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Old 07-07-2012, 04:30 PM
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I'm having a discussion on a facebook group with some people who assert that monogamy is not biologically innate. Since I know there are many of you here who are monogamous partners of people who are poly I thought this might be a good way to back up my assertion that monogamy and non monogamy exist on a spectrum. Could you please explain how you know that you're monogamous. Thanks so much.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:13 AM
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Derby, so sorry you are having to have this discussion - I have been caught in a few of these and often I just end up thinking "what's the point?" The whole nature vs. nurture thing, as if it being in our DNA somehow makes it more "right". Then you get those that start going back and looking at what the cavemen did, as if THAT was somehow more justification for our nature.

How does the mono-to-poly scale help show whether or not it is biologically innate in us or not?

I saw similar discussions around the whole gay/bi/straight thing, and I just don't see how it can ever really get resolved by talking about it, or what use it is. The only way to prove it would be in a highly controlled way - identical twins, brought up separately, one in a mono environment, another in a poly environment. You would need control experiments and enough examples so that the results could be considered statistically significant.

Anything else, to me, is just psuedo-intellectual wank.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:20 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
Could you please explain how you know that you're monogamous.
The same way you know you are poly. You take the internal temperature of yourself and decide what framework you are going to play in.

Both mono- and poly- are relationship structures. Both are valid choices for an individual to make.

It's not biology.

GG
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:37 AM
bestofus bestofus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
The same way you know you are poly. You take the internal temperature of yourself and decide what framework you are going to play in.

Both mono- and poly- are relationship structures. Both are valid choices for an individual to make.

It's not biology.

GG
I'm personally a huge fan of this particular answer. Biological makeup has nothing to do with your decision on what form of raltionship you choose to partake in. This is a choice made by self examination, feelings, and personal beliefs.

Steve
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:24 AM
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I suspect that people who want to call it biology are loathe to examine the complexities of choices and free will, etc.

bestofus, I would argue that many people do not use self-examination and make a conscious choice for monogamy. Just like people don't make a conscious choice (often) to be straight. It's the default, it's the majority. Most people don't even know there's any other option. In order to do something different than the majority, one has to feel, and believe, and examine, and question, and CHOOSE.

Sorry, Derby, doesn't seem like we're helping much with your premise.
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Old 07-08-2012, 07:39 AM
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As someone with an interest in neuroscience, I know that there's a lot of things that we normally don't consider biological in nature but in fact are. But there's also a huge interaction between biology and environment. Most likely, people are wired poly-leaning or mono-leaning, but the way they actually feel and the decisions they make are also determined by their upbringing and their current situation.

I guess that's not a very satisfying answer, but it would just be wrong to say that it's all biological or that it's all environmental.
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Both mono- and poly- are relationship structures. Both are valid choices for an individual to make.
Monogamy is more than just a relationship structure, and this is what kills me when I see the argument that "monogamy is <x>". From my POV, there are two aspects of monogamy:

1. I only desire one person romantically at a time
2. I want my partner to love only me

The second is a relationship structure, as far as I'm concerned, and despite the fact that I'd prefer such a relationship structure, my relationship with my partner is worth learning how to adapt to a Poly relationship.

The first is me. Period. I have never had romantic feelings for more than one person at a time. Ever. When they grow for one, they wane for another.

The "nature versus nurture" argument gets a bit wonky when both aspects of monogamy get smooshed together, and I think they should be considered as two separate pieces.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:15 AM
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Monogamy is making a decision to love one person at a time and loving that one person at a time. I think people can come and go out of that, but like poly, its a struggle and with that comes decisions to make. Those decisions involve deciding to stay with one person, not allow feelings in for others, realizing that ones best place is with the one person they love, and many others that mean staying with one person at a time. Its a choice as much as it is someones nature depending on who they are and how they want to conduct their lives. Nature and nurture go hand in hand in whether or not someone is mono or not I think.

I don't think people really know overall about anything in the span of their lifetime, but they know in the moment that they either love one or more than one. What they tell themselves, what they tell others and what they believe and hold true for themselves is what is either mono or poly.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:57 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Interesting question.

I guess to me, it's somewhat irrelevant whether it is or isn't biological.

I, personally, have had crushes on multiple people more than once and figured everyone does or could, given the right two (or three) people coming along. It's interesting to me to read that some people have never felt that way.

But I guess I see that as feelings, and monogamy as a choice of behavior. My feeling is that it's really beside the point if I have ever loved two or more at once or if someone else never has. I've never believed we need to act on all our feelings.

So, as I said, to me it's totally irrelevant whether monogamy is biological or not.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:03 PM
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If they were saying "monogamy is not biologically innate for some people" I would tend to agree. I think a lot more people are biologically poly-wired than they themselves realize, and end up monogamous solely due to a lack of self-awareness and a glut of societal conditioning.

However, monogamy is absolutely biologically innate for some people. I'm closely related to three of them. They've never had the desire for more than one relationship at a time (just sexual or deeper), and they've never had romantic feelings for more than one person at a time. And these are all people who are aware that there are other possibilities and that some people are capable of being in multiple loving relationships without sacrificing anything significant within those relationships (i.e. everyone's needs are met) or are okay with having casual sexual encounters outside of a romantic relationship. They've just never had those feelings or desires themselves. The one who is in his 30's may explore non-monogamy at some point, given the right person/circumstance, but the two in their 60's are unlikely, I think, to suddenly find themselves in a situation where they decide to try some sort of non-monogamy.
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