What’s Wrong with Sexual Monogamy?
That’s a good question!
Monogamy, as we understand it today, is actually a recent development in our cultural approach to relationships and, quite frankly, it is problematic for many people. So why are we (society) still insistent on holding complete fidelity as the norm?
On Episode 18: What Is Love?, I spoke with Carrie Jenkins about the metaphysics of love. Towards the end of the conversation, we discussed some of the changes we would like to see to the social construction of love (remember, love is part biology and part social construct), in particular, we both expressed that we would like to see a broader acceptance of polyamorous relationships. My view is that people should be able to love whomever they wish. I also think that they should be able to fuck whomever they wish (since love and sex aren’t the same thing), as long as they do so ethically.
What will we be talking about?
In a word: sex. Here are some of the talking points:
- What do we mean by “sexual monogamy”?
- What does science say about sexual monogamy? (The “Is it natural?” question)
- There are some terms that you may not be familiar with – extradyadic sex, pair bonding, social versus sexual monogamy
- The challenges that come with monogamy (and why humans struggle, because we do indeed struggle)
- Ethical objections to non-monogamous relationships or arrangements
- Alternatives to sexually monogamous relationships (sexually open, swinging, polyamorous, etc.). We won’t be talking at any depth about any of these arrangements – getting deeply into these are another conversation(s) for another day(s).
- Whatever else comes up during the conversation
Join Nick Harding and me
On May 31st, 2017 at 7 pm ET, Nick Harding and I will be taking an interdisciplinary look at sexual monogamy, various forms of consensual non-monogamy (CNM) and non-consensual non-monogamy.
If you join us during the live airing, you can register for a free account on Spreaker and use the chat function. I admit that I am not quite the multi-tasker, so I can’t actively participate, but I do try to keep an eye on things in case there is a question or comment that would be relevant to the conversation. If you can’t join in live, no worries. You can access the archive here, on Spreaker, or on any of the major podcast repositories.
Relevant Reading & Viewing:
There are a lot of sites and blogs that deal with the topic of consensual sexual nonmonogamy, but these will get you started:
- Nick Harding’s PhD Research
- “Is Jealousy a reason to pursue Sexual Monogamy?” (Nick Harding periscope video)
- 7 Forms of Non-monogamy (Dr Elisabeth A. Sheff writes a lot of great information about Polyamory)
- Susceptibility to Infidelity in the First Year of Marriage by David Buss and Todd Shackelford (1997) — there are some interesting statistics from previous studies into infidelity in this paper. The purpose of their research was to try to determine if there were characteristics that made someone susceptible to be unfaithful (and is worth a read)
- National Post article from Nov 2012: The demography of adultery
- YouTube video: Eric Anderson on Good Morning Britain on May 17, 2017
These are all available at other book retailers (and the library). I just used Amazon.ca because I happened to have the tab open already.
- The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People by David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton | Amazon.ca
- Out of Eden: The Surprising Consequences of Polygamy by David P. Barash | Amazon.ca
- The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating by David M. Buss | Amazon.ca
- The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love and the Reality of Cheating by Eric Anderson | Amazon.ca
- Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray by Helen Fisher | Amazon.ca
- The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton | Amazon.ca
- Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino | Amazon.ca
Again, there are a lot of people you can look up to read more about consensual sexual nonmonogamy, but here are some recommendations
- Dr Zhana Vrangalova – Twitter | Website | TEDx Talk
- Dan Savage – Twitter | Savage Love Podcast
- Dr Jessica O’Reilly – Twitter | TEDx Talk on Monogamish
A little bit about:
Click on the images to see a brief bio and contact information for Nick Harding and Camille Beaujolie.
Also, a little bit more about the show/network:
Listen to the archive now:
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