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  #11  
Old 03-23-2011, 05:11 PM
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Great, thoughtful responses. Thank you. Black Unicorn, I especially like you're sociological approach. I agree the differences and permutations are varied and critical.
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  #12  
Old 03-25-2011, 08:36 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is online now
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I believe monogamy becoming the norm is due to wanting to know who's whose child. There didn't use to be a way to tell who was the father otherwise, and when property started existing (in the form of land or whatever) and needing to be passed along, men would have wanted to make sure they passed it to their own children and not someone else's.

I believe that's the reason why monogamy was generally expected of women but not so much of males.

Then with gender equality came the notion that both should. Often gender equality comes in making the gender that has more freedom join the other rather than the opposite (or a compromise). It's rare that the gender who had less rights suddenly gets them all.

I think now we need to work on making it socially acceptable to decide for yourself what works for you without having to follow such models if they don't work for you.
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  #13  
Old 03-25-2011, 09:52 PM
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I'm seeing the beginnings of the brainwashing in two of my daughters right now -- the 14 and 15 year olds. So much talk about cheating and all the drama and judging over it -- as if we expect kids at that age to "commit" to just one person, for the rest of time! I am appalled, at what my girls are being conditioned to believe. It's like watching them read dated history books, and sitting in class with a biased, ignorant teacher. I'm so glad you started this thread, because it will sure help me educate them, as to the history of all this nonsense. I just downloaded "Sex at Dawn" on my Kindle, so I think that will help too.

"Those who do not know history,
are condemned to repeat it"

-- right???

(I must say I am thankful to the reality tv show, "Sister Wives" -- my 14-year old keeps asking, "When can we get one?")
(I have yet to reply, "Honeybabes, we're actually much, much closer to getting a brother husband..." )
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  #14  
Old 03-26-2011, 01:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I believe monogamy becoming the norm is due to wanting to know who's whose child. There didn't use to be a way to tell who was the father otherwise, and when property started existing (in the form of land or whatever) and needing to be passed along, men would have wanted to make sure they passed it to their own children and not someone else's.

I believe that's the reason why monogamy was generally expected of women but not so much of males.

Then with gender equality came the notion that both should. Often gender equality comes in making the gender that has more freedom join the other rather than the opposite (or a compromise). It's rare that the gender who had less rights suddenly gets them all.

I think now we need to work on making it socially acceptable to decide for yourself what works for you without having to follow such models if they don't work for you.
Loving this thread. I'm an Anthropology nerd, so this is something I've spent plenty of time discussing and reading about. I too think it has to do with property. If you look into the history of marriage, it basically all comes down to property rights in agricultural societies at its very root. In a hunter-gatherer society, what is the necessity of monogamy?

That's not to say there aren't plenty of "monogamous" tribes of people out there... there are. But I did place that word in quotes, because we're primates, and we get around. Even in what we regard as "monogamous" primates, they still have sex partners outside of their primary mate, and it's not uncommon at all.

I would consider the hypothesis that Humans have had a variety of relationship types in different settings for millions of years, to include monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, and group marriage, which could explain why different people need different things. How to test this? Now THERE'S yer problem...
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Old 03-26-2011, 02:07 AM
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This is an interesting thread. I don't think there is much I could add to it, as I don't really have a great knowledge of polyamory. But I want to read more of it nontheless. =]
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  #16  
Old 03-30-2011, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I believe monogamy becoming the norm is due to wanting to know who's whose child. There didn't use to be a way to tell who was the father otherwise, and when property started existing (in the form of land or whatever) and needing to be passed along, men would have wanted to make sure they passed it to their own children and not someone else's.

I believe that's the reason why monogamy was generally expected of women but not so much of males.
True to a degree. However, there are societies (the Ashanti of West Africa comes immediately to mind) where property rights are transferred along the female line, i.e. men inherit their mother's brother. Or women might own the land entirely whereas men own ceremonial equipment and uncles initiate their nephews into the secret men's societies or whatever. Property from an sociological POV is not a uniform concept as we in the West understand value.

From a strictly biological POV, men should invest in the children of their womb-sisters, for a lack of better word, i.e. women with whom they share a mother. Whereas before the advent of modern technologies of re-production, women always knew who was their child, men never really do. I think it's a trade-off between the avails of pregnancy and labour/security in the continuation of your line.

There are a lot of theories of 'monogamy' (most often single-standard) being the compromise between a woman wanting to have a strong male partner care for her and her offspring and a man wanting to impregnate as many women as possible somewhere in the dawn of time. I personally think these theories are way too biased by what we (think we) observe from modern and historical behavior standards. For example, these theories never explain why having an unrelated man take care of her and her baby would be so much more preferable for a woman than having a close relative be the man in the house (or the cave). Also, why a society would necessarily function better with multiple male-female couples than with larger family groups composed of women with men primarily affiliated with each other and their mother's/sister's house is never explained either.
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  #17  
Old 03-30-2011, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SvartSvensk View Post

I would consider the hypothesis that Humans have had a variety of relationship types in different settings for millions of years, to include monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, and group marriage, which could explain why different people need different things. How to test this? Now THERE'S yer problem...
I agree. I think that instead of being 'biologically hard-wired for (serial) monogamy', humans posses enough monogamous tendencies to give rise to the phenomenon of (serial, double- and single standard) monogamy. I've always found the need to explain how could evolution allow for homosexual behavior to arise be somewhat curious obsession. I feel instead of assuming heterosexuality is the one true evolutionary way, it's much more probable than in the infinite variety of human (and animal) sexual expression, those who posses strong heterosexual tendencies (i.e. manage to have enough of PIV sex) tend to reproduce faster and in greater numbers than those for whom heterosexual behavior is more incidental. Heterosexuality is not natural, just popular, because some of it's expressions tend to lead into conception and thus passing on of those tendencies to offspring.

The trouble for me in socio-biology that attempts to answer questions like 'How did monogamy/male dominance/homosexuality originate?' is that they take granted that we live in the best possible world from an evolutionary viewpoint. Evolution is blind; it would not care if humans never evolved. It does not strive for the best/most organized/most functional lifeforms, but rather by accident favors those individuals whose traits, again quite accidentally, match the environmental changes occurring. Recent evidence indicates that Neanderthals did not go extinct because they were less smart or evolved than Homo Sapiens; they were simply highly adjusted to very cold climes, and when the climate started to warm up, they lost the habitat they were most comfortable in.

Sorry, a ramble, but I do so like trashing evolutionary psychology.
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  #18  
Old 03-30-2011, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Heterosexuality is not natural, just popular, because some of it's expressions tend to lead into conception and thus passing on of those tendencies to offspring.
Erm, that is usually what evolutionary biologists mean by natural. Have you read The Selfish Gene? Of course, natural doesn't mean right.

There must be some evolutionary influence on behaviour, otherwise different species wouldn't have such different (usual) sexual patterns. For example, the other two chimpanzee species tend to use sex the way we'd use a polite handshake. Why don't humans?

My favourite book on this stuff is The Red Queen, by Matt Ridley. The later chapters are basically an exercise in comparative anthropology, except that instead of looking at different tribes he looks at different species. Birds in particular have a lot of different mating patterns, depending on the species' environment.
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  #19  
Old 03-30-2011, 04:15 PM
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In my opinion, all forms of sexuality are natural. I mean, what's the alternative, them being artificial?

In comparison, no cars or pairs of glasses or computers are natural. Doesn't mean I'm going to stop using them.

Good point about how you can pass things through females. I think then I would add a lack of consideration for women. In a lot of societies, they had few rights, and using them to pass property might have felt like giving them too much importance.

I was reading the Amicus's closing arguments for the current BC polygamy case. One part I found interesting was a quote about how monogamy advantages men from a Darwinian point of view.

The basis was that, survival-wise, it's best for men to have as many mates as possible, and for women to have mates who can support the children they have. Therefore the Darwinian point of views sees these as the goals, and nothing about love, freedom, jealousy or anything like that.

From a Darwinian point of view, with polygamy women have the option to marry rich men. If they're already married, no problem, and they can support several wives. From that point of view, it's better for them than monogamy, in which men get "taken", and women have to marry men who are poorer.
Polygamy results in rich men having many wives, poor men having none. (Notice this is focusing on polygyny. I believe it's because it's also a study on patriarchal societies).
So, polygyny is better for all women (they all get to pick a mate who can support their kid better compared to who they could with monogamy) as well as for some men. But it's bad for some other men.

Therefore, the quote mentions how monogamy becomes a compromise between rich men and poor men. Rich men keep having first pick in mates, but have to limit themselves to one at a time. Poor men get to have wives that "trickle down" due to not being able to marry already married rich men. Women end up, on average, poorer and less supported, as do their children.

It was an interesting take, as people are quick to talk about how polygyny is bad for women. I thought a study about how monogamy might have been put in place to advantage men was definitely an interesting read.
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  #20  
Old 03-30-2011, 04:24 PM
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Absolutely fascinating thread. WOW. If only more people would question this stuff!
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