Tina Moore

Creator / Founder / Author, the40by40

This conversation is closed.

Talk to me about monogamy. How do you define it? What are the boundaries of monogamy in today's world of technology?

Is monogamy attainable in the world we live in? What is it to you? How do you define it? Do you think it's realistic in today's world? Is it natural? How does society affect monogamy?

  • thumb
    Nov 24 2011: Dear David, Gerald, Pocahontas:

    Let me change gears a bit here and offer two different perspectives on this:

    First the cultural one, currently in the west we have a monogamous model, that is clear, but is it the right model? Or the only model? In ancient Greece it was expected that older men liked younger men, if you read the Satiricon, they present very different moral values as mainstream. Even today other societies, from indigenous to modern Asians view this matter completely different.
    In summary, this is just a model (even if it is our current one), and it will likely change with time.

    Biological: there is a ratio in other animals that uses the body mass difference between the sexes to determine the amount of females the male “can” have. In tournament species like Bull, Lions, etc, the answer is clear, winner takes all he can handle. But what about Humans? In our specie we also see sexual dimorphism (different body mass and shape) not so large as in lions but far larger than in monogamous birds. What is the right biological ratio? Does this analysis makes sense?
    From my humble perspective if something happens repeatedly in nature following a pattern, is has good chances to apply to us as well.

    On a more personal note life is one and it’s very complex, I don’t think dogmas should rule one’s life, but you need to be responsible of the consequences of your actions, as you will have to anyway.



    PS regarding Buddhism, life is full of emotion and it’s marvelous for that, you may choose to limit it, but deny pleasure sounds horrible to me.
  • thumb
    Nov 24 2011: OH SEX. Here we go. Monogamy Polyandry,polygamy Polygyny. Na na na na na nah na na na.

    Dam i get jealous. Is she sleeping with anyone else? Jealousy, that emotion that triggers you into action because, hey its my seed that needs to go there. Did you know we produce more sperm when our partner is away from us? Supposedly to try and compensate just in case someone else's sperm has been there . Even though we know it has not. Still cant be too sure. This leads to my new phrase " absence makes the balls grow larger". I like this type of fly that has a penis that not only deposits sperm but its backward hairs remove anyone elses sperm thats been there before it.

    Gerlad I note you are suggesting that it was the religions that led us down the path to monogomy? Apparently it just got too hard to feed all those girls. That hunting, that providing for is too dam hard. I'm gonna have to off load. And anyway that guy over there without any girls. I think i could do better with him than competing with that harem. The rich and powerful have always tended towards harems. Hmmm. Cant say i blame them. Lots of fun. But i looked at a few contemporary wives of a modern polygynist and i gotta say there were a couple of unhappy campers there. I think he had his preferences and perhaps bit off more than he could chew. So to speak.

    Hmmmm. I liked being a serial monogomist when i was young. Moving from one to the other. I tried Polygyny also but it was the dishonest kind and awfully hard to manage. Now i love the one. And she is enough. Not to say I dont appreciate sexiness and beauty in others but i dont act on it. Its easier. More comfortable. and the relationship stays fresh and new. We make it so. The girl usually looks for the long term commitment so she knows he'll be around to bring up the kids. She waits longer for sex to test this. And the boy knowing the game plays along and like a wombat, eats roots and leaves. Love- intimacy, passion and commitment can take you all the way
  • thumb
    Dec 8 2011: My goodness this conversation took a turn while I wasn't looking! It is a topic that clearly has many layers, emotions and perspectives. I have some opinions from men (and appreciate your comments and would like to hear more) but I would also like to hear more from women...what are your thoughts? Concerns? Opinions? Perspectives?

    Is there a great division between our ideas of monogamy? Men and women? Curious...are our expectations different?

    Thank you all for your comments and thank you Juliette and Pocahontas for your input!
    With a smile,
  • thumb
    Nov 29 2011: If I look into most cultures over history it looks like absolute monogamy isn't natural.
    The tendency for monogamy is much stronger by women than by men
    This tendency with men will equal that of women as they have children together.
    Birth control by modern contraceptives and the possibilities for women today to be self supportive made monogamy less important.
    The classical family that consists of father and mother with two or more children will disappear over the next generations.
  • Nov 23 2011: I think if you give your partner the same respect when you are without them as you do when you are with them you have momogamy. They should in turn give you the same respect.
  • thumb
    Nov 23 2011: Monogamy is the ideal. It is difficult to attain in the modern world, but I still think it should be the goal. The key is not judging people for not living up to our ideals. I think it is now, and will in the future, become, more acceptable, that someone sought physical affection outside of their relationship... but it should never be okay... It should always bee seen as a fault, or a failing on behalf of two loving people to not be satisified with one another.

    Also, watching porn isn't cheating anymore... People have a porn addiction nowadays, and it's not an emotional, or sensual addiction, its a desire for difference, variance, it's perfectly natural, though unfortunately time wasting. In many ways access to pornography, and acceptance of pornography, on an epic scale, could actually save monogamy in the future... Because you satisfy your "variance" addiction, on the internet, you no longer have to cheat on your spouse.
    • thumb
      Nov 23 2011: "a failing on behalf of two loving people to not be satisified with one another."

      Why the guilt? There is no amount of satisfaction you can provide that will keep your partner from desiring other partners, now and then. It's just the novelty of it.
      Also, it's only cheating when you deceive each other, when you lie to each other.

      Are you saying members of a couple should watch porn separately?
      • thumb
        Nov 23 2011: Contraception isn't 100% accurate... and "everbody's using it"... That's a fantasy. Just because using it is smart, doesn't mean people are doing it, driving an electric motorcycle is smart... Nobodies doing that.

        If they want to watch porn seperately sometimes, and not feel a bit akward sure... Sometimes one partner might want to look at something the other woudl find offensive. Privacy is a safe thing to have in healthy relationships... If they want to watch porn together, that's cool too. I don't have religious or moral issues with things, I have scientific factual issues with things.

        I don't think there are religious or moral issues with sleeping around... I just think it's a fact, that the more you sleep around, the more likely you are to have a child that one day grows up in someone else's house being called an accident... and that is an unacceptable horrible thing to put a child through.

        I think there's an ultra liberal myth out there somewhere that now that contraception exists, sex isn't where babies come from : p. I also think everyone wants the freedom to sleep around, no one wants their partners freedom to sleep around. People are possessive of their sexual partners by nature.'

        On guilt, you should feel guilty if you lowered your standards and ended up with a partner that couldn't satisfy you sexually well enough for you to not gamble your families future out there playing the field. You are risking their lives and livelihood with your genitals... unacceptable standard of living, that is incredibly patriarchal.

        Your partner wants to feel like they satisfy you. You want to feel like you satisfy them. That's the ideal, it makes people feel good about themselves. We shoot for illusions in humanity. We create things that aren't there, and then we try to make them real. Accepting our shortcomings, shouldn't mean giving up our goals.
        • thumb
          Nov 23 2011: People "sleeping around" with no contraceptions are entering a world of problems.
          And indeed there is a slight chance of pregnancy even when using contraception. But this chance is very low, way too low for you to speek of the "government raising one-night stand babies". And most unwanted pregnancies can be dealt with through abortion, in the rare cases of rape or of contraceptive failure.
          Women may chose to keep the child, of course, and may be an alcoholic child abuser, in which case the government should raise the kid. But this scenario is independant of sexual open-ness in a couple, which is what I'm trying to talk about.
          Also, there is more to sex than vaginal penetration...

          "no one wants their partners freedom to sleep around"
          "No one" is not accurate. But I agree that few people do. Possessiveness is archaic, and I leave it to the Mediterranean cultures. Males, mostly, tend to see their mate's potential partners as rivals. This is baboon-like, and we should know better in a civilization as modern as ours.
          It does require an effort to accept your mate's sleeping around. But if it's carefully talked about it only enriches the couple's sexlife.
          It increases complicity and bonds the couple strongly.
      • thumb
        Nov 23 2011: Baboon-like it may be... but baboons we be. To pretend we aren't, is to set the stage for anger, violence, and misery. We are an animal species... Just like others.

        Also, in a culture that is still hanging on to the tiniest thread of sexual descrimination and responsibillity, one night stand babies are already an enormous problem that the government is raising... The bankrupt government by the way. In a culture where it becomes the norm to sleep around with contraception, that 1% chance of STD's and babies will start to look like the norm... There's 350 million Americans.

        In a society with the ideal of monogamy, you can forgive a few indescretions... If it becomes a few hundred over the 100 years you might live together... suddenly, once again, that 1% failure rate seems unacceptable.
        • thumb
          Nov 23 2011: But surely the goal is to increase the efficiency of our contracetpions, right?
          You seem to discard the event of abortion, as if every single woman getting pregnant unwillingly is doomed to keep the baby until birth, when it's suddenly given to the broke goverment to take care of.
          Is that really a problem? And if it is, again, isn't great contraception the best solution to it?

          We're apes, I know. But on the ground that we are, should be embrace aggressivity, for instance? Should we value war on the ground that world peace would "set the stage for anger and misery"?
          The world has changed for us and we can no longer live in it the way we did 100 000 years ago, if we care to survive. For a modern male, it should be obvious that the female is tempted by the profusion of decent potencial partners. Denial of this leads to anger, violence and misery.
          As I said, if things are discussed within the couple there should be no reason for male competitiveness, or female broken heartedness. If both feel safe and trust each other, it is possible.

          So is your argument against libertinism only based on lousy contraception?
          If perfect contraception is impossible, do you recommand sticking to oral sex, or strictly homosexual extra-conjugal partnership?
      • thumb
        Nov 23 2011: Lousy contraception is a tiny part of the problem... and I'm not a fan of homosexual extra-conjugal partnership... but I'm not a fan of telling people what to do. I'm a fan of myths... and I'm a fan of myths being better than reallity, not worse.

        As far as I'm concerned Libertinism is absolute nonsense. That anyone with brain could think that people can engage in extra marital affairs, or have no moral code based on societal values, and not produce negative emotion everywhere they go, is absolute nonsense. Women should not tolerate libertinism, because it's incredibly patriarchal, and it will be the end of long term relationships. Men and women will both let their relationships fall apart if they share partners... People are emotional, whether we like it or not.

        There is so much wrong with your argument it's difficult to understand where to begin... The goal should be perfect contraception? Really? Sexual self control, restraint, and commitment, shouldn't even be the goal anymore? The goal should be letting everyone bang anyone they want? How could you possibly believe that will make people happy?

        I would really suggest, I don't know some Buddhist philosophy, The Dalai Lama's Book of Awakenings, is about 80 pages, but it sets a good stage for understanding human emotion from an objective perspective... Getting what you think you want, doesn't make you happy, it just makes you want something else. Relationships are hard work, monogamy, harder, raising children, harder then both of those things... You need a unified front of two people, and that doesn't last when their getting emotionally involved with other sexual partners.

        "Should we value war because peace would "set the stage for anger and misery"... No we should value worldwide friendly competition, over worldwide slavery to cooperation, so as not to set the stage for anger and misery.
        • thumb
          Nov 24 2011: Your guesswork has good points, but it still suffers from its lack of knowledge about libertinism and libertinist couples, as when you suppose emotional partnerships causes relationships to fall apart, or that the whole thing is patriarchal.

          But I do agree with the idea of avoiding the trap of ever increasing desires, and I try to live my life on such principles. As I said, you reason well. You just need a little more field observation on this one.
      • thumb
        Nov 24 2011: I'm a bit of an ancient relic in a lot of ways nowadays, a bit of a modern stoic, with a bit of Joseph Campbell, and a splash of Buddhism. I don't expect most of my intellectual peers to agree with me nowadays... I feel we're in an intellectual trap nowadays, where we've been taught that the old way of doing things was partiarchal and oppressive to women, when in reallity, looking back we see that we were a much more matriarchal culture in the past, with a lot more respect for women. So i think a lot of people are caught in an intellectual contradiction right now, and they don't know how to deal with it.

        As far as libertinism goes, I only read a brief wiki, but I don't think I need to read more. Libertinist partnerships require accurate self report of emotional content at all times... and people aren't ready for that yet... in my humble opinion. You may all prove me wrong, and I'll find myself obselete soon, but just in case I'm not, I'm going to be a bit of a harsh critic of overly liberal sexual practices... In some ways just to stir things up, it's one of the funnest topics to write about, especially as a young man fighting his own self interest ; )

        PS Tina, sorry I was on so much this week I monopolized your conversation chatting with Gerald here, feel free to jump in : )
        • thumb
          Nov 24 2011: I like arguing with you.
        • Nov 24 2011: @ Gerald,

          Glad you answered. I notice that you answer to some comments but not to others. I am following our correspondence also considering our other "arguments" and conversations. And sometimes I really get messed up what actually do you want in a relationship. But anyway. Re: ur comment from today:
          I agree with your point of living together with someone you love and who loves you in return, without living together coz of habit, kids etc. I absolutely agree with this ideal (usually for several years) perspective. And I can assure you that noone wants to be bond by habit but by love. There is no doubt about that. But Gerald how many times did you say "I doubt anything would ever disturb our couple." ? I m sure that it was several times, considering the way you think. And how many sex friends do you have now? It would be great if the answer is not 0, coz if so then the entire conversation and ur arguments would lose its sense:). I would appreciate an answer this time:) coz usually when we get to the point u stop to answer:)
      • Nov 24 2011: @ Gerald

        I really don't understand how do you "avoid the trap of ever increasing desires" and mainly Why? If it turns out that there is an emotional attraction and it is strong, how would you know that to stay with the long term relationship is the right thing to do. And yes, I agree with David here - If you WANT to have another partner, something is not good enough in your present relationship. Me as a woman, I would never have a necessity to have another partner if I am satisified with my current one. I can flirt but I would not proceed further. And if I do, this would be because I would want the new person more (for one or other reason)
        • thumb
          Nov 24 2011: Hi Pocahontas

          I should correct a misconception from David and yourself. "Sleeping around" does not require sex to be without emotion. You may live an intense moment with a partner and become good sex friends. Feelings should be embraced.
          And you are right. The danger of falling in love with someone else is present. But is that bad? Why should relationships be based on rules instead of mutual wish to live together.
          I'm lucky to be madly in love with my dear one, and lucky to be loved back. I doubt anything would ever disturb our couple. And I feel happier knowing that we're bond by love rather than habit, or children or whatever ties people together when they're not in love. Plus we have a cool time together.
          About the desire trap, I was talking about it in a general way, as a lifestyle of simple pleasures and little consumption. I'm not advocating sex addiction. I'm advocating variety, just as I would recommand you to eat all kinds of foods from different cultures, but not in sick quantities.

          I totally agree with David on many points, in fact. He's just never been to a libertinist club yet, or his girlfriend hasn't admitted to have a sweet tooth for other women yet...

          With respect,
        • thumb
          Nov 25 2011: Actually, I think I'm going to surprise you a bit Gerald... but I live in a suburb of Hollywood, LA la land. It's very common to admit a sweet tooth for the same sex around here, especially among young people. When I say I'm a bit of an ancient relic though... I actually mean it... It's a turn off for me...

          Well... I shouldn't say that, it's kind of like that stupid Bud Light 3d TV commercial "it didn't test well... actually it tested too well", all the guys are grabbing air, and jumping at the TV's. My instant reaction is "Ooh... Exciting"... but It's immediately followed by "this will be akward, a friend? Will we see each other a lot? A bar chick, or a hooker? No thanks..."

          I genuinely tend to think that the desire to stray is the desire to stray... And desire, begets desire. Regarding Buddhism, I actually don't find it to be a sacrifice at all, I want to be in a relationship that feeds a secure healthy ego in myself, and one in which I do the same for my partner. I want to at least get to imagine that I'm the only one she'll ever want, while I try to convince myself that she's the only one I'll ever want, because the closer I get to that ideal the happier I think I'll be.

          To be fair I believe in a libertinist society I would be free to express that to my partner, and find someone similar... I just worry the odds will start to become further stacked against people like me, and thus there will be pressure to say "oh you met somebody... ya... that's great..." and think "oh fuck, I'm starting to hate this person".

          That doesn't matter to me... unless you have kids. Again, I'm not big on societies values, but I am big on parenting. So I would simply like to suggest that even in a libertinist society, there should still be mythological ideals of monogamy, of 2 ideal partners staying happy together forever, however rare or non existent it may be.

          Fun talk... I want to see what the op thinks of all this though.
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Nov 30 2011: I intended it merely in jest, and I apologize if I offended you. Someone on here made the comment "as to how technology relates to that, I don't want to talk about that because it will elliminate the beauty of my response"... I attributed that to you, I think you edited it and put your own words in actually, and I agree with them, pornography on the internet is probably creating more confusion than clarity right now over all.

        I was so vulgar in my joke, honestly, because I think intellectual men need to start being more honest about how big of an issue our "variance" addiction is. A recent study found adolesent men averaged an hour a day viewing pornographic material on the internet. It is a major issue in our society... I tend to lean towards us learning to accept it, because I'm against telling people what to do, but culture does need to take the reigns, and keep the ideal intact.

        I apologize that the forum topic offended you, but I truly do believe some middle aged intellectual men need to start admitting this is a problem, in an intellectual forum, because it a large cultural issue and... you deal with those on intellectual forums. I see how it could be off putting for people though, and I truly apologize for letting my vulgar behavior be even loosely attributed to you, I will edit that out.

        I will say, on an odd tangent, that this "variance addiction satisfaction" among men, is responsible for a lot of good things. Rape's down, assault's down, murder is down. There's lots of reasons for that, but I would stipulate that rampant access to the dark part of the male psyche, played an important role. I think people don't reallize, especially in intellectual circles how important the industry is economically, socially, in the subject of monogamous relationships... I wish people were more comfortable discussing it.

        I thought you were leaning towards acceptance, and I truly apologize for going the wrong way, in a relatively vulgar joke. I'm sorry.
      • thumb
        Dec 2 2011: Just so you know I didn't pull that statistic out of my rump, though my supposition that it corresponds with the decline of violent tendencies is my own... Phillip Zimbardo... on "men" nowadays.

  • thumb

    . .

    • 0
    Nov 23 2011: This is such a significant question & Helen Fisher's studies and TED talk remain a mile stone in our understanding. I think it's all about luck and easy with the right people. Too soon to tell the effects of technology... being bombarded with too many choices is causing more confusion than clarity.
    • thumb
      Nov 29 2011: Thank you for your response Juliette...

      I agree, it's a significant question...one that obviously creates a conversation based on religion, history, society, our perspectives/past/experiences/morals/wishes...

      Technology definitely adds another layer to the already seemingly complicated issue...

      It's an interesting conversation...one that I find intriguing as I watch it unfold...thank you to all who are participating!

      With a smile,
  • thumb
    Nov 22 2011: Well the temptation for extra-marital sex is too high. I keep warning my fellow tedsters about this : great monogamy is whithin reach if you can conceive sharing your loved one with other sexual partners.
    Sadly, the way we live our sexlife is still strongly tied to our history of religious reverence.

    But the winds are slowly shifting. I'm writing this from Western Europe, where libertinism is quite accepted and every town has its meeting club. No doubt that in a century, it won't be awkward to mention at dinner parties that your wife could not make it since she's having sex with a friend, who lives abroad and is only in town for the week end.

    Everybody knows that extra-conjugal sex is awfully tempting at times. Couples should talk about this.
    This is modern monogamy, couples should talk. Talk about it tonight.
    • thumb
      Nov 23 2011: This requires the government to raise our children, because we can't very well be fathers and mothers to 3 different families. Or the government to impose breeding regulations. If you want the government to raise your children, and you don't think that it's going to create a generation of degenerate zombies... Then this is the way we should look at marriage in the future.
      • thumb
        Nov 23 2011: I'm absolutely not recommanding to have different families everywhere. I believe children are best suited to be raised by a loving couple, I believe in family unity.
        Haven't you heard of contraception? It's a beautiful thing, and every body's using it now. Not just to prevent pregnancy, but to avoid sexually transmissible diseases.