Staying forever with our one and only better half is what most of us dream about. Once you find the elusive ‘one,’ you cannot imagine letting them go. Building a relationship with roots of loyalty, faith, and trust – the idea of each partner going elsewhere for sexual gratification is out of the question.
From around 5000 species of mammals including human beings, only 3 to 5 percent tend to form monogamous, lifelong relationships. Monogamy is when two people make vows to each other. They promise to stay together and never indulge in sexual contact with someone other than their primary partner while polygamy is the practice of having more than one sexual partner at the same time.
You would be surprised to know that a committed partnership between a man and a woman has not always been the universal norm. Humans carry the evolutionary imprint of polygamy. The practice of monogamy initiated only around 1000 years ago.
Types of monogamy
As for human beings, there are two types of monogamy:
Sexual monogamy: This is when a couple remains sexually active exclusively with one person.
Social monogamy: When two people live together, find resources in co-operation with each another. They raise their children together, but they have flings with other people as well.
Needless to say, this defies the moral stature that is formulated by the societies today. Families are considered as a prestigious institution of the community. Uncertainty or confusion of fatherhood is a given in cases of polygamy. This may result in deterioration of moral spectrum of children.
Are humans sexually monogamous? Not Really.
To state that human beings are wired to be monogamous would be a false statement. It is entirely unnatural for human beings to stay attracted to a single partner for the lifetime. 80 percent of the early human societies practiced polygamy. The system evolved with the passage of time, and now modern societies firmly believe this shall bring order in the communities.
At this point in time, only 17 percent of human cultures are monogamous. It is stated by anthropologists that only 1 out of 6 societies implement monogamy as the rule of marriage. While some anthropologists also believe that human beings could either be polygamous or monogamous. Impulses for each vary according to the individual’s cognitive levels. At times resembling mixed dementia, the sexual urge a person feels is constantly modifying.
Stephanie Coonz, a History and Family Studies professor at Evergreen State College, provides cultural patterns as the determent of monogamy.
“We are trying to figure out how to combine long-term romantic relationships with the plethora of opportunities for other forms of sexual or romantic entanglement, and different people are making different choices.”
Coonz asserts that it is the culture which determines their inclination, neither biological construct nor genetics.
A Latest Human Development
Monogamy, as we find is a recent practice of humanity. It is a societal recreation of present times. Men and women, as per the statement of David P. Brash, seek multiple sexual partners for numerous biological reasons. It is only a social construct that shaped as a response to the need for child-rearing, financial and material security.
Monogamy – pros and cons
There are some benefits associated with the practice of monogamy as well as some disadvantages that could be detrimental to the communities. The biggest gain from monogamy is the stable brought-up of children. It could sometimes be a marriage of convenience where partners stay together for the sake of their children.
Nonetheless, monogamy brings in certain demerits too. At times, it forces a person to commit infidelity or cheat on their partner. They cannot resist the sexual urge to some people, and they find unfair means to gratify their needs. Almost 90 percent of Americans think cheating is morally wrong. However, ironically, 70 percent have just thought about cheating while 40 percent actually committed cheating on their better halves. Frustration and boredom are not uncommon in monogamous relations.
According to an NBC survey, usually at some point, most of the people would cheat on their partners:
Troubles with polygamy
There are uncountable examples of how people escape a monogamous relationship due to their attraction towards someone other than their partner. This behavior is the demonstration of the innate polygamous tendencies possessed by human beings.
Polygamous attitude, on the other hand, is also followed by complications. A person may feel jealousy, fear of losing out, intense competitive vibes and various ugly emotions gather up within. Dealing with them is a next level struggle in itself.
To keep oneself secure, psychologically sound and serene; it is often recommended that a couple stays loyal. Lifelong commitments would mean there is honesty between two people. The care and love for their counter-part would keep them away from sustaining sexual pleasure elsewhere.
In a nutshell, human beings are not exactly monogamous by nature. It is a product of social construct, but as long as it brings communal stability and satisfaction to the individuals, it should be continued in the same pattern. Polygamy and monogamy are two sexual orientations which may vary from one person to another. Each makes a choice according to their norms. Sometimes, while repelling the normative influences, they find themselves at a place that keeps them happy yet makes them lose their stature in society.
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia