Yesterday I got into a discussion with some friends about the idea of monogamy. They were pitching a story idea about a couple who find themselves in another dimension where women can read men’s minds and there’s no concept of monogamy and the boyfriend wants to go home because he loves his girlfriend and doesn’t want to share her.
I brought up the point, “why would he want to leave?” And that seemed to offend some people who thought I was bringing my own biased opinion of monogamy into the discussion. I got kind of flustered cause I didn’t really expect the discussion to become so polarized and I didn’t get across my intended meaning coherently before we moved on to the next group who’d begun pitching their story.
I think what people thought I meant was that “monogamy is dumb, and you should get to have sex with lots of women.” While, my idea does kind of lean toward that point, I only meant that I didn’t see why he couldn’t still “love” her and not be monogamous? Can’t you have a committed companion and still have a personal sexual identity? Look at Adult Film actors, a lot of them are married. They have their work and then they have their home life with their partner.
I don’t see why people impose on themselves arbitrary restrictions of who they can and can’t get close to. That implies a certain amount of ownership over the other person’s body. And I mean, that’s a great idea if you’re trying to make sure that the offspring you create with another partner is 100% yours and not some other person’s… but if you’re not planning on having children, why the restriction? That’s really how marriage got started and it wasn’t about love, it was about lineage and securing alliances with other tribes since you’d be less likely to invade or attack a kingdom or tribe if you had members of your own kingdom or tribe married into it. The woman often had absolutely no choice in the matter and was forced to marry some person she’d never met before.
Now, I can already imagine that if you’ve read this far you’re wondering “well what about jealousy? I couldn’t even imagine my girlfriend or boyfriend having sex with someone else.” That’s a mix of society and biology my friend. Society has raised us from a very young age to adhere to the one man/one woman paradigm. Disney, (well, ALL movies really) Books, Advertisements; we are constantly being told to “pair off”. The biological aspect is what I mentioned earlier… “What if the child isn’t mine”! Well if you’re not having children it doesn’t matter!
Monogamy rarely exists in the animal kingdom. Yes there are examples, but there are far more instances of polygamy in a Patriarchal system then a monogamous system. Lions, pretty much all the primates other than Bonobos, and many others. If you want to read an interesting article on why men are by nature polygamists read this from Psychology Today.
So coming back to the beginning question, “Why would he want to leave?” I think people thought I had some misogynist reason for not liking monogamy, but monogamy is misogyny! It’s telling women, you belong to me. You are my property (since how many men are secretly cheating on their wives? Ahem, Tiger Woods!!)
What I’m arguing may sound kinda hippie-ish, but I believe sex can be a way of connecting with people and sharing an intimate moment between friends and even acquaintances to build a stronger emotional bond with another human being. The idea that you only have one kind of love for one person is, in my opinion, ridiculous.
There, that’s my rant for today. Please let me know what you think. Comments (and especially if you disagree) are welcomed!