How do polygamists expect the gender ratio to work out, mathematically?

Technically, polygamy could denote a woman having multiple husbands, but it’s far more common for it to denote a man having multiple wives.

Since men and women exist in a roughly 1:1 ratio, 50-50 percentage in most countries in the world, how exactly do polygamists expect this all to work out, mathematically? Any country that practices polygamy on a wide scale - that is, men having multiple wives - is going to sooner or later have a lopsided gender imbalance - not in terms of men and women who exist, but rather, how many married men and married women there are.

The highest quality males monopolize all the women, I think the people promoting polygamy feel they are in that top 20% of men.

I’ve heard a theory that a reason some religions preach monogamy is because it enhances social stability. A society where 80% of men have no wives or kids makes the men more unruly since they have little to lose and much to gain by rebelling against the social order.

Back in the day when it was considered standard, there were probably a lot of single, frustrated men, and a lot of women dying in childbirth.

God…or whatever it is you call the deity you claim gave you permission.

Polygamy is also useful for social control, do what the leader wants and you get more tail, don’t do it and you get expelled from the group. Since a certain number if men must be expelled to maintain the ratio there’s always pressure on the young men to fall in line because those in charge understand the ratio must be maintained.

That is EXCTLY what happens in the FLDS communities like the one run by Warren Jeffs.

Are you talking hard-core, religious fundamentalist polygamists, or hippy-dippy free love polygamists? I suspect you get pretty different answers, depending on which group you asked.

Historically, in traditional polygamous societies, actual incidence of polygamy tended to rely on men seeking multiple wives being wealthy enough to actually afford to support multiple households.

The number of men in this fortunate position was always so small that the gender balance in society as a whole was not emperilled.

Modern-day fundamentalist polygamy in the Western world is generally the preserve of exclusive religious cults, which have a different dynamic.

Emphasis added. You have a gift for understatement. :slight_smile:

As a proponent of non-monogamous relationship my position is that it’s not my problem. When I make love to a woman I’m not considering how that affects the national average or others mens ability to do the same. And just because I am relating with a woman doesn’t mean she is “off the market”, she’s obviously free to pursue whomever she wants.

I think the hippy-dippy tyoes would be more polyamorous - women or men are free to pursue multiple partners so the imbalance in the OP does not exist.
Not all polygamist men in modern Islamic societies are rich. Now and then there was probably an underclass of poor men without partners. In the old days having enough wars would help cull them I suppose.
But I’d all suspect such societies do wonders for the prostitution business.

I haven’t been able to find any firm statistics about the incidence of polygamy in modern Islam. Wikipedia states it is 1-3%, but no cite for that (or whether that is for Islam as a whole, or only in those countries where polygamy is legal - lots of Islamic-majority countries do not allow it).

Men aren’t entitled to a partner. Monogamy is socialism for lower status men. Why be some schlub’s first wife when you can be Brad Pitt’s 20th?

For some reason I don’t see conservatives extolling the virtues of the free market on this topic.

You made a good point AND you made me lol. Thanks! :smiley:

Perhaps it would be useful to discard the imprecise term polygamy and instead talk about polygyny (multiple wives) and polyandry (multiple husbands).

Besides young men being turned away, or voluntarily leaving the community for whatever reason, this too.

The Old Testament is full of references to eunuchs. There was probably a lot of THAT going on as well.

Mormon Lost Boys

Western society is for all practical purposes polygamous today. It’s just called serial monogamy, but the results are almost the same: some men have a series of (increasingly relative younger) women and multiple sets of children, and another large group of men – typically those on the bottom of society – are not having a woman at all, and not having children. The number of unwilling childless around here are 25% men vers. 10% women, and reportedly the men suffer worse for this than women in the same situation. But I expect there’s not much to be done for it, or that should be done about it, it has always been this way, it’s probably a primal part of our human mating nature. Although I suppose the modern welfare state may help to exacerbate the trend.

In the future we may be able to sex-select so more girls are born than boys.

Historically, Mormons had this problem especially after they moved to Utah and then started practicing it openly.

One phenomenon is that while lower status males missed out when they were young, many of them would be around to marry the widows of the higher status men who often married much younger women (and girls).

As there are more options for modern women who do not necessarily need to depend on men, the FLDS wound up with a surplus of men.

I doubt they worry about it any more than rich people worry about depriving poor people of money.

Sex selection only makes matters worse, since more people choose to have boys.