A rational observer will notice that human beings are not naturally a pair-bonding species. In our culture, about 50% of married women and about 70% of married men will have extra-marital sex at some time during their marriage. Some sociologists and other researchers theorize the percentages would be much higher, if not for the religious connotation of "sin," the religion-based laws about adultery, and the stigma associated with peoples' natural sexual preferences. Monogamy over an extended period of time appears to be an unrealistic expectation, one that causes huge amounts of human suffering, pain, and of course, legal fees. For many married people, monogamy is a form of sexual slavery.

The institution of marriage is inherently flawed by the idealistic fantasy of monogamy until "death do us part." Why not improve marriage to become a secular contract of partnership that does not require monogamy? Instead, monogamy could be an option that couples could add to their contract at any time they want, especially during times when they want to have children.

An important part of a non-monogamous marriage contract would be each partner's responsibility to keep the other informed of his/her sexual contacts, with an emphasis on safe sex. An important part of freedom from monogamy is a reduction over time of the notion that marriage implies "ownership" of the spouse. One beneficial end result might be a significant reduction in domestic violence.

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I really don't think there's enough evidence either way to prove whether or not any part of a poly amorous relationship is in any way superior to monogamy. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but it's not conclusive if either is more or less beneficial to the adults involved or the children being raised in a poly amorous household.

I would think that financially kids would be more stable since I'd assume more adults would work, but I don't know if emotionally either would provide a benefit or drawback. I would need to see more data.

Getting back to your point of monogamy being contrary to our nature, I think that poly amorous relationships are simply a modern day coping mechanism to counteract the nuclear family. Any psychologist or psychiatrist or marriage counselor will usually tell couples that if they are seeking sex outside the relationship, it's usually the beginning of the end for that couple.

I'm not a doctor, but in my opinion I'd have to agree that two people would form a stronger emotional bond than a group would, but that doesn't mean that that bond would be more healthy.
Noah: I agree with you that polyamorous relationships are typically less stable and not as long-lasting. (Anecdotally, all of the polyamorous people I know are single or divorced). I don't think of polyamory as an alternative to monogamy for maintaining a family relationship. More often it is some variation of serial monogamy. In my counseling experience, a significant number of couples who have ended their sexual relationship have stayed together as partners chiefly because they love each other and don't want to break up their families. In some cases, one will stay home and keep the kids while the spouse has a date, then vice versa on another night. I also had couples who went through a "married but dating" phase and then later fell in love with each again, and renewed their marriage vows. Many people lose their sexual ardor for their spouse in the three to five year period. It's a shame that has to automatically lead to divorce.
Well, we haven't met, but I'd then be the first of a different kind: polyamorous and married (happily)... :-)
boy, i wish i had met you before my divorce.
People aren't taught how to be ethical, or how to have relationships.

the nerd, as a comment on your first statement, isn't it because being non-monogamous is not seen as a viable option? its illegal if you want to marry more than one person, so how could anybody teach non-monogamous ethics?

btw, i agree with your statements.

That's a good point... kinda like rants against the evils of drug use. So many of the 'evils' are in fact not related to drug use but to drug prohibition. The same could be said of polygamy for example, what we know are not necessarily the ills of polygamy per se but the ills of polygamy prohibition. It's modern Christian morals who declared polygamy to be "wrong" and prohibit it. Previous to Abrahamic faiths, humans mated/procreated in any number of variations.

A long-delayed reply to "How could anybody teach non-monogamous ethics?"


Teach non-monogamous ethics by omitting marriage from the course description, as my kid brother and his girlfriend 30 years ago omitted marriage from their lives. He is 66 now.


A belief that monogamy requires marriage exists only in the minds of people who long ago had the belief put there and who have not removed it.


Ditto for a belief that marriage requires monogamy.


My wife, who for several years had taught in a school system with a comprehensive sex education program that started in second grade, and I removed that belief. We spoke with two couple about spouse swapping and found that after a party we went home more turned on than we'd been when we went to the party.


Several years later we separated, not due to jealousy issues but because we had both grown up in old-world European families that discouraged talk because it interfered with work. We saw a counselor and after our divorce we both joined a large singles club. At its Sunday evening meetings we occasionally danced with each other, surprising a few of the club's members. About thirty years later in another state, we find that we live about fifty miles away from each other and have a long phone chat.


Monogamy requires marriage and marriage requires monogamy only in the minds of people who believe they do.


Could the person who started this discussion back up those statistics with verifiable sources.

You could verify them. Rather easily. Will you try?


Good idea, but flawed reasoning from a cultural stand point. Relegion and the mainstream culture would. Not allow for tbhis. No matter how much it would benefit society.
In addition to marriage statistics, I read several years ago that 20% of the children in western civilisation are not of the 'official' father.

As a biologist, I must break monogamy down into 2 items: fathering, sperm donor.

Nature offers plenty of examples which appear monogamous in their 'fathering' roles, however after clutch analysis, a significant percentage of offspring (different in all species) is from a different progenitor, even in species which were historically thought to be 'as monogamous as good christians'. This was a beautiful example of how religious education affected our views of nature, by posing a hypothesis that made sense from a Christian standpoint then looking hard to verify that hypothesis, instead of observing the varied behaviours and then setting hypotheses to reflect those observations instead of our religious biases.

Historically speaking weaker women have long been under men's "thumb". But that in no way impeded "satellite males" from 'popping in for a visit' while the dominant male was away hunting. All religion did was 'officialise' women's property status for the benefit of males who weren't powerful enough to accomplish it with blunt force.

I think a perfectly atheist society would raise children in communities vs families, and at this level of population on earth, that should be very few children. Unfortunately, I think in a perfectly atheist society males would still display a degree of territoriality over women, as it seems to be a very common animal behaviour. I could only hope that in this 'perfectly atheist society', women could decide to mate according to their own desires, and raise their girls to be physically nearly as strong as men, by proper feeding and activities. Women with enough strength and determination can hold their own to a band of wild men, especially if the women have a tight sisterhood.



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