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Monogamy Unnatural in the Natural World

 
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 04:43 pm
@ebrown p,
I wasn't really considering "faithful" as part of the definition, although if a woman was dating Man A, broke up with him and started dating Man B with no overlap, I would consider her both faithful and monogamous.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 05:00 pm
@engineer,
Quote:
if a woman was dating Man A, broke up with him and started dating Man B with no overlap, I would consider her both faithful and monogamous.


OK then. So someone who has sex with a different partner each night would be monogamous as long as she clearly ends each relationship by the end of the night?

you wrote:
I would say it is one partner over an extended time period. In mammals, I would say that it would extend through multiple reproductive cycles.


The more interesting case is if a woman has been married to Man A for a long time, and is still married to him when she starts having sex with ("dating" isn't the issue) Man B.

By your definition about, in this case (assuming she waited the requisite "multiple reproductive cycles") the unfaithful woman would be, by your definition, monogamous.

Edit: I want to give the Prince credit for the first idea I raise. I removed the initial reference to avoid any unintended offense.
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 05:20 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

My point is simply -- if "unnatural" is used as a synonym for "unusual," there are a lot of unusual/ unnatural things about humans, from our pathetically weak babies to the way we use language. That doesn't necessarily mean much.


Shitting and pissing in porcelain, cooking food, and wearing undies is unnatural.



0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 05:56 pm
@the prince,
you go Prince
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 06:12 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:

Quote:
if a woman was dating Man A, broke up with him and started dating Man B with no overlap, I would consider her both faithful and monogamous.


OK then. So someone who has sex with a different partner each night would be monogamous as long as she clearly ends each relationship by the end of the night?

No, I would say that sex with numerous partners during one reproductive cycle is not monogamous.
ebrown p wrote:

you wrote:
I would say it is one partner over an extended time period. In mammals, I would say that it would extend through multiple reproductive cycles.


The more interesting case is if a woman has been married to Man A for a long time, and is still married to him when she starts having sex with ("dating" isn't the issue) Man B.

By your definition about, in this case (assuming she waited the requisite "multiple reproductive cycles") the unfaithful woman would be, by your definition, monogamous.

Edit: I want to give the Prince credit for the first idea I raise. I removed the initial reference to avoid any unintended offense.


If she were married for years, dumped hubby and took up with a new man for an extended time, yes. If she returned to her husband while dating the new man, no, not monogamous.

I'm good with the Wikipedia definition:
Quote:
Monogamy is the state of having only one husband, wife, or sexual partner at any one time. The word monogamy comes from the Greek word monos "μονός", which means one or alone, and the Greek word gamos "γάμος", which means marriage or union. In many cases, the word "monogamy" is used to specifically refer to marital monogamy.


How you define "at any one time" is the key. If you define that as "lifetime", then I think monogamy is rare, but I don't define it that way. I stick with my earlier post that a woman who dates one man exclusively, then starts dating another man exclusively is monogamous.
0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 07:57 pm
@ebrown p,
blame the pagan Romans, it's all their fault.
0 Replies
 
the prince
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 01:26 am
Hmmm...since reproductive cycles dont apply to me.....am I still monogamous??????
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 08:32 pm
I think the definition of monogamy is quite simple.

One sexual relationship at a time. No matter how long that time is.

But, I think that in order to consider a relationship a monogamous one, you need to be 'together' long enough to establish a standing relationship.
How long does that take? Well, I think that is up to the people participating in that relationship.
A friends with benefits relationship for example, can be monogamous so long as they dont have a sexual relationship with anyone else at the time and that relationship can begin as quickly as exchanging emails over a day or so .

A relationship that is 'dating' but not serious , as in marriage goal , can be monogamous so long as neither partner is physically sexual with anyone else other than the second person in the relationship and that can take months to develop.

It is not about the time it takes to develop the relationship, or HOW the relationship develops... I think the concept of monogamy is simply having only one sexual relationship at a time.
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 08:36 pm
oh, and yes.. I think long term monogamy is unnatural.

care to expand on that? No i dont. ha
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  4  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 08:43 pm
The many different definitions of the word "monogamy" are interesting, but I think the question raised by the article is more important.

Are the expectations of long term sexual exclusivity that are central to modern Western society unrealistic?

The form of "marriage" strongly promoted and sanctioned by Western society is supposed to be life-long (the vows normally improve the phrase "'till death do us part") and involve complete sexual exclusivity.

This goal of life-long sexual exclusivity almost certainly goes against human nature. This is the hypothesis at the center of this argument.

This is a value at the center of our culture that runs counter to our nature and is rarely followed. That is what makes it interesting.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 08:47 pm
@shewolfnm,
Sure. No disagreement on that.

Oh, wait, I agreed mid argument.

Oh, well. I'm trouble enough by myself.
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 08:56 pm
@ossobuco,
ya know..

I wanted to disagree with myself almost immediately too.

There are people who have more then one partner IN their marriage..
are -they- monogamous?
Well.. in my mind.. no.

In my mind it simply means.. one at a time.. and one at a time after it is established that there is a 'relationship' going on.
One night stands dont count. That is just a need for sexual release and not the same as a relationship..

but..

these points have been discussed in the thread already.
forgive me for having alzheimers........monogamy gave it me
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 09:06 pm
@shewolfnm,
snorting in agreement.
0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 11:01 pm
@ebrown p,
Very nicely stated!
0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 11:08 pm
@shewolfnm,
One sexual relationship at a time and no matter how long that time says you; thus by default you must also say no matter how short that time is. The word relationship is without a doubt subjective at best and in fact I can cite examples of short term rather meaningful relationships and long term rather meaningless relationships.

Time is not a definitive yardstick for the level of meaningfulness.........that's wholly subjective.
0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 12:12 am
actually isn't monogamy the evolution of mating patterns? perhaps monogamy is the comittment of responsible adults to care for vulnerable young ones. monogamy is not about life, love, marraige or fidelity. maybe it's a survival tactic. so like where is the evolution taking us?

Check out Helen Fischer, anthropoligist and specialist in the field. She did teach at Rutgers.
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 12:33 am
@Sglass,
Monogamy, polygamy, 90% of people's lives...
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 07:56 am
I don't think every person should be expected to have a lifelong monogamous relationship.

I also don't think that every person who DOES have a lifelong monogamous relationship is deluded or has been manipulated by evil social forces.

It's way too individual for that.

The "natural" stuff seems to be a gloss on "don't make me feel guilty for not being monogamous." I really don't care what consenting adults do or don't do with their relationships. "Consenting" is important, though.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 08:46 am
@sozobe,
Sozobe, let me push a bit on the fine line you are drawing.

Will you accept that there are social pressures that push some people into a lifelong monogamous commitment that they will not, or can not fulfill?

It seems to me that a discussion of these social pressures, particularly their contribution the prevalence of infidelity and divorce in our society, is relevant.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 09:03 am
@ebrown p,
ebrown wrote:
It seems to me that a discussion of these social pressures, particularly their contribution the prevalence of infidelity and divorce in our society, is relevant.


Isn't that contradictory? If the social pressures contribute to the prevalence of divorce, then they're anti-(lifelong)*monogamous social pressures.

*I agree with engineer btw re: the definition of monogamy, in that "lifelong" is not part of it. A person who gets married, then divorced, then starts a new relationship, then gets married again has been monogamous.
 

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