Guest Post – Nature, Nurture or Just a Desire to Get Off?

Name: Horace
City: Brooklyn
State: NY
Age: 36
Story: First, this is not an endorsement of promiscuity, or even polyamory. It’s just a statement of fact. The more we understand what truly motivates and emotionally validates ourselves and each other, the better our relationships can be.

Men did not develop to be monogamous. It doesn’t matter how you feel about that, it’s a fact. That’s not to say that we can’t be monogamous, or that we can’t be happy being monogamous, but only that it goes against our every natural instinct.

We developed to be whores. But whores with a higher cause: for the sake of the species ;) While women developed to ensure that offspring thrived, men developed to ensure that offspring were created at all, and that we created as many as possible. We have not evolved beyond this. These are facts of evolution, regardless of exceptions and regardless of how we all may or may not have been culturized by either tradition or modern mores. Every man wants lots of mates.

At every man’s core is the drive for variety. You can’t refute it. It’s a fact of Natural Selection. Sexual variety ensures a vast and diverse (and therefore healthy) gene pool. It’s why we walk around at any given time with millions of sperm, and can “reload” in as soon as a few minutes.

Note that how we ultimately behave in modern relationships is irrelevant. That we’ve learned to deny our instincts via experience and culture is irrelevant. The woman who, intellectually, has decided that having kids is not for her probably still hears the tick of her biological clock. And the man who gives up sexual variety for a “modern relationship” with the love of his life still feels its loss.

And so the point: while we are capable of committing to one woman, it’s not in our nature. Without variety, we inevitably get sexually bored. Witness almost any modern relationship that’s more than a year old. No matter how much a man loves a woman, he will suffer from sexual boredom eventually. Those one or two exceptions you can dig up don’t disprove the rule. Evolutionary biology is a fact. Men get bored, and this tends to be why men have affairs. The more women we have sex with the more validated we feel as men. When we participate in monogamy, we lose that validation (though we might find it worth it).

Disclaimer: I only covered male sexuality because being a man it’s all I can directly speak to. I’m aware that women have their own needs, their own issues, and suffer their own relationship sacrifices. If you feel so inclined to write a companion note from the female perspective, please enlighten us all.

 

Alrighty. This topic tends to be polarizing around here. I’m not sure if I agree anymore that men or women are “hard wired” to be one way or the other. That seems a little too simplistic and feels like a got to excuse to justify bad behavior.

What I really wonder is if this idea that men struggle with monogamy and have such a hard time with it is something that men say to other men in the hopes of preventing them from committing or settling down.I happen to think that monogamy is difficult for us as a species. Both men and women struggle with it. I don’t doubt that men struggle with it to a larger degree, but I do wonder how much of that is because off all the stories they hear from other men.

As I was saying to a friend today, there seems to be something about the topic of sex, commitment, and marriage  that evokes a visceral and competitive reaction amongst men and women. Based on comments here, it feels like women either strive to prove that their man/past boyfriends were somehow different than all the others (thereby making the woman more special or assigning her a higher value than other women) or they just try and shame women  into believing that they are nothing but receptacles that men discard if the sex happens “too soon.” There doesn’t seem to be any happy medium.

If a man commits, he’s “giving in.” A traitor of sorts. Other men will joke around with them. Take, for example, Chris Rock’s response to Howard Stern when Stern admitted he was marrying for the second time.

“You’re going back to Shawshank?” Rock asks incredulously.

Meanwhile, Rock is frequently praising his wife and their relationship.

Take, for example, when a man tells his friends that he and his girlfriend got engaged or have decided to move in together. It couldn’t possibly be that the man actually wanted to get married. It couldn’t be that he genuinely loves this woman. He must have been doing it because his girlfriend was pressuring him or nagging him in some way. There’s just no way he had his own biological clock ticking. But that’s probably one of the reasons he’ll offer – as a joke! – when being jabbed by his male friends. He’ll put it on the woman because that appears to be a justifiable reason.

If a woman has sex with a guy during the dreaded “too soon” time frame, he had to have been “pressuring her.” Or he’s labeled “not relationship material” or something else negative and that’s why she slept with him. The opposite sex frequently seems to be the fall guy for our decisions.That’s what we tell our friends. That and that we waited 4 dates to have sex a guy we really only waited 2. Those are the same women who like to imply that the guy somehow coerced them in to having sex or that it was his idea. Total bullshit. I have no doubt that in at least half of those scenarios, the woman initiated it. But she’s afraid to tell her friends that because she fears she’ll lose some imaginary power that only exists in her head.

It feels, to me, that some men and women feel a need to shame their peers in to behaving in a certain way so that they can continue to believe whatever it is they need to believe that makes them different aka “better.”

What is that about? What’s with all the shame?

 

 

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94 Responses to “Guest Post – Nature, Nurture or Just a Desire to Get Off?”

  1. nathan Says:

    The whole evolutionary psychology crowd, with their pseudo-scientific “research” that almost always leads to conclusions that men and women are “hard wired” in their behavior, have poisoned our minds and reinforced both sexist notions and also oppressive cultural norms. The more people who see through the BS of comments like Horace’s the better.

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    • Andrew Says:

      What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If I follow you and accept that this evolutionary biology type argument is bullshit when put up by a guy, then every excuse a woman makes based upon biology is just as invalid. That list of excuses includes: PMS; Not in the mood; Mood issues related to hot flashes; and having sex with the hot jerk because she was at ovulation.

      There is no question in my mind that we are designed the way we are, to ensure the continuation of the species. If we took testosterone out of the picture, we would not create enough offspring to ensure that there are future generations. The reality is that most people don’t plan on having a kid; it just kinda happens; so they go ahead and have it. In fact what is happening in Northern Europe, especially Germany is a shrinkage in the white population because of the perceived financial cost of having a kid.

      The wonderful thing about us is that we can get past our biology. Sometimes it is a good thing. Sometimes it’s not such a good thing when it results in population shrinkage.

      The thing about these arguments is that they have just the right grain of truth in them that we don’t wish to hear, because of political correctness.

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    • Joey Giraud Says:

      Knowledge and wisdom are poison to a fool, eh?

      It’s very difficult for some people to accept that humans aren’t as self-made as we would like to be.

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  2. Christina Says:

    Ugh, I get so sick of the whole biological imperative argument. They do exist, but people have been overcoming them for millenia. That’s why we have civilization. I agree with Moxie that the argument is frequently just used as an excuse for bad behavior.

    As to the whole shaming of others, it’s really the same old judgmental attitudes that people always seem to have toward each other. By putting others down, we avoid taking personal responsibility for our actions and make ourselves feel better.

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    • Joey Giraud Says:

      Evo-psych isn’t pre-determinism, even if some pop evo-psych preachers speak that way.

      But have you never, ever wondered why you felt or thought things that went completely against your ideals?

      If not, you are one in a million.

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  3. P. Says:

    >>>It feels, to me, that some men and women feel a need to shame their peers in to behaving in a certain way so that they can continue to believe whatever it is they need to believe that makes them different aka “better.”

    What is that about? What’s with all the shame?

    Great response to Horace, Moxie.

    The bottom line should be…are you happy with your life? If you are, then how someone else lives theirs should be of absolutely no concern to you. Dimplz recently said, “we all judge,” but whether you believe in biological imperatives or not, judging is not on that list — it’s a choice. It’s possible to make the list of things you judge very short, and limited to those things that deliberately and callously harm other people and leave them worse off than where you found them.

    Let the people with the urges that are impossible to stifle bonk each other until the cows come home. Let the people who want stable quiet lives with families take vows to be monogamous and honor them. Let everyone choose what kind of life they want to have and to pursue a partner who honestly wants the same kind of life. Then let us all be happy.

    Because it’s when you’re not that you start resenting everyone else who appears to be so, and to deny responsibility for the choices which have made you unhappy.

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  4. Saj Says:

    Asked the husband about this. He said that sex is constantly evolving especially if it’s with one person. With multiple people it’s not to say it can’t evolve just that they don’t “have” to. With a partnership you continue to tweak and experiment and have fun with things and even past a year and beyond it’s never boring.

    Also using this we are bound to evolution why is it that women cheat just as much as men? Sure there are varying reasons for which each gender cheats but looking at my life and the people I’ve known to stray it’s been pretty split down gender lines. Are women bound to crave attention from as many men as possible and paying for this attention with sex?

    I’m not sure what this post is trying to say. Men like variety and women like shoes and there are always exceptions to this rule. Many men somehow keep it in their pants so there is a desire there to sustain and maintain that singular relationship that bypasses the drive for variety.

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  5. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    But that desire to uphold vows or maintain monogamous is, if I were to guess, more likely driven by a fear of financial ruin, seeing their children or guilt. Not because they’re sexually satisfied. But you’re not going to hear any boyfriend or husband admit that when they’re Asked such a question by their wives or girfriends. No way a guy is going to be honest in a situation like that. They’re going to say whatever they think will not impede their ability to get sex from said wife or girlfriend.

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    • Cricri Says:

      Yeah, well what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. All that financial ruin, loss of children and guilt also applies for women too. No ones comes victorious of the failure of a relationship and this is why people stick to it. This is why it is a commitment because you know there will be moments where it will suck big time. And if focusing on the positive aspects of the relationship gets you through, whether it is sex and/or love, where is the problem as long as you both keep moving forward? If sex was the only reason you stayed in a relationship, that’d speak more of you than of your partner. Everybody makes sacrifices to build a solid relationship, both genders forgo sexual diversity and individual freedom but get greater benefits in return. We have to focus on the good things that come from being together than on the negligible aspects of single life if we truly want to be in a couple. Women consider the birthing pain and the ordeal and nerve wracking, body wrecking experience that pregnancy is and still do it. It is not something that anybody in their right mind would considering the risks. Yet most women are actually happy from the experience. So in concusion, life is hard for everybody, and we don’t need to hear whatever goes to each others mind. Those guys might find out they’re actually less than satisfying in bed with their wives/girlfriends as well while they’re dreaming of other women. I bet it’d hurt.

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      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        “No ones comes victorious of the failure of a relationship and this is why people stick to it. This is why it is a commitment” If your idea of a “commitment” is a relationship that isn’t quite bad enough to warrant all the hassles of ending it, I pity your man.

        “Yet most women are actually happy from the experience.” I have never heard a woman who had recently gone through childbirth say anything other than that she would never go through it again. Most border on homicidal when they think of the man who put them through it (even if it was their own idea). However, the female body produces chemicals that inhibit long-term memory formation during that period, so a year or two later they’ve forgotten how horrible it is and, in most cases, want to do it again. If not, our species would have gone extinct a long time ago.

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  6. Wilbur J Huffnagel Says:

    Personally, I have never had a problem w/ fidelity.

    I have not met a woman to whom I would have wanted to make a commitment; but there have been MANY who have wanted me to commit to them while they commit to themselves (and the next BBD that comes along).

    I’ve been quite unlucky in love and quite frankly have had way too much disappointment to provide an unbiased view.

    Relationships are alien to me.

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  7. Stacey Says:

    Going along with this post out of amusement.. By the same token, women are wired to find a nurturing mate with the most resources, (real world translation- has a good job and offers to pay dates), to provide the best care for their offspring. This is so because when a woman is pregnant and later has a baby, she is unable to spend as much energy on providing for herself, so she needs someone on an instinctive level who will take care of her and her child. Hence the “gold digger” phenomenon is an evolutionary phenomenon too. At the same time, she has an instinctive need to mate with the best looking/strongest/healthiest male (a hard jaw line, broad shoulders, narrow hips are all a sign of this) to have the healthiest offspring.But mates like that are generally not the best providers (rare to find both “brains and brawn” in one package). So what are women evolutionary wired to do? Find commitment with the wealthiest, most financially stable, generous guy who will have them, and then have flings with the hot gardener or personal trainer.
    If only evolutionary biology could be a defense in a divorce proceeding..

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      You may have said that to be funny, but the exact phenomenon you describe is backed by scientific studies.

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      • Joey Giraud Says:

        Quite right, CR.

        Females have a tough task, and since they’re smaller (*) they have to use cunning to achieve their ends.(**)

        (*) there’s a bit of ironic humour in the idea that females have, in aggregate, caused the very sexual dimorphism that puts them in jeopardy. You might say they were hoist on their own arms-race petard.

        (**) not just women. The weaker party in any conflict must use subterfuge to succeed. That’s why honesty is a luxury afforded only by the strong.

        Better stop now. Learned a while back this is not a receptive forum for science.

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        • Crotch Rocket Says:

          “females have, in aggregate, caused the very sexual dimorphism” Why do you say that? Human sexual dimorphism is a direct result of the lumbar curve, which cannot be blamed on either sex.

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          • Joey Giraud Says:

            You really confused me with that one.

            The sexual dimorphism I meant was size ( bigger males. ) I thought that was the most common meaning, but I guess not

            Female lumbar curvature *is* a more sexy dimorphism, I’ll admit :)

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            • Crotch Rocket Says:

              Human sexual dimorphism developed when the lumbar curve forced us to walk upright; that meant females had to shift from carrying their young on their backs (as all other primates do) to in their arms, which meant their arms were no longer free to defend themselves. And that’s where the role of men as protectors originates from: if a man wanted his offspring to survive, he had to protect their mother from predators.

              As a direct result of the new roles, men’s muscles became more tuned for strength to be more effective in fights. In contrast, women could only hide or flee from predators and had to carry their young long distances, so their muscles became more tuned for endurance and their bodies became smaller overall. Even how our bodies process normal amounts of food is different: women turn it into fat, to store energy for slow use while running or hiding, while men turn it into muscle mass and sugar for fast use in fights. (When men consume excessive amounts of food, our bodies shift to storing fat as well. However, until recently, food intake was self-limiting.)

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  8. Mike Felber Says:

    I majored in Anthropology & this is a fascinating topic. Yes, there are large & somewhat hard wired tendencies of desire between the sexes, as the OP, Stacey & others suggest. We could raise kids in an assembly line, & even before the hormones kick in, little tle boys will be rougher, persistent, have more developmental disabilities, girls will show more nurturing play, develop faster, be more social, better fine motor coordination..Again, a big AVERAGE difference.

    Though it is not black & white. Humans are “tweeners” when it comes to forming pair bonds. Like so many other things, we have great behavioral flexibility allowing our species success. Humans have intermediate testicle size amongst primates: something that is clearly correlated with species that are more or less monogamous,,really due to the need for males to competitively displace sperm from their mates! Not a romantic notion, but true. Chimps need huge gonads, gorillas do not.

    Anyway, I really wonder if the negativity of same sex friends is exaggerated. But I agree with Moxie’s last comment. While some are satisfied with monogamy, so many are not, & the structure of shame, conditioning, & fear of loss of status, finance, kids keeps folks dishonest about their satisfaction, & tons of them living lives of Quiet Desperation.

    There are many good ways to decrease boredom & ratchet up the bond with your partner, & those are good & loving things to do. But why not allow your love to have a sexual or romantic adventure OR other relationship? These models often fail-as does monogamy-due to additional pressure against them in society, including the conditioned fear & insecurity, misplaced ego & feeling threatened. But minorities & gays do much worse in all kinds of social indices due to discrimination & worse life conditions: gay suicide & drug addiction rates are related to hate/homophobia, not “natural”.

    if we allowed the Beloved to have other relationships rather than diagnose it as a symptoms of larger problems(which it can be, but so can loveless unions), then whole families would not be routinely broken up with the trauma of cheating. And one does not even need to be seeking polyamory.. I have rarely had overlapping relationships, but not only would I prefer options be open, but I want a GF to have the freedom to sexually or romantically desire or love another.

    It is a case of what instincts are most useful & ethical to allow or censor. Many see that seeking or being open to another is not in itself bad, & can be a part of personal & spiritual growth, certainly consistent with freedom: especially when you allow it in another. Though in evolutionary biology there are easily deducible reasons for jealousy, men more sexually, woman emotionally.

    Instead of trying to hold back desire & freedom, why not “evolve” by weakening the drives that society reinforces: the negative, dysfunctional ones associated with possessiveness, jealousy, fear & loathing? And with good humor accept that valuing the other involves freedom & a great deal of loving communication.

    if we can get past the lower selves that early programming fosters, MORE relationships would work. And maybe more important, folks would not feel controlled & living lives of silent & bitter discontent. :

    .

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    • Joey Giraud Says:

      if we can get past the lower selves

      Don’t you think that if people are to transcend their base nature, they must first understand and accept the truth of that nature?

      Seems to me that most Americans can’t even accept the fact of poop.

      ( and that’s why you’re single! :) )

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  9. Vox Says:

    This argument again? Horace, if you don’t want to be in a monogamous relationship, then don’t. It really is that simple; no need to try to convince people that you are right about your personal choice.

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    • Selena Says:

      Monogamy is a choice. When I read these “hard-wired to be non-monogamous” essays, I wonder if it’s really sooo hard why do so many choose it? Why isn’t polyamory the norm and monogamy an “alternative lifestyle”?

      Agree completely with Vox; if you don’t want to be monogamous, don’t be – it’s your choice. But it’s not the choice, nor preference of many of us. Guess we’re just “hard-wired” differently. Either that or the whole “hard-wired” theory is a bunch of crap.

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      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        “I wonder if it’s really sooo hard why do so many choose it?”

        I agree that any theory has to explain the men out there who sincerely don’t think that monogamy is a sacrifice. However, I think you are overestimating the number who “freely choose” monogamy and are including in your calculation many liars and cheaters as well as men who have active fantasy lives to get them through the boring sex. If Horace’s theory is right, those men are fighting against their natures. I’d say that men who “choose” monogamy the way you mean it are likely very small in number.

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        • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

          Why isn’t polyamory the norm and monogamy an “alternative lifestyle”?

          Because monogamy is socially acceptable, and polyamory isn’t. We don’t know how many couples are polyamorous or open, because most couples don’t make that information public knowledge. I think people would be shocked to learn the true inner workings of many relationships. I have no doubt that even the most “faithful” and “satisfied” of husbands or boyfriends has something that they use to sate their desire for variety. Like I said above, going to a man that you’re dating or married to and asking his thoughts on monogamy is pointless. They’re going to say whatever they need to say to keep the peace and keep the sex available.

          The reaosn why this topic is so unsettling to so many women is because it shatters this idea that commitment of some kind will prevent a man from wanting more or straying.

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          • dimplz Says:

            This reminds me of one of my favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut. ““If somebody says, ”I love you,” to me, I feel as though I had a pistol pointed at my head. What can anybody reply under such conditions but that which the pistol-holder requires? ”I love you, too. ””

            Asking that question is like having a gun to your head. You’re going to say whatever you need to say to come out unscathed.

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          • Selena Says:

            Just for fun let’s assume non-monogamy IS hard-wired. So why didn’t humans evolve to embrace polyamory and find monogamy unusual, perhaps unnatural? Since we’re not supposed to want that, we would cultures across the planet, across milleniums adopt it?

            And as long as we’re mindlessly going on about hard-wiring, you know what else seems to be hard-wired? Territorialism. Human beings are the most territorial species that exists. Perhaps the wiring involved in not wanting to share sexual access to one’s mate, to defend such against “poachers”, to know the parentage of one’s offspring – OVERRIDES the desire for sexual variety. At least for many. Hmm.

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            • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

              So why didn’t humans evolve to embrace polyamory and find monogamy unusual,

              We did embrace polyamory. Monogamy only became “the norm” because of the influence of religion.

              And as long as we’re mindlessly going on about hard-wiring, you know what else seems to be hard-wired? Territorialism.

              But is it that we’re hard wired to be territorial…or just conditioned by society to fear being alone and to believe that we are supposed to pair off? To me it feels more like women are afraid to lose their men because the relationship/man is such an inherent part of their identity.

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              • Selena Says:

                And what influenced the emergence of religion? Again we are talking different cultures developing spanning milleniums of human history.

                And again, why would we create societies where we are encouraged to pair off, if it was our nature to do the opposite? And this – alone thing – is a relatively new idea. People did not feel ‘alone’ because they had extended family, a ‘tribe’, a villiage they were connected to.

                As far as being *afraid* to lose a partner because the relationship/person is such an inherent part of their identity…I don’t believe that is the purview of just women. Women are sometimes more adept at being without a partner than men are for longer periods of time.

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                • Saj Says:

                  When a couple reaches their elderly years and one of them dies the woman seems to handle it far better then when it’s the man who is widowed.

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                • D Says:

                  Read Sex at Dawn. The authors’ theory is that monogamy only arose after agriculture. The need for more domestic stability (i.e. getting up every day to milk the cows, feed the horses, repair the shed) instead of just moving on to greener pastures, led cultures to codify rules that bonded people together through the daily grind.

                  And don’t forget that some religions allow for polygamy (though few allow true polyamory).

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                  • SJ Says:

                    Concur. Read the book…very enlightening positions, supported by at least some anthropological and biological evidence.

                    I don’t take the authors positions offered as absolute truth, but they certainly had me thinking. And in an environment where divorce rates approach or exceed 50%, SOMETHING clearly isn’t right with the pair bond for life model for an awful lot of people.

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              • Saj Says:

                Polyamory was embraced by the men where they could have their cake and eat it too (punish the women who strayed severely)

                In cultures where women have more options you don’t see it as much because it’s a system they don’t have to put up with out of fear of reprisal.

                People trying to analyse relationships in so much of a whats in it for me mindset really creeps me out. It’s like going into huge long scientific debates, surveys and studies on why pie tastes good.

                Being in love feels good. It’s trickier to be in love with multiple people and trickier staying in love with someone splitting their intimate time with other people. If some think variety is more important then being in love then that is their trade off.

                We aren’t wired to be in love and accept our partner having sex with other people without feelings of hurt, jealousy, anger that is ingrained in many of us. It’s when people value variety and love and foolishly think they can have both without a like minded partner. You tend to have to pick one or the other or be hugely deceptive.

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                • C Says:

                  Thank you for citing love as a motivator! Maybe we are among the romantic fools, but it does exist and is quite powerful.

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                • Crotch Rocket Says:

                  “Polyamory was embraced by the men … (punish the women who strayed severely)” That is not how polyamory works. Perhaps you meant polygyny?

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                  • Crotch Rocket Says:

                    Seriously? Thumbs down for pointing out someone is making arguments about a word they don’t even know the definition of and helpfully suggesting the correct one?

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            • Crotch Rocket Says:

              Female monogamy evolved in male-dominated societies because only men could own property (including women), so a method of ensuring paternity was required to determine inheritance. Male monogamy is a relatively recent invention to make things more “fair”; polygyny was (and still is, in some cultures) quite common.

              There is no concept of monogamy in female-dominated societies; inheritance is from mother to daughters, so there is no need to determine paternity. Both sexes are free to screw whomever they wish. Children are raised by the mother and her siblings, which is a large and permanent family unit, unlike a marriage.

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      • P. Says:

        Everything about our American society is geared towards monogamy and raising children in two-parent families. The laws in all 50 states forbid bigamy, and a few states still have laws preventing adultery or “alienation of affection” on the books. Marriage provides 1069 specific benefits under federal law, and that doesn’t even include state laws which provide similar advantages. I recently was in a minority neighborhood and saw a billboard promoting marriage.

        I’m no anthropologist, but I know there are plenty of other cultures who do things differently, both currently and throughout history. And I’m sure each of us know individual examples (whether you realize it or not): I have a friend who lives in an open polyamorous relationship with one man and one woman…the man is her boyfriend, the woman is her girlfriend, and they all share a home and life together.

        If you want to do things differently, you can, but it’s a much more uphill battle to create those alternative structures to support your life. If you’re so eager to embrace non-monogamy, then find someone who feels similarly — don’t get involved in a committed relationship and then try to impose it on someone who will be devastated by the outcome.

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        • Selena Says:

          ” If you’re so eager to embrace non-monogamy, then find someone who feels similarly — don’t get involved in a committed relationship and then try to impose it on someone who will be devastated by the outcome.”

          Much more realistic than trying to convince people who want monogamy that they shouldn’t because of their wiring.

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          • Crotch Rocket Says:

            Ah,but do they really want monogamy, or is that just what our society (and legal system) have convinced them they’re supposed to want?

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            • Selena Says:

              If you want it, you want it. Shrug.

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            • C Says:

              I want it.

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            • Cricri Says:

              So many people spend their lives asleep. If you’re not strong enough to stand in your truth and decide “this is the way I want to live my life” and think you can spend your life blaming society for why you’re unhappy, then guess who’s going to suffer? It requires courage and intelligence but above all honesty with oneself, it’s not easy but it is doable. Blaming commitment and monogamy for one’s unhappiness and cheating ways is actually a quite immature way to live one’s life. If someone makes a lifestyle choice such as this one, it is because they are prepared for all that comes with it. And if they are not prepared, then they should stay away of people who know what they want and not confuse them with their own confusion.

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  10. dimplz Says:

    This treatise reminds me of the romantic comedy “Someone like You,” where Ashley Judd develops the “Old Cow Theory” to explain why she got dumped by a jerk.

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  11. Trouble Says:

    Interestingly enough, the average man spreads more seed in a committed relationship than he does when single, based upon self-report data about sexual frequency.

    Go figure.

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    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      Wouldn’t that make sense that a man would have more sex when in a committed relationship? How does that relate to monogamy? Consistent sex is a given. How does that prove that he doesn’t have sex outside of his primary relationship…and how many men will admit to that in a survey?

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      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        “Consistent sex is a given [in a committed relationship].” Based on what I hear from most of my married male friends, no, it isn’t.

        “how many men will admit to [cheating] in a survey?” Actual surveys say 49%. And I’d bet you my next paycheck that the vast majority of those men would blame that on not getting consistent sex from their partner. Note that “disagreements over sex” is also the cited cause of roughly half of divorces.

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        • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

          But that’s my point. How does that survey prove that more men are being monogamous? I’m asking for more information.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “man spreads more seed in a committed relationship than he does when single” That’s because men who are “taken” are more attractive to several types of women. A former coworker of mine used to put on his old wedding ring (he’d been divorced 5+ years) when trolling the bars because it made getting laid so much easier. While I never sunk to that level, I’ve experienced something similar myself: I can go months without getting laid but, once I get into a relationship again, other women (including many of the ones who rejected me when I was single) start coming out of the woodwork to throw themselves at me–and that’s particularly troublesome since the girlfriend’s sex drive usually drops around the same time since she has “caught” her man and doesn’t need to put in the effort anymore.

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      • Selena Says:

        Not this girl. ;)

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      • Angeline Says:

        As long as we’re excusing behavior with biology, the reason the sex drive drops is not that ‘she’s caught the man’ which has the implication she no longer needs or wants to try to meet him at his desire level. It’s the biology! (If we’re still doing that schtick) she goes into nest-building, nuturing mode (prolactin, oxytocin, estrogen) and is no longer on the hunt herself (less testosterone). An equally powerful chemical response, but not to his liking. Therefore described in terms of willfulness rather than an act of nature.

        Goose, gander.

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        • Crotch Rocket Says:

          The oxytocin myth has been repeatedly debunked–and men produce just as much of it after orgasm, so it can’t be used to excuse female behavior.

          The amount of estrogen in a woman’s body is a direct result of their menstrual cycle and is not, in any way, linked to coupling up or nesting.

          Prolactin partly regulates the immune system, which is obviously sex-neutral, and goes into overdrive after childbirth to produce lactation. Notice that women want more sex during pregnancy, which is obviously an evolutionary advantage as it keeps a man around to protect and provide for the woman when she’s unable to do so herself.

          As to willfulness, see recent discussion about how women manufacture attraction to men in order to get into a relationship, either for the social validation or for the attention. Once the goal is accomplished, there is no more need to fake it and her sex drive returns to normal.

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          • Angeline Says:

            That was my point – that hormones aren’t a valid excuse for bad behavior, PMS as an excuse for bitchiness, or spreading seed as an excuse for infidelity. It’s a partial rationale for feeling urges, but not an excuse for behavior.

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  12. nathan Says:

    The reported infidelity rates for men and women are much closer to even now, regardless of what survey you read. Some of you are fixated on the “cheating man,” but frankly the “cheating woman” is pretty damned common as well.

    It seems to me that however we choose to arrange our relationships, setting them up so that partners can be open and honest about their needs and desires is paramount. A guy like Horace, for example, best be totally clear early on that he’s going to want “variety.”

    So much of the suffering around all of this comes down to people hiding their desires out of feelings of guilt and shame, acting out covertly, and then getting caught by their partner.

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    • Selena Says:

      It’s the “acting out covertly” part that is so alienating. If people want “variety”, why do they choose partners they know do not feel the same?

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      • nathan Says:

        It’s interesting you bring this up. I was talking with a friend about these very issues the other day. And I brought up an example of an author who’s work I really like that put out a memoir about 6 years ago. She’s in her 80s right now, and was married for about 50 years. For the first 20+ years of her marriage, both her and her husband were 100% monogamous. They were what you would consider a happy and healthy couple. Somewhere in her early 50s, however, the author met a man who she felt a strong kinship with. After a period of internal debating and attempts to fight off her attraction, she spoke with her husband about it. And he basically gave her his blessing to spend time with the other guy, including being sexually intimate. Now, I don’t know if he felt like he had to let her do it, but what struck me so much about the way she spoke about it was the genuine sense that something had shifted for her. However, it wasn’t a shift that meant she wanted out of her marriage, nor was it about being able to sleep with whomever. It was very specific, and ended up being for a limited time. And while it did create some challenges in her relationship with her husband for a time, they worked it out, and not only stayed married, but continued to do social justice projects around the world together until his death two years ago.

        The reason I bring that up is because I’m convinced that this kind of thing is not an anomaly. People who hold one view and live in a certain way for years and even decades can shift, and I think we have to figure out ways to work with that possibility, while at the same time, also holding folks accountable for their actions.

        Hell, Horace might wake up one day, or meet some woman that blows his socks off, and his whole “gotta have variety” tune gets tossed on it’s head. (I’m not holding my breath on that one, but you never know.)

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        • nathan Says:

          As an addendum, I’m not sure how I would personally react if my wife of 20 years came to me with the kind of situation the author above did to her husband. I don’t know if I would be as open as he husband seems to have been. And that adds another layer on this discussion, which is that people need to learn how to deal with differences in desire better, and specifically figure out where they can compromise, and what really needs to be let go of.

          One of the major trouble spots people seem to get into is giving into what turns out to be a really fleeting desire. Which is why I was interested in how much time the author in the story above contemplated and wrestled with what was coming up without acting upon it.

          In the long term relationships I have been in, I can count on one hand the number of times desire for another woman went beyond a fleeting physical attraction. And with those few times, I essentially decided the current relationship was of much more value than entertaining something with someone I didn’t really know well. So, I guess I have a pretty high threshold, and if that ever was crossed, I would try and approach it all in a similar way that that the author above did.

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        • Selena Says:

          Whenever I read essays like Horace’s – someone trying to justify their desire/*need* for variety citing biology – I wonder why they felt compelled to write about it. Aren’t they getting enough variety? Why not? Would seem a fairly easy thing to do in 2011.

          I suspect these people are attracted to the one’s who don’t want variety and have been unable to convince those people that they should be free to follow their libido wherever it leads. Comes off as whiney rationalization.

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  13. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Most theories by armchair evolutionary biologists are flawed in that they lack perspective of the time scales we are talking about. Evolutionary change doesn’t occur in the lifetime of a human being, nor even in the thousands of years of recorded history nor even in the tens of thousands of years during which human “cultures” have developed. Our biological urges and the physiology that supports them existed before culture. Yet, we are all products of culture, so I think it is impossible to separate out what originates from nature and what from culture, and I’m not even sure it matters for the purpose of analyzing human relationships.

    I do think however that we can all agree that we do have urges compelled by nature such as the urge to eat and to use the bathroom. Culture and law tends to suppress these natural urges, not support them. Its inappropriate to eat from a garbage can and someone who takes a dump on a subway car is avoided. So, I suspect it’s the same for sex. If monogomy were “natural” you wouldn’t need social rules and laws to encourage it. Some people are hungry enough that they will eat from the garbage. And, some monogamous people will “cheat.”. The fact that it’s socially unacceptable is evidence, in my opinion, that it is against rather than in support of nature.

    Personally, I have no problem with the theory that territorialism may outweigh reproductive urges and that would explain the existence of social structures (similar to what you see in apes and dogs)

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    • C Says:

      The fact that it’s socially unacceptable is evidence, in my opinion, that it is against rather than in support of nature.

      Yes!

      I’m sorry, but I am having a hard time buying that men are slaves of monogamy. Yes, we ALL have certain sexual urges and desires that we control to a certain degree, but I think there are plenty of other things about being human that account for why the majority of us are monogamy seekers. I don’t think that we can just narrow down all the potential issues of monogomous relationships to sexual desire alone. Some people are cut out for monogamy and some are not (something that maybe stems from up-bringing, environment, and life experience). However I do think that the majority of us are searching for some sort of exclusive pair bond, otherwise this site would not exist.

      I think it’s very interesting and relavent that DMN pointed out other human urges that are socially surpressed, such as impulsive eating. There are morbidly obese people that give in to the urge to overeat and that is a social taboo, mainly because it is a very unhealthy behavior that does not contribute to growth of the species. Maybe society ensures that our species survives by attempting to squash certain behaviors that, if practiced by the majority, would contribute to a downfall of the species. I have no idea if this is backed by scientific eveidence, just thinking out loud.

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      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        I meant that monogamy is likely unnatural based on the fact that “cheating” is socially inappropriate. I’m not sure if you still so breathlessly agree with me.

        Obesity is a perfect example of the tension between culture and nature. Our bodies are naturally “designed” for an era where food and body warmth were scarce. Human innovation have made food plentiful and our bodies clothed but our bodies don’t “know” that yet. Obesity as a “health” issue hasn’t been around long enough to matter – you are making the time scale mistake I mentioned above. Give it a couple of million more years and maybe our physiology will adjust to match our environment.

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        • C Says:

          Ooooop! My bad. I guess we disagree after all.

          I also disagree with you on the evolution point…evolution happens on all time scales.

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          • DrivingMeNutes Says:

            Hm. Well, you don’t have to take my word for it but I’m pretty sure that last point is not open to differences of opinion, assuming we’re talking about biological evolution caused by genetic mutation/natural selection.

            Good luck with your monogamy search.

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            • C Says:

              I meant that evolution is a continuous process, always occurring, although we may not witness the changes. And I wasn’t making any evolutionary assumptions about obesity or monogamy.

              So far so good on the monogamy search for me, thanks for the well wishes! :)

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              • Crotch Rocket Says:

                “evolution is a continuous process, always occurring, although we may not witness the changes” Evolution is a generational process. Given our generations last about 20 years, we Americans are only three or four generations since we had people literally starving to death in the streets, which is still far too soon for any significant impact on the gene pool even without considering the question of whether natural selection applies to humans, and many other cultures are still at that stage today.

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        • C Says:

          I also wasn’t citing evolution in my reference to the obesity example, or in the monagamy debate, for that matter.

          I think you make some good points about what’s natural and what’s social. I just don’t think that one does not influence the other (which is the point that I thought you were making, but I misread, sorry). :-&

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  14. joe-f Says:

    This is an issue I am struggling with. I think about having sex with women besides my girlfriend and think about the days past when I could have sex with multiple women. However, overall I am happier now with someone who I can love and cherish and who loves and cherish me back. Assuming I could have sex with multiple women and keep my girlfriend, I don’t think she would treat me the same. For me, having someone to come home to, call my most trusted friend and companion, I would give up the opportunity to have sex with more women. The tradeoff works for me.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      IOW, you’re “embracing” monogamy out of fear of losing your partner–not because that’s what you really want.

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      • joe-f Says:

        I want to clarify. I am saying it is impossible to have the kind of loving and trusting relationship I have with my girlfriend if I wasn’t monogamous.

        Let’s step into her shoes for a second. My boyfriend is sleeping with other girls. Perhaps he loves them more than me. I know he says otherwise but who knows. I would be better off hedging my bets and put less love and trust into this relationship.

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        • Selena Says:

          Add to that Joe, she might have other men competing for her attention and decide to go with the one who wants to sleep with just her, not other girls. A man may like variety, but a woman may choose the man she perceives as most loyal to her. Both men and women value loyalty in partners and have been known to leave those who valued “variety” more.

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          • Crotch Rocket Says:

            “she might have other men competing for her attention and decide to go with the one who wants to sleep with just her, not other girls.” … and now we’re back to fear of losing his partner as the justification for monogamy.

            Note I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that; I just want him to be honest with us and, more importantly, with himself.

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            • Selena Says:

              We’re not back to justification – we’re back to choice. One can either choose to be monogamous or choose not to be. If they are not monogamous and one of their partner’s wants that, then they very well might lose that partner to someone willing to be monogamous. The person who prefers variety however, presumably still has a world full of willing options.

              Comes down to which one desires more – one person? Or the possibility of many?

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              • Crotch Rocket Says:

                “If they are not monogamous … they very well might lose that partner to someone willing to be monogamous” That is what I said: they agree to be monogamous because they fear losing that partner, not because they really want monogamy. And that’s a valid choice. I’m just saying one shouldn’t misinterpret the (often fear-based) choices people make as what those people actually desire.

                Likewise, the traditional marriage vows require that both parties “forsake all others”; if either doesn’t agree, the other’s vow is voided. That is, in effect, a contract where each buys the other’s monogamy with their own. That doesn’t mean that’s what either party would do if the other would be monogamous regardless. If that were true, why was the vow–and the threat of God’s eternal damnation if it was violated–deemed necessary?

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            • Cricri Says:

              Note CR that it is not the fear of losing “a” partner, but “his” partner. You know that special someone that “I can love and cherish and who loves and cherish me back” ? The fact is human can multi task to a certain point, and most smart, skills and intelligence we get is by working at something for a quite prolonged time. People fear losing their jobs so they actually show up for work, they fear dying so they eat and go to the doctor often. Why fear of losing that special person who supplies a lot of things you appreciate would be abnormal? Maybe the appreciation ( or addiction) to all those advantages is what drives people to work/stay and care.

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              • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                Why fear of losing that special person who supplies a lot of things you appreciate would be abnormal?

                In the examples you gave 9health, fear if losing job) the person is protecting something necessary for their survival. The same fear or concern can not be applied when considering losing a loved one. In the former examples, the person maintains these things out of a need for self-preservation. Someone who can’t survive without the presence of another person in their life is co-dependent. Most people aren’t co-dependent.

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                • Cricri Says:

                  A lot of people survive without working, by depending on the charity of others or finding other ways to obtain sustenance. Both are for self- preservation, physical and emotional ones. If being in love and caring for someone makes you feel good and fulfilled then that’s what you do. That’s why people have children and pair up, because they see themselves as part of couple. One can survive without a job and without a partner yet people decide to subscribe to both. Also consider the a contrario situation, losing a job is quite negligible compared to losing a loved one, but even then, they both cause emotional/physical pain.

                  If you go back ahead in the comments, you said yourself that people actually have that same fear of ” financial ruin, not seeing their children and guilt” which is in itself also self-preservation, right? or are we contradicting ourselves now? Most people are actually co-dependent, they like the comfort /support that they bring to each other, whether it is sex or meal. This is partnership. Whether they wish they could tweak the deal to get more out of it is another issue, it might require them to also give in other aspects that might satisfy their partners as well, but most people don’t want to.

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                  • Crotch Rocket Says:

                    “Most people are actually co-dependent, they like the comfort /support that they bring to each other, whether it is sex or meal.” That is not what codependency means.

                    co·de·pen·den·cy: n. a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another

                    In layman’s terms, codepedence is an addiction to someone else’s addiction.

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                • Angeline Says:

                  I’ll have to take issue with the codependent tag. With this mild a description. I get real tired of normal desire for a partner being described as codependent. There has to be some accompanying pathology before “need” (meaning ‘want’) escalates to “NEED” (meaning ‘is willing to take hostages to meet the need’).

                  There is a lot of evidence that other humans are necessary for normal mental functioning. There are numerous stories of people stranded or who closed off from society who lose their grip on sanity. There is a range between healthy desire and preference for having someone in your life, and codependent behavior to keep an abuser around/alive for sustenance.
                  There is also the other end of the pathology scale, the person who truly doesn’t need anyone else. I assure you, that is not a healthy personality.

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              • Crotch Rocket Says:

                “The fact is human can multi task to a certain point, and most smart, skills and intelligence we get is by working at something for a quite prolonged time.” So is it your claim that nobody should have more than one child at a time because we can’t love more than one child or multi-task effectively enough to raise more than one well?

                “Why fear of losing that special person who supplies a lot of things you appreciate would be abnormal?” I don’t think it’s abnormal at all. We all make decisions based on fear–and settle for the “safe” alternative rather than what we really want. Just don’t confuse the two.

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                • Cricri Says:

                  No, CR , obviously you can love more than one child at the same time. My example wasn’t applying to children, I don’t know where your suggestion comes from.
                  I’m talking about focusing on a partner. Sexual “promiscuity” isn’t the best way to go to develop a durable bond with your partner. Sooner or later, people choose, deliberately or not. Simply because even following your compulsions can be exhaustive and self-destructive at some point. My example can also apply to working and raising children at the same time. Doable but still hard and you’d might have to cut out other aspects of your life as well.

                  Nobody is confusing both. What I’m saying is that what we settle for IS what we REALLY WANT in the end. I don’t see the point of pretending to settle and be miserable. People have to get real and realize that their choices are what they want and if it is not what they truly want, or if they are not ready to make the adjustments necessary to obtain the results they want, they have the opportunity and the responsibility to others and themselves to get out while they still can.

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                  • Crotch Rocket Says:

                    “My example wasn’t applying to children, I don’t know where your suggestion comes from.” Perhaps I was too subtle, then. I was drawing a parallel between loving multiple adults and loving multiple children. If we can all accept the latter, why can’t we accept the former?

                    “Sooner or later, people choose, deliberately or not.” People are forced to choose by others’ fears–fears instilled in them by our culture. Go to a country where polygamy is still legal and ask a woman if she’s afraid her husband will leave her for another one of his wives. She’ll laugh. Of course not–he can have both! She has nothing to fear.

                    “what we settle for IS what we REALLY WANT in the end.” I disagree. What we settle for is what we fear to be the best option available to us. That doesn’t mean we don’t want something else. For instance, I’ll probably end up marrying a gal for life and being monogamous; that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a revolving harem of twenty-something hotties like Hugh Hefner. I just don’t have the money to make that happen.

                    “they have … the responsibility to others and themselves to get out while they still can.” So, since I’m not likely to be a millionaire, I should just commit suicide? Settling sounds like a better plan.

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        • Crotch Rocket Says:

          “My boyfriend is sleeping with other girls. Perhaps he loves them more than me. I know he says otherwise but who knows.” So, again, her motivation to seek monogamy is due to fear, not because that’s what she truly wants.

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    • dimplz Says:

      I think looking at people and thinking about what it would be like is normal. You don’t have control over every thought and fantasy that comes to mind. I’m sure my bf does it, and I don’t need to know that he does. That we don’t act on it or seek relationships with other people is what’s more important to me.

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    • Erine Says:

      That’s a great point, I think this is the general thing that applies to most men: they miss the days when they could do anything they wanted, but wouldn’t trade the relationship and sex with one woman for those days when they were single.

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  15. Sarah Says:

    He lost me at winky face.

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  16. Erine Says:

    I agree and disagree. I absolutely believe that for the reasons stated by the OP, it’s harder (much harder?) for men than it is for women to be just with one person sexually. That never means that they want to leave their loved one, etc., but they sex drive is kind of different from ours (girls’).
    I don’t agree with Moxie that men tease their male friends who become comitted in one way or the other. I’ve dated a number of successful/cute men who you’d think wouldn’t have a problem with attracting women, but who were struggling like everyone else with finding someone really compatible (chemistry+interpersonal compatibility). And their friends and as well as my female friends, the ones who were single, wanted that coupledoom for themselves too.
    It’s a stigma that men are not as relationships oriented.
    I wouldn’t be saying this if it wasn’t for the many men who shared such thoughts with me.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “I don’t agree with Moxie that men tease their male friends who become comitted in one way or the other.” Then your male friends aren’t being honest with you. There is always teasing, even if only the good-natured kind. What’s far more destructive is when unhappily married men hear about a single guy getting engaged and descend on him to try to “save” him from repeating their mistake. I’ve seen that plenty of times as well.

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  17. Erine Says:

    I feel that women, for the sake of their relationships, should be able to cut their guy some slack. If a man looks at other women here and there , let it slide, don’t pout, don’t call him out on that (as long as he does it in moderation of course). It’s natural, and it’s in no way or shape means he loves you/wants you less.
    I’ll also have to say that women do it too to an extent. I am head over the heels in love with my boyfriend, yet whenever I encounter a cute man at work, and it’s mutual, we flirt very lightly, and I feel the attraction. Yet as soon as I leave the room, I forget all about him and my thoughts are filled with the thoughts about my boyfriend again.

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  18. D Says:

    There is a reason it’s almost always women who make a marriage ultimatum and almost always men who refer to the “ball & chain.”

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    • Saj Says:

      Ha I think usually I refer to the ball and chain more then he does but it’s always a term of affection. He was also super gung ho about getting engaged fairly early in our relationship. 4 months after living together we were like we are crazy about each other lets just do it! 5 years later and zero regrets.

      I think it’s also about the group of friends you hang out with. You get a bunch of jaded guys together they may give the monogamous minded friend a hard time maybe out of warning of jealousy that he’s been able to make his relationship work while they themselves have had their struggles.

      You get a group of happily married guys together and it’s talk about kids, their lives and not so much spouse bashing and genuine happiness when a guy has found someone he cares about.

      The wrong set of friends can be seriously toxic to your dating life especially if they are overly negative about it.

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  19. Mike Felber Says:

    A couple folks here seem to feel that it is an all or nothing paradigm. No, as i & others say, it is not that there is no tendency to bond with a partner, it is that there is also a strong trend to seek out variety, especially in males. Though when there are studies of parentage in humans & other species, we find much more often than people & the putative Dad’s suppose paternity from outside the couple.

    It is childish to call arguments you disagree with mindless when many are siting different cultures, studies, actual evidence-& you present no substance, just assert a premise. Likewise it is petty & ad hominem to assume that someone who writes about natural tendencies cannot get ladies or convince them to accept their conduct-really? What reason is there to presume something negative or demeaning rather than someone honestly trying to explain differences in human sexuality? Should we assume all your arguments just support your deficiencies absent evidence?

    It can be difficult to negotiate both monogamy & multiple partners-but the very PROBLEM of worrying that someone likes another more, or irrational conflation of never having sex with another with loyalty, is largely due to the strong societal bias towards monogamy in this culture. It is beautiful that folks wants to dedicate themselves to each other, but the question is what is both most likely to preserve more healthy relationships, & what is most nurturing for human growth & happiness.

    Re: evolution, DMN is overwhelmingly correct. Evolution “operates” all the time, but it takes a long time to have an effect of changing the whole species in shifting the average human significantly-& much longer to form another species entirely. Even with Epigenetics (a whole other issue) & recent discoveries we are never talking about changes within a few years to a whole population. We found that something like certain populations having lactose tolerance happened relatively fast, but 1) there needs to be a strong selective pressure in favor of it, meaning that it is it is a large advantage to surviving & reproducing, & 2) it still takes at least 100’s of years for significant change to work its way through a population. 3) This is particularly true when there is not a small isolated population, since otherwise each change is watered down by the larger group’s genetics, instead of more easily transplanting it.

    And we are not on track for something like fat storage/obesity to be altered at all even over 100’s of years, ’cause even though being overweight & obese will make folks less healthy, appealing to most mates, & die younger on average, those folks are at least as likely to reproduce: everyone gets to survive these days. Also the poor who are malnourished with poor diets actually tend to be fatter in a society like this when nobody starves-& actually have a higher rate of reproduction.

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  20. loveiseasy Says:

    Argumentum ad Naturam?

    Have you ever heard of the Appeal to Nature Fallacy? Natural is good, therefore unnatural is bad. It’s a terribly binary and reductionist way of thinking. It was natural for human beings to travel in small groups, hunt animals, and gather berries and nuts. Is it wrong that we now go to grocery stores to buy our food>

    This isn’t truly a matter of what is natural, but more so about what is efficient. In fact, I don’t think I caught much of a matter here seeing as you didn’t make any point, your argument provides no insight and no conclusion. I’m sure most of us have read anything here that we didn’t know before.

    It is true. Monogamy is definitely not a distinctly human inclination, most especially male humans. But it is human to try. It’s incredibly naive to assume that the majority of men can even find one woman they fancy, let alone dozens. You’re overestimating the amount of women that your average man can reasonably attract on a consistent basis. Also, I want to point out that in a polyamorous society, the men who are deemed as most attractive will be getting the most play while your average man is stuck with the scraps and generally will have to provide for bastard children. If you thought your average guy is suffering in this current sexual market, see how much worse it would get if everyone was granted free reign. Or are you suggesting that only men should have free reign? Again you made no conclusions.

    Monogamy, as “unnatural” as it seems, just tends to work *the best* at this point in our evolution. Hate it or love it.

    I agree that humans are heavily influenced by their natural inclinations and biomechanics, that we are all merely animals, but civilization necessitates us overcoming the fact that we are animals to some extent. This is all.

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    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      “Monogamy, as “unnatural” as it seems, just tends to work *the best* at this point in our evolution. Hate it or love it. ”

      Really? So, you’ve decided it “tends to work ‘the best'” and, without any support, you declare victory? I’m not sure Horace was saying “natural is better” but, even assuming that was his argument, at least he made one, providing a basis for his conclusion that we could at least disagree with.

      Anyway, I’m not sure I see the logical fallacy in the appeal to nature. I guess if you’re making moral arguments, I can see it, but there “lack of basis” is a fallacy with all moral arguments. Who are you appealing to, if not nature? God? And, while we’re on the subject of mistaken assumptions, I do see a few in your comment. You assume that just because 21th Century Americans happen to prefer a monogamy “model” that all human beings, at all times, all over the planet have universally decided it’s “the best.” In fact, different cultures throughout history and have different views on what is right and wrong, especially when it comes to sexuality. (Yes, I’m a moral relativist too.) Second, is it even remotely “the best?” From my vantage point, I don’t see the model as being particularly successful, even to accomplish the things it’s supposed to be “the best” at accomplishing. Everyone is misrable and discontented and the latest product of your monogamy, your children? Sorry but they are AWFUL. You must not get out much. Lastly, I don’t personally feel a drive to monogamy so whether you declare it “the best” or not, and even if everyone here nods in agreement, I know there is at least one person right now on this planet and within ear shot that disagrees with you. This is all.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “Monogamy is definitely not a distinctly human inclination, most especially male humans. But it is human to try.” It is also human to murder. Does that mean we should all go out and give it a try? You need to support your arguments better than that.

      “Monogamy … just tends to work *the best*” The “best” as measured by what criteria? And for what purpose?

      From a purely evolutionary perspective, “ethnic cleansing” is a far more successful strategy for propagating one’s genes. That’s why it was the norm for our species until recently (in evolutionary terms) and still happens now and then among “uncivilized” cultures, just as it is the norm for many other mammals.

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  21. Mike Felber Says:

    If you were addressing me loveiseasy,, you made several factual mistakes about what I claimed thus were addressing Straw Men. It is like you just made up an opponent our of general disdain. If you were speaking to the OP, he still makes points & draws conclusions, though it is a bit simplistic.

    Personally, I never suggested anything like natural is always good. I specifically separated a number of impulses, from desires to jealousy, & recommend which our society tends to nurture & how, & what is best to encourage or discourage. I never even said that seeing multiple folks is better, just that not precluding this, especially in a partner, has more upside & is more consistent with freedom, tolerance & letting folks explore not only physical but deeper connections: & that should SAVE more relationships broken up be cheating.

    I made many points & conclusions, which anyone with a modicum of reading comprehension could outline easily. Above are just several. Not seeing them seems merely out of emotion, from animus. another natural inclination for some) it is good to check & rewire.

    You meant to type that people have heard this all before-no, some betray from their statements they have not. Leaving aside other issues of grammar, I know that neither I nor the OP did this:

    Never REMOTELY said or implied a belief about how many woman the average man can attract! Nor that it was desirable to attract more or less. That is an unwarranted negative assumption of being motivated by sexual greed, rather than what model is felt to be best for all concerned. Just acknowledging that impulse to search & stray. Now statistics seem to show woman cheating as often. besides fixing relationships worth salvaging, redefining other relationships as permissible would SAVE many of the original pairings & families.

    It seems incredibly cynical that most men (or woman) cannot find even one person they fancy. Especially in light of many like Moxie who talk about how many more options men have today.

    There is no cause to suggest that with paternity tests men will be stuck w/ “bastard” kids, & while the more appealing folks will always do better, that a tiny percentage of guys could ever take enough woman to leave everyone else with “scraps”. Especially since even if more woman are not polygamous, few of the most “desirable” ones accept being one of many. Not that who is considered most stereotypically desirable equates to which ladies men will be most pleased with…

    Lastly, you have asserted a premise with absolutely no reasoning nor evidence attached. That monogamy works best now or even just here in the US. No logical reason it should work better, nor that it does better or as well as open relationships-though these have the additional burden of being conditioned & discriminated against. As has interracial & gay love.

    The implication that it is more civilized is also odious. Those at all enlightened constantly stress the need for communication & other’s feelings, respecting limits that primary & other partners negotiate, & nobody smart is suggesting that having more lovers is necessarily better. The book “The Ethical Slut” discusses these things & more at length, & it would be a grotesquely cartoonish view to even assume from the ironic title means more (or less) is always better, regardless of personal conduct.

    I made ultra clear everyone should be free. I doubt the OP would be so hypocritical & backwards to suggest woman should not also be. He explicitly addressed male sexuality & expressed empathy for the ladies, saying that those are other worthy issues. That is not at all making no conclusions.

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