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-   -   Why do we say "monogamous" ? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17656)

SchrodingersCat 11-24-2011 09:49 AM

Why do we say "monogamous" ?
 
We all make a big point of avoiding the "polygamous" label, but we throw around "monogamous" like it's the opposite of polyamorous. But literally, monogamous means one spouse. So technically, I'm polyamorous, monoandrous, and polysexual.

This has actually been on my mind lately... brought up by my other topic, because my husband is monoamorous but polysexual. I'm polyamorous, but only polysexual as a consequence of that; i.e. I don't engage in casual sex. He also feels that one marriage is more than enough trouble for his life, so he's also monogynous by choice, despite the fact that it's also enforced by law...

I just got thinking about this more today, reading a paper on polyamory* ... Anyway, the author made a point of mentioning that while monoamorous is the antithesis of polyamorous, he used the phrase monogamous for his survey because it was better understood by the population.

LoL also, my spellchecker is going nuts from all those "made-up" words...

*Morrison, T.G., Beaulieu, D., Brockman, M., & O'Beaglaoich, C. A comparison of polyamorous and monoamorous persons: Are there differences in indices of relationship well-being and sociosexuality? Psychology & Sexuality.

Edited: mixed up monogamy and monogyny. Monogamy is one spouse of either gender, monogyny is one wife.

nycindie 11-24-2011 10:16 AM

I actually was thinking about this the other day. I was wondering how the word monogamy, with it's -gamy ending, is applied to all dyadic relationships whether married or not, yet polygamy only refers to plural marriages. Maybe it's because Western culture just expected anyone who pairs up to eventually marry. Dating and not marrying is a fairly modern development. I meant to look up the etymology of -gamy and how it relates to marriage, but then forgot.

So, here's what I just found now at etymonline.com:
-gamous
comb. form meaning "marrying," from Gk. gamos "marriage" (see gamete) + -ous.

gamete
"sexual protoplasmic body," 1886, name introduced in Mod.L. by Austrian biologist Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), from Gk. gamete "a wife," gametes "a husband," from gamein "to take to wife, to marry," from PIE base *gem(e)- "to marry" (cf. Gk. gambros "son-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law;" Skt. jamih "brother, sister," jama daughter-in-law;" Avestan zama-tar "son-in-law;" L. gener "son-in-law"). This also is the source of the suffix in monogamy, etc. The seventh month of the ancient Attic calendar (corresponding to late January and early February) was Gamelion, "Month of Marriages."

Somegeezer 11-24-2011 01:47 PM

I don't, I generally use mono meaning the short of monoamorous, but by using just mono, even people who would read it as monoagmous understand it.

I'm against marriage altogether, so what would be the prefix to that "gamous"?

hyperskeptic 11-24-2011 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Somegeezer (Post 112493)
I'm against marriage altogether, so what would be the prefix to that "gamous"?

Agamous?

Regarding the whole thread, this is part of the reason I resist labels to begin with, perhaps especially 'polyamorous'. Labels are either too precise, or not precise enough, or perhaps precise in the wrong direction. Labels come with pre-packaged judgments and expectations attached, which I generally reject.

That said, I do think it appropriate to talk about compulsory monogamy, because that is the dominant model in Western culture: one woman and one man get married, raise children together, and remain steadfastly faithful to one another.

I am married, but no longer monogamous. In rejecting monogamy, I do not repudiate my commitment to my wife and our children - having children together does make a difference, and is probably the best possible reason for the civil side of marriage. I repudiate the cultural expectation that monogamy is the only appropriate way for people to have intimate relationships with one another.

Would that make me metagamous?

And while we're talking about language, there is often some fuss over the mixed origins of 'polyamory', which combines a Greek and a Latin root. Well, so does 'heterosexual' and, for that matter, 'automobile'. As for 'homosexual', it depends on how you understand homo: in Latin, 'homo'='man'; in Greek 'homo'='same'.

SchrodingersCat 11-24-2011 05:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Somegeezer (Post 112493)
I don't, I generally use mono meaning the short of monoamorous, but by using just mono, even people who would read it as monoagmous understand it.

I'm against marriage altogether, so what would be the prefix to that "gamous"?

or antigamous? I think agamous would be unmarried or perhaps indifferent on the matter, where as antigamous would be specifically opposed to marriage.

May I ask why you are opposed to marriage? And is that a personal choice, i.e. opposed to yourself ever getting married, or a judgement on marriage as an institution in general, for all people? (just curious, not judgmental)

Somegeezer 11-25-2011 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 112525)
or antigamous? I think agamous would be unmarried or perhaps indifferent on the matter, where as antigamous would be specifically opposed to marriage.

May I ask why you are opposed to marriage? And is that a personal choice, i.e. opposed to yourself ever getting married, or a judgement on marriage as an institution in general, for all people? (just curious, not judgmental)

Yes, personal choice. It has just been taken away from what it once was. I think especially now it is something the government keeps tabs on, it really is something I'd not want to be part of. Why do I need a piece of paper, to tell me I love someone? Plus the fact that by both government and most religions, you are looked down upon [and in a lot of cases, punished] for wanting to marry more than one person.

But of course, a lot of people do still get married and do live happy lives with those they do marry. Even within poly, there are a lot of married people here. If it works well for you, then there is no problem with it. I just can't see how it would give me anything I can't already have though.

hyperskeptic 11-25-2011 02:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Somegeezer (Post 112682)
But of course, a lot of people do still get married and do live happy lives with those they do marry. Even within poly, there are a lot of married people here. If it works well for you, then there is no problem with it. I just can't see how it would give me anything I can't already have though.

The legal arrangements about shared property, acting as next of kin, and all that are serious advantages, especially for people who are raising children together. There may be ways of contriving some of those things without calling it marriage, but it's awfully convenient to have them bundled together as the civic aspect of marriage (as distinct from the religious aspect).

The fact that the whole arrangement is legally binding also offers protection to adult partners and to children in case one or the other partner turns out to be a dud, or worse.

As a matter of policy, I would like to see a separation of civil union from marriage, and an expansion of the variety of rights and options now bundled in marriage, including the possibility of a legally binding union encompass various kinds of relationships, not just heterosexual dyads.

Maybe we could unbundle all those rights and serve them up a la carte?

Somegeezer 11-25-2011 06:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hyperskeptic (Post 112692)
The legal arrangements about shared property, acting as next of kin, and all that are serious advantages, especially for people who are raising children together. There may be ways of contriving some of those things without calling it marriage, but it awfully convenient to have them bundled together as the civic aspect of marriage (as distinct from the religious aspect).

The fact that the whole arrangement is legally binding also offers protection to adult partners and to children in case one or the other partner turns out to be a dud, or worse.

As a matter of policy, I would like to see a separation of civil union from marriage, and an expansion of the variety of rights and options now bundled in marriage, including the possibility of a legally binding union encompass various kinds of relationships, not just heterosexual dyads.

Maybe we could unbundle all those rights and serve them up a la carte?

I think this is all more an argument for a different thread, but I agree that it is an advantage to have those things. They just aren't a part of what love is.

"Love me forever, or I get half your stuff" is my biggest problem with it.


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