Thursday, July 05, 2007

On Monogamy

Monogamy- it has never come naturally to me.

A pernicious, dehumanising and degrading practice.

Pernicious because its false promise destroys lives. It's promoted as an ideal, so when humans fail to 'achieve' it, individuals can suffer guilt, embarrassment and criticism.

It's dehumanising because it's so anti-human. Humans are anything but monogamous by nature (although there seems to be a wide spectrum of behaviour). Before the cultural mixing that came with European colonisation, 75% of human societies were polygynous (male partners had multiple female partners) Of course it goes without saying European societies were also polygynous, they just hid it more effectively. Human males are significantly larger than human females, a pattern found across polygynous species, as competition among males rewards those who are brawnier. The degree of polygyny is dependent on size difference, so in deer for example the dominant stage will have dozens of does while in humans males tend to be 'somewhat monogamous', but inclined to wander.
Sex is what humans do best. We do it more often than other species, usually for longer, and we are one of very few species that does it for fun (the fantastic bonobo chimp seems to be the other species). It's extremely human, and, god knows, having the same partner all the time really puts a dampener on things.

Keeping our natural urges in check is the thing that makes it degrading. To constantly restrain yourself, for fear of being labelled 'sleazy' or a 'slut', is about as degrading as you can get.

Down with monogamy!

What about alternatives? Do we have to do away with marriage altogether?

Well, marriage is, of course, a ridiculous, absurd and atavistic insitution. Look at all the horrors that result from its evil: Divorce. Extramarital affairs. Unhappy marriages. Housewives.

It also correlates strongly with death, in that most people who die are or have been married!

Why can't we have contracts? Let's say you sign up for 7 years, the proverbial itch. If, in the unlikely even you still want to be together after that time, you can sign up for another 7. Couples wishing to get married for life should be reminded that even in jail life is only 20 years. They should receive counselling where divorce rates are frequently mentioned. Compulsory biology classes will also be part of the counselling.

If you still want to get married, ask yourself this: Do you want a marriage like your parents'? Because that is what you are going to get, like it or not. Human ageing, genetics and twenty years of hell make this inevitable.

Perhaps even better that the contract is the polygamous marriage. What is this rubbish with two people walking down the aisle together? Two? Two??? What an arbitrary, limiting, inhuman, disgraceful idea! Have you ever seen two people happy in a marriage thirty years down the track? Is it even legal? If it is, it should be banned. Let's have three people down the aisle. Two women and a man. Or...two men and a woman. I've known several women who would never be happy with just one man for the rest of their lives. Balanced, smart women with healthy sex drives who just can't imagine the idea. Or three men, or three women. What about four?

Interesting, it is religion where polygamy still survives. Far be it to defend religious practices, but they seem to be onto something here, apart from the obvious sexist attitudes (let's liberate Islam and have four husbands for every woman!)

Down with monogamy!