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Author Topic: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?  (Read 15727 times)

Offline Matt Emery

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Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« on: March 22, 2008, 10:50:11 AM »
Quotes:
Among human societies, polygyny is by far the most common marital system (Ford and Beach, 1951). George Murdock's (1967) Ethnographic Atlas presents a categorization of 849 societies. Of these, 709 are polygynous and only four are polyandrous (women being permitted more than one husband).  As noted above, in officially monogamous societies like our own, men are usually recognized as being more attracted to the idea of extra-marital sex than women, and many socially powerful men maintain mistresses as well as legal wives.

The Guinness Book of Records lists sixty-nine as the greatest number of children ever produced by a woman, compared with an official male record of 888 contributed by the last Sharatan Emperor of Morocco. Had he been inclined towards monogamy, his genes would have been much rarer in the world today.
Glenn Wilson, The Great Sex Divide, pp. 51-53. Peter Owen (London) 1989; Scott-Townsend (Washington D.C.) 1992.

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Anthropologists report that the overwhelming majority of human societies either are polygynous or were polygynous prior to the cultural homogenization of recent decades. They also suggest that individuals are mildly polygynous, having evolved in a system in which one man maintains a harem. This, incidentally, helps explain the persistent sex appeal of successful, dominant men, whether they be high-ranking politicians, movie or rock stars, glamorous athletes or wealthy entrepreneurs. Power, as Henry Kissinger once noted, is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

We are imbued by Western culture with monogamous ideals. Yet, like other living things, we're often compelled by our biology to depart from monogamy.
David P. Barash, professor of psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle from his book, "The Myth of Monogamy".

........................................................

My opinion:
I think that sexual monogamy is a social construct, designed by humans in order to encourage social harmony.  And although I take the position that sexual monogamy is inconsistent with our biological tendencies, I do think that it can be extremely complimentary to a sustainable kinship between two individual humans.

It would appear (from anthropological perspective) that it is indeed natural to want to breed with many different people, and in my opinion; that is far from evil or wrong (which are human philosophical concepts that do not exist elsewhere in nature).  However, polygynous actions leading to the betrayal of a monogamous kinship 'pact' do tend to arouse biologically natural emotions such as jealousy, anger and disgust.... which creates quite a conundrum.

In conclusion; kinship is natural, monogamy is not.  But ironically, both of these are inextricably linked.

Any thoughts? ...apart from moralistic viewpoints  ;)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2008, 10:55:07 AM by Matt Emery »
"Be true to your biology"

Offline Seeker

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2008, 05:47:18 PM »
Er...no comment.  :) God has made it very clear as far as I am concerned.

Offline BigKhanz

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2008, 11:35:14 PM »
Statistically women almost always outnumber men in any given population.

Why is that?

It's an excellent argument against "natural" monogamy?

Then again, monogamy is one of many concepts that exists in society, but does not occur in nature.
Guys like me aren't born this way, actually we're not born at all. We're hatched from vulture eggs left in the sun, then raised by Wolves...

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2008, 11:43:42 PM »
I agree, in biology we (homo-sapiens) are known as the "tragically confused species".  We're neither 'tournament' or pair bonding', we are somewhere in the middle of the two - and a quick look at society confirms this.

Monogamy is for swans  ;)
"Be true to your biology"

Offline BigKhanz

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2008, 12:13:42 AM »
I don't know if it's just for the Swans.

Monogamy may not be natural, but many of the things we fight for so hard in life aren't either. There is no such thing as "equal rights" in nature. It is possibly the most "unnatural" concept ever conceived. That doesn't make it a bad thing though.

And it's human nature to take the path of least resistance. And dealing with one just crazy woman is definitely easier.

Personally, I practice "Serial Monogamy". There's only one woman for me. At a time.
Guys like me aren't born this way, actually we're not born at all. We're hatched from vulture eggs left in the sun, then raised by Wolves...

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2008, 12:40:45 AM »
True, the species that prevail are not the fittest, rather, they are the ones with most adaptability.

"Serial Monogamy" is what I practice too - but I sometimes wonder about "Sororal polygyny"  :P

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygyny#Sororal_polygyny
"Be true to your biology"

Offline BigKhanz

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2008, 12:47:06 AM »
What you've never dated twins?
Guys like me aren't born this way, actually we're not born at all. We're hatched from vulture eggs left in the sun, then raised by Wolves...

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2008, 01:04:41 AM »
What you've never dated twins?

Not in real life :)
"Be true to your biology"

Offline wheeler

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2008, 04:49:38 AM »
. And dealing with one just crazy woman is definitely easier.


Has it ever occured to you that the women may think that you're are the crazy one, and that is the reason why they are not flocking to you in masses

Offline Phanatic

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2008, 05:49:58 AM »
Calm down, Wheeler. On this board we're all friends and try to keep it civil.

Offline BigKhanz

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2008, 05:41:44 PM »
Oh, I'll gladly admit to being crazy!!!! ;D

While I certainly had no deliberate intention of offending any one, I have no apologies for my opinions either. So I will say it again: dealing with one woman is hard enough, regardless of the biological standpoint. Because girls are crazy. No crazier than guys, but crazy none the less.

And my being a crazy wildman is EXACTLY the reason I do have them "flocking" to me. Which is sad, because I tried settling down once or twice, but fate intervened and it didn't take... :'(
Guys like me aren't born this way, actually we're not born at all. We're hatched from vulture eggs left in the sun, then raised by Wolves...

Offline wheeler

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2008, 04:03:11 AM »
Calm down, Wheeler. On this board we're all friends and try to keep it civil.

OMG,  I was only kidding,   no offence meant
 :-*

Offline BigKhanz

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2008, 07:18:30 AM »
I know. I don't get offended easily.

But that right there is why I say only one woman. At a time.
Anything more and you go crazy.
Guys like me aren't born this way, actually we're not born at all. We're hatched from vulture eggs left in the sun, then raised by Wolves...

Offline Phanatic

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2008, 05:57:00 AM »
Calm down, Wheeler. On this board we're all friends and try to keep it civil.

OMG,  I was only kidding,   no offence meant
 :-*


Sorry, I thought you were serious.
Anyway, I think that men biologically want to have sex with multiple women, while it makes more sense for a woman to want one man, so he can stick around and raise the children and provide. We don't actually stray that far away from biology in a way, women are still drawn to the alpha males who have much more sex than average men.

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2008, 04:26:11 AM »
I sometimes wonder if monogamy evolved as a behavioural trait between male and female species to ensure procreation (and perhaps security for their offspring), and over numerous generations became imprinted genetically.
"Be true to your biology"

Offline BigKhanz

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2008, 08:12:48 AM »
Well, I was reading a study recentley that the areas of the brain triggered by "romantic love" are the same areas as that of addictions. Weird.
Guys like me aren't born this way, actually we're not born at all. We're hatched from vulture eggs left in the sun, then raised by Wolves...

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2008, 07:17:13 AM »
Well, I was reading a study recentley that the areas of the brain triggered by "romantic love" are the same areas as that of addictions. Weird.

True.
Dopamine and the Frontal Cortex... not always a good combination   :P
"Be true to your biology"

Offline Phanatic

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2008, 08:29:00 AM »
Yeah, sounds about right. Emotions are some of the most addictive drugs in the world.

Offline HelderLuis

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2008, 11:44:51 AM »
I believe both men and women have the desire to have sex with many different partners, but our society created these rules, almost everything in our lives isn't natural, we're not "allowed" to live by our nature, religions and society in general, have decided what are the rules that are normal and acepted, all the rest is seen as bad, as something that can't be done. The powers that rule us, simply want to tame our human spirit, and keep us in the path of the sheep.

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2008, 05:42:29 PM »
I believe both men and women have the desire to have sex with many different partners, but our society created these rules, almost everything in our lives isn't natural, we're not "allowed" to live by our nature, religions and society in general, have decided what are the rules that are normal and acepted, all the rest is seen as bad, as something that can't be done. The powers that rule us, simply want to tame our human spirit, and keep us in the path of the sheep.

Sort of... I think we (as a civilisation) have made certain compromises to maintain peace and security, but as you've pointed out; sometimes the means become the ends.
"Be true to your biology"

Offline Darkfire

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Re: Monogamy - is it biologically natural?
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2008, 02:51:42 AM »
I am no scientist but I really do not think there is any evidence to state our genetics want us to  be with one partner for life. I have always said, humans do not mate for life. Everytime someone says something sad about divorce or breakups or cheating that is my response. Marriage is a human construct.  I think many of the knee jerk reactions to a poly lifestyle come from the fear of loss. A man doesn't want to lose his property and a woman doesn't want to lose a provider. Strip away all the moral constructs we've added and I think that is what happens.  I think if we allowed ourselves to feel more we'd constantly be seeking better matches to our genetics to make new humans.  Me? I am married, I am poly and voluntarily chose sterilization to avoid having kids.  However, there are those that I feel their genetics might keep them mono, or the urge to breed is so buried. I dunno...I wish we could do more studies on this but I think the fear factor is too high.  An exception to that rule as it were. Maybe there isn't, maybe it's their morals.

Either way it's way too early in the morning to have this deep of a conversation, Ima go get a slab of beef and have some more water.