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  #71  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:51 AM
pheonixaise pheonixaise is offline
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Just like to chime in here a little.

Monogamy stuck as a cultural norm because of patriarchal values established in Rome, but patriarchal non-monogamy was practiced long before hand.

Poly doesn't make sense naturally (either in humans or in animals) when looked at from a multiple-man scenario. Yes, from a fully educated perspective, mixing the male genes to make a more complex gene pool is in fact a positive thing. However, in regards to natures immediate and uneducated perspective, having multiple females makes perfect sense.

The mating cycle is always longer for the female of a species than for the male. In every species, the male is capable of reproducing hundreds of times in the time it takes for a female to complete one reproductive cycle. Also, the odds of a female in any species dieing in childbirth is significantly more than the male dieing in childbirth (since that only happens when the female kills him)

As for the rise of monogamy, it was first established as a method of control not in the days of the Romans (It was supported there for political reasons, such as marriages of convenience and stately reputation) but in the days of the Christians, who used each of the seven sacraments to keep track of everyone in their dominion (chief among these sacraments were baptism, due to the fact that it told the church you existed, marriage, because it told them when you were a certain age, and confession, because it allowed them to know where you were at least once a year)

Poly, or consentual non-monogamy, began to become acceptable again (I use this loosely, more to mean tolerated under the radar than actually accepted) in the 60's, among certain NR (New Religious) groups, and become openly identifiable around the late 80's (the 80's bit is rough, as there is no conclusive data to prove it wasn't earlier)

The way it developed, however, was intriguing. Due directly to the influence of monogamy in the Western World, women were viewed as a status symbol as much as anything, and so when those women realized that they were in every way equal to men, they realized that they had become a commodity in their society. An attractive female never had to give a man anything she didn't want to, but the man would often come running at her beck and call.

This interesting reversal from Patriarchal "Come over here woman I want you" to the modern day revelation of equality manifested poly in quite the opposite manner than it was once implemented.

Instead of following the basic natural cause and effect of multiple-women, one man non-monogamy, women would assert themselves into the situation, making (from the data I have collected, which is A. from a random sample, and B. subject to unlimited contestation and rebuke) 73% of polyamorous relationships in the 21st century matriarchal, that is to say that the woman was 73% more likely to discover that she was polyamorous than the man was.

Interesting how we profess this to be completely natural, but nature would imply that it would be a male-dominated lifestyle, and yet is not. I love the way our world works ^^
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  #72  
Old 04-07-2011, 05:08 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Originally Posted by pheonixaise View Post
Interesting how we profess this to be completely natural, but nature would imply that it would be a male-dominated lifestyle, and yet is not. I love the way our world works ^^
Are you sure, though?
Nowadays the population is higher, and it could be that our natural drive is geared towards reproduction as much. Then it could be geared towards taking better care of the fewer children one does get. And for that, the more adults to take care of a child, the better. If there are more women, there is a potential of more children at the same time, dividing the resources and attention.

In my opinion, you can explain something AND its opposite with nature. And nowadays, the "more people to take care of fewer children" model makes more chance than the "let's have has many kids as we can" one, because each child costs more in our societies (due to schooling, etc) so people tend to have fewer of them than in less developed countries, and spend much more on them as well.

And then you have polyandry as a tradition in places where the population is already so high, which once again leads to conclusions that it could be a way to curb down natality.
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  #73  
Old 04-07-2011, 09:55 PM
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And then you have polyandry as a tradition in places where the population is already so high, which once again leads to conclusions that it could be a way to curb down natality.
I've read an explanation to one Tibetan tribe's practice of polyandry as wanting to ensure agricultural success through increased 'man'-power in mountain areas that are hard to cultivate. Among this tribe, two brothers marry the same woman which would conceivably lower inter-male competition for females and lessen paternity issues. Considering the harsh environment, natality concerns are probably also present. Many island cultures have institutionalized male homosexuality and practice strict gender separation, taboos and abortions to maintain the population level.

A famous example of one Indian high-caste warrior community does illustrate that 'alternative lifestyle' can bring about a norm for sexual behavior that differs greatly from the surrounding society's. In that particular community, women have complete sexual freedom in that they take lovers at will. The society is centered around all-female households composed of mothers and their female children, who have children of their own with their lovers. Grown men are only marginally members of the community through their female lovers, otherwise they live with other men.

Interestingly enough, everyone's married. Marriage is very important and central to their lifestyle. All the women have husbands that are assigned at early childhood. Since the children are so young, the marriage is never actually consummated. However, the husband is considered the factual father of any of the children his wife might have with her lovers. It is the duty of those children to take care of the mourning and burial rituals of their mother's husband upon his death.

Anthropologists have explained this curious custom as being born of a situation where men were at constant war and had very high mortality compared to women. To ensure a favourable rebirth, every warrior needed male children to take care of his burial. One couldn't rely on actually siring some before their demise, so the business was taken care of by assigning wives to each man in childhood and then those wives trying their best to ensure male heirs would ensue by taking donations from whoever was available (alive) when they were fertile.

So a society that places a very high religious value on male heirs but where men are frequently away on campaigns for years at a time and risk death, has developed some pretty weird customs to ensure the religious and cultural continuation of the group.

As a comment to pheonixaise, poly is one flavour of non-monogamy, and tends to attract quite specific type of people. I imagine early human society of Homo Sapiens in Africa struggling to find a some sort of equilibrium between the sharing of resources and propagation of one's genetic line, and probably implementing various relationship strategies, all of whom at some point were a good fit with the environment and thus were enshrined in our genetic heritage. As to why polygyny for example is more common than polyandry although we are capable of both, the answer will probably have more to do with specific circumstances and groups trying to maintain their identity in changing environments than with one or the other being more 'natural' as it were.
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  #74  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:17 PM
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As I am sure you know, BU, ancient Greece and Sparta were homosexually based societies. I guess you could call them non-monogamous, because each man would marry to produce heirs, but would typically have a "real" lover, another male, that he was more married to than his wife.

I found out recently that Spartan boys were taken from the women's quarters at age 7, to the men's barracks. There he would be taken as a protegee by an older man, and they would eventually become lovers.

When it was time for a man to marry, the wife chosen for or by him, after the wedding, would be put in a room, have her hair clipped short, be dressed in men's clothing and left alone in the dark. Her new husband, if he had the nerve, would come in and consummate. If he really didnt like women, this male drag requirement for sex could go on for months or years.
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  #75  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
When it was time for a man to marry, the wife chosen for or by him, after the wedding, would be put in a room, have her hair clipped short, be dressed in men's clothing and left alone in the dark. Her new husband, if he had the nerve, would come in and consummate. If he really didnt like women, this male drag requirement for sex could go on for months or years.
Wowza!!! That's hawt! I have things to get done & shouldn't even be on this forum now, but I got a rush just reading that.
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  #76  
Old 04-07-2011, 10:54 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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So taking a child, throwing him in with some big burly men and forcing sexual action (I don't believe it was as nice and fluffy as is sometimes portrayed) on them... thats bound to make some serious fucked up individuals who believe being gay is the only way.

I am all over history, thats one of the more fucked up practices. You remove any future freedom of choice by creating what you want early. Its amazing what a lil boy can be molded into when raped and abused throughout his prevailing years... ptsd anyone? stockholm syndrom? etc etc. Lil anal slaves for the rich, powerful and strong...

I believe there is a slew of catholic priests somewhere that have done the same thing with boys and girls. Its rape now, and it was rape then.
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  #77  
Old 04-07-2011, 11:29 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I heard about a culture in which it was believed (apparently) that semen gave you more testosterone, so boys were supposed to drink it (from the source) throughout teenage. Once they were adult, it was their turn to share the testosterone.
I can't remember where and when that was, though.
(But man, if that's true, I'm going to have testicles any time soon now!)
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:47 AM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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The thing that is fairly new to Western society (and I would argue most non-Western societies) is the idea that sex is an activity that happens between equals.

A free, high status Roman man generally did not have sex with an equal - his wife, slaves, younger boys or men, and lower status free men certainly did not qualify. In fact, sex between male equals was looked at askance. "Roman Homosexuality" by Craig A. Williams is a brilliant book on this topic - he argues that degrees of free, unfree, dominant and submissive (and not the consenting, negotiated bdsm versions) are the critical categories, not hetero- and homosexuality.

*Now removing historian of sexuality hat*
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
When it was time for a man to marry, the wife chosen for or by him, after the wedding, would be put in a room, have her hair clipped short, be dressed in men's clothing and left alone in the dark. Her new husband, if he had the nerve, would come in and consummate. If he really didnt like women, this male drag requirement for sex could go on for months or years.
What I find funky about the Spartans is that they were supposedly under huge pressure to produce more high-class warriors to keep the numerous slaves under check and keep on doing what they did best - quarreling with Athens. So why not encourage high nativity practices? Maybe for them, male bonding was such crucial part of the military institution that high nativity could be sacrificed to upkeep that.

Or it might be that there were warring goals between different classes of society, i.e. the leaders wanted a lot more soldiers pronto, and the aristocracy wanted to ensure high class privileges by having as few heirs as possible to split family fortunes among, which is the explanation I've heard for rapidly sinking nativity among the Roman aristocracy in the beginning of the Imperial Era.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I heard about a culture in which it was believed (apparently) that semen gave you more testosterone, so boys were supposed to drink it (from the source) throughout teenage. Once they were adult, it was their turn to share the testosterone.
I can't remember where and when that was, though.
I think it's the Maasai.

Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
The thing that is fairly new to Western society (and I would argue most non-Western societies) is the idea that sex is an activity that happens between equals.

A free, high status Roman man generally did not have sex with an equal - his wife, slaves, younger boys or men, and lower status free men certainly did not qualify. In fact, sex between male equals was looked at askance. "Roman Homosexuality" by Craig A. Williams is a brilliant book on this topic - he argues that degrees of free, unfree, dominant and submissive (and not the consenting, negotiated bdsm versions) are the critical categories, not hetero- and homosexuality.
Many people have read Foucault's History of Sexuality and said it argues with many of the same points. I think his central argument was that 'male homosexuality' was a diagnosis owing its birth to the birth of the modern science of sexology. Eve Kosofsky Sedwick and Lillian Faderman have argued similar points.

For a man, being a 'bottom' in homosexual sex has been considered damning, whereas male tops were natural and acted according to their gender role. Similarly, 'active' female homosexuals were considered to be the real misfits and perverts, whereas 'passive' (I'm guessing the one being penetrated) females in woman-to-woman sex did not lose status. In ancient India (as with the Romans), oral sex was considered so beyond the pale that no prostitute, let alone a wife, would consent to such a foul practice with their male partners. Male prostitutes were thus specifically kept to provide fellatio to upper class men.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:03 AM
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I'm looking forward to reading this book.

I don't want to highjack this thread, but since there might be some general interest in ground-breaking anthropological books among people who check in here, I want to mention 2 others that I find excellent:

"The Descent Of Woman" by Elaine Morgan. She is (was? Will be 90 this year if she's still alive.) a journalist who adopted a theory by biologist Sir Alister Clavering Hardy that proto-humans had - after coming down out of the trees - returned to an aquatic stage (or at least beach-based with a lot of time actually spent in the water). Her book is very readable and made a lot of sense to me. She scoffs at the "Tarzan" school of evolutionists, who, when they can't think of any other reason for a particular evolutionary feature, throw it into a big bag labelled "for sexual attraction". She supplies much more believable reasons for those adaptations. The title of her book comes from the fact that she believes that most evolutionary change happens more because of the female's (and child's) needs than because of the male's needs.

Fascinating reading and I strongly feel that it should be taught - at least as a plausible theory - in schools, but it has been pooh-poohed by Desmond Morris and company. (Morgan wrote a reply to their reaction, which I've just found out about on her Wikipedia page, entitled "The Naked Darwinist (2008)".

I actually read Morris' "The Naked Ape" after (and because of) reading "The Descent Of Woman"... and had to put it down quickly because I found - like Morgan - some of its theories so ridiculous.

+++

"Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches" by Marvin Harris. This is more on a cultural level: convincingly explains - among much more - why eating pork is forbidden to Jews and Muslims, cows are sacred in India, and the common image of the witch riding a broomstick. (That last explanation is amazing!)
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