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?

Sexercise Your Way to Love and Happiness

Written by: Kathleen Mulvihill

Let’s face it, many of us don’t place enough value on the importance of healthy and loving sex. Sure we try to keep our love relationships sex-intensive early on, but as time progresses, love and sex too often become out-of-shape, second-class citizens in the bedroom.

Libido tips from the lips of Sigmund Freud, Masters and Johnson and Dr. Ruth have been shared throughout the decades, but if you’re looking for a truly practical and sex-sational way to take your love life from fizzle to sizzle, check out one of the newest trends in the world of fitness – sexercise classes. The classes are largely for women, but the guys certainly benefit from these sexy workouts. Gentlemen: think trickle-down sensuality.

Sexercise classes, now offered in many locations throughout the United States, are a healthy way for women to connect with their pelvis (their sexual core), through a series of fun bump-and-grind kind of movements. The proposed end result is a happier love life through improved sexual stimulation for yourself as well as your partner.

If you’re not quite the super-toned exhibitionist you see in those classes, but you madly want that loving feeling back, take heart. You can practice your own form of sexercise in the privacy of your bedroom. Those adages, use or lose it, and practice makes perfect, couldn’t be more true here. In plain language, here are some tips from a variety of experts in love and sexuality:

  • Just do it.  Even if you’re not up to hamster speed, sometimes you just need to get back on the old treadmill and give it a whirl. Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Initiate. Ladies, this goes for you especially. Too often, the guys have to play Tarzan while Jane goes out on a limb to stay aloof. Take him by surprise, tickle his fancy and watch that caveman drop his remote and evolve.
  • Sex toys. Sometimes it takes a good energizer battery to spice things up. Work it, girls!
  • Burn it up. The more vigorous the sex, the more calories you burn. On average, a half-hour of lovemaking burns a minimum of 85 calories. That may not sound like much, but it beats vacuuming and adds up during the intercourse of a week. Fun too. Check out Dr. Robert S. Wieder’s study of calories burned during sexual activity published in the American Journal of Exercise Calorimetry in August 2006.

So get in touch with your inner muscles, get that thump back in your heart and reinvigorate your fitness workouts by adding a regular routine of sex. That loving feeling is great for happiness.