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-   -   Monogamy...huh? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8011)

Hades36 03-20-2011 10:17 PM

Monogamy...huh?
 
So, I know the question has been asked a dozen times on this forum (although I couldn't really find them, although I didn't look very hard, either)...

But where exactly did the concept of monogamy even come from? Not saying its wrong or anything, but just curious as to why and how it developed and stuck. I've read "Sex at Dawn" and a few other books but I didn't feel like they were being really clear.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Ariakas 03-20-2011 10:31 PM

It was a method the romans merged different societies to itself to propagate its own growth (financially intellectually or geographically). In this merging they absorbed the good of the societies, and tossed out the bad.

Taken to further growth by christians in order to.. well do lots of things. Destroy the pagans, create a dissected caste system separating the pure bloods from the poor folk...or just in general, a method of pure unadulterated control over everything (including the monarchy) until a certain king challenged the concept of divorce.

In history you most often find matrimony being monogamous, but mating being more, liberal. Look to the romans, english, greek etc for history on this. Being married didn't preclude having some side action.

Monogamy grew with christianity (and western dominance) as did the laws of most western countries...

Thats the bare short of it of course. I am leaving out a lot of details I am sure others may be more interested in listing haha.

MonoVCPHG 03-21-2011 12:54 AM

Are you specifically referring to monogamy in humans or amongst other animals as well?

ImaginaryIllusion 03-21-2011 01:43 AM

A lot of the popularity of Monogamy I think come from Patriarchy.

Check out the post here:
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showp...54&postcount=6
It has the links to Gwynne Dyer documentary...about 15 years old now, but I think it answers a lot about how we got to where we are...where as Sex at Dawn has a lot about how we were before that.

ray 03-21-2011 04:16 AM

I find it ironic that many people hold on to monogamy as a traditional value when the majority of humans in many societies over thousands of years have practiced various forms of non-monogamy. It's not a new thing. The rise of Christianity really began to cement the construct of monogamy we have today.

Hades36 03-21-2011 10:36 AM

Talking about in humans specifically.

I mean, from a practical, survival kind of standpoint, having more than 2 people in a relationship seems really beneficial. But there also seems to be a number, a tipping point as it were, where the relationship would be too large and clunky, at least with regards to intimate connections running smoothly. I imagine at that point the group would splinter off somehow and form a new family.

The problem, it seems, with expanding your relationship is attracting people who are truly going to be committed to the concept of "all of us" and not "you and me". Most of us have been raised in a society that promotes rugged individualism (either/or thinking) over a more group-centered (tribal) psychology, right? Add into that all of our fears and insecurities and you have a train wreck.

Being polyamorous seems like a reaching back to something both simpler and more complicated that could be found in our species ancient history, but I wonder if we've come to far in the direction of imagined growth and prosperity for many of us to be able to evolve our relationship style and beliefs into that form again?

I've always believed that polyamory was the most realistic approach to loving and bonding that could exist. Since I was 16 years old I've believed that but, of course, been in nothing but strictly monogamous relationships, which included all of the joys and horrors of such a high-pressure construction. Like, our entire concept of love and romantic bonding is built around the idea that 2 people meet, fall in love, get married and have a baby; almost every romantic book, play, novelization, song, painting, poem, music video, article, lecture, workshop, website, etc. is focused on this idea, right? But I've always thought it was just silly to think that love, with all its complexities and mysteries and miracles, could be squeezed into a single connection with one other human being and put under wraps until that relationship ended and then it was applied to a new partners and so on.

Its cool having this forum so that we can see what other people think and are experiencing.

Hades36 03-21-2011 10:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion (Post 72028)
A lot of the popularity of Monogamy I think come from Patriarchy.

Check out the post here:
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showp...54&postcount=6
It has the links to Gwynne Dyer documentary...about 15 years old now, but I think it answers a lot about how we got to where we are...where as Sex at Dawn has a lot about how we were before that.


Great vids. Thanks!

Magdlyn 03-21-2011 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hades36 (Post 72067)

Like, our entire concept of love and romantic bonding is built around the idea that 2 people meet, fall in love, get married and have a baby; almost every romantic book, play, novelization, song, painting, poem, music video, article, lecture, workshop, website, etc. is focused on this idea, right? But I've always thought it was just silly to think that love, with all its complexities and mysteries and miracles, could be squeezed into a single connection with one other human being and put under wraps until that relationship ended and then it was applied to a new partners and so on.

Looking at movies and songs, you'd think NRE lasted forever. All the love songs that sell are based on a NRE feeling, that intensity: you're perfect, I want you and no one else til the end of time.

Songs based on a marriage 7 years in don't sell so well. ;)

GroundedSpirit 03-21-2011 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magdlyn (Post 72075)
..........
Songs based on a marriage 7 years in don't sell so well. ;)

Gotta love this Mags !! :)

But back to the OP question about roots and survival of the mono.

From almost any angle you want to analyze it from it really comes down to a control tactic. As evil and manipulative as that probably sounds, it has it's innocent side too. As a species we're kind of dependent on control. Our security gets shaken unless we have our hand on the control lever - or at minimum, believe that someone else we trust has. So some of the junk that comes with monogamy is a pretty easy sell. We're offered some safety and security (supposedly). It's only after we discover that the sweet security we were sold was only a thin coating over something much more bitter. And that the REAL security only comes from our own internal strength.

Evolution is a slow process...............

GS

BlackUnicorn 03-23-2011 04:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hades36 (Post 72067)
I mean, from a practical, survival kind of standpoint, having more than 2 people in a relationship seems really beneficial. But there also seems to be a number, a tipping point as it were, where the relationship would be too large and clunky, at least with regards to intimate connections running smoothly. I imagine at that point the group would splinter off somehow and form a new family.

Trust the aspiring social scientist to start the nit-picking!

If we are talking of purely human evolution, there are many explanations as to why monogamy is the most popular (even in societies where some form of non-monogamy is condoned, it tends to be a minority relationship model) relationship form. Of course, when we are talking about monogamous vs. polygamous societies, we need to acknowledge that most known forms of culturally-sanctioned non-monogamy are in practice polygyny (having many wives) of the rich elite men. Some anthropologists have put forwards an argument that wives in most societies are akin to any other form of goods to be exchanged and accumulated among leading class men. This theory has some historical support from the fact that the ideal of female sexuality being strictly marital in expression has always been more heavily policed in the higher echelons of society. During much of Western history, rape was a crime against another man's rights of ownership, not against the woman who was raped.

Comparing monogamy and polyamory is hard because polyamory is a form of relating, whereas monogamy refers to the institution of marriage specifically. The opposite of polyamory would be monoamory, such as the opposite of polygamy would be monogamy. As to your point of relationships becoming too unwieldly with too many participants, this is only in assuming that each new partner would join the existing family unit in what could more aptly be termed as 'group marriage'. Since I guess the majority of polys are not in closed poly-fi arrangements, the practical limits of how many partners you could possibly have tend to be a bit different in origin.

Additional differences: lifetime monogamy vs. serial monogamy; double vs. single standard; monogamy as an ideal and monogamy as a practice; hierarchal vs. egalitarian polyamory etc.


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