Monogamy…is it natural? Or possible?

A concept I’ve always had trouble understanding. I’ve always contemplated if I could practice it as well. Monogamy, the very word burns my fingertips as I type this post. Is this a natural concept? Or is it a societal structure designed to make us feel whole if we’re conjoined to one partner.

Are we naturally meant to be with one person? Is cheating really something so devious or a natural human instinct? Is it even cheating? These are concepts that cross my mind in this topic as we traverse through this mind field of a topic.

Monogamy, are we as people supposed to be monogamous? From my own experiences, ( by that I mean by what I’ve seen because I’ve never been in a relationship) no. I don’t believe in monogamy.

A disclaimer. I’ve never been in a relationship with another person. So I’m no expert on this field in any way shape or form. This is just my perspective as a straight black male.

With that being said, No, I don’t believe monogamy is natural for us as human beings. I believe that monogamy is a societal concept that was created by emotions and ego making us feel like we must be with one person and that being with multiple people is frowned upon. I also believe that social media has magnified our desires for monogamy. In the same breath, I do believe that instant gratification has enhanced our desire to be polygamous. By this I mean we as people feel more and more empowered when we have had more than one partner. This is more prominent in men in society than women. Women are shunned for having more than one partner. However, I believe having more than one partner is natural, we naturally desire more than one thing at a time.

A Huffington post article I read recently revealed to me that monogamy can be broken down into social, sexual, and genetic monogamy. Socially, monogamy is possible, you can be linked to one person socially. Living together and doing a plethora of things together is possible. However, sexual monogamy, not so much.

Like talk, sperm is cheap, so generally, males of the species like to ensure that their seed is spread around to guarantee that their lineage survives; they partner with many females. Females, to ensure that they produce the strongest offspring possible, engage with multiple partners, too. Hmmm. Social monogamy, yes. Sexual monogamy, no.

Another post reported the percentages of monogamous animals. It went like this:
Among mammals, just 9 percent of species are monogamous; among primates, just 29 percent are. Humans are a diverse lot, but before Western imperialism, 83 percent of indigenous societies were polygynous, 16 percent monogamous, and 1 percent polyandrous (where women have multiple husbands).
The three types of monogamy explained.
  • Sexual monogamy: the practice of having sex with only one mate at a time.
  • Social monogamy: when animals form pairs to mate and raise their offspring but still have flings on the side (“extra-pair copulation” in science talk).
  • Genetic Monogamy: when DNA testing confirms that a female’s offspring all come from one father.

 

For us as humans, the Post reported that we are socially and sexually monogamous.

 The most commonly accepted explanation is that monogamy evolved in situations where young are more likely to survive if both parents are involved in raising them.

 

There are many reasons to practice monogamy, the reason to raise children seems to be viable. Personally, as a man, I would love to practice monogamy. However, as I’ve said before I’m not sure if that’s possible simply because I’ve never been in a relationship before. I also believe that we socially believe it to be acceptable for us as human beings to be monogamous however how often is that practiced. Me personally, I’ve probably met enough couples on my fingertips that are monogamous. How many relationships have we witnessed over the course of our lives? How many of them are monogamous?

So are we really monogamous?

By nature it seems that humans are naturally polygamous. Although polyandry, a marriage of one woman to many men, is rare, polygyny, the marriage of one man to many women, is widely practiced in human societies. Humans, in fact, possess certain characteristics typical of non-monogamous species. Monogamous species are also monomorphic, meaning that both males and females are the same size. Polygamous species are dimorphic: the male is larger than the female. Guess what comes next. Human males are typically 10 percent taller and 20 percent heavier than females, and it seems that humans have been mildly polygamous throughout history.

It appears, according to the findings in this post that monogamy isn’t natural. Legitimately we as humans are not naturally monogamous. Scientifically speaking we are a polygamous race of animals. I personally believe monogamy has a lot to do with social norms and acceptance. We want one person to call our own. As if it were a trophy as if we own that person exclusively. When, in fact, it is in our nature to want to procreate and have other partners. We as people naturally wish to recreate and add to our bloodline. Ifstudies reports similar findings. Apparently, the desire to raise children is a viable reason for monogamy. Both posts believe that having a father in a child’s life causes a better chance for survival of the child. This, I can understand an personally relate to, especially being a black man in society. However, that is another conversation for another day.

Me, I wish to have children so long as I can sustain and take care of them. until then I do not wish to procreate. I also wish to have partners that I believe viable to create a child that has strong genetics. I believe that is innate in all of us. We see something attractive, we wish to mate with them. Now having a child? that’s a stretch at times. But it all applies. We as people naturally wish to have more than one partner. So, no, monogamy is not natural.

However, it is possible. though it is hard.

This is not to say that monogamy — even happy, fulfilled monogamy — is impossible, because in fact it is altogether within the realm of human possibility. But since it is not natural, it is not easy. Similarly this is not to say that monogamy isn’t desirable, because there is very little connection, if any, between what is natural or easy and what is good.

Then there is the conversation of the battle for monogamy. As the quote says, monogamy isn’t easy, which may be why it’s desirable. The last line, “little connection, if any, between what is natural or easy and what is good “, sticks out. We desire monogamy just like we desire polygamy. But determining what is good, is dependant on us. There isn’t much correlation to the two concepts, as much as we’d like to make a connection. We decided to make monogamy a good thing even when it goes against our nature. That is the concept that is troublesome and challenging in its own right. However, who are we to say that nature is right? Not everything in nature is right, but is there really a question in nature of morals? it’s nature, it’s the natural occurrence of life, that’s how it works. Just because it isn’t right doesn’t stop it from naturally happening.

That being said, monogamy, isn’t easy and isn’t natural. but it is something that is desired to be followed. Me personally, I don’t believe truly believe in monogamy, however, I’d like to prove myself wrong.

 

for more information refer to

Barash, David P., and Judith Eve. Lipton. The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People. New York: H. Holt, 2002. Print. pg. 191

 

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