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  #11  
Old 02-20-2010, 10:08 PM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
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?
please see the Nature Nurture thread for links to the genetic research as the researchgoes much farther than that . I can't be bothered to rehash this whole debate. besides this thread was asking what we thought about wiring, not specifically how I see it.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:17 PM
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please see the Nature Nurture thread for links to the genetic research as the researchgoes much farther than that.
Actually, I've been through the research and talked about those findings with with a geneticist. The research doesn't go much further than establishing the expression of the vasopressin gene and pair-bonding. There has been no direct causal evidence and to my knowledge there hasn't been a "monogamy" gene found in the human genome.

What the research has established is that there is a possible genetic predisposition towards strong pair bonding.

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Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
I can't be bothered to rehash this whole debate. besides this thread was asking what we thought about wiring, not specifically how I see it.
Since you brought up genetics on this thread, that's what's being discussed.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:18 PM
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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



Ok, as long as you're not rejecting that outright as a hypothesis. Things can absolutely be wired one way but conditioned another.
Please don' assosiate your weakness with me LOL!
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:03 AM
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Since you brought up genetics on this thread, that's what's being discussed.
Of course it is. You are an interesting woman. Topic belongs to you
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:37 AM
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Of course it is. You are an interesting woman. Topic belongs to you
The topic doesn't "belong" to anyone, which was kind of my point. That's the beauty of a discussion.

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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
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?
This question got me thinking. I do believe that the culture we live in *does* play a role in providing polyamory as an option for how to be in relationships. While monogamy may still be considered a default, default conditions hold far less influence in our culture than in others. I've often noticed that the vast majority of poly communities are comprised of white, middle to upper middle class people. That's because the "cultural price" of being polyamorous is comparatively low as compared with other cultures. I'll note here that there are some cultures in Africa, South America and Asia that practice polygamy and polyandry.

You can compare this to how other cultures accept GBLT identified people. Among our culture (and by culture I'm referring to a broad swathe of middle to upper middle class US, Canada and Europe) while there is still much to be done, you won't be subject to the death penalty for being gay. This is still the case in many parts of the world.

So it seems to me that in the US, Canada and Europe, being middle to upper middle class actually provides far less monogamous boundaries than you would find in most other cultures and economic classes within our own culture. So I think our culture has actually played a role in people choosing to live in polyamorous relationships.

You can also see how the internet has been recreating norms in many aspects of life. Now that the internet has allowed poly people to be more aware of each other and for others to be more aware of polyamory, more people are choosing it because it isn't falling so far outside of "normal" as it may have felt in the past.

Last edited by Ceoli; 02-21-2010 at 01:19 PM. Reason: merge posts
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:48 PM
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For me polyamory is a CHOICE, plain and simple.

It helps reduce my stress levels, in some instances, because I'm not trying to be someone's everything

Yes, monogamy is the social default BUT if more people were taught that it really is ok to love more than one person (yeah, I know, more of a Utopia than I can imagine) poly might become more mainstream and not a 'flavor of the month'.

For example: I am trying to teach my sons that more than one relationship can be a good thing. One son has many friends who are girls but only one girlfriend at any give time. The other isn't interested in any relationship which is more than simple friends right now. Both are perfectly fine for relationships but there is SO much more available to them. They will eventually find what they need in their lives when the time is right and they have matured to the level where they will be able to find it. My kids are 14 btw so they are in the experimental stages of relationships any way.

I think that poly AND monogamy can be a choice. Neither is really hardwired into us. Monogamy is the default choice because of societal standards but if those standards were to change then who's to say that polyamory won't become the default?

It took activists a very long time to get women the vote, to allow same gender marriages and it will take a long time for activists to get the politicians to see that plural marriage and multiple relationships is a viable option.

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Old 02-21-2010, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
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.
Well now,

The progression of this thread has given me some personal insight.
I'm starting to feel a bit like I may be "odd man out".

When debates like this come up I may be at somewhat of a loss to participate because I think my understanding of love may be quite different than many/most ?

Background: Some many moons ago, when I decided to take on the task of understanding love & how it flows in the world and for myself, I came to a point that I was forced to drop any distinction between various 'types' (?) of love and find a universal base. And what I believe that the vast majority of people understand (and discuss) about these different 'types' of love (particularly romantic love) to me became no more than different 'expressions' of a root concept.

To help clarify..........
I 'love" !
How I EXPRESS that love is different for a person who is a friend, a person I have some romantic/sexual connection with, my cat, my neighbor, a total stranger. The ROOT is the same and subject to most of the same considerations. My 'expression' (action) will vary to fit the proper context.

So having this view I think handicaps me in some ways in trying to relate to how everyone else can have a discussion about a particular TYPE (what I see as only an expression) of love as if it were an entity all it's own.

So a debate such as wired vs conditioned takes on a whole new context if we're treating it (romantic love?) as it's own entity.

If viewing it from that perspective I guess I'd have to suspect that there is sufficient evolutionary potential for the 'wiring' one way or the other to be impacted from thousands of previous generations experience of success/failure/safety in the mating/procreation game.

But over those eons of course, the concept of 'love' was little known or discussed/analyzed.

So depending on which view - or definition - a person holds, a solid case could be built in either direction.

GS
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  #18  
Old 02-22-2010, 01:50 AM
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There has been no direct causal evidence and to my knowledge there hasn't been a "monogamy" gene found in the human genome.
Maybe they haven't looked long enough, and might not know it when they see it.

There isn't even one specific gene for eye colour, it's a combination of genes, and eye colour is a straight-forward genetic thing that they knew they could find. So the lack of "a specific monogamy gene" would not disprove that monogamy is genetic. Our species is in its infancy of understanding genetics. We can say "we found a gene or set of genes for X, therefore X is genetic." But saying "we have not found a gene or set of genes for Y" only means that "we have not proven that Y is genetic," and not "we have proven that Y is not genetic." By analogy, you can look at 100,000 cats, find that those 100,000 cats are white, and still never prove that "no cats are black." That's just how science works.

The animal kingdom may provide some insight. Some species mate for life, others select multiple mates during a single breeding season. Within the primates, there is a direct correlation between testicle size and the average number of mates taken by females of that species. Humans have "medium" sized testicles, which means we're not uniformly all one way or the other.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:14 AM
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This isn't my information nor is it based on conversations I have had with people. It is information generated by real accredited identified geneticists and I am putting it out there for people to read and make their own determination of it's validity in the spirit of good faith and knowledge.

RS3 334 is a gene....that gene is linked to pair bonding. That pair bonding predisposition influences how men engage in relationships such as monogamy.

I posted a link the complete study on another thread.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/sto...5702390&page=1


Hasse Walum at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues looked at the various forms of the gene coding for a vasopressin receptor in 552 Swedish people, who were all in heterosexual partnerships. The researchers also investigated the quality of their relationships.

They found that variation in a section of the gene called RS3 334 was linked to how men bond with their partners. Men can have none, one or two copies of the RS3 334 section, and the higher the number of copies, the worse men scored on a measure of pair bonding.

Not only that, men with two copies of RS3 334 were more likely to be unmarried than men with one or none, and if they were married, they were twice as likely to have a marital crisis.

Commitment phobia
Given that everyone surveyed had been in their relationship for at least five years, the team suggests that having multiple copies somehow contributes to commitment problems in men. Because the results were collected for a different study the team couldn't quiz the men on whether they were faithful, says Wallum.

It is not clear exactly how multiple copies of RS3 334 affect expression of the vasopressin receptor, and our most intimate relationships. And yet that's the most interesting question, says Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

In some animals, the theory is that the brain has two "motivational" systems: one for reward, the other for social perception. In prairie voles and marmosets, receptors for the two systems sit on adjacent cells, so social activity is highly rewarding, leading to monogamy. To see if the same mechanism is at work in people will mean using tissue from post-mortems to map where vasopressin receptors lie, to see if variations are linked to the number of copies of RS3 334.


I thought I should edit this to clarify that the purpose of posting this information is not to point out why people (men specifically) are polyamorous but to emphasise the possibility that some are wired for monogamy.
There are plenty of reasons for people to be any number of things.



For a different take, here is a link which questions the validity of the study.
http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2...gamy-gene.html

For any Dan Savage fans, he has some good stuff on the benefits of "non monogamy and swinging"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm9Bwpxy4V0

Dan Savage also has some less than hopefull stuff on "polyamory"....let's hope he is wrong!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP_hZBLlTtE


All good stuff!
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Last edited by MonoVCPHG; 02-22-2010 at 04:35 AM.
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  #20  
Old 02-22-2010, 05:10 AM
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Maybe they haven't looked long enough, and might not know it when they see it.

There isn't even one specific gene for eye colour, it's a combination of genes, and eye colour is a straight-forward genetic thing that they knew they could find. So the lack of "a specific monogamy gene" would not disprove that monogamy is genetic.
I wasn't suggesting that the fact that we haven't found a monogamy gene disproves it's possible existence or the possibility of a genetic predisposition towards monogamy.

However, like you say, the factors that would contribute to such things are vast and complex. So it is rather premature to make an assertion one way or the other. Geneticists are also challenged by the fact that the way family units are formed in societies and in groups of animals is greatly influenced by the environment, sociological factors and cultural factors as is how the brain ends up being wired in adulthood. It is often difficult to separate out these factors beyond correlation because of that.

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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Our species is in its infancy of understanding genetics. We can say "we found a gene or set of genes for X, therefore X is genetic." But saying "we have not found a gene or set of genes for Y" only means that "we have not proven that Y is genetic," and not "we have proven that Y is not genetic." By analogy, you can look at 100,000 cats, find that those 100,000 cats are white, and still never prove that "no cats are black." That's just how science works.

Yep, I'm pretty familiar with how science works, I used to work among many scientists at MIT and had and still have many interesting conversations about it .

Genetics is particularly interesting in that sense. Two beings can be genetically identical yet express (i.e. activate) their genes in varied ways to end up developing completely separate characteristics despite being genetically identical. However, it gets even trickier when you start using genetics to track predispositions. It's one thing to categorize and track physical characteristics, it's an entirely other thing to categorize and track behaviors, because, like I said, behaviors and tendencies towards certain behaviors have multiple causal factors- physical environment, sociological development and culture. We have only just begun to be able to link behaviors to very specific physical characteristics such as hormones and such (such as finding a relationship between particular gene expressions and the "pair bonding" hormone vasopressin). But even then researchers have had more success identifying correlation rather than causality because it is pretty clear that genetics works in concert with many other causal factors to create an outcome.


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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
The animal kingdom may provide some insight. Some species mate for life, others select multiple mates during a single breeding season. Within the primates, there is a direct correlation between testicle size and the average number of mates taken by females of that species. Humans have "medium" sized testicles, which means we're not uniformly all one way or the other.
Yep, it's fascinating research indeed.

I'm not saying that being monogamously inclined can't be genetic. However, it is a far leap to say that individual humans are genetically programmed either for monogamy or polyamory. It indeed could be a possibility, we've certainly learned a lot about the relationships between mating, pair-bonding, and genetics. However, we are FAR from truly being able to claim that one or the other is the case.

Last edited by Ceoli; 02-22-2010 at 05:13 AM.
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