Of course men cheat. It is built into their nature and part of their genetic order to have more than one partner and spread their genetic seed. I have always believed that if you want to know what is NATURAL in the world, all you have to do is open your eyes and look around. If what you are seeing happens a lot, then it’s natural. It may not be what we expect or want from life, but it damn sure is a natural part of it! And although a lot of women may not want to admit this openly, or see this fact so blatantly printed, they understand it to be true. You only need to ask a thousand women, “what are men really like” and the majority will say “men are pigs and they all cheat.” So, if nearly a total majority know and understand this to be true, why the reluctance to put it in print? So, let me summarize here what I have found in the latest Google search.
Is monogamy a natural order in the animal kingdom?
According to the animal kingdom, and research with creatures from insects and fish to birds, apes, lions, tigers and bears, monogamy is exceedingly uncommon in the natural world. In fact, with advances in the technology of genetic testing, many of the species previously lauded as being lifelong monogamous, are now known to actually have many sexual encounters outside their seemingly monogamous partnerships. While they may maintain long-term pair bonds with a single partner, they do not maintain sexual fidelity. Swans, geese, and eagles, species long romantically described as monogamous, have now been revealed to have engaged in non-monogamous sexual activity in as many as one out of four births. In fact, according to some researchers, it’s more newsworthy when evidence of monogamy and sexual fidelity is actually supported in the animal kingdom.
Among mammals, only a very few species live in seemingly monogamous arrangements, and fewer still maintain sexual fidelity within those relationships. Man certainly does not seem to be one of them. There is increasing evidence that many men are not biologically or psychologically disposed to sexual monogamy.
When one considers the seeming universality of the expectation of monogamy in today’s world (or at least the world presented by Western media), it is perhaps surprising that http://geniasreality.siterubix.com/monogamy has not always been the expected state for man. Despite the vehemence with which many Christians defend monogamy, many men in the Bible, including David and Solomon, were far from monogamous. In fact, whenever conservative marriage advocates espouse “traditional marriage,” I always have to laugh – even in Christianity, traditional marriage included polygyny (a marriage arrangement with one man and multiple wives), and was not explicitly limited to a monogamous arrangement between “one man and one woman.”
Throughout the history of man, most societies practiced a range of relationships, with monogamy and polygyny the most common and only rare societies that mandated monogamy. Historically, polygyny has been one of the most common and prevalent forms of marriage, worldwide, with evidence that the acceptability of marriage of a single male to multiple females has been present in all human cultures through history. (Polyandry, a single woman with multiple male husbands has been very rare, and typically tied to unique economic circumstances.) Currently, less than 20 percent of world cultures require monogamy, the overwhelming majority allowing polygamous marriages. Less common were societies that practiced polyandry, where one woman has multiple husbands (which reportedly were found in less than 1 percent of worldwide societies).
Throughout history, many powerful men have eschewed monogamy for the privilege of having multiple female partners, typically through having multiple wives, concubines and mistresses. It was not all men who could support multiple wives, but usually only the wealthiest, most powerful men who could attract, protect, and provide for multiple wives and their children. But, in modern Western culture, men with multiple wives are seen as sinners and lawbreakers – in America, bigamy and polygyny is illegal, and was deemed a danger to society by the US Supreme court when it was outlawed in Utah in the 19th century.
Monogamy is enforced by law in the United States with criminal adultery statutes, laws against bigamy and in child custody laws. Infidelity is punishable by law in twenty-five states, and is subject to civil lawsuit in eight. While violations of such laws are rarely prosecuted, statutory penalties against these crimes range from two years’ imprisonment to commitment for treatment of insanity.
Even when partners do not sexually violate marriage expectations, with divorce rates as high as 60 percent in some cases, monogamy has less meaning than it once did. Serial monogamy is now the truer term, where individuals are monogamous as long as they are in a given relationship, but move on to other relationships, sexual and otherwise, once that relationship ends. Why then is monogamy the expected, required, and enforced marital ideal? Marriage laws, according to most experts, have more to do with contract and property law. Monogamy offers important assurances regarding parentage that support and clarify inheritance laws and precedents. Some writers and historians suggest that monogamy represents a political and economic compromise, between the needs of the powerful and the need to have a self-sufficient, satisfied, and motivated workforce.
Regardless, monogamy works, or at least the idea of monogamous marriage works. A commitment and bond between two partners meets needs for social, emotional, and physical intimacy, as well as financial, familial, and pragmatic needs in ways that no other relationship strategy has as effectively satisfied in current society. But, despite the effectiveness of a seemingly monogamous relationship, history shows that the ideal of monogamy, with the expectation of sexual and emotional fidelity, is not apparently suited for everyone.
Currently, debates over gay marriage have raised the specter of polygyny, with arguments that legalizing gay marriage could open the door to polygyny, with the fear of significant social consequences. Reality shows like Sister Wives, and HBO’s Big Love have elevated public dialogue and legal issues around the practice of polygyny. In my home state of New Mexico, an 85 year-old man in a rural town was recently arrested for bigamy, after he apparently became lonely during a very long separation from his wife, and married another woman – I don’t know the details of the case, but wonder how this marriage came to lead to criminal charges in the first place – where is the harm and threat to community here? Why does society fear polygyny, and believe that it poses a risk to the structure of our culture and society?
I’m not arguing here as to whether polygyny is healthy or not, nor am I discussing or denying the negative effects that polygyny has on women, including young girls. I am interested in discussing the question of why, if there truly is a patriarchal control of society, why did these men supposedly in charge give up the historical sexual privilege of polygyny?
A piece of the answer, and evidence for the cultural “cost-benefit” explanation of monogamy is revealed in recently published anthropological research. In “The puzzle of monogamous marriage” by Henrich, Boyd and Richerson, the authors present evidence that monogamy actually has significant social benefits. In polygyny, powerful men gather the most desirable women for themselves. And less powerful men “go hungry,” wifeless. In fact, throughout human history, while 80% of women have reproduced, only 40% of men have (this is a fascinating statistic, that I really invite you to think about. Imagine the downstream implications of this, as it affects which men in history reproduced, and how their characteristics were passed down to us today). Those men who couldn’t compete, didn’t get to have even a single wife, and thus didn’t have children. So, what did those men do with their time? According to Henrich, Boyd and Richerson, it appears they got into lots of trouble. Societies where polygyny has been (and still is) practiced, have higher rates of crimes involving males, especially violent crime. Apparently, if you can’t get a wife, what’s the point of following society’s rules?
But just because the men ostensibly in charge of modern societies “decided” to give up the right to have multiple wives, they clearly didn’t give up their interest in having sex with multiple women. The sex lives of leaders like Mao Zedong, Jack Kennedy, and Newt Gingrich, show that while these men may have imposed monogamy on other men (under Mao, infidelity was a punishable crime, and Gingrich vociferously attacked Clinton’s sexual infidelity), they haven’t been all that interested in following these rules themselves. It sounds like a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.” Famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung once wrote to Sigmund Freud that “The prerequisite for a good marriage, it seems to me, is the license to be unfaithful.”
As it was throughout history, the rule of monogamy was for the common man in society, not the leaders, who still got the privilege of having mistresses, with tacit social approval. Interestingly, this arrangement has even benefited the men in power, who are now no longer obligated to marry and support these other women, in order to pursue sexual variety. Nowadays, as I describe in The Myth of Sex Addiction, many of these men simply claim to be sex addicts and retreat into pseudo-treatment. Their mistresses are then merely the by-products of an uncontrollable illness, rather than people for whom these men are responsible.
Through a (probably unconscious) social process, modern Western societies have gravitated towards emphasis and requirement of monogamous marriages, because it smoothes out some significant social problems. By preventing powerful men from having multiple wives, and allowing all men a democratic chance to get married, men spend more time worrying about looking like good potential mates, and have less time and energy to break the rules and get in trouble. Modern society’s moral emphasis upon monogamy is based upon historical, pragmatic evidence of the social benefit of requiring monogamy for (most) men.
If monogamy is not the natural order of things, where did it originate? There are several, well documented, reasons:
Religion….. Christianity promoted monogamy, even though most of the world tended towards polygamy… (one husband, multiple wives). In fact, the Christian church did not prohibit polygamy as much as church leaders. In truth, there are NO passages in the bible that specifically mention monogamy! In fact, several central Old Testament figures are polygynists. Abraham, for instance, had two wives simultaneously, and Solomon had 700 (plus 300 concubines).
Socially imposed monogamy was first established in ancient Greece and Rome, centuries before Christianity even existed. But even though Christianity did not introduce socially imposed monogamy to the West, it did fully embrace this institution, and as noted above, it was this embracement that ultimately led to monogamy’s spread throughout the Western world. So, why did monogamy spread throughout the Western World. It spread because historically, monogamous groups were advantaged militarily over polygynous groups (Alexander, 1987). The ancient Greco-Roman and medieval European leaders who embraced anti-polygyny laws were heavily invested in the business of war, and their own social status and indeed survival often depended on their ability to maintain large, well-funded armies. And the imposition of monogamy produced bigger, better armies, because monogamous groups can grow larger than polygynous ones.
Clovis converting to Christianity
Why can monogamous groups grow larger? Because men want wives, and if you need a lot of men on your team, you must offer them something that they want. In monogamous groups, unlike polygynous ones, high status males cannot hoard large numbers of women for themselves. The more equal distribution of women in monogamous groups means that more men can acquire wives, and fewer men have to leave the group to search for wives elsewhere. And the larger the group, the more men there are to fight in battles and to pay taxes for the funding of wars. Socially imposed monogamy, therefore, emerged in the West as a reciprocal arrangement in which elite males allowed lower-ranking males to marry, in exchange for their military service and tax contributions.
After socially imposed monogamy was established, Westerners became so accustomed to it that many began to see it as the normal state of human mating, and to see the formerly universal practice of polygyny as foreign and strange
News of politicians’ extramarital affairs seems to be in no short supply lately, but if humans were cut from exactly the same cloth as other mammals, a faithful spouse would be an unusual phenomenon.
Only 3 percent to 5 percent of the roughly 5,000 species of mammals (including humans) are known to form lifelong, monogamous bonds , with the loyal superstars including beavers, wolves and some bats.
Social monogamy is a term referring to creatures that pair up to mate and raise offspring but still have flings. Sexually monogamous pairs mate with only with one partner. So a cheating husband who detours for a romantic romp yet returns home in time to tuck in the kids at night would be considered socially monogamous.
Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that men are more likely to have extramarital sex, partially due to the male urge to “spread genes” by broadcasting sperm. Both males and females, these scientists say, try to up their evolutionary progress by seeking out high-quality mates, albeit in different ways.
The committed partnership between a man and a woman evolved, some say, for the well-being of children.
“The human species has evolved to make commitments between males and females in regards to raising their offspring, so this is a bond,” said Jane Lancaster, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of New Mexico. “However that bond can fit into all kinds of marriage patterns – polygyny, single parenthood, monogamy.”
The human species is somewhat unique amongst mammals in that fathers do invest in raising children .
“We do know that in humans we do have this pretty strong pair bond, and there’s more paternal investment than in most other primates,” said Daniel Kruger, a social and evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “We’re special in this regard, but at the same time like most mammals, we are a polygynous species.” Kruger said humans are considered “mildly polygynous,” in which a male mates with more than one female.
Whether or not the married or otherwise committed individuals stray for sex depends on the costs and benefits.
“There is plenty of evidence that males have less to lose than females by having extramarital sex,” Lancaster said. “Having less to lose, it’s easier for them to do it.”
Women, however, could lose “dad’s” resources when it comes to raising their kids. “For women, the well-being of their children is not improved by promiscuity,” Lancaster told LiveScience.
Some scientists view both social and sexual monogamy in humans as a societal structure rather than a natural state.
“I don’t think we are a monogamous animal,” said Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle. “A really monogamous animal is a goose – which never mates again even if its mate is killed.”
She added, “Monogamy is invented for order and investment – but not necessarily because it’s ‘natural.'”
Many are quick to label a person who strays from his or her marriage or relationship as a “cheater,” but it’s really not that simple. It’s time for our culture to wake up and smell the sex pheromones: monogamy is not natural for many, or probably even most, humans.
With people living longer than ever before, a greater tolerance toward the human impulse to experience sexual variety is needed. Whether a person succeeds at being sexually monogamous depends as much on biology as environment.
The rise of the love marriage
Marrying for love is a relatively new concept. Beginning with Enlightenment — the cultural movement of the 18th and 19th centuries — when the pursuit of happiness became a legitimate human pursuit, marrying for love slowly but surely became an aspiration in the Western world.
But for most of human history, marriage was primarily a socioeconomic transaction. Spending the rest of your life with someone was more about the protection of property and the sharing of labor than it was about romance.
The side effect of the rise of marriage as a romantic proposition was that sexual jealousy became a more prevalent ingredient in marriage than it had been previously. Over time, sexual fidelity has come to be regarded as the barometer of a successful marriage — regardless of what science tells us about natural human inclinations.
Biologically, we humans are animals. So it makes sense to look to the animal kingdom for clues as to what we are built for. Let’s start with birds. For some time, bird species such as lovebirds and penguins were celebrated among humans for their seemingly monogamous ways. About 90% of birds were thought to be strictly monogamous.
But DNA fingerprinting knocked birds off the monogamy perch. Analysis of avian DNA indicates that many nestlings’ fathers are not their biological fathers. This led experts to distinguish between unions that are sexually exclusive and those that are socially monogamous — meaning a pair that raises a family together but indulges in what are called “extra pair copulations.”
“Faithless pairing” is the norm
The evidence shows that monogamy is a rarity among mammals. Only 3% to 5% of all the mammal species on Earth “practice any form of monogamy.” In fact, no mammal species has been proven to be truly monogamous.
One species, the prairie vole was subjected to scrutiny by biologists because it appeared to be truly monogamous. But it turns out that as a species, it just has a very high rate of sexual monogamy. Not every prairie vole resists straying. Studies of prairie voles helped scientists understand that from a chemical and biological standpoint, sexual monogamy depends not just on particular hormones that are released in the brain, but on receptors for these hormones.
Among humans, here’s the rub: we have the chemicals and the receptors, but it varies from person to person how much we have. Based on brain wiring alone, inclination toward fidelity can vary dramatically from one individual to another. In other words, “once a cheater, always a cheater,” might have as much to do with brain wiring as with a person’s moral compass, upbringing or culture.
The bottom line is that flings are far from folly, at least in the animal kingdom. Even swans — symbols of fidelity — are not monogamous.
One partner for 50 years?
It’s also important to look at human longevity with respect to cultural expectations of monogamy. As recent as over 100 years ago, it was far more likely that an individual would lose his or her spouse at a young age. Remarriage by widows and widowers — also known as serial monogamy — was one way for humans to fulfill the need for sexual variety.
Today, the median age for first marriages is 28 for men and 26 for women. Disease is far less likely to kill someone in their prime and life expectancy hovers in the late 70s. Because fidelity is considered the barometer of a successful marriage, this means that a person is theoretically expected to have one sexual partner for about 50 years.
This seems like a lot to expect of any human being — even the most honorable, ethical and moral. Those who are able to stay with one partner for a long haul are sometimes looked upon with awe. Certainly, a lasting and happy marriage tends to be far better for the children.
It has long been assumed that men struggle more with monogamy than women. Some experts have started to question this theory. With the development of a drug that promises to boost female libido, one can argue that sexual boredom and the temptation to stray is as big of an issue for women as it is for men, if not more so.
Human monogamy is influenced by many factors. Instead of pointing fingers or acting morally superior toward those who stray from marriages, we should recognize that strict sexual fidelity is a lofty but perhaps fundamentally doomed aspiration. No two individuals, and no two couples are alike, and we should respect that. When it comes to being faithful and monogamous, there isn’t a difference in the sexes, one psychology expert believes.
Another interesting perspective from the animal kingdom, of which we are a part!
While it’s often thought that men are more promiscuous than women, Christopher Ryan, a PhD of psychology and co-author of the book Sex at Dawn, told a TED conference this week that in terms of evolution, there’s no reason why this should be the case.
‘We need to move beyond ‘men are from Mars and women are from Venus,’ he said. ‘The truth is that men are from Africa and women are from Africa.’
Ryan said humans are the most genetically related to chimps and bonobos than they are to any other primate – and as a result our sexual natures are also similar. He pointed out that bonobos are famous for their sexual promiscuity. Like humans, they are among the only animals that have sex face-to-face and the males have external testicles.
Evolution: Humans are genetically very similar to the Bonobo
Ryan said it is this that means the males are promiscuous: ‘External testicles are like having an extra fridge in the garage for beer. If you’re the kind of guy that has a beer fridge, you expect a party to happen at any moment,’ he joked. He said that female bonobos are just as equipped to have sex at any given moment because they are capable of engaging in sex for 90 per cent of their menstrual cycle.
Another similarity is that humans, chimps and bonobos don’t just use sex for reproductive purposes – but as a form of bonding. But chimps and bonobos don’t restrict their bonding to just one partner for life as many humans have been encouraged to do. Thus Ryan believes monogamy is not hardwired in either men or women. He said sexual exclusivity came later with monogamy in many societies becoming the ideal way in which to raise a family. Ryan said this was particularly reinforced in the ‘prudish’ Victorian era.
Ryan notes that while monogamy has now become an accepted and ‘right’ way of life in many societies today where we are conditioned to believe that being faithful is natural, in fact, our primal urges are to be promiscuous. Or as Ryan phrases it: ‘Just because you have chosen to be a vegetarian, doesn’t mean that bacon stops smelling good.’
And finally, a divergent perspective that may leave the real answer UP IN THE AIR.
In this time of year for heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, I hope it won’t seem too cynical to ask an objective scientific question: Are we humans actually monogamous by nature?
Our cultural landscape doesn’t help much in answering that. We praise stable, devoted relationships, yet we are titillated and tempted by alternatives. A large percentage of marriages end in divorce, yet a far smaller percentage of married people get divorced—that is, our high divorce rate results disproportionately from serial divorcers.
Anthropology doesn’t give a clear answer either. Historically, most cultures have allowed polygamy. But within such cultures, most people are monogamous. In the numerous cultures where polygamy is a function of wealth, there are no doubt many monogamous men who would be polygamous if they could buy more wives. And then, of course, there are the rare polyandrous cultures where one woman may have multiple husbands.
Other primates offer some insights into our human nature. Among the hundreds of primate species, some are polygamous (including our close relatives, chimps and baboons), and others monogamous (such as gibbons and marmosets). Each group has a different cluster of biological and behavioral traits.
Among polygamous primates, males typically spend much of their time competing for high rank in dominance hierarchies and for mating access to females. Males are far more aggressive, bigger, heavier and more muscular than females and have bigger canines—the better to slash an opponent with. Male baboons, for example, have twice the body weight and canine length of females. Such primates are often called, for good reason, “tournament” species. Males in these species have higher metabolic rates and shorter life spans than females, and they basically put zero effort into caring for kids. In other words, all a female gets from a mate are his genes, and females select for males with good genes. This has led to the evolution of conspicuous, costly displays in males that advertise good genes. These features—flamboyant facial coloration, big capes of hair, silver backs—are the primate equivalents of the peacockery of peacocks (a classic polygamous species).
Because fertile females will mate with multiple males, male-male competition extends to sperm competition. By primate standards, polygamous male primates have large testes (as a percentage of body weight) and high rates of sperm production. And they happily mate with anyone in the county who is ovulating.
Things are quite different among monogamous “pair bonding” primates. Critically, males do much of the infant care. Thus, you don’t see a male indiscriminately mating left and right (or fighting for the chance to do so), since he’ll be doing a lot of work if there’s a child. In these primates there isn’t a high degree of “sexual dimorphism”—sex differences in body size, musculature, metabolism and life span—and males don’t have those garish secondary sexual characteristics of males of polygamous species. Testes are small, sperm count low, mating infrequent. These profiles are consistent. If 10 seconds into watching a newly discovered type of primate you see that males are twice the size of females and have flashing neon noses, the issue is settled: it’s a polygamous species. If you spend forever trying to tell the sexes apart, they’re monogamous.
So by these various biological measures, are humans a pair-bonding or a tournament species? Neither. Across populations, men are roughly 10% taller and 20% heavier than women, need 20% more calories and live 6% shorter—more sexually dimorphic than monogamous species, less than polygamous species. Moreover, compared with, say, monogamous gibbons, human males have bigger testes and higher sperm counts…but pale in comparison to polygamous chimps. Measure after measure, it’s the same.
It turns out that we aren’t monogamous or polygamous by nature. As everyone from poets to divorce attorneys can attest, we are by nature a profoundly confused species—somewhere in between.
Submitted by: Evgenia Ioannou
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