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Is human monogamy , natural?

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posted on May, 19 2012 @ 01:08 PM
I promised someone awhile back that i would do this thread, sorry i am so late!

This is a subject of movies, debates, and many books.
Is monogamy natural? Is it society driven? Is wandering different for men and women?

This subject is so extensive both morally and naturally, this may end up being a series. lol

This is NOT about what religion wants, your emotional wants, your community wants. This is the nuts and bolts of true monogamy or lack thereof. This is meant to be a fun and informative debate.

just the question plain and simple, are humans really meant to be monogamous?

i am going to do something that i rarely do on ats, i am going to give my own opinion first. not that any of you have ever noticed that i haven't.

The success of humans, is largely comprised of the fact that we raise our children for so long. As opposed to being a lion, and in two years your turned out to fend for yourself.

Not that other animals don't adapt new behaviors, just at a much slower rate.

We keep our children till they are teens or adults, that is at least 16 years of knowledge gathering and information retention, and it gives a huge advantage. And this is with both parents providing a lot of resources. Who bring different skill sets and pass it on to several children.

But there is still the need to trade genetic material. Now that the subject is less taboo, science is now pointing more and more to that humans are not meant to be monogamous. IT is smart to provide the resources to the kiddies,but it limits genetic material.

I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. If you want the crux of human behavior, you look at cavepeople. They lived in families. The adults would get food, women took care of offspring,the elderly were sol.
There would of been several pairs of breeding adults. so among them, in this group, the breeders would breed among themselves, maybe among 5-6 adults.
it wouldnt' be limited to a pair, but no one is doing it with strangers and being a slut. it would of been shared among the breeding group.They would occassionaly steal another female to change up genetic material.

This would actually explain a lot of things.Why we have a tendancy to pair off, but yet crave variety. Why we have a tendancy for cultures to stay among themselves, and not want to breed with another culture or race. Why we can love more then one person.

I should say that monogamy mainly applies to those countries that like marriages to be solidly monogamous. There are some cultures where all wives of brothers are considered wives of all the brothers, to Africa where during a festival, for one night, married couples can go swing.
so this is for those cultures where monogamy is considered the only way.Because that is how the society has been raised to believe. So they feel strongly about it, just like having to sleep with all your husban'ds brothers wouldn't be weird to someone else, but totally taboo here.

not only do we envelope monogamy, we have rituals to expesivley show our coupledome and love too all our friends and family and to forsake all others.

So my opinon boils down to, like Savage said, we should be monogamish. We celebrate coupledome, we love our spouse beyond all others, and simply, and only occassionaly, get sexual variety.

i have posted this article before, and i suggest you read it as i think it is very informative.

married, with infidelities

But there is one issue that makes this very hard in monogamy world...


the green eyed monster

backbiting, begrudging, covetousness, enviousness, evil eye, green-eyed monster, grudge, grudgingness, jaundiced eye, resentfulness, resentment, spite according to

Especially in American society. Where as Savage points out, because our isolation as couples and the amount of resources we put towards this isolation, jealousy is more rampant then ever.

And Europeans, who are smart enough not to move 400 miles away from their families, have more support and feel less threatened.

Because of the insecurity we feel when someone threatens to take our resources, aka our mate.

But this too, also stems to cavepeople society. Men didn't want to waste precious resources and energey raising someone else's child. And women needed the man to bring home the mammoth and for protection. Because at 8 months pregnant, you can't even tie your shoes. Though in your little family group, there is an understanding,though there may be a heirarchy.

Now before people start referring to the animal kingdome for examples of monogamy, for one, no two species act exactly the same, and two, there is actually very little monogamy in the animal kingdom.

Genetic testing has recently shown that even among many bird species -- long touted as the epitome of monogamous fidelity -- it is not uncommon for 6percent to 60percent of the young to be fathered by a bird other than the mother's social partner. As a result, we now know scientifically what most people have long known privately: that social monogamy does not necessarily imply sexual monogamy.

But since no two species are alike, we should stick to strictly to the human species.

Why should we even understand this topic when society has already decided what is acceptable?

Because understanding true biology, and what our natural insticts pull us to do, may help people understand:
why marriage is so hard
why it is work
why people should be prepared for it
and it helps alleviate the confusion for someone who has to hide their day to day feelings that they truley love their spouse, but dang the neighbor is hot.Adn that they may feel dirty or wrong for even having those feelings and havign to hide them.When it is perfectly natural.

And learn to talk to their partners about their needs.

I will eventually follow up with another thread on what science has to say on it.

But what are your opinions?

is it natural? un natural, just social monogamy? Should we follow it and keep it?

posted on May, 19 2012 @ 01:31 PM
Tough question. It has to be looked at from different angles. To start off we are animals. Here's where the problem comes into it. We are THINKING animals. There's a lot to monogamy for a thinking animal. Devotion, commitment, intimacy. That said we are still animals. As animals were are not predisposed to monogamy. Physically speaking. The human penis is designed to send the person's DNA while it's shaped to remove anothers. This doesn't say anything about men and women today, this goes back millions of years. A friend explained the "meaning of life" to me a few years ago and it made sense. "To pass on your genetic material." That sure fits with anatomy.

Personally I would not be involved with a person unless there was intimacy. That said I'm kicking the hell out of 50. My thoughts on this were very different 30 years ago.

posted on May, 19 2012 @ 01:41 PM
Personally I think Monogamy comes in two forms.

The relationship end of it.

The sex end of it.

I'm a firm believer that no one person can satisfy physical needs of one other person for the rest of their lives.

Emotionally, yes, people find their "life partners" who are there for life, helping with emotional times and everything else can you imagine that comes along with being a *couple*.

But to me, sex is just that, sex. Some people can't divide the two and that's fine, some people need that emotional/personal connection for it be real.


posted on May, 19 2012 @ 02:03 PM
Let's put it this way: More so for women, not so much for men. It's the selfish gene in action. It's also about animal behavior.

From a genetic standpoint, it makes sense for men to sow their seed as widely as possible in hopes at least some of his offspring survive. He will choose prettier women with larger breasts because they look healthier and can provide nourishment for offspring. You see this even today in personal ads. Men want young pretty women.

Form a genetic standpoint it makes sense for women to find a man who can protect them while they provide for the children. They are interested in successful men who are capable of keeping the Bad Guys away. It takes a long time to nourish a child to the point he is self sufficient (as you stated). So women tend to pick successful men. You see this is personal ads today. Women want successful, self-sufficient men.

From an animal standpoint, males rule. There are plenty of matrilineal societies, but none are really matriarchal. In matrilineal societies, Uncle rules. In many societies, males can have harems. Once again, from a biological standpoint, it makes sense. A woman can get pregnant one at a time. The pregnancy takes nine months, and the point at which she becomes fertile again can be much longer, particularly if she's breast feeding, which tends to inhibit ovulation. Males are not under the same constraint. It only takes one bull to service an entire herd. The bull considers the herd his property.

Even in monogamous societies, albeit not ours, there is usually a mechanism for males to skirt monogamy rules. In the past prostitution was much more acceptable than it is today. Even in Victorian Englamd, which we tend to think was prudish, it was acceptable for men of position to enter into an arranged marriage to provide the correct offspring for family ties, but have a kept mistress on the side for sexual pleasure. In primitive societies it is not at all unusual for men to take more than one wife. (NB: By "primitive" I mean living conditions and not anything intellectual.)

In some societies, usually matrlineal, women are allowed to be more promiscuous, but this is the exception, not the rule. In most societies, women have historically been considered property. Today we take offense to that, of course. That's not to say women never exert influence, and sometimes considerable influence. Mothers-in-Law are formidable whereever you go.

So in answer to the question, from both a biological and a behavioral standpoint, men are less monogamous than women. Modern civilization has put the constraints on our behavior by imposing legal and moral restrictions.

posted on May, 19 2012 @ 02:19 PM
reply to post by schuyler

Excellent points everyone!

But to you mr. schuyler,

it would be genetically advisable for a woman to be promiscuous. Not all children are going to have the same fathers, despite what the patriarch thinks.

And while the males can impregnant may more females then vice versa, the females get to choose who with.

Most animals don't have a male or female lead. They meet, they mate, they carry on. And the female has a new partner most of the time.

so you may have a father who has the skills to kill the mammoth, but the actual genetic father maybe the one who has the brains. Therefore, you get the resources to cover you, and the genetic material.

This is why members of both sexes find mated people so attractive, because there are obviously desireable attributes that someone has already found appealing.

That is if the ancestors were coupled. in the case of a large familyl unit, you would have all the males protecting the children, and all the females raising the children together, no matter the father. so you have genetic diversity, and the resources of a group, as an individual.

This is really probably the smartest setup biolgoically wise.

The reason it was more acceptable to have a consort on the side (though not as common as people think) was being marriage were arranged, and there was no chemistry or love involved. it was for status and power only.

if you took those people, put them in front of a fire wearing loin cloths, the outcomes would be much different.

this is reallly a fun topic to debate.

edit on 19-5-2012 by nixie_nox because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 19 2012 @ 03:00 PM

Originally posted by nixie_nox
reply to post by schuyler

Excellent points everyone!

But to you mr. schuyler,

it would be genetically advisable for a woman to be promiscuous. Not all children are going to have the same fathers, despite what the patriarch thinks.

No, it wouldn't.

The trade-off is protection to raise her children. She chooses a protector for his ability to do so. See The Selfish Gene Theory by our old friend the noted atheist, Richard Dawkins. The idea is to reproduce successfully. To do that, women need time; men don't. That's a crucial point here. Promiscuity does not gain women an advantage because they can only get pregnant once at a time. They are in charge of home & hearth. No matter whose kid she has, she still has to have that. The idea is for HER genes to survive, not his.

Also bear in mind the huge infant mortality rates in the wild. That leads to an entirely different set of survival mechanisms, as I have outlined. Plus the empirical data back this up. In a natural state, which is what you asked for, women are not more promiscuous. Men are. If you persist in thinking otherwise, you need to provide some data to back it up.

posted on May, 20 2012 @ 12:33 PM
Strictly speaking, monogamy is not natural. It is a social meme designed to reinforce the survivability of a group of individuals.

I'll define it as a meme because it was passed along by the earliest of religious institutions, and yes, monogamy is inextricably linked to religion.

I do like Dawkins take on it, (big fan of everything he's written), but he ties in genetic aspects without tying in intelligent choices. I have a hard time believing that a social institution is hard wired, however, many species in nature do opt in for a unique "loyalty" to their mate.

I'll pause my thoughts for now by saying that if it was "natural", then every species would exhibit the same behavior, and that is not the case. Monogamy is a specialized function of survival, but not universal in the animal kingdom.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 05:42 PM

Originally posted by Druid42

I do like Dawkins take on it, (big fan of everything he's written), but he ties in genetic aspects without tying in intelligent choices.

Do you mind expanding on this? I am clear on what you mean.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 07:44 PM
reply to post by nixie_nox

Sure. I can be windy at times.

Dawkins is one of the major movers in the "Natural Selection" theory of our existence. I agree with most of his theories, but he is too hardcore when dealing with the evolution of human intelligence. He's also an Atheist, which I have no problem with, but IMO he's become too encumbered with his views to remain objective. He's evolved to the hard science end of the scale. Someone, however, has to be there, and he has enough to stand firm.

You will not have a successful relationship unless there is an intelligent agreement between partners, and that agreement is based upon a said chemistry of either the reward, or the promise of the reward of sexual union. Typically, the reward comes before the agreement, but in the case of rare individuals, who plan out reproductive encounters, the reward for reproduction is based solely upon social performance.

As a species, we are bound by our genetics to reproduce. We find mates, get married, and reproduce with them, but our choices are not always wise. Dawkins never defines human fallibility, and the apparent fact that we sometimes make bad decisions. That's where the human aspect of intelligence comes into play, as opposed to the "natural selection" theories. Human intelligence, and the decisions we make, skew the results of a theory that says we select mates and stick to them for life.

As stated earlier, monogamy is not natural, it's forced on us, but I'll revise a former opinion, and say it's only to the end of rearing children. It's a choice we all make to be loyal to our mates, which 99% of the population does. Whether they are happy or not, they adhere to an outdated ritual.

Monogamy is an intelligent choice, not something that is biological, especially in humans.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 07:58 PM
I think that the reason why monogamy is not widely accepted is due to not being taught about the opposite sex. Whether you are straight or not, there is an understanding that we are a completely different species, just not in a good way.

We fail to ask what the other wants, and due to not understanding each others differences, we subject them to just not being "compatible", or "there's someone out there that may be right for me", instead of communicating. I at one time swore that there was no logical reason for one person to remain with another person for their whole lives.

I then realized that I never truly tried to find out. We have a tendency to settle for reasons that are not overall compatible for something long term. People will get married, for something as frivolous as having a "similarity" in some things but not in the important ones.

Intimacy especially is important in any relationship. Women will more or less have a tendency to not be expressive in the bedroom, and men's minds are sometimes engulfed with images that are not of their partners reality, such as a movie star that weighs 120lbs, and their wife is 150.

If we were better detectives in the beginning, monogamy would be instant, and not debate, nor discussed.

Peace, NRE.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 08:04 PM
When I think of humans , I never think of nature. So that said, I dont think its natural for humans to do anything. With humans its all about CHOICE. With nature its all about instinct . SO , I would say its unnatural for humans to be monogamous, its a choice we make if we choose too.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 08:18 PM
reply to post by NoRegretsEver

Agreed. Speaking from a gender biased view, we are never taught, if anything, but a feeble manner of you "must marry", about monogamy. So many people wind up in the wrong relationships, solely due to tradition, and not real love.

Yeah, I went there. Love has everything to do with monogamy. Love is not a genetically traceable artifact of intelligence, but it has everything to do with monogamy.

posted on May, 24 2012 @ 12:16 PM
If love and communication are involved in a relationship, it's natural. My opinion. If you don't have either/or, it's going to be natural for a person to wander to try and find those elements that are missing in the relationship. That's why relationships fail and monogamy is left by the wayside.

When I was younger it felt natural for me to "wander" because I wasn't really looking too hard for either of those elements. I was afraid of them actually. Now that I am looking for them, monogamy will come natural to me in the next relationship I have.

Third time's a charm I guess.

edit on 24-5-2012 by Taupin Desciple because: Clarity

posted on Jun, 11 2012 @ 01:37 PM
By sheer nature? No, I don't believe we're meant to be monogamous.

Oddly enough, I think (and this isn't just wishful thinking) that a more harem-like arrangement is probably what we'd do without society...where women may want one male to depend on, but the male has numerous females.

Now, as enticing as this sounds for guys, I'm ever so thankful to our forefathers for realizing that while fun in the bedroom, on a daily basis, this is absolute insanity. If you think tip-toeing around one woman's insecurities and feelings is difficult, try doing it with multiple women.... Even those who have a lot of sisters will know what I mean imagine if they were all your wives!

Nature may not have intended for us to be monogamous, but our intellect has certainly figured out that it's the only way to advance the species. (and keep our sanity).

Seriously, I LOVE women. But a harem would kill me. The reason for my theory is just based on how I've seen a group of women react when only one guy is in the group (and on living with more than one woman at a time at different times of my life). They tend to quickly adopt a submissive role and have admiration for the guy. So, outside of society's trappings, I have to think this is what would happen. I could be wrong, but you asked for opinions, so here it is.

posted on Jun, 18 2012 @ 10:00 AM
There isn't a simple answer for this. It's not a yes, or no thing.

It depends on the environmental settings. Monogamy makes perfect sense in certain conditions. In others, not so much.

Our nature is to adapt to our surroundings...basically, back when cultural values were matriarchal, monogamous relationships were the accepted norm, and it felt natural for people. As the environment changed, so did values, and adaptive strategies for successful procreation and upbringing.

Things are a bit complex, now. For some people, monogamy works best...for others, not so much. Honestly? If I could provide for multiple families, I'd go for it and keep the women split up. As is I'm working on being able to provide for just one! Not knocking anyone up until we can prove to each other that we're ready for it.

edit on 18-6-2012 by unityemissions because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 18 2012 @ 10:17 AM
From my own perspective monogamy is totally natural to me..

My woman and family are my life.. Their health and welfare are my number 1 priority.. Waking up with the woman I love everyday makes any sacrifice I make worthwhile and being with the people who I KNOW love me in return is like food to me which makes me endure anything...

This tie that binds us seems lessening in some quarters this day and age.. People are more sensual and lazy about relationships and seem to have lost the ability to RELATE on many levels..

Relationships are hard work... Some opt for less meaningful fleeting sensuality and a sex fix rather than put in effort that is required to keep your relationships working and healthy...

Some here have said that it is not natural to be monogamous... That is wrong.. Many species of birds like Eagles, penguins for example have monogamous pairing for life..

I would rather spend every single day with the woman I love than many nights with women I don't..

But I may be a dying breed..

posted on Jun, 19 2012 @ 01:52 PM

I would rather spend every single day with the woman I love than many nights with women I don't..

But I may be a dying breed..

Ah, but what if you could spend it with the one you love AND another occasional gal (especially if your spouse was just as up for it as you were)?

posted on Jun, 30 2012 @ 05:49 AM
Yes, monogamy is natural, not only do humans do it but others, too. Although, polygamy is also natural seen in many species. A lion will choose to settle down with on partner to raise their offspring. Contrary to what most people believe, animals are not just going around having sex, they learn to control themselves too, especially when it comes to the lion's or gorilla leader's chosen female.

posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 08:38 AM
My husband and I are strictly monogamous with our love for each other. However, we freely and openly explore sexual activities with others (both together and separately). That may not work well for everyone, but it's perfect for us.

posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 08:41 AM
reply to post by nixie_nox

Try Polymonogomy

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