Monday, April 7, 2008

Threesomes, Foursomes, Moresomes




Is Monogamy Really the Best Policy?

By Claire Devane

With HBO's drama "Big Love, " about a modern-day polygamist Mormon family in Utah, and CBS's upcoming "Swingtown" set in Chicago in 1976, polyamory, swinging and open relationships are sparking conversation and debate around the TV set.
But what's it like in the real world?
Don't worry, nobody's asking you to call anyone "Sister Wife" or drop your house keys in a party hat for another guest to pick up. But the fact remains that most men view monogamy differently from the way women view it.

Back in college, during a sociology class, one of my professors trotted out this gem of a poem:
Hogamus, Higamus, men are polygamous
Higamus, Hogamus, women, monogamous

Bizarre, right? (And who is this Higamus?) But there is probably truth to it.

According to the book "The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People" by David Barash, Ph.D. and Judith Lipton, M.D., "out of 4,000 mammal species, no more than a few dozen form reliable pair-bonds." In the vast majority of species, males seek the widest quantity of partners (to ensure the most offspring) and females seek the best quality of partners (to ensure the best offspring as well as a nest and protection). Females will "trade up" on the sly if they meet a higher-quality mate; however, they'll continue to raise the babies, regardless of father, with their original companion. (Sneaky!) To that end, both genders in the animal world "cheat" on their primary partners.

Modern men and women may receive societal, emotional and/or physical benefits from monogamy, but that doesn't stop them from thinking outside the marriage box, either.
Read the rest of this article (free of charge) at Lady Jaided magazine

2 comments:

Anita Birt said...

Hmm. After reading the whole article I came to the conclusion that men and women like exclusive relationships. Sex sharing parties sounds, to me, more like group therapy. In my previous life (before becoming a writer)I was a human relations counselor. In my humble opinion, sex parties may be a way to sabotage a marriage or a relationship under the guise of "let's try something new and exciting."
I could be wrong. My darling husband has said about me, "she's often wrong but never in doubt."

Susan Edwards said...

I tend to agree with you, Anita. As a former counselor myself and a child of the free-love generation, I have found that open and/or nonmonogamous relationships don't work in the long term. I always think it's interesting how people advocating polygamy or polyamory point to the nonmonogamous relationships of other animals or evolutionary biology to bolster their point of view. You can justify all sorts of things by pointing to the animal kingdom or pre-civilized human society but the truth is, we are supposed to have evolved beyond animal impulse. Isn't that what civilization is for?