Humans aren't Naturally Monogamous...now What?

rabbitwhite's picture

With the book “Sex at Dawn” coming out there a light is suddenly shed on research that shows humans are not naturally monogamous. From evolutionary psychology, we know that men are naturally non-monogamous, their urge being to spread as much seed as possible. But it was long believed that women were inherently monogamous, however, not exactly right. We now know that women are actually hypergamous by nature. Which means they are with one partner at a time, but are always looking for a trade-up. A partner who will bring home a bigger boar, who has a bigger cave.

So. Humans are naturally non monogamous. Most of us in relationships are going against our biology. Does this mean that you should just stop what you are doing, open your relationship up?

An easy answer is “it’s just biology, and you can overcome your biology.” This is true. I mean, we’ve been overcoming it for years, right. But I’m not sure that I can argue it has worked out too well. I think that it is important to look at what we know about our natural behavior, especially when culture dictates against it.

I don’t think that monogamy by default is good. I think that when you enter a relationship this is something that needs to be explored, questioned so you can find where you each are.

But, I think in order for non-monogamy to work you have to be ready for it, emotionally and psychologically. Personally, I don’t know that I could psychologically handle my husband having a girlfriend. The thing is that choosing non monogamy might suite your biology but is going against culture, against the world that has been impressed on you, against your thought patterns. I don’t think non-monogamy is any easier an answer. It takes a ridiculous amount of strength in self, and strength in your relationship. And further, blindly choosing non-monogamy can be just as damaging, if not more, than monogamy by default.

But what grounds a good relationship is not monogamy or non monogamy. Relationships are built on some basic tenets and virtues of how you approach life and how you will approach each other. Honesty, communication, self knowledge. I think for the most part, this stays solid, but the rest needs to be fluid.

It is normal to be attracted to other people. In my relationship, because we value honesty, I tell my partner when i feel attracted to other people, and when this attraction worries me. It keeps us on top of where we are, and what we feel is okay.

My partner and I are monogamous. Now, when one says something like “my partner and I are monogamous” we have this thing, where we think it has to mean forever. But just because something works for you now doesn’t mean it always will.I think we need to be more fluid in our relationships, and allow for change as we naturally change. Keep an open mind, whether you are monogamous or non.


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