Here’s an MSN article I can sink my teeth into: http://living.msn.com/love-relationships/love-sex/is-monogamy-outdated?ocid=todlf11 - and I’ll kinda begin this blog with the end of the article, which says (in part), “The problem is, times have changed and monogamy hasn’t caught up yet. The world has become smaller and everything (and everyone) is more easily accessible. We just have more opportunities to stray these days….”
Certainly, times have changed since it was decided for us that monogamy was the way to go; people have changed and, thanks to our new dependence on electronics and the Internet, there are more people “available” and, yep, the world is made much smaller.
We see resistance to societal norms, not only here at home but worldwide where people are realizing that the old ways ain’t exactly working well in this new world. The concept of monogamy is, as you’ve heard me say, ancient and so old that scientists can’t really agree on when humans got into this behavior although there is data that says that monogamy really got a full head of steam at the beginning of the Industrial Age of man – the 16th century.
As I’ve quantified before, monogamy does work for some folks while, for others, well, not so much. You can read here on the blogosphere where a lot of people blog about cheating and how utterly horrible this is and fingers gets pointed all over the place as to who carries the most blame in this… and really blaming the wrong people; don’t hate the players, hate the creators of the game.
We practice social, marital, and sexual monogamy and while history bears out the necessity of this behavior, say, in the 16th century, do those conditions exist today? Is monogamy a necessity given what it takes to survive today?
A lot of people think is it; even the people who try it and consistently fail at it thinks that it is… and maybe that’s because we’ve been going at this for so long, we don’t know of any other way to be; you’re either single or in a monogamous relationship and, don’t forget, marriage isn’t the only monogamous state two people could find themselves in.
It’s an ingrained, learned behavior; I feel safe saying that since somewhere around five hundred years of this practice also bears this out. Religions mandate it; it’s the glue of the social contract we all have with the societies we live in so being monogamous appears to be the only way people can live with each other… when, clearly, it isn’t – it’s just the “preferred” way.
When you enter into a relationship with someone and one of the things eating away at the back of your mind is whether or not your partner is going to cheat on you, well, that should tell you something. I’ve participated on so many discussions about cheating that I lost track of them – and saying “a lot” is mild. We try to discourage cheating by reinforcing the tenets of monogamy and, well, that really doesn’t work as well as it’s purported to work; otherwise, folks like John would be out of a job trying to reign folks back into monogamy’s yoke.
In a way, that’s like trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it, a situation that usually winds up with people and/or things getting very badly burned and damaged beyond salvage. Yet, this is the way we’re taught to behave and one of the other things we do when the house that is monogamy is on fire is to stand by and watch it burn because there’s no sense in trying to save it; easier to let it burn to the ground and start all over again.
Hope y’all brought some marshmallows…
At some point, the fact that monogamy needs to be totally overhauled (if not completely scrapped and rebuilt from scratch) is going to become more of an issue, if it hasn’t already, if the prosecution of those who practice polygamy and polygyny is any indication and, yeah, there’s a lot more of this going on that hasn’t gotten the media’s attention.
Eric Anderson, author of the book mentioned in the article, suggests that, “…monogamy is an irrational ideal because it fails to fulfil a lifetime of sexual desires. Cheating therefore becomes the rational response to an irrational situation.” I’d take it a step further and say that it also fails to fulfill a lifetime of emotional desires as well because not all cheating has something to do with sex.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels that monogamy needs to get with the times. However, even if this were to happen – and I think it’s very damned unlikely to – well, the hardest part is getting people to buy into it. I mean, we’re raised to be monogamous so imagine the reaction if we were now taught that we didn’t have to be? Alas, the God-fearing moral majority will do all that’s within its powers to keep monogamy unchanged… even when the dynamic is changing all around them.
Serenityluv says it’s being greedy and having one’s cake and eating it, too; I think it was Enigma, in one of her latest blogs, that asked the question about sexual equality between men and women (among other things); I’ve read where Mystery, in her latest rant, says she doesn’t date ’cause she has no use for it and probably because being in a relationship, for her, is more trouble than it’s worth; I guess the thought here is that it’s easier to be single, although reading her rant kinda suggests that, hmm, no, not so much as one might think.
There are tons of blogs and other writings trying to figure out what’s the best way for men and women to get along with each other and in ways that everyone’s needs are being met and, frankly, monogamy doesn’t seem qualified to handle this 21st century necessity because the gist of the whole thing is that people are kinda sick and tired of being all by themselves… but for them, monogamy causes more problems than it eliminates. Monogamy doesn’t bring out the best in us; indeed, doesn’t it bring out the worst? Think about that one for a moment.
I’m gonna try to get my hands on a copy of the book mentioned in the article…
- The myths of monogamy (oup.com)