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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Monogamy myth?

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Author Topic: Monogamy myth?
KittenGoddess
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I was just reading this article called The Myth of Monogamy at Salon.com, and I wondered what anyone else thought about this. Basically it says that nature has made us polyamourous, and that monogamy is a very unnatural state for both humans and animals. Therefore cheating within relationships isn't abnormal because that's just the way we're made.

Personally, I don't really think I agree with that. And I think that trying to use "nature vs. nurture" in an argument about cheating within a committed relationship doesn't really cut it for me. While we are similar to animals in some ways, there are quite a few differences, therefore I find the comparison lacking when it comes to acceptable behavior.

~KittenGoddess

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"You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip."
~Jonathan Carroll


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Bobolink
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If you want a counter arguement, read "The Naked Ape" by Desmond Morris. His contention is that all of the higher primates pair-bond.
There have been some attempts to set up polyamourus human communities. As far as I know, they have all failed as the urge to pair-bond is stronger.

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All paper clips are born free, but they live in chains


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ErinK
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Grr. Arguments that draw from sociobiology about damn near anything get my blood boiling.

Anyways, regardless of "nature," at this point culture is what drives humans more (in my opnion, of course). Our culture is set up, in large part, to value monogamy and to place it at the center of many human institutions, and I would argue that that's the stronger force than biology.

I mean, if you want to talk about "natural" or "unnatural" states...sheesh. Everything we've constructed is "unnatural," isn't it?

But people still cheat, and some people do polyamorous relationships (see http://www.polyamory.org if you'd like some information about people who do), and some people pair bond, and a zillion variations in between.

I know of some polyamorous communities, and of quite a few people who do polyamorous relationships (myself being one of them) and I know that I resent having my relationship structure being compared to cheating (not that either of you were implying that) and I also resent the idea that I'm somehow More HIghly Evolved or Just Following Nature by doing what I'm doing.

I do what I do cause it works for me. Period. And I'd never tell anyone else what works for them is wrong -- however, I do have to say that I don't like cheating, and I don't think that it usually proves to be a viable solution.

</rant>

Erin


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KittenGoddess
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I didn't mean to imply that there was anything wrong with being involved in a polyamourous relationship (I just want to make sure I'm being clear here in what I said). That's a personal choice, and I'm not going to judge anyone based on that. I simply meant that saying that "natural instinct" was an excuse for infidelity in committed relationships (pair bond or otherwise) was not acceptable to me.

And I think you're absolutely right Erin about labeling things as "natural" or "unnatural".

~KittenGoddess

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"You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip."
~Jonathan Carroll

[This message has been edited by KittenGoddess (edited 01-28-2001).]


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Heather
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And I'd agree Kitten.

When it comes down to agreements you make with people, unless it's simply "unnatural" to honor agreements, nature has but monkey poop to do with it.

(You know, sometimes when I censor my language here I sound more ridiculous and obscene than if I'd just said what I meant in the forst place.)

Having one partner or twenty, or being attracted to one person or more than one isn't one and the same as what you agree to do with another human being, and we do have the freedom to make those agreements (or not) as we deem best -- a short few of us have someone putting a gun to our heads telling us to be monogamous or polyamorous if we don't want to be.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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Kechara
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Oh darn, look what happens when I'm not obsessibely checking the board, someone posts something I just *have* to respond to and then other people come along and say exactly what I wanna say!
what's "natural" for humans is to have highly adaptable behavior (I mean, what else is intelligence for?). Sure, natural impulses probably have some to do with it too, but those also vary from person to person... and it's up to the person in question to figure out how best to deal with 'em.

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ThisGuy
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The bottom line is, whatever our ancestors did, we have a choice.

Saying: "nature intended me to be this way - its not my fault I cheated!" is crap. On your way to the zoo, say hello to the security guard, Mr. Monkey.

We have the ability to reason, the ability to make commitments, and the discipline to carry them through. We are not animals - although some species do have life-partners. Monogamy is not just a human behaviour.

Of course, I say all this using an abstract "we" - I do not demean myself with the description "Homo Sapiens Sapiens". ;p

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Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!


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DC_WillowFan
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I'm going to take this topic as if I hadn't seen anything.

I believe in both systems, personnaly I'd probably keep only one partner because of the emotions it envolves but I consider that both systems are good and that it's one of the first things young couples should discuss. It's all a deal of trust between both. Anyway, I really think that monogamy is a myth "invented" by humans because of our feelings.

David

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- I hope I shall be able to confide in you conpletely, as I have never been able to do in anyone before, and I hope that you will be a great support and comfort to me.

Anne Frank to her journal
(1929-1945)


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