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Show ALL Forums  > Relationships  > Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?      Home login  
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 centerfield51
Joined: 1/8/2008
Msg: 1
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous? Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
I do not think so, at least for supposed life-long relationships like marriage. More than half of all marriages end in divorce. How many people, in the remaining "intact" marriages, were always faithful to their spouse over the rest of their lifetime? It seems only a small fraction of marriages actually stay true to their vows, which originated more from religion than human nature.

Discuss.
 gtomustang
Joined: 6/16/2007
Msg: 2
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 4:58:10 AM
If you think with the big head, then its not a problem. Get to know yourself, learn what you're about, then go find a partner who fits...after a certain age, men's plumbing falters unless you dope up w/ Viagra, so apparently Momma Nature did plan for us to be monogamous if we ever lived past 50, which wasn't a certainty in the very old days.

But if you think with the little head? then you think you're all about procreating...like all the other animals we're supposed to be smarter than.
 centerfield51
Joined: 1/8/2008
Msg: 3
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 5:10:03 AM
Bolotee, there is a thing called "research." Grants are awarded, papers are written, things are published. It's science.

Most studies show about 50% of men having extramarital affairs and 25% of women.
 aliveone1
Joined: 9/4/2008
Msg: 4
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Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 5:13:26 AM
All I know is that I have never had the inclination to stray when I was in a committed relationship.
 hellgremlin
Joined: 5/23/2009
Msg: 5
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Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 6:07:28 AM
No, men were never meant to be monogamous - attempting to do so runs counter to our biological imperative. Marriage and monogamy is a social construct foisted upon us, and frankly, one that holds zero benefit and only pitfalls. We're indoctrinated from birth that being "faithful" is the paragon of virtue, when in fact such "faithfulness" cripples our genetic imperative to spread our seed far and wide.

Genghis Khan had it right. Fuck everything that moves, let the history books sort out your descendants.
 varinia
Joined: 1/1/2009
Msg: 6
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 6:16:13 AM
Is your question really about monogamy? Or is it about the length of relationship and why people stay in it longer than they should?

I've always been monogamous in any relationship I've been in, but they always ended up some point.

I don't necessarily think that relationships are meant to last until we die. Sure, the idea is great and some people do find a partner where that happens. But I believe that relationships are about growing and teaching each other. So, while people may be 'perfect' for each other when they get together, the chances that they're growing in the same direction at the same speed for the duration is not so good.

So, to me that doesn't mean that a relationship 'failed', just because it ended, but rather that we've done all the growing that we can together and now it's time to move on. Yes, it hurts when that happens. But I think the cheating happens when people stay together longer than they should.
 centerfield51
Joined: 1/8/2008
Msg: 7
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 6:43:18 AM
janet4ever, "what is natural" is significant. And a lot of time and brainpower has been spent studying it over the years. It is important to understand human nature because, like it or not, we are not immune to it. It governs much of our lives, and some very strong drives- like finding a partner and having children - are simply in our nature. Some other motives might be less natural or more personal, and when they conflict with our nature, there can be problems. I think a divorce rate over 50% is a problem. Maybe it is caused by a conflict between natural and unnatural motivations. Maybe a lot of pain and legal trouble could be avoided if people understood this better.
 phule
Joined: 4/8/2004
Msg: 8
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Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 8:25:12 AM
Well, from softpedia...
"Monogamy is so rare in the animal world that only 3-5 % of the mammals are known to form lifelong pair bonds, like beavers, otters, jackals, foxes, some bats and a few dwarf deer and antelopes.

In fact, strict monogamy is almost inexistent, as creatures that do pair for life, occasionally have flings on the side and some, like the wolf, do not mourn too much a death or a no longer sexually performing partner.

Staying faithful is extremely hard for animals, as the males are programmed to spread their genes and females to get the best genes from the best males for their young.

Instead, monogamy requires an individual to invest its entire reproductive potential on a single mate. This puts lot of pressure
on each individual to choose the best mate, which, as in humans, can be tricky.

Three levels of monogamy are distinguished. Sexual monogamy is the practice of having sex only with one mate at a time, for example, pairs that last only one mating season. Social monogamy is when animals form pairs to mate and raise offspring but still have extra-pair copulations. Genetic monogamy occurs when a female's offspring are sired by only one father."

Now.... specifically relating to us and our Ape ancestors...
"Gibbons are the only ape that is monogamous, but several monkey species form pair bonds too. Marmosets, a small, South American monkey, are another example. They also show little sexual dimorphism."

So genetically speaking, no... it isn't "natural" for humans to be monogamous.

However, the fact that more than half of all marriages CURRENTLY end in divorce has very little to do with any ties to Ancient Genetic Codes. Sentient life forms like Humans, have the ability to CHOOSE, based on esoteric reasons. We are no longer forced by biology to spread our genetic material to promote growth of the species. We have the ability to easily suppress that drive. There is no need for humans to adopt a shotgun approach to propagation. It would actually be counter productive to our current social and economic structures to attempt to have as many children born as possible, to as many varied pair-bonds as possible. Thus, Genetic Monogamy is almost a necessity to avoid further overpopulation.

Current Divorce issues are tied to the lack of discipline being passed down from generation to generation, combined with an economy that has turned into a Dual Income one... where the equivalent of two incomes is now necessary to provide enough capital to raise a typical family. This means there is less time devoted to the construction of a working relationship. If you can't do what is necessary every day to make a relationship work, it falls apart. Why should a relationship need constant work? Because stagnation does not promote growth or change. Since life *is* growth and change, a relationship must be a living, flexible entity. No discipline, no effort... no marriage.
 GeneralizingNow
Joined: 10/10/2007
Msg: 9
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 8:52:40 AM
I don't feel like reading all the posts, but here goes my opinion:

No.

People are generally monogamous for about 7 years--the 7-year itch isn't a fluke. They raise the kid until it can fend for itself (obviously, not in modern world, but enough to walk with the rest of the group and not need special food, etc).

That being said, if you can't make the commitment to being monogamous when you say you will (for example, marriage), don't cheat. This doesn't give you license to lie and cheat. Be honest, and say to your partner: "I can no longer uphold the promise I made to you, good bye."

I, for my part, have never been married precisely because I know it would not be "forever" for me. But I have never cheated on a man, and never will.
 WomanInProgress
Joined: 10/16/2005
Msg: 10
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 10:51:07 AM
The reason the divorce rate is higher now, is that people years ago who were miserable in marriages had to stay in them for lack of available options, especially women. I figure most divorces today are for the best. If society hadn't changed since then, there'd be less divorce, and more miserable married people who lived separate lives.

The reason few marriages are healthy, is because a lot of people get married for the wrong reasons.
 daynadaze
Joined: 2/11/2008
Msg: 11
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Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 10:57:38 AM
Sure it is, and for a lot of people since really, seriously, most people couple up even though they have the option not to. At least half the population that are in relationships don't cheat, ever, and don't want to, ever, so really, it's not as bad as a lot of people make it sound. Those in bad relationships, really probably 2/3 of them could be in good relationships if they really wanted to be, they like drama and cheating and whining and getting attention, so no amount of good people to date is going to deter them from the joy of living in hell with someone they can't stand. And there are those who know they will not be monogamous in relationships so they never enter into them, so by default they are monogamous to themselves. That means over half the population of dating/marrying age adults are monogamous which makes it pretty damn natural.
 GeneralizingNow
Joined: 10/10/2007
Msg: 12
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 12:37:16 PM
Is it always men who come up with these "logical" arguments as to why they're not getting what they want, and always the blame is on women?

Your choices:
--get in a long-term monogamous relationship
--do not get in a long-term monogamous relationship

This isn't a difficult concept, is it? I think the real problem is that these men are trying to f*ck anything that moves, but then want to be loved deeply by a woman as well. The two are not always, but usually, mutually exclusive. In the real world, you are not realistically going to find unconditional love from a lover--she ain't your mommy. It' a different sort of relationship.

Perhaps it's easier for women to ken this, since we're not replicating the mommy bond.
========
Edit: I know--THAT was my point... don't do something you don't want to do. There are options. NOT being monogamous is one option. NOT being in long-term is also an option, but NOT if you crave the emotional intimacy, which is what I think these little boys actually desire.
 centerfield51
Joined: 1/8/2008
Msg: 13
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 12:49:45 PM
CassaGo, you oversimplify the issue. The choice isn't between relationship or no relationship. There are many kinds of monogamy. Serial monogamy is one, where the person engages in an exclusive relationship for a number of years and then moves on, the same way some people have a series of marriages and divorces.
 woobytoodsday
Joined: 12/13/2006
Msg: 14
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 2:07:24 PM

the true purpose of a man was to get his seed out there and to reproduce...


Perhaps. . . . Since the biological imperative is to pass your genes on down the path of evolution, which group of males do you suppose is the most successful at the project: those that simply spray all around, hoping that *some* of it sticks (and survives), or those who hang around to assist in the survival of their offspring? My guess? The second group. . . . As for women -- I'd also surmise that those who waited to reproduce until they found a fella interested in helping her raise said offspring was prolly more likely to have passed *her* genes down than the chicklet who just spread her legs for any ol' monkey man coming down the path. . . .

So it looks to me like the arc of evolution would bend toward those who are the ants, rather than the grasshoppers. . . .

 chameleonf
Joined: 12/22/2008
Msg: 15
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 2:39:15 PM
Eh...scientists can't even agree on it to date. They do say that the only true monogamous creatures are geese - they don't even seek out a mate after theirs dies. Personally, I don't think we're designed to be monogamous even though we attempt to be socially monogamous, especially during childbearing years because there is/was a much better rate of thriving for offspring with two parents (think nurturing by one and protecting by the other in the wild). We have brains that allow us to have extreme emotions of various kinds - animals who don't have emotions on the same level as humans seem to have an easier time maintaining monogamy. Combine that with the subconscious urge to reproduce for survival of the species and it seems to be a losing battle for most and likely why maintaining good relationships is described as "work" by so many. If we're closely related to monkeys, I tend to think we follow their pattern of being polygamous or promiscuous.
 chameleonf
Joined: 12/22/2008
Msg: 16
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/10/2009 4:13:26 PM
Maybe they'll discover a monogamy gene...some will have it and others won't. It'll be something akin to an insanity plea, ie. not my fault, I was just born this way.
 Yourmasters
Joined: 11/28/2007
Msg: 17
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/11/2009 1:45:24 AM
It is natural for us to be monogamous by choice, but you have to choose to be. Too many people get married and are like, I have to spend the rest of my life with one person. Well if that is what you signed up for then that is what your stuck with. When my husband and I started getting serious and I knew I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life, I told him that I could not be monogamous. He agreed with me, but we discussed this before entering into marriage, threw caution to the wind and were HONEST TO EACHOTHER BEFORE MARRYING! It works for us, we are not swingers and don't go carrying on affairs behind the others back. We both enjoy the company of a "friend" together and sometimes individually as long as the other is there, whether it be to participate or watch. If people were only that honest to one another then maybe divorce rates would drop quite a bit, mind you the ones that end because of cheating. There are other things about one another that we encouraged to come out and be comfortable with, that is true love, acceptance of who and what you are!
 Gumbo_YahYah
Joined: 9/30/2008
Msg: 18
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Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/11/2009 10:07:55 AM
You keep on analysing and researching enough about percentages,,you could spend a little time trying to enjoy a relationship.............Maybe????
 _Paradoximus_Maximus
Joined: 2/24/2009
Msg: 19
Is it natural for humans to be monogamous?
Posted: 7/11/2009 11:53:59 AM
Referring to human monogamy: like a dog walking on two legs -- it's not that they do it well -- but that they do it at all that's amazing. -Robert Wright

relevant search term: "Evolutionary Psychology"
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