To Be Monogamous or Not?

Written by: Jill Heagerty

I’ve heard both sides: we’re biologically meant to mate with many partners and that monogamy does not work for humans, and that after the lust and falling in love stages there forms an attachment between partners that leaves their brains more satisfied than any previous stage. So which is it? Are we supposed to be with one person forever, or are we meant to have various partners to quench sexual appetites?

The argument for polygamy lies with the two facts concerning our genetic similarities to polygamous apes and the men in our species being taller than women. We are most closely related to chimpanzees and bonobos, naturally promiscuous mammals. Men in these species want to “spread their seed”, something men in our species also desire, so they mate with as many females as they can to produce maximum offspring. If our DNA resembles these primates, are we living by the wrong sexual rules? Are we only monogamous because culture demands it, and we’re actually going against our true nature? The other supporting evidence for polygamy is attributed to the height and weight differences between men and women. In both primate and non-primate species, the more disparity there is in the sizes between the genders, the more promiscuous the species is. On average, men are 10 percent taller and 20 percent heavier than women, suggesting that while humans are not meant to mate as much as chimpanzees or bonobos, we are not meant to be solely monogamous.

Monogamy’s side comes from the pleasure hormones released in the brain when we form deep attachments to one partner and the evolutionary benefit for raising children. There are three stages to long-term mating: lust, falling in love, and attachment. The first stage lust is caused by a general increase in estrogen and testosterone levels. Falling in love releases specific neurotransmitters in the brain associated with pleasure, including pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These hormones act similarly to amphetamines, giving us intense feelings of excitement. The last stage is attachment, releasing oxytocin and vasopressin in the brain, giving a constant satisfaction that the other pleasure inducing hormones don’t. It’s not possible for humans to be high on love all the time, so the body gives pleasure that can endure. The purpose of oxytocin and vasopressin is to keep families together, an evolutionary benefit to children in today’s society. In the beginning of time it was okay for males to have multiple mates because children were raised in tight knit communities, but with single families there needs to be two partners providing support for children to flourish.

There is no clear cut answer. Whether we are monogamous or polygamous lies in individual needs, as there are arguments to support both sides. The question becomes, do you want the crazy rush of passion associated with having many partners for life or do you want the quiet satisfaction of having one person to drive you crazy?

Taking your time, might be time well spent.

By: Stacy Liberatore

As little girls we are read stories of damsels in distress waiting for their knight in shining armor to ride in and save them on their white horse. We grow up playing dress up and pretending that we are the pretty, pretty princess.

Then we get older and realize that it all happened once upon a time in a land far-far away. Yet, that idea still sits on the back burner of our thoughts. We believe the idea that Mr. Right does exist and he has to be out there somewhere waiting for us to just cross his path or him cross ours.

 Waiting, instead of perusing, might be the road worth traveling. Most of us have had front row seats to the dating game, the place where the saying “on to the next” has become words to live by. Then you reach the point where you just settle for someone who you know isn’t right for you. But he might have a nice smile and he may open the door and pick up the check. Which are all good qualities, but he doesn’t give you that over the park home run feeling.

Everyone wants that fairytale romance and the sooner is always better.  But instead of using all your energy on finding a man, use this time to find yourself.  Do what you enjoy the most; Take up a new hobby or spend more time with friends.

The more you learn about yourself before taking the leap into a committed relationship, the more successful that relationship will be in the future. The less time you spend on” operation find the right man”, the more you might just find out about yourself and life.  In reality no one was ever been upset that they took their time when it came to finding Mr. Right. Only do we get upset and frustrated with lovers and ourselves is when you rush into things.

Sometimes we are so anxious to find Mr. Right that we lose ourselves in the process.  He is out there and he will always be out there, however you need to find yourself before you find him.  Going from man to man hoping this one might be different will only leave you more and more disappointed.

Try avoiding those who you think are the one for you and go with your heart; wait for the one who you know is the one right for you. This is the time when you need to tell your brain to take the bench and let your heart take the lead.