Are We Mean to be Monogamous?
A Popular Press Review
For centuries now, we have been taught by society that being monogamous is the socially accepted norm. In fact, having more than one marital or sexual partner in many cultures is considered to be taboo. Yet that leaves many people wondering how that tradition was even constructed and whether or not we should continue to live in a monogamous manner. In this paper, we are going to examine if being monogamous is truly a part of human nature and whether or not we are meant to be with only one marital or sexual partner throughout the course of our lives. Now more so than ever, society is moving in a direction that challenges traditional ways of life and many people are no longer following this socially constructed norm. In fact, monogamy has become a very popular, controversial topic that is continuously being addressed by the media and it has people second-guessing if remaining monogamous fits their ideal lifestyle. This is an especially important topic for our generation, due to the fact that we are currently at the stage in our lives where we set goals for ourselves that will pave the roads of our futures. Deciding whether or not to be monogamous is just as important as picking career paths and it holds just as much significance in the way it affects the rest of our lives. This is a problem in relational communication because whether we decide to be monogamous or non-monogamous, our decision will ultimately affect the way we interact with others and the way we approach intimate relationships. With today’s society slowly moving against monogamy, it’s time to decide if limiting ourselves to one marital and sexual partner is really in our nature, or if it’s just a tradition of the past that no longer holds the social significance that it used to. Key Findings
Despite the low numbers regarding the frequency of affairs and the 90% of teens that say they eventually want to marry and stay with their partners (Johnson, 2010), history and biology speak much to the contrary. Countless studies and years of research lead many to believe that humans were not designed to be monogamous, but rather social creatures whose job is to keep the species growing and thriving. According to recent research, monogamy tends to lead to more problems and stress rather than happiness and contentment. Boredom, stress and a lack of sexual intimacy are just a few downsides to maintaining a monogamous relationship. Perhaps this is why only 3% of mammals are monogamous (Landau, 2013). For most mammals, the idea of social monogamy is the popular choice. In social monogamy, parents of children stay together enough to raise the children properly, while also tending to their own sexual desires, either together or with others. Males tend to be present in the lives of their children and their upbringing, but also work to continue spreading their seed to more than just one female. Limiting partners will limit the amount of offspring and diversity in that offspring. A recent study conducted by Tim Clutton-Brock of the University of Cambridge suggests that “the ancestral condition for humans is probably polygyny (Landau, 2013).”
History also suggests that humans thrive better and are more successful outside of monogamy. Early history reveals that humans shared everything from meat and tools, to breastfeeding responsibilities. To these early humans, the concept of claiming one sexual partner for oneself and not sharing was taboo and often harmful to the group. The idea of personal, private property did not emerge until the rise of agriculture and the end of nomadic culture (Ryan, 2010). We see today that certain cultures have clung to the idea that polygyny is the proper path and will lead to more prosperity and happiness. There is a lot of merit in the sharing traditions of early humans and our primate brothers and sisters, and many can and have carried over to society...
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