Only about 56% of Americans claim that they want a completely monogamous relationship. Younger generations are even less likely to prefer monogamy over non-monogamy.
The question is, how natural is monogamy? Why do some of us prefer to develop a relationship with a single partner while others prefer to keep their relationships more fluid and open?
One way to get to the root of this question is to take a look at the history of monogamy.
Read on to learn more about monogamy history and why it’s (sort of) taken hold in today’s society.
Early History of Monogamy
It’s hard to say exactly when humans began gravitating towards single, long-term and even lifelong partners. Most scientists seem to agree that it started early in the process of human development, sometime in the prehistoric era.
Why did this happen? The consensus is that humans discovered that existing as a unit provided for more stability and a higher rate of survival. In other words, working together within a partnership and later in a family meant that attaining and hanging onto a diverse pool of resources could be accomplished with relative ease.
That being said, marital monogamy, social monogamy, and familial monogamy did not necessarily mean sexual monogamy. In other words, two people might form a unit in marriage, community, and child-rearing while continuing to pursue sex with others.
When did sexual monogamy take precedence over sexual polygamy? It seems that Christianity did not always tout monogamy as the proper or “traditional” form of marriage, and many men in the Holy Books are said to have had several wives throughout their lifetime. However, the rise of the Greco-Roman empire began to punish polygamy for the simple reason that there weren’t enough wives to go around if every soldier had more than one.
After a few centuries of legally required marital monogamy, sexual monogamy became the norm. The very religion that once heralded polygamy became the leading force of what was deemed faithfulness to one’s spouse. Sex became a more taboo, private subject that was decidedly appropriate only between a husband and wife.
These are the views that hold for many Americans today, although younger generations are starting to question the necessity of marital and sexual monogamy. That being said, many prefer monogamy for reasons both religious and secular.
Psychology of Monogamy
What is so appealing about monogamy? The keyword here is trust.
In a one-on-one relationship, two people can build trust with one another that generates a great deal of comfort. For many, this monogamous environment is the safest place to share dreams, sexual interests, and even sexual struggles.
(Curious about the latter? Find out more information.)
Overall, monogamy isn’t the only option out there. However, some people may find it easier to communicate with a single partner and trust a single partner rather than multiple.
Which Do You Prefer?
As more people stray from monogamy, we’re curious. Are you writing your own chapter in the history of monogamy or venturing into other pastures?
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