Monogamy as described in Oxford dictionary is the practice of marrying or state of being married to one person at a time; the practice or state of having a sexual relationship with only one partner. Recent discoveries have led biologists to define four aspects of monogamy:
- Social monogamy represents two individuals living together, having sex with each other, and jointly taking care of the welfare, e.g. acquiring food,shelter, money.
- Sexual monogamy refers to two individuals having sex exclusively with each other, e.g. having no sex with other partners.
- Genetic monogamy means two partners only having children with each other.
- Marital monogamy means a marital arrangement between two individuals.
For us humans, social, marital and sexual monogamy usually goes together, but not always in other species. 3% of mammalian species and up to 15% of primate species are socially monogamous including beavers, wolfs and foxes. In birds population even 90% of species are socially monogamous and up to 10% out of those species are sexually monogamous. Social monogamy has also been observed in reptiles, fish, and insects.
Where does humanity stand in regard to monogamy? Are we cut out for it as a species? Read more in Monogamy-does it work?
Does monogamy work?
″ Our concept of infidelity is changing. Some married couples agree to have brief sexual encounters when they travel separately; others sustain longterm adulterous relationships with the approval of a spouse. Even our concept of divorce is shifting. Divorce used to be considered a sign of failure; today it is often deemed the first step toward true happiness. ″ – Helen E. Fisher, PhD Biological Anthropologist
“… monogamy, based on deep bonds of romantic love, is natural for humans. First, monogamy shows up in animals who invest time and work in rearing their kids and dealing with survival challenges. [...] The second and most potent argument for monogamy is that we are wired for it! ″ – Dr. Sue Johnson, Couple and Family Therapist
″ You want an inconvenient truth? Try this one: human beings are clearly evolved for sex lives featuring multiple simultaneous sexual relationships. Men, especially, are designed by evolution to be attracted to sexual novelty and to gradually lose sexual attraction to the same partner in the absence of such novelty. ″ — Christopher Ryan, Ph.D. Psychologist
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