Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Monogamy and infidelity

There’s been a bit of discussion about infidelity recently, e.g. in Joe’s Blog and DL’s Blog. Thinking about this from an historical perspective, several centuries ago when a man in his 40’s was in his old age, heterosexual society was probably quite well served by monogamy and fidelity.

But over the last few hundred years, life expectancy in the world’s successful economies has risen substantially. In the harsh world of our ancestors, the majority of the population had little security so there was a constant focus on survival and no time to get ‘bored’ with one’s partner. No doubt infidelity was common, but a moral code which focused on sticking with one’s partner to raise the next generation makes sense in that context.

The issue of monogamy must be one of the less important relics of our history when there are still major religious wars in progress. But perhaps it is one of the issues that effects the day to day lives or more people in the blogging world, given that we are lucky enough to have the time and freedom to think about these issues.

There are similarities to what it is like for people to come out as gay. Everyone is brought up to be heterosexual, so it’s usually difficult to decide that one is homosexual instead. Similarly society still pretends that people should be monogamous, when the extended lifespan we enjoy in the modern world makes this ridiculous. Monogamy then is just another dangerous lie that we’re all brought up to believe in. Realistic expectations of what we can all expect from our adult relationships would be much more helpful.


Anonymous said...

Without getting heavy about the subject, all I can say is that I find it nigh impossible to be monogamous but I want my boyfriends to be. I suppose that applies to most of us unfaithful sorts or are the rest a little less hypocritical?

GB said...

Well reluctant nomad, I've told boyfriend number 1 that I'm quite happy for him to see other guys for sex, so I don't think I'm hypocritical. But perhaps I'm not a good test case because I know that boyfriend number 1 isn't really the kind of guy who would want to do that!

Anonymous said...

please take a moment to read my recent blog posts on monogamy, prompted by reading joe's take on his blog.


post titles: Tuesdays (random!) Observations and the Empire on Monogamy.

I'd be curious what your opinion is gay banker. you can email me if you prefer!

GB said...

Found your blog postings jjd, although you wrote blogpost when you should have written blogspot! Will comment over the weekend. Of course hyperlinks to The Empire on Monogamy and Tuesday's (random!) Observations would have been much simpler!

Anonymous said...

hehe. oops! you've exposed me for the computer illiterate I truly am. You are of course right, I will endeavour to use better blog etiquette next time.. I think I was in a hurry because I didn't want my boyfriend even SEEING your blog page, its like acknowledging an impure thought ;-)

Your blog is a great read though, don't mind me.

Anonymous said...

If you can't be monogamous with your boyfriend then you don't adore him. You don't insult the dignity of people you adore.

GB said...

Sorry to say, only narrow minds define dignity like you do bill (whoever you are!)
GB x

slenderboy said...

Our ancestors led a harsh life with most of their time spent in fighting for survival. So getting bored with life or one partner was low on their agenda and hence a stronger incentive to be monogamous. By the same token should we not assume that the man of today has more time on hands with many issues of survival already taken care by the modern way of living? Is he not more prone to take the infidelity of a partner badly or unduly paranoid about how his partner would react if he is caught cheating? So the present day man is less likely to be monogamous and more likely to be the one who successfully cover his tracks. If our ancestors were being polygamous , they made no bones about it. They had some loud and proud declarations to make of their sexual conquests.