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Is monagamy what we really want?
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Post Is monagamy what we really want? 


Inasmuch as the majority of people seem to be somehow dis-satisfied with the sexual aspects of their monogamous relationship, is there a possibility that there might be a more appropriate and comfortable system? There can be no doubt about the huge numbers of people who feel frequent or even constant sexual urges that do not include their regular partner. It is a thorny question, as there can be no doubt about the benefits of a two person parental unit raising children, but is there something to be learned from the old european noble class, who most usually participated both as a member of a two parent unit and enjoyed sexual relationships outside of the marriage? Have we somehow been falsely trained to believe that monogamous relationships are what we want? On the other hand, can it be a cooincidence that the vast majority of societies in the world have independantly evolved two person sexual units as the norm?


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Just because you might be dis-satisfied doesn't mean the rest of us are. In my opinion, the vast majority of people are in fact satisfied with their sex lives, even if they do occasionally think about other possibilities. And what's your suggestion? Should we start some movement to change from two people couples to three people triangles? Hmm, actually that might make for an interesting dynamic if everybody was part of a legal, normal, commonly accepted triangle. In geometry and physics, the triangle has tremndous power. Might not it work well in social dynamics as well? Ha! Now you've got me asking stupid questions, just like you!


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Post Re: Is monagamy what we really want? 


rickgush wrote:
Inasmuch as the majority of people seem to be somehow dis-satisfied with the sexual aspects of their monogamous relationship, is there a possibility that there might be a more appropriate and comfortable system? There can be no doubt about the huge numbers of people who feel frequent or even constant sexual urges that do not include their regular partner. It is a thorny question, as there can be no doubt about the benefits of a two person parental unit raising children, but is there something to be learned from the old european noble class, who most usually participated both as a member of a two parent unit and enjoyed sexual relationships outside of the marriage? Have we somehow been falsely trained to believe that monogamous relationships are what we want? On the other hand, can it be a cooincidence that the vast majority of societies in the world have independantly evolved two person sexual units as the norm?


Is this an attempt to justify your intention to sleep around? Because if it is, it's not working.

Sex is a natural extension of a relationship, but it isn't the only aspect of one. There's more to a relationship than getting laid or being satisfied in bed.

You know, the question you should be asking is, do I satisfy my partner in bed? Have you ever asked her (I presume it's a "her" in your case) if she is satisfied? Because if you can't, then why ask all these questions in the first place? To get affirmation that it's right to sleep with multiple partners?

Jeez.

Under normal circumstances, sex is inextricably connected with love. The moment you start thinking only of yourself and your satusfaction, then I can't really say you know what love is.

Idealism? Not at all. Just a spice of life that makes me, like other millions of people happy.

But if sleeping with multiple partners and contracting STDs is your thing, then by all means, knock yourself out.


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Hsu-G & Schattenjager,

You pretty much blew away RickGush's loony thesis but I will add this.

Rick asked: "is there something to be learned from the old european (sic) noble class, who most usually participated both as a member of a two parent unit and enjoyed sexual relationships outside of the marriage?"

Yes, lots to learn. One, that syphilitic dementia (brain rot) contracted through infidelity didn't leave the nobles in much of a condition to be noble. And have you forgotten the NEW European noble class, ala the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles and all the damage that caused?

P.S. Rick. I notice you live in Italy. Not to say you're Italian. But my last significant encounter with Italians was on a bus in Sweden, where there were three brutish males who had traveled north to find women for illicit purposes. One guy, who was sneezing and coughing with no regard for other passengers, gave me a horrendous cold. I wondered what other diseases he spread in Scandinavia.

P.S.2 Rick. It's monogamy. Maybe before positing a novel theory to counter a long-held principle, you ought learn to spell it.


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Post Honesty: It's not just a good idea! 


Having been on the short end of the monogamy stick, I must respond. My ex-wife, six months into our marriage, announced out of the blue that she wanted to have "relationships" with other people. When I pressed her on her choice of words, she revealed that she wanted both friendship and physical intimacy with others...not that she was dissatisfied with me, but she wanted a variety of relationships.

They call it "polyamory" these days. In my (admittedly biased) opinion, it's a new name for Open Marriage, or Free Love, or whatever sort of arrangement that allows people to have their sexual cake and eat it too. I'm reminded of the scene in Kinsey, where the good doctor reveals to his wife that he's slept with his male assistant. He rationalizes this by disparaging conventional prohibitions. Her response? "Don't you think maybe the rules were invented to keep people from being hurt"? Amen.

On the other hand, at least Kinsey was completely upfront with his wife. Mine decided to consummate and continue her affair even after I made it abundantly clear it was not okay with me. How long it continued, how often they slept together, I have no idea. She started hiding it from me after learning of my disapproval.

I think I might have been more okay with this if she'd said "I want to have male friends" or "I want to get laid by strangers." Somehow, it was the combination of friendship *and* sex that bothered me. I'M monogamous, and she was asking me, in effect, to invite a third person into our lives.

I do have a friend who is in a polyamorous relationship, and it seems to work for her, and -- here's the key -- for her partner. I still think it's like lighting a match in a gas-filled room and promising to be careful, but at least she's not running around behind her partner's back.

So my unsolicited advice is not to do anything your partner is uncomfortable with. If this is something you *must* have, then have the decency to at least end your current relationship before doing something likely to hurt the other person. And please, make a very sharp distinction between "getting some strange" and playing around with other relationships. Don't play with fire.


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Why men want to have sex with multiple partners? Not to find excuses for promiscuity. If we have ever learned anything from human evolution, it has to be that human beings are born to reproduce themselves. The most effective way to achive this goal is to have men spread his seeds as widely as he can. It would be counter-productive for women to do so. So, men instinctively want a polygamous relationship. The monogamous rule we set is working against our instinct. Whether our instinct should yield to a higher social standard to keep family happy and STD under control, that is up for debate. But in the long term, working against human instinct sounds like lost cause.


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Post Polyamory and Open Marriages 


It just seems to me that in Open Marriages or Polyamory, someone always gets hurts. Even if everyone tries to be really open and honest, someone still gets hurt.

I know we are born to procreate, but some spiritual paths teach us that we are challenged to overcome our natural instincts and rise above the need to satisfy them at every bend and turn. That's what the entire Bhagavad Gita epic is about, that battle of overcoming desire. Seems to me that there must be a greater horizon to life than satisfying desires.

On the Oprah show some years ago they had a statistic that said women think of sex about every seven hours and men think of sex about every seven minutes. You guys, I'm sorry you have to struggle with that so much. But still, you can take that sexual energy and transform a lot of it into art, creativity, sports, and even service to humanity rather than indulging your nature all the time. And when you do indulge it, you can concentrate on satifying your partner and on loving her rather than seeing what you can get, as our society teaches.

That -- the transformation of sexual energy into something other than fulfillment of desire -- is the base of yoga. This doesn't mean one must be ascetic or celibate, but there are ways and means to direct the vital life force. There's a site, (www.3hO.org) that talks about Yogi Bhajan's Kundalini Yoga,and I'm sure there are many others that can give guidance and direction to better use of sexual urgings than satisfying them.

Well, different strokes for different folks. I'm not saying anything is wrong with sex. But sex-with- love-inside-of-a-committed-relationship is good formula, too. gaia


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Post Re: Polyamory and Open Marriages 


I wonder if Frasier read my post. I agree that survival of the species is a powerful, instinctual force. but what about the distinction between sex-as-procreation and sex in a relationship? I'm no Bible thumper, but do you think it's a coincidence that two of the Ten Commandments deal with extramarital sex? Also, please explain how it is that men can "spread their seeds" liberally without women receiving the "seed" of several men? after all, women don't outnumber men by that much. And while I'm at it, who gets the privilege of raising all these seedlings after they're conceived and born?

The fact that 20% of those commandments deal with this issue is a clue: it's about maintaining social order. That is to say, it's meant to avoid people hurting others. Remember, it's survival of the <b>species</b> -- and as a social animal, human beings would do well not to invite jealousy, overpopulation, disrupted families, etc.

I'm not as sure as Gaia seems that sublimating sexual desire is the answer. But I don't believe that playing the Instinct card justifies hurting the ones you claim to love. Don't we tell even the youngest children that they're responsible for their decisions, that they're expected to keep certain instincts (e.g., anger, crying, hunger) in check in certain situations? After all, we're supposedly human beings, not animals in heat...


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Numbalum89: I feel your pain. Sex as procreation is a nature's rule. When Clinton was caught with his pants down, didn't we hear all the arguments that he was an "Alpha Male"? That meant he was born to screw around according to the law of procreation.

Of course, there are exceptions. Many things can change our behavior. What I said was that the male instinct to spread his seeds was built into his genome. This is why men cheat much more often than women. Or put in a different way, men want sex outside a relationship much more strongly than women.


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Frasier wrote:
When Clinton was caught with his pants down, didn't we hear all the arguments that he was an "Alpha Male"? That meant he was born to screw around according to the law of procreation.


Clinton was also born with the ability to use a zipper. He chose not to. "The Devil (or my genome) made me do it" is no excuse. If he was truly born to sleep around, then doesn't that absolve him of reponsibility? Surely Frasier is not suggesting we throw morality out the window. My point is simply that whatever our impulses, we are still accountable for how we act upon them.


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This is why men cheat much more often than women. Or put in a different way, men want sex outside a relationship much more strongly than women.


I still don't see any evidence for this, biological or otherwise. Also, logically speaking, doesn't it take two to cheat? Is the one who sleeps with a married/committed person not also culpable?


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Frasier wrote:
Why men want to have sex with multiple partners? Not to find excuses for promiscuity. If we have ever learned anything from human evolution, it has to be that human beings are born to reproduce themselves. The most effective way to achive this goal is to have men spread his seeds as widely as he can. It would be counter-productive for women to do so. So, men instinctively want a polygamous relationship. The monogamous rule we set is working against our instinct. Whether our instinct should yield to a higher social standard to keep family happy and STD under control, that is up for debate. But in the long term, working against human instinct sounds like lost cause.


Instinct? It's so easy and convenient to use instinct as a scapegoat. Why not try sticking to polygamy, at least while the relationship lasts? That's the mark of a real man.


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Numbalum89.
Wow that stinks what your wife did. You make some good points but I'll disagree on one. You seem to think the polyamorous (euphemism for promiscuity) thing works for a friend, but you do warn "it's like lighting a match in a gas-filled room and promising to be careful." Trouble is, the explosions go far beyond the one room, destroying children, families, lives, organizations, communities etc.

Frasier.
". . human beings are born to reproduce themselves.The most effective way to achive this goal is to have men spread his seeds as widely as he can. It would be counter-productive for women to do so. So, men instinctively want a polygamous relationship. The monogamous rule we set is working against our instinct."

Is that the line you use when you want to get a woman into bed?
That's a real winner.

Skinner, Sanger, Kinsey and the SIECUS sexologists spread this claptrap like a bad case of phthirus pubis, and we are reaping the result: divorce, pandemic venereal diseases, infertility, abortion, and heartbreak. I agree with Numbalum. Instinct is for dogs, not for humans.


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Post appearances are deceiving 


when i say my friend's polyamorous (her word, not mine) situation works for her, i simply mean that she's been able to sustain it for quite some time. i know it wouldn't work for me, but i'm also humble enough to admit that i'm far from omniscient on the matter of what works and what doesn't.

mostly i wanted to point out that infidelity (as in dishonesty, concealing things, knowingly hurting loved ones) is bad, however one defines it.


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Numbalum,

You say " . . infidelity (as in dishonesty, concealing things, knowingly hurting loved ones) is bad, however one defines it." True words. That's why I could never trust Bill Clinton. If one would betray the marital vow, to your spouse, whom you should know better than anyone on the earth, why would you tell the truth to millions of anonymous Americans? George Bush the first was habitually unfaithful to Barbara. I fear "like father, like son."

[Okay, I took a little side trip to the political here, and don't want to launch a whole parallel discussion, but it seemed the pertinent time to say that.]


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Post Sublimating Desire 


Hi,

I didn't mean to come on so strongly about sublimating sexual desire. What I was posting about was ideas that I work with, but that doesn't mean I don't struggle, either, with lust and inappropriate desire. I'm not so sure that I'm so sure sublimating desires is THE answer, either. (It's AN answer, but not THE answer, maybe).

("I'm not as sure as Gaia seems that sublimating sexual desire is the answer. But I don't believe that playing the Instinct card justifies hurting the ones you claim to love.... we're supposedly human beings, not animals in heat...")

But I do know that if we can't take an honest look at our desires and behavior, then we will step out of integrity and hurt people we love as well as ourselves. If we look at the number of people attending 12 step meetings such as Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Compulsive Sexuals Anonymous, etc., we can see that sex-instinct-gone crazy is a huge, national or even worldwide problem. One thing I did like about the Polyamory people I knew is that they promoted honesty and friendship -- "compassionate witness" -- so that, for example, if my partner were wanting to explore relationships with others, he would tell me and I would support him in it and even meet his others and provide a safe place for him to discuss his experiences and feelings with.

But that always seem to be just that, an ideal. And I don't promote that ideal because it simply doesn't seem to work.

I love what someone posted here about Clinton. I had that same idea when that scandal came out. People thought, what's the big deal? But I thought it was about integrity. If a guy will cheat on his wife and rationalize it, then where does he draw the line delineating the rest of the boundaries in his life?

Anways, thanks for your posts. It's an important subject. gaia


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I see a lot of benefits to polyamory, and I think it requires a very strong, enlightened person to genuinely pull it off. Regardless of whether you think it's the lifestyle for you, I think it emphasizes qualities that are important in any relationship, monogomous ones included. For instance, it stresses self-reliance, owning your own emotions and reactions, allowing your partner to seek and fully realize his or her dreams, desires, and ambitions, taking responsibility for your actions, honesty, openness, lack of jealousy, securtiy, communication, love, and non-attachment.

I do know people who make polyamory work. And they're pretty amazing.

If it's not for you, it's not for you. But be careful of judging something before really making an effort to understand it.

For some great reading on the subject, I recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/Ethical-Slut-Infinite-Sexual-Possibilities/dp/1890159018/sr=8-9/qid=1158865176/ref=sr_1_9/104-1308265-6302327?ie=UTF8&s=books


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I don't like using phrases like "what we want" becasue I don't think such things can be decided by democratic vote. I believe in freedom and I think people can have very successful poly- relationships or can be happy doing whomever whenever, etc. I will say the following, however: Successful monogamous/faithful marriage (or marriage-like arrangement) is the best possible relationship given our plight on Earth with all variables considered. The socialogical and pyschological benefits of building a society or community on such unions FAR outweighs any other option. If you think that society would be better off if everyone went polyamorous, I think you've fallen under the "grass is greener" spell and are forgetting just how human pyschology works. As many problems as people have with their marriages, and as many people who get married when they shouldn't, the level of problems would skyrocket with widespread poly- relationships.

It's sort of like how communism looked really nice until some countries actually switched over to doing it.


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Do you guys know when married men die earlier than their wives?

Because they want to! Laughing


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