Monogomy - Cultural or natural?

Curious to hear your thoughts…Are we destined to love only one person per lifetime? Does monogomy deny our natural urge to express love to more than one SO. Does it spawn deceit and affairs?

taken a class on this infact…

compareing humans and other primates we seem to be somewhere in the middle.

we are certainly not well made for total sleeping around, like chimps. we lack the massive testicals for makeing enough sperm to have enough for constant sex. our women also don’t go through heat in any way, meaning it is a secret when they can and can not get pregnent. evolutionarily this means that a man has to stick around a girl a while to actually have a chance at getting her pregnent. and a woman should always be picky and choose a guy since she can’t get pregnent by two men at once (women are always the gender that invests more, so needs to be more careful)

basicly our sexual anatomy is most like gibbons, not like chimps, not like gorillas. we seem to be made for semi monogomy… 1 guy… a small number of girls (1 or 2 or 3 at the very most)

There are lots of cultures with polygamy, so of course monogamy is only cultural.

Actually, there’s another equally legitimate interpretaton of our sexual physiognomy than owlofcreamcheese’s - that is, we may have been originally like the bonobo, maintianing multiple semi-long-term relationships. Not so much a harem relationship as zie’s describing, but an open group marriage of 2 or 3 males and a slightly larger number of females. Note than in the bonobo system “co-wives” also have sex with each other, so the males’ tender testes need not blow out from overwork.

Then there’s love, as opposed to just reproductive sex. Some people honestly do seem to only be able to maintain a deep loving relationship with one person at a time, and that’s a very powerful thing - to give yourself wholly to one person. On the other hand, others are obviously just as capable of loving more than one person deeply, and it would be against their nature to try and restrict themselves to only one - like damming a waterfall, or a stormcloud. Trying to force either type into the other’s mold is a recipe for heart-shattering disaster.

Given how many people of both genders are polyamorous or simply nonmonogamous by natural inclination, and how many cultures have practiced polygyny (at least), I think it’s pretty obvious that the universal monogamy of the modern Western world is cultural. Whether an individual person is momo, poly, or a switch may or may not be hardwired. I think the lack of polyandry in our history is also cultural, BTW. Anyone who claims that women are “naturally” monogamous and men are “naturally” polygamous has chosen to deny the existence of both myself and the Spouse.

Rare though it is, it is actually possible to become pregnant by two men at the same time. It happens more often in animals such as cats, but if two eggs are available, and a woman has sex with two men within the right time span, one man’s sperm can reach one egg while a second man’s sperm can reach the second egg.

IMHO sexual jealousy is natural, and monogamy is a cultural adaptation to it.

My wife, with the anthropology degree, tells me that the speculation on the matter is that we are a primate species that tends more towards monogamy than polygamy. In addition to anatomical evidence (canine teeth in polygynous primate males tend to be far larger in comparison to females than is found in humans), there is the simple point that even in “polygamous” societies, the majority of unions are of a monogamous nature.

However, there is also the phenomenon of serial polygamy (which is stupidly mis-called serial monogamy), wherein humans have more than one breeding relationship but separate them in time. But this may be a luxury that requires a significantly liesurely society to practice much of.

Ultimate conclusion: We can get away with either, but monogamy is usually far less costly.

What I have found is that people who like to claim that monogamy is purely biological or purely social latch on to a single data point and infer everything from that.

But the OP asked whether monogomy is cultural or natural. So when you use society as a yardstick you’ve not separated the two. The question, for me, would be: is monogamy genetically programmed/encouraged, or a cultural/societal artifact?

This question is extremely difficult to answer, because most indications are that culture and society are part and parcel of human nature, so separating the two may be disingenuous. We have no humans “in the wild” to study and determine the answer. Even very the few primitives that have or still exist have also culture and society. Whether the alphas in those groups enjoy breeding privileges with all females (or males) or whether they mirror some of the other polyamorous inclinations mentioned above can influence the answer but not determine it.

Based on personal experience and observation, I am definitely of the opinion that monogamy and polygamy are both natural urges (though of different relative strengths in different individuals).

I want to have sex with lots of different women. I also want to have lifelong, faithful, wholly committed monogamous relationship. Yes, I know these are contradictory desires. That doesn’t mean I don’t have them both.

From my personal experience I prefer to be with one person at a time for pretty long periods of time. However, unfortunately over long periods of time I change, my partner changes and maybe not always in the same ways. So I think that while the urge for monogamy is natural, an eventual urge to find someone more compatible might also be natural. My ex and I are on excellent terms and I think we are both much better off than if we had tried to stick it out. But maybe I just never foud the right person to be with forever…I dont’ know.

Hm, I am going to go with cultural, based solely on my own experiences. Ms Nocturne and I live a polyamorous lifestyle. We do not suffer from sexual jealousy. Nor emotional jealousy. Both of those seem to be learned responses. They can be unlearned.

Just a thought

According to the book, Sperm Wars: The Science of Sex, much of the sperm a man ejaculates is designed to block other men’s sperm. Even the sheer number of sperm in a single ejaculation would seem to indicate that the body is really designed for multiple partners.

I don’t know if Dr. Baker’s theories have all been debunked, but I’m of the belief that monogamy is cultural, but like many other animals, we feel a need to defend and control what is “ours.”

[sub]FTR, I believe in monogamous relationships.[/sub]