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Q: Life-long Monogamy ( No Answer,   11 Comments )
Subject: Life-long Monogamy
Category: Relationships and Society > Romance
Asked by: curioussam-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 14 Nov 2003 21:41 PST
Expires: 18 Dec 2003 14:59 PST
Question ID: 276038
Besides reducing risk of sexually transmitted disease, what
rational/logical/non-emotional reasons justify permanent (life-long)
sexual monogamy in today's Western societies?

Request for Question Clarification by hedgie-ga on 30 Nov 2003 01:16 PST
Hello Curious,

      You got some excellent comments to your excellent question,
and thing to do would be to invite one of the commenters, the one you
feel came close to the answer to post the comment and summary of other
comments as an answer.
 But perhaps you feel no one came close as yet, and in that case you may
 invite others to answer. It is impossible to exclude 'emotional reasons'
(isn't that an oxymoron?) from study of sex, but it is possible to answer
the question from the point of view of antropology,
 which does study humans and their amotions in a detached way.
  I  consider the book of Harvard educated Cornell professor of antropology: 
E.D.  Chapple:  Culture and the Biological Man (1970 Holt, Reinhart, Winston)
to be a good framework. If you want an answer, and summary of comments from
that perspective, kindly post an RFC.

Clarification of Question by curioussam-ga on 02 Dec 2003 15:51 PST
Hi Hedgie,
Yes, interesting comments have been posted.  The clear tendency to
take a anthropology tact seems to reinforce that sexual monogamy is in
place at least in part because of legacy.  However, I am looking for
reasons why, we should, today, elect to be monogamous.  There may be
emotional reasons for monogamy.  However, emotional reasons are
subjective, often culture-biased, and there are emotional reasons
against monogamy.  I am looking for rational reasons for monogamy. 
Perhaps the answer is there are none.
There is no answer at this time.

The following answer was rejected by the asker (they received a refund for the question).
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 03 Dec 2003 15:02 PST
Rated:1 out of 5 stars
Hello Sam,

Well, you?ve certainly posed a real stumper.  Turns out monogamy is a
tough thing to rationalize...not because it?s difficult to justify,
but because there are so many different ways of making sense out of
it, and just as many legitimate ways of justifying non-monogamous

I?ll do my best to summarize the pro-monogamy camp in a moment.  But
first, a bit of digression about the ?emotional reasons? you seek to
avoid, in favor, one must assume, of some sort of Mr. Spock-like
non-emotional reasoning.  I have to admit my own bias about this: I
simply don?t believe in the distinction between emotional and
non-emotional reasoning.

All reasons for human actions ultimately hark back to our individual
values, which are in turn, rooted in our emotions.  Even a very
obvious cause-and-effect line of reasoning such as ?I eat so I can
stay alive? has, at its core, an emotion-laden content ? I value my
life, so I want to continue to live, so I eat.  Without that emotional
component, there would be no inherently rational reason to eat or to
otherwise sustain myself.

For that matter, instead of the question ?Why are we monogamous?? you
might get even more basic and ask ?Why do I have human relations at
all??  And the answer ? when you peel away anthropological,
sociological, economic, theologic and all other -ologies and -ics ? is
that it would just be so sad not to have them.  Again, emotion can?t
help but enter the picture.

All decisions are made with imperfect knowledge.  We have some facts
at our disposal, some rules of thumb, some societal norms, and even
our gut intuitions.  Part of our knowledge is the awareness of and
reaction to our own emotional state.  Our decisions may be good ones,
or bad ones, but it would be a mistake, I think, to dismiss the
emotional component as somehow leading to decisions that are less
pure, more subjective, or more prone to error than decisions that are
somehow devoid of emotion,

And now....


for some of us, anyway.

People may elect to be monogamous ? that is, have only one sexual
partner/mate ? for a variety of reasons, ranging from the mundane to
the noble.  The reasons for monogamy include:

?Circumstance.  A person may opt for monogamy simply because there is
no other available option.  No other person has come into their life
with whom they?ve struck up the kind of relationship that could then
lead to sexual intimacy.  This is a sort of monogamy by default.

?Fear #1.  A person may remain monogamous despite a desire to do
otherwise out of sheer fear of how their mate would react if the new
pairing was discovered.

?Fear #2.  Similarly, the fear could be that of social discomfort ?
how family, friends, co-workers, and others would react to the
revelation of a non-monogamous relationship.

?Fear #3.  For those with a certain religious bent, a non-monogamous
relationship may raise fears of eternal damnation, or other censure by
divine authority.

All three sorts of fear are probably pretty closely tied to:

?Guilt.  (I know, I know....where are the ?non-emotional?
reasons...don?t worry, we?ll get there).  Modern Western society has
deemed it proper to practice monogamy.  In one sense, this shifts the
overall question from ?Why would a person be monogamous?? to ?Why does
society as a whole feel strongly about the propriety of monogamy?? 
(The societal aspects may have a biological origin, and will be
discussed below, but for now, let?s stick with individual choice).  A
person who has spent a lifetime internalizing societal values of right
and wrong may be left with a strong sense of conscience regarding
fidelity and infidelity to one?s spouse.  Stepping outside the
monogamous relationship is seen and felt as ?cheating?, and it feels
bad, and is enough of a deterrent to encourage a person to remain

?Biological Imperative.  Monogamy may not be the predominant practice
in the animal kingdom, but it certainly is known to occur
(particularly when one combines the fairly common practice of serial
monogamy with the probably rarer practice of monogamous lifetime
mating).  Biologists have speculated all sorts of reasons for the
existence of monogamy in animals, generally regarding the advantages
having to do with rearing children, and the desirability for males of
genetically  ?knowing? for sure that your offspring are carrying your
genes.  The animal?s aren?t ?choosing? monogamy in the sense of making
a reasoned choice.  They are simply hard-wired for monogamous
behavior, much as they may be hard-wired to strut a particular mating
dance, or to build a certain type of nest.

We have come to accept that human sexual preference may be a matter of
biological imperative rather than conscious choice; we no longer try
to ?cure? homosexuality because we recongize it is not a disease, but
a simply matter of biology, just as is heterosexual preference. 
Perhaps the same is true (though probably to a lesser degree of
determination) of monogamous behavior.    Humans may have evolved a
mix genetic heritage, and some people may simply have a strong genetic
predisposition towards monogamy.

?Cost/benefit:  Relationships offer considerable benefits, but they
also can take a toll ? possible rejection, possible diseases,
stalker/fatal-attraction types of situations,  investment of time and
money and emotional energy.  A person may have put the pluses and
minuses on balance, and decided, consciously or otherwise, that
expanding beyond the present monogamous relationship may simply not be
worth it.

?Respect: Regardless of whether I consider it a rational reaction or
not, I am nevertheless very certain that my involving myself in an
extramarital relationship would be very painful to my spouse.  That
alone is substantial motivation for remaining faithful.

?Love: Falling in love can be an amazing experience, one that seems to
dissolve the boundaries of individuality, making two become as one. 
True, the dissolving-feeling passes after a while, and individual
identity returns, but the bond remains, and with it, there also
remains an important sense of the-two-of-us-have-become-as-one.  In
other words, the bond of love creates a unit marked by intimacy, and
if the intimacy is maintained, there simply may not be the desire to
seek it elsewhere.

 * * * * * * * * *

In actual practice, it is probably a combination of these things that
keeps people in monogamous relationships, and perhaps there are other
factors as well.  However, there?s nothing in the above list to
suggest that monogamy is the only correct choice, or even that it?s
preferable in any way to alternative mating choices.

What I mean by this is that a narrow interpretation of rational choice
will not necessarily lead one to the conclusion that monogamy somehow
makes more sense than polygamous behavior, or celibacy, or whatever
behavior one may adopt.  But, in taking a no-man-is-an-island type of
view, and recognizing that people exist in the context of personal and
societal relationships, then there are plenty of reasons for
practicing monogamy, as elucidated on the above list.

Let me explain this in a bit more detail.

Your question and comments make a very clear distinction between
rational and irrational even offered up ?jealousy? as
more or less the epitome of the irrational.

But what, then, is ?rational??   What reasons do you ever have for
applying any sort of self-imposed limit on your actions or behavior?

Suppose you?re the type of person who thinks it wrong to commit
murder.  What?s your ?rational? basis for believing this, and from
refraining from going around killing people at a whim?  Perhaps your
reasoning involves something like the ?sanctity of human life?, but
does that have any more of a rational basis to it than the ?sanctity
of matrimony??  Perhaps your rational thought tells you that ?Society
will punish me severely for my deeds?, but is that fundamentally any
more rational than ?My wife?ll kill me if she catches me fooling

We all have as part of our personalities a socialized self (what Freud
labeled the superego) that internalizes the values we have been
exposed to during our lives...thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not
steal, thou shalt not put your elbows on the table...whatever.  These
values underlie our human desires as much as our more animalistic
urges towards sex, violence, and general havoc.

Our rational self strikes the balance ? acknowledging our feelings,
desires, fears ? along with everything else around us as the basis for
making our ?rational? choices.   For some, that choice is monogamy.

And, one final reason to consider:

Monogamy.  It?s not just a good idea.  It?s the law.  


I have absolutely no idea if this is the type of answer you were
looking for.  But if not, just let me know what you want in addition
to, or different from, what I?ve presented here, and I?ll do my best
to deliver.

On a final note, allow me to close with a trifle of a poem:

Woman wants monogamy;
Man delights in novelty.
Love is a woman's moon and sun;
Man has other forms of fun.
Woman lives but in her lord;
Count to ten, and a man is bored.
With this the gist and sum of it,
What earthly good can come of it?

------------------Dorothy Parker


Enjoy your musings.


search strategy: poking around the internet under the Google search
term ?monogamy? led me to the Dorothy Parker poem, but mostly I poked
around in my head.

And kudos to my fellow researchers who offered up some splendid
insights to this mystifying topic.
Reason this answer was rejected by curioussam-ga:
While PROFESSOR PAFALAFAGA’S DISCOURSE is thoughtful, well-written,
and entertaining, it does not answer this question at all.  It offers
predominantly health and emotional rationale, all of which I was
already aware and explicitly requested exclusion in my question.

The entire introduction (1st 5 paragraphs) attempts to discredit the
pursuit of a rational decision.  This is not an answer to the

Then, in the discourse:
Three Fears, Guilt, Respect, Love, all emotions, are given.  I am
looking for rational ("...having its source in or being guided by the
intellect (distinguished from experience or emotion" - Princeton
U.)...") reasons.

Biological and circumstance reasons contradict the explicit point in
my question "in today's Western societies".

Again, in summary, the author attacks my intent to find a rational decision.

The comment "Monogamy.  It’s not just a good idea.  It’s the law."
also shows that the author is missing the carefully chosen words in my
concise question.  Non-monogamy is only illegal in marriage.  I
purposely excluded "marriage" in my question.

Finally, the author has presented a plethora of his own opinion with
virtually no fact or external reference.  Regrettably, this answer
provided no new insights into answering my question.
curioussam-ga rated this answer:1 out of 5 stars
While PROFESSOR PAFALAFAGA’S DISCOURSE is thoughtful, well-written,
and entertaining, it does not answer this question at all.  It offers
predominantly health and emotional rationale, all of which I was
already aware and explicitly requested exclusion in my question.

The entire introduction (1st 5 paragraphs) attempts to discredit the
pursuit of a rational decision.  This is not an answer to the

Then, in the discourse:
Three Fears, Guilt, Respect, Love, all emotions, are given.  I am
looking for rational ("...having its source in or being guided by the
intellect (distinguished from experience or emotion" - Princeton
U.)...") reasons.

Biological and circumstance reasons contradict the explicit point in
my question "in today's Western societies".

Again, in summary, the author attacks my intent to find a rational decision.

The comment "Monogamy.  It’s not just a good idea.  It’s the law."
also shows that the author is missing the carefully chosen words in my
concise question.  Non-monogamy is only illegal in marriage.  I
purposely excluded "marriage" in my question.

Finally, the author has presented a plethora of his own opinion with
virtually no fact or external reference.  Regrettably, this answer
provided no new insights into answering my question.

Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: angy-ga on 14 Nov 2003 23:35 PST
Speaking for myself, somewhere about the twenty year mark, the sheer
effort of starting all over again in a new relationship began to seem
very unappealing. The depth of friendship that develops through years
of shared expeience is a very positive pleasure.

Given that a marriage (or committed monogamous relationship)is an
emotional as well as a financial arrangement, and lving emotional
relationships are important to most people, it's difficult to leave
emotion out of the equation.

Sexual fidelity within a relationship has of course to do with not
presenting your partner with children that are not theirs; and beyond
that is surely a matter mostly of courtesy and respect.

I am not expanding this to an answer, because I cannot see how to
leave the emoptional life out of it entirely as you requested.
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: curioussam-ga on 15 Nov 2003 00:19 PST
Today's medical options minimize risk of outside pregnancy.

Why are the positive aspects of a long-term relationship (e.g., depth
of friendship, loving emotional connection, courtesy, respect)
mutually exclusive with non-monogamy?  If your answer is, "emotion",
then what emotion and why does non-monogamy evoke that emotion?  Is it
jealousy?  Isn't it generally agreed that jealousy is irrational and
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: chromedome-ga on 15 Nov 2003 10:13 PST
Hi, Sam...

It may be "generally agreed" that jealousy is irrational and
non-constructive, but it is remarkably difficult to eradicate,
nonetheless.  In fact, the same could be said of any of our dominant
emotions.  The bottom line is that humans are emotionally-driven
creatures.  Even our ability to reason, which many celebrate as our
highest achievement, is primarily used to justify opinions we've
arrived at emotionally (NB: this is empiric observation on my part,
not established psychological fact...but I'll bet if you look for
them, you'll find studies to support my conclusion).

My experience is that a high level of mutual trust is the single most
important ingredient in a viable long-term relationship.  I contend
(as a committed monogamist) that this high level of trust is
infinitely more difficult to maintain in non-exclusive relationships,
even with the cheerful consent of both parties.  For one thing,
depending on a non-exclusive partner (or several) for one's own
emotional needs is an inherently uncertain thing.  For another, any
long-term relationship requires a great deal of commitment from both
parties.  Any thoughts in the nature of "Well, if it doesn't work out
with A I'll just spend more time with B" are going to militate against
the longer-term success of a relationship.

As to empirically-verifiable hard science to support long-term
relationships, any insurance company will cheerfully verify that
marrieds live longer than singles.

-Chromedome (sixteen challenging-but-rewarding years and counting)
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: curioussam-ga on 16 Nov 2003 23:25 PST
Hi Chromedome,
Congratulations on the successful sixteen, best wishes for many more,
and thanks for your constructive comments.

I suspect that many scientists would take issue with your first
paragraph.  A lot of people now and through history strive for
"truths" despite our emotions.

Trust is certainly critical to a long-term healthy relationship.  But
is trust so dependent upon monogamy that it overshadows its risks
(e.g., Coolidge Effect, protectionism, etc.)?  In fact, isn't it
distrust that motivates someone to put rules on the other?

Should we be "depending" upon our partner for emotional needs? 
Perhaps those expectations are too high.  Shouldn't we be
self-sufficient, including emotionally?  Shouldn't all the benefits
from the partnership be considered as "icing"?

Why is monogamy synonymous with commitment?  Isn't lifelong happiness
the goal?  Monogamy is not a goal.  It may be a commonly sought means,
but why should it be a goal?
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: curioussam-ga on 25 Nov 2003 22:09 PST
Oh...and by the way, indoor cats live longer than free cats too. :0)
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: tehuti-ga on 26 Nov 2003 04:32 PST
Hello curioussam,

At the risk of inciting a flood of "hatemail" comments :) I am daring
to say that the answer to your question is "none".

If we look at the matter from a "selfish gene" viewpoint, which is
about as unemotional as you can get, it is, from one point of view, in
a male's interest to have as many sexual encounters as possible to
reproduce his genes to the maximum. However, it is in a female's
interest to have a stable partnership, or other stable arrangement, so
that she is provided for while unable to do so for herself due to
pregnancy and the need to look after the children until they become
self-sufficient. However, in order to ensure the survival of his
genes, it is also in a male's interest to provide for at least some of
his offspring and ensure they receive the care they need. On the other
hand, it is not in the male's interest to expend time and energy to
ensure the survival of someone else's genes, and the only way he can
be (reasonably) sure of that is within an institution that does not
permit his sexual partner to have other liaisons.

This gives us a typical picture of Western society in earlier times: a
"sort-of" monogamous arrangement where blind eyes were turned to
sexual adventuring by married men, but heaven forbid a married woman
to be caught in adultery! Women, having little or no control over
their reproduction, were involved in childbearing and rearing for a
much longer period than now, and more likely to die in childbirth.
Also, the average human lifespan was generally shorter than today due
to disease.  The typical monogamous relationship would therefore have
lasted a comparatively short time and not gone on very long, if at
all, past the duration of the reproductive abilities of the woman.

Moving nearer to today, the lifespan started to increase, due to
improvements in hygiene and medicine. Once a woman has brought her
children up to self-sufficiency and is no longer capable of
reproduction, she no longer has a genetic interest in staying with her
partner. However, the social structure enforced a division of labour,
so that women performed unpaid work in the home while men did paid
work outside the home. Thus, even when no longer genetically dependent
on their partners, women continued to be economically dependent, and
this was recognised and affirmed by the society, so that divorce,
where permitted was tied to heavy financial penalties on the male in
order to ensure a continued financing of the woman he left, since she
was deemed incapable of fending for herself.

Today, the remanants of this social structure still remain. On the
other hand, women in Western societies have a free choice on how much
to reproduce, if at all.  Also, they have a free choice to develop
their own paid careers and thus become and remain economically
independent of males, except perhaps in a very short period just after
childbirth, although even then arrangements such as maternity benefits
and social security measures mean they do not have to be in a
partnership to survive (which also removes the genetic pressure on the
male to provide for his offspring). Add to this the fact of the
increased lifespan, which means that a typical couple entering into
marriage could expect to live for another 60+ years afterwards. Most
of this would be after childrearing has finished, although for much of
that excess time the male would still be able to reproduce his genes
by mating with other woman.

To all this, add also the non-emotional fact that people in today's
Western societies are more individualistic than ever before, and more
desirous of personal, including emotional, satisfaction and therefore
less willing to remain in a situation which has ceased to provide it
simply because this is what is demanded by tradition mores. Even if
they do stay in a partnership because of convenience, women are
increasingly catching up with men in looking for other avenues of
satisfaction. The concept of monogamy is daily being demolished in
practice, even while still being held up as an ideal by some sectors
of society.

Here are some estimates made by authors of books first published in the late 1980s:

"The various researchers arrive at a general consensus?suggesting that
above one-quarter to about one-half of married women have at least one
lover after they are married in any given marriage. Married men
probably still stray more often than married women?perhaps from 50
percent to 65 percent by the age of forty."
Annette Lawson, author of "Adultery," first published in 1989 by Basic Books.

"Most experts do consider the 'educated guess' that at the present
time some 50 to 65 percent of husbands and 45 to 55 percent of wives
become extramaritally involved by the age of 40 to be a relatively
sound and reasonable one."
Maggie Scarf, author of "Intimate Partners," first published in 1987
by Random House

"Conservative estimates are that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of
women will have an extramarital affair... If even half of the women
having affairs (or 20 percent) are married to men not included in the
60 percent having affairs, then at least one partner will have an
affair in approximately 80 percent of all marriages."
Peggy Vaughan, author of "The Monogamy Myth," first published in 1989
by Newmarket Press

All these quoted by Peggy Vaugan in "Statistics about Affairs"
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: knowledge_seeker-ga on 26 Nov 2003 07:39 PST
For the last 2 weeks days I have been mentally writing nearly the
exact response that Tehuti posted above. From a biological and
evolutionary standpoint, in this day and society there may be no
LOGICAL reason to maintain a lifelong monogamous relationship.

That is, of course, as long as the straying partner is not in danger
of being physically assaulted or killed as a result of his/her
actions.  The problem is, we tend to assume it is the man who is
having sexual relations outside of the primary relationship. Nearly as
likely and more dangerous for herself is the case of the woman doing
it. Even if she is not in danger physically, if she is not
self-sufficient financially (which is still more likely the case for a
woman than for a man), the resultant actions of her husband could
leave her destitute.

I?d just like to add to what Tehuti said here:

?However, it is in a female's interest to have a stable partnership,
or other stable arrangement, so that she is provided for while unable
to do so for herself due to pregnancy and the need to look after the
children until they become self-sufficient.?

In some cases it is actually more advantageous for the woman to risk
having more than one sexual partner during her reproductive years. A
woman may secretly seek out a more ?fit? male to father her child in
order enhance the child?s strength, attractiveness, or standing. Not
only might she end up with a more fit (in evolutionary terms) child,
but she will have the advantage that the ?other? father may contribute
to the child?s or her welfare or pick up the pieces if the ?real?
father abandons her.

Also, many societies believe that a baby can (and should) be ?built?
by more than one father.  In some South American tribal societies,
once a woman is pregnant by her husband, she has sexual relations with
other men who ?add? strength to the fetus. This provides advantage to
the woman in several ways. First, more than one man now has stake in
making sure she and her child are cared for. Second, her husband is
now forced to be more attentive lest she decide that one of the other
fathers would make a better husband. Remember, it?s not just the sex,
it?s the parentage. Genes are all that matter.

But let?s go back to your original question, (we?ve kind of strayed
here :-) ) We are talking about long-term post child-rearing
relationships in today?s western society.

First of all, most of the people who ask that question, are really
asking, what is the LOGICAL reason that *I* should maintain a
life-long monogamous relationship? In other words, tell me how it
would be an advantage to ME. (Which is naturally followed by the
assumption that if there are no logical reasons, then I can justify

They don?t consider what they might be doing to their partner if they
aren?t faithful and more importantly, that they themselves may be the
one left at home.

Let?s illustrate the question this way --- say you are a 45 year-old
man. Your kids are grown and living their lives. You and your wife
have successful careers, and now she begins to have an extramarital
affair. At first she?s just working late a lot and you don?t question
it, but as time passes and her absences increase, now you suspect
something. So, you do a little forensics and sure enough she?s
cheating with her 54-year old hot-shot boss, the one with the
year-round tan and the sailboat.  You find the photos in her dresser
drawer, right next to some Victoria?s Secret goodies you don?t
recognize. You read their steamy emails. You notice she?s never at her
desk at lunchtime any more.

So, now you know. 

Ok. Be Logical. No reason for her not to have the affair. You?re both
grown ups. You still have sex at home. Nothing lost right? It?s no
different from when she?s away on a business trip. Might as well
ignore it. Besides, now you can watch the TV shows that *you* like.

Except now you find yourself stressed and anxious. You?re distracted
from your work. Your stomach hurts all the time. You have trouble
sleeping. Even more trouble performing. (The wrong pictures keep
popping into your head.)

Keep telling yourself that you are being logical as she, happy as a
lark, breezes in all aglow from yet another weekend ?conference? while
you haven?t slept in days. Your boss wonders why your reports are
late. You start missing work. Now your neighbors are whispering and
looking at you as if you are some kind of loser. The guys at the golf
club are avoiding eye-contact. They are however, rather attentive to
your wife?s golf swing these days.

Finally, your doctor puts you on meds for your stomach, meds for
anxiety, meds to help you sleep, and viagra "just for emergencies."
Your boss tells you you look like hell and to take some time off, and
by the way, here's the number for the mental health worker. But none
of this really helps. You are physically and mentally shattered.

How illogical of you. 

The trouble is, as the ?victim? you really can?t discount the
emotional aspects of extramarital sexual relations. They manifest
themselves physically and throughout all other aspects of your life.
The fact that you are IN a marriage means it IS emotional. That?s why
you?re married. Once the emotional tie is gone, you may as well just
split up and go your own ways.

I think (just to play devil?s advocate here) the alternate question to ask is:

In today?s Western society, what are the LOGICAL / RATIONAL /
NON-EMOTIONAL reasons to justify an extramarital affair after the
child-rearing years have passed? In other words, what logical
advantage does it bring to *each* partner over a) being monogamous or;
b) splitting up?

For one take on that, read:

The Erotic Silence of the American Wife by Dalma Heyn

There you will read why good girls do. ;-)

Thanks for a great thought-provoking question!  Between the social,
evolutionary, and behavioral issues it engenders, it would lend itself
wonderfully to a lively debate (or all-out pandemonium!) in a room
full of knowledgeable people. It?s been in the back of mind since you
posted it, and Tehuti?s response triggered me to write something this
morning. I?m glad she posted.

- K~
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: curioussam-ga on 03 Dec 2003 15:33 PST
	THe risk you outline is that the person will be upset (leave or
physical retrobution).  Upset because of deception.
	If expectation was not monogamy from the onset, then they won't be
upset (excluding completely irrational behavior).

	Stable partnership: Why does promise of life-long monogamy increase
stability?  Wouldn't a promise of stability be more to the point?
	If promise of stability is not enough? Then why would a promise of
life-long monogamy be enough?

	"most of the people" may ask why "*I*" should be monogamous.  I am
not asking that question.
	I truly ask to understand why two individuals, whose goal is a
fulfilling life-long relationship, would need a promise of life-long
monogamy to increase their chances of success.
	You use the word "cheating".  Isn't it only cheating if there's
deception involved?

	Being left at home: neglecting your partner at home is another issue;
neglect can result from many things other than non-monogamy (e.g.,
working too much)

	"Suspect something"..."forensics"..."cheating"..."Now, you know." 
Again, you're assuming non-monogamy requires deception.

	"Nothing lost right?"  Of course, there's much lost in your example,
but it's not monogamy.  The loss is trust due to deception, the
antithesis of trust.

	Just dramatizing the societal neurosis that has conditioned you to
automatically equate non-monogamy with deception.

	"Illogical"?  Not at all.  If you life-long partner has broken trust
via deception (on any topic), the behavior you describe is probably
not healthy, but it's understandable.

	"Victim".  What is the true "crime"?  monogamy or the deception?

	Consider the non-deceptive case.  Consider a deep trusting and caring
relationship.  Why wouldn't you want your partner to live grow and
live their own life as long as it didn't effect you?
	If your partner was out working late or if they were banging their
colleague.   *All things being equal*, why should it effect you?

	At the end of your comments you introduce "child-rearing" but don't
elaborate.  What does child-rearing have to do with the question?

Your comments seem all predicated upon the assumption of monogamy in
the first place.
If you consider being in a relationship without the expectation of
monogamy, then deception is no longer necessary, right?
If you then say you would never enter into a non-monogamous
relationship, then for what rational reason (why)?
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: pinkfreud-ga on 03 Dec 2003 16:25 PST
What a great answer, pafalafa-ga! Like most of the best GA answers, it
is both thought-provoking and entertaining.

All I can add is a fragment of verse that is variously attributed to
Ogden Nash, Doctor Seuss, William James, and Dorothy Parker:

Hogamus, higamus
Men are polygamous
Higamus, hogamus
Women monogamous.

My own theory about the ditty above is that it was composed on the sly
by Soupy Sales, but I doubt that the Soupster will ever 'fess up. ;-)
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: hedgie-ga on 04 Dec 2003 17:23 PST
As a PS,  Sam

re: " The clear tendency to
take a anthropology tact seems to reinforce that sexual monogamy is in
place at least in part because of legacy".

  Not really. Antropology studies humans and their emotions in the context
of culture - since that is the only way to understand humans. It does not
limits itself the the past, to primitive cultures, to dominant
cultures and it does not applies judgement. One of its contribution is
that defines the terms:
 Monogamy vs polygamy are forms of marriage - and marriage is a cultural 
phenomenon - and indeed, very much affected by tradition. For many people,
being monogamous means 'not cheating on a spouse' and that is a different
meaning, for other it means chhosing an 'open lifestyle', open 'marriage' or
polyfidelity. So, the terms were not clarified enough to present a coherent
argument. One rational is argument is that you will have smaller
number of prospective partners, when openly proclaim your preference.
Assuming for the moment that you are a heterosexual male living in US,
you may compensate a bit by moving to San Francisco - but still.
Science has proven that women think differently then men and that
emotions are important for them.
many just will not go for 'rational' arguments.

I suggest that you rerad/reread Huxley's Brave New World.
Subject: Re: Life-long Monogamy
From: hedgie-ga on 05 Dec 2003 04:03 PST

 "chhosing an 'open lifestyle', open 'marriage' or

I meant (obviously, I hope)
  " for others   monogamy means opposite of 'open lifestyle', open marriage,
or polyfidelity and polyamory (which are the search terms here)"

Sorry about the typos.

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