Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Is monogamy a myth?

Is monogamy a socially conditioned phenomenon and a myth generated by societies and religious groups? It's hard to come up with a single sentence answer to this question because one can understand this question only in multi-layers. Societal dictates have played a role in perpetuating monogamy but this hasn't always been the case. Polygamy has been part of many cultures and social groups, and some religions have also accepted it but with conditions attached. And even those societies where cultural and religious edicts prohibit polygamy, these, too, have a rich history of men having mistresses and concubines and the like.

So in this case, monogamy is not, necessarily, socially conditioned because societies seem to have a very well developed instinct to 'have their cake and eat it too'. Men (funny, it has always been men) have always found a way to sidestep social, cultural, religious edicts to pander to their libido. Of course, convenient explanations are offered but like everything else, they are quite convenient.

Coming back to the question: is monogamy is a myth? Going by what has been the social norm so far, it would appear to be so; and some would say, it has been artificially grafted into our present societies. However, I have my doubts. If monogamy has been 'artificial' and a 'myth' perpetuated by the powers-that-be, then, where on earth did people learn the concept of jealousy and insecurity in relationships? If polygamy was our natural state of mind, then, jealousy would be a foreign body. I believe we are jealous because we are naturally monogamous and this makes us uncomfortable when we see (or think we see) our loved one with someone else. The insecurity happens because it upsets our known paradigm, that is, being with someone we love on an exclusive basis.

I support monogamy not because of religious reasons alone but, I feel, it make sense. Relationships/ marriages are a partnership between two people who have chosen to live as a team with shared objectives and shared lives. Sex is only one component in a marriage, and cannot be its sole defining characteristic. It only enhances what already exists between the couple and serves as a valuable source of expression of love.

But if the need to have the best orgasm supersedes everything else, then, it's obvious the person is not thinking of the relationship as a 'team'. He or she has objectified his or her partner and is thinking only in terms of 'what can I get from this relationship' instead of 'what can I give to this relationship".

Commitment is central to any relationship. If there is no commitment, then, it's a waste of time. Commitment basically means that two people have decided to willingly stick it out no matter what the obstacles are and stay on course. Temptations to stray will be there and the person will refuse the temptation not because society will disapprove but because he or she does not want his or her partner to get hurt and disappointed. It's as simple as that.

And if someone feels that they are incapable of staying committed in a relationship and the need for an orgasm supersedes everything else, it's best to avoid having any relationship and, unnecessarily, hurting someone else and spoiling their lives.

2 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

In todays world, many think if your partner is not aware then nothing wrong in having another relationship in the side!

Where has our sense of commitment disappeared? Does it have no place any more?

I too support monogamy. If we love someone and are committed to that person, where is the need to be otherwise? Temptations, notwithstanding!!

Joel Bell said...

interesting, sorry just bumped into your blog via a google search. i think animals are jealous in terms of their partners, temporarily. but once a season is over, im sure most animals end up finding new partners. so i think for say the first couple years of human breeding we are jealous and stop caring once a relationship is broken, which seems to be the case in all the divorces that occur. not saying whats right or wrong. just observing.