For quite some time I have wondered if humans are supposed to be monogamous. Check this out, only 3.5% of all animal life is monogamous. Beavers, Otters, Jackals, Foxes, some bats, deer, penguins, antelopes, elephants, whales and a few others. Even within those expressed examples, all of those fidelities are genetic and chemical based fidelities.
So why do we think that we are above that? Sure, the only thing that separates humans from animals is the capacity to “reason” but does “reason” over ride nature?
Culturally, the practice of monogamy was/is a big practice of Europeans. Not Africans, not Asians, not Aborigines, not Greeks, seemingly not anyone. It almost seem as though this was a imposition rolled up into the Christian belief system.
Keep in mind that nature is the opposite of culture. Monogamy itself isn’t necessarily in our nature as human beings (it’s possible but very difficult to determine). However, monogamy is part of most human culture, and adhering to culture is a “natural” result of socialization.
Monogamy actually means being with the SAME person for an entire lifetime. What our culture engages in now is more appropriately called “serial monogamy”. We are with one person at a time. So if you want to get technical about it, real monogamy hardly even exists anymore! It’s not a cultural imposition so it’s not adhered to. That might be a clue over whether or not “serial monogamy” is natural, too.
To determine if human beings would be monogamous without culture (and therefore consider monogamy natural), we would have to strip away all the “meaning” behind it. Without cultural ideals of soul mates, fate, morality, phrases you hear over and over in the movies (“we were meant to be together”), monogamy starts to look like an entirely different concept. What I’m trying to say is that monogamy itself is a cultural construction; it’s irrelevant whether or not we would only be with one person in nature (although I think we probably wouldn’t be). But like it or not, it is very difficult to deviate from such a strong cultural standard without repercussions. Only those who have a strong personal tendency are going to live a lifestyle contrary to their culture – that can include polygamy in our culture or monogamists in polygamy cultures.
I think monogamy works for some people, but definitely not everyone. I know a few polygamy people, and to them, it just doesn’t make sense to expect one person to fulfill every need you have. So polygamy works for them – they give all persons involved full disclosure, everybody fully understands what is going on and agrees to it, and they enjoy each other’s love.
The only time monogamy (or polygamy!) does NOT work is when any kind of deception is involved. If one person thinks they are in a monogamous relationship but is cheated on and deceived, consequences should follow. But that situation is not monogamy. And it’s not how polygamy operate either. Whether with one person or more, people just need mutually beneficial and honest relationships – that’s what works! The rest is a preference of the individual. Polygamy also doesn’t mean that all parties involved can have whomever nor does is its intent to support “large sexual appetites”.
My final thought is this:
I have a big home, great income, and a wife and children. Let’s say I happen to come across another woman with children. The children have no active father and she has no emotional commitment to any man. What really makes it “bad” to open my home to her family, for me to father those children and take care of her? I have the capacity to love multiple women, and a man is certainly able to father many children. I am now providing our seed a better chance for a future under my fatherhood.
I am interested in your response: Even if I am open/honest with my current wife (and she is warming and welcome) would you have a problem with this situation?