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Old 02-20-2010, 09:30 AM
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Default Wiring

Do you believe the tendency to be polyamorous or monogamous wired or conditioned? I don't presume that we're going to solve the scientific debate here, but I'm curious to learn what other people think.

The other thread about mono/poly wiring got me thinking about this, but that thread didn't really address the question.

For the purpose of this discussion, I'd like to use the "nature/nurture" definition of "wired" ... i.e. that it refers to a person's nature as opposed to the "wiring" that results from synapses forming as a reaction to stimulus.

I personally believe that being monogamous or being polyamorous is fundamentally wired.

I do believe that a lot of people who are naturally poly are conditioned into believing that they must live monogamously.

One thing that strikes me is the double standard indicated by Mono's comment, and I wonder how many other people have encountered this pattern:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
I find it interesting that a mono person can accept the concept of poly wiring so easily but that so many poly people I know cannot accept mono wiring.
I offer the premise that one tendency is wired if and only if the other is also wired (i.e. you couldn't say "poly is wired but mono is conditioned").

If we're going to say that neither is wired, then it raises the question, how did we all get to be poly when we were all conditioned in the same monogamous western culture?
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:48 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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I do think that many people are monogamous because it's the social default. They simply haven't considered that there are other options and haven't made a conscious choice or examination of whether they are monogamous or polyamorous by nature. That is not the same as saying that everyone who is monogamous is socially conditioned to be so. Just that our social conditioning often doesn't even allow us to see whether we actually have those monogamous inclinations or not. It hasn't been a conscious choice for them.

As for the wiring issue, and as it is for most issues of wiring in any aspect of life, I believe it to be an as of yet unknown combination of nature and nurture.
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Old 02-20-2010, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
I do think that many people are monogamous because it's the social default. They simply haven't considered that there are other options and haven't made a conscious choice or examination of whether they are monogamous or polyamorous by nature. That is not the same as saying that everyone who is monogamous is socially conditioned to be so. Just that our social conditioning often doesn't even allow us to see whether we actually have those monogamous inclinations or not. It hasn't been a conscious choice for them.

As for the wiring issue, and as it is for most issues of wiring in any aspect of life, I believe it to be an as of yet unknown combination of nature and nurture.
Ceoli, who authorized you to read my thoughts and post them?
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Old 02-20-2010, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Do you believe the tendency to be polyamorous or monogamous wired or conditioned?
Hi Cat,

Yea - this seems to be a somewhat debated topic and except for pure research value I guess I'm somewhat indifferent.

But personally, I come down on the side of 'conditioned' - and here's why.

If we want to talk about 'love', from a 'wiring' perspective, we have more than ample evidence that it is in our nature to love many living things simultaneously. There's no question about that. We all do it every day (hopefully).

The problem only seems to come in when someone tries to sub classify 'love' into it's different expressions. In particular, 'romantic' love (whatever THAT is ?) And all sub classifications are a product of 'mind'. And 'mind' is very much influenced - indeed constructed - by knowledge level and culture. The more we learn, the more our 'mind' changes & grows. Now the depth of that 'conditioning' and how/what is required for it to evolve over time is a much studied and debated topic in psychology etc. We don't seem to have those answers.

But it seems clear that at a biological level we are 'wired' for unlimited love. But our expression (and even acceptance) of that seems limited to our particular belief system (a product of mind).

So that's where I sit. I've seemingly made a conscious choice of accepting the biological imperative simply because I believe it's a better way to live.

But that's just me.

GS
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Old 02-20-2010, 04:34 PM
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I really don't know. Honestly I would have said I was completely monogamously wired until lately because it never occurred to me to think of anything else. In 11 years I haven't felt stifled in my relationship, I know I could like my life happily on a desert island with my husband and we would be fine. So how did I end up with feelings for someone else, while still utterly adoring my husband? I really don't know. I wonder if they will be transitory, sometimes I think they are sinking back to more like friendship levels already.
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:20 PM
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Wired and genetically dispositioned to only intimately/romantically/sexually love one person therefore monogamous in nature.

Socially conditioned to view marriage and monogamous relationship behavior as the social norm.

Overall combination of nature and conditioning.
Nature governs my internal workings, conditioning influences my external views and actions.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:18 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
Wired and genetically dispositioned to only intimately/romantically/sexually love one person therefore monogamous in nature.
While there is research to suggest that certain expressed genes contribute to a person producing more vasopressin, which is a hormone that promotes pair bonding, that's as far as the research goes.

Is there a gene test for monogamy?
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
Wired and genetically dispositioned to only intimately/romantically/sexually love one person therefore monogamous in nature.
Mono, you're an enigma to me. I can't imagine myself being as intimately/romantically/sexually committed to one woman as you seem to be to Redpepper, no matter how amazing she was. I respect it though, and happily give you the benefit of the doubt... But humor me: If you were stranded on a desert island with all of Maxim's Top 100, and you knew you would eventually be reunited with Redpepper but didn't know whether it would be days, months, or years, how long would you hold out? How would you respond in that situation? Just trying to understand your wiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
I offer the premise that one tendency is wired if and only if the other is also wired (i.e. you couldn't say "poly is wired but mono is conditioned").
Ok, as long as you're not rejecting that outright as a hypothesis. Things can absolutely be wired one way but conditioned another.

Last edited by classycaveman; 02-20-2010 at 09:33 PM. Reason: to avoid multiple posting
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:55 PM
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Mono investigated his mononess at length in past threads. Perhaps you will find some of what he has already answered, if anyone would like to do a search. I don't have the time to go through it all, but just to let you know....there is also links to studies that might be interesting too. All good questions, as long as people are being careful not to judge and come from a place of wonder and respect for those they don't understand...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm9Bwpxy4V0

here is a link to what Dan Savage says about swinging, but he talks about monogamy too... he isn't a big fan of poly it seems from other videos we watched.

I think that some people just don't invest that much in the whole thing.. they really just want to live their lies quietly with someone who they can love and who loves them. For some people that is the best they can do and they are comfortable with that... Why rock the boat they might say.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
...as long as people are being careful not to judge and come from a place of wonder and respect for those they don't understand...
Absolutely. I'll take a look through the archives.

Oh, and on the topic of wiring, I'd tend to side with GS. I think monogamy is a choice... but I'm curious to see what Mono has to say about it.
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