Friday, August 27, 2010
It's cultural and religious
Even most not particularly religious Americans believe in the concept of monogamy or at the least serial monogamy. The idea of multiple partners at the same time is upsetting to people, and it isn't really about partisanship or religion. It might well be cultural as I recently read 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' by Stieg Larsson and the viewpoint toward monogamy (he was Swedish) was different, but then there have always been free-thinkers (called libertines by some) who have a looser view of monogamy.
The link above was discussing a book called Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethà which I have not read, not sure if I will either, but it sounds like an interesting look at the history of human sexuality. I have often asked the question of why do we expect to pick out a partner at youth that will last through our entire lives? What in our history has gotten us to this place? Obviously religions but did it begin there? People expect so much from monogamy; so is there a logical reason for that?
The review said that the book makes the case that the concept of monogamy being essential and even natural began with the agricultural society where humans could acquire and keep possessions. When you travel a lot with a hunter gatherer society, you must have only what is required and the tribe is more connected to each other as they depend on one another for survival. Once possessions come into play, then one must be sure of keeping them and in particular men considered their children their possessions. Can't have a wife fooling around even if the husband has several wives, mistresses, or concubines.
Today, in the United States, there are those who consensually enter into non-monogamous relationships but for the most part, they keep it secret from society. It is not considered okay. It has to be 'two-by-two they go' or others get nervous or even aggressive in expressing their disapproval. Is this inherent or taught?