative to go with the simpler and more stable of the dynamics and have one romantic/sexual partner.
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Old February 13th, 2014, 12:54 PM
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After spending most of my free time studying birds, I think that humans are truly a polygamous species. Monogamous birds do not "cheat" on others. Cheating is the consequence of humans being polygamous by instinct and being monogamous by culture.

That doesn't mean, oh, males in the past would collect a harem of females, actually no, I believe that both sexes engaged in acts with multiples of the other sex, because cheating is about equal between the sexes. In addition, most cultures outside of our own accept polygamy.

Now in a social standpoint it's more obvious why polygamy is unacceptable to many in our culture (the idea that that sort of thing is about love and that you love only one person) but honestly I think both premises are pretty silly when you think about it.
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Old February 13th, 2014, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daigonite View Post
After spending most of my free time studying birds, I think that humans are truly a polygamous species. Monogamous birds do not "cheat" on others. Cheating is the consequence of humans being polygamous by instinct and being monogamous by culture.

That doesn't mean, oh, males in the past would collect a harem of females, actually no, I believe that both sexes engaged in acts with multiples of the other sex, because cheating is about equal between the sexes. In addition, most cultures outside of our own accept polygamy.

Now in a social standpoint it's more obvious why polygamy is unacceptable to many in our culture (the idea that that sort of thing is about love and that you love only one person) but honestly I think both premises are pretty silly when you think about it.
It's not an equal propensity. Male and female humans have different natures and propensities. Both in nature will engage in multiple sex partners as it serves their fitness. For instance female chimpanzees will have sex with multiple partners when their are multiple power players in the group in order to secure "better" or more fit, genetics in offspring. Male chimpanzees however are not discriminant in which females they have sex with (there are multiple opportunities to produce progeny), and by nature, will prevent other males from having sex with other female chimps controlling sexual resources, nature is not a matter of equity. Therefore, there is an imbalance in the ratio of male to female sex partners. The same can be said with humans of which share over 98 percent of the same DNA, and, as pointed out by primatologists, share similar social and political behaviors to humans. (I recommend Chimpanzee Politics to anyone interested)

Monogamy is a social construct to circumvent this naturally occurring process of "mild polygyny" in humans.
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Old February 13th, 2014, 05:09 PM
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We are not chimpanzees. We are separated by over 2 million years of evolution. That's enough to change a substantial part of our behaviour. An example is that humans have evolved a penis that is proportionally very large in comparison to the chimpanzee in this time, signalling that behaviourally, a human female finds a larger penis attractive (also known as sexual selection).

Women and men do have different tendencies but because cheating behaviours are about even in most cultures it's logical to assume that this kind of behaviour is natural and crosses boundaries. Like I said, monogamous species do not "cheat" and that's a behaviour that exists only in species with mates having multiple partners. It's likely that humans would "mingle", with a preference on males (if only because they could mate with many women while women were pregnant for 9 months and couldn't bear any other young).
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Old February 13th, 2014, 06:21 PM
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"That doesn't mean, oh, males in the past would collect a harem of females, actually no, I believe that both sexes engaged in acts with multiples of the other sex, because cheating is about equal between the sexes. In addition, most cultures outside of our own accept polygamy."

I only disagreed with the point about equal or close to equal cheating practices tendencies and used a few examples of primatology and human nature to demonstrate the point given a shared ancestry. However, I agreed with the point we are polygamous by nature, just more specifically polygyny is more prevalent. I could have cited some early hominid behaviors as well, two million years is a blink in transforming the foundation of sexual dynamics shared by nearly all large mammalian species spanning sharing ancestral lines tens of tens of millions of years apart. Early male homonids, like chimpanzees, lions, bears, wolves, practiced a mixture of k and r selection and polygyny. One method requires males have sex with multiple partners indiscriminately to produce the most progen (r-selection), the other selection requires males invest in long-term relationships to ensure progeny survives past birth (k-selection. Most male homonids practiced a mixture of the two, whereas females, by nature practice k-selection. Thus, mildly polygynous given more males having sex with fewer females. There are volumes of evidence in anthropolgy and primatology demonstrating this dynamic throughout early hunting and gathering society, early civilizations, and in some societies today.

Given males, by nature are more likely to engage in r-selection, that is, have sex with multiple persons than women, there is a higher tendency to cheat in monogamous relationships than women. Women may also cheat, but are much more discriminant in extramarital/extra-relationship sex. The higher propensity of coyness, cultivated by the dynamics of higher parental investment in offspring. Naturally, women that were less coy, and more indiscriminate with sexual practices, by natural selection would produce fewer offspring given less fit genetics passed down to progeny, and lower survival rates. With these fundamental inherent differences cheating between women and men are significant in the type of cheating romantic or strictly sexual, number of sexual partners, number of instances, among other factors. cheating is no "about equal between the sexes" in our nature or in it's contemporary practices.
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