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Posts Tagged ‘Sex at Dawn’


I was enjoying my breakfast the other morning when an upcoming segment on a popular breakfast television program caused me to sit up and take notice. The segment was about monogamy and involved an interview with the author of the book, “Sex at Dawn”, Christopher Ryan. This should be interesting I thought to myself. The program’s presenters, as pleasant as they were, really didn’t seem to have much of a clue as to Ryan’s book or what it was about, instead preferring to turn the interview into a juicy confrontation with a man representing family values. Ryan did his best to clarify that he was not attempting to make a moral judgement regarding people’s lifestyle choices despite repeated attempts from the interviewer to portray him as someone seeking to corrupt society’s values. He was simply stating that based on his research he didn’t believe that monogamy came naturally to the human species. It was more of a scientific opinion yet the man representing family values continued to bash away regardless. Ryan hardly got a word in and was left shaking his head at the conclusion of the interview, as was I.

On the program’s website they had posted a forum question in relation to the segment titled, “Is Monogamy Natural”? As I scrolled through the comments I was appalled by the lack of understanding on the topic and the eagerness of many to not only declare monogamy to be natural but that it was also the best choice and the only way to ensure stability and harmony in our society. Natural? I wonder if these people had been so exhaustive in their research as Mr. Ryan. The term, “cheating” was bandied about frequently and men, in particular, were copping a lot of flak for their infidelity. Did anybody actually read the question? The question didn’t ask whether or not you thought monogamy was a valid lifestyle choice. It asked if monogamy was natural. I felt compelled to comment and this is what I said:

“This is not a moral question. Monogamy is a choice. Is it natural? I don’t believe it is. We all feel attractions to other people no matter how much we love our partners so if we decide not to act on those feelings then we are making a conscious choice. We call it free will. The question is not whether monogamy is good or bad, just whether or not it’s natural. Temptation challenges our human nature constantly. Just look at the rate of divorce and infidelity in our society.”

I find it curious that polyamorists are accepting of different lifestyle choices and sexual orientations, including monogamy yet many people who believe strongly in the model of monogamy are quick to condemn anyone who chooses otherwise, often labeling them as immoral or perverted. I personally identify as poly amorous and believe in ethical non-monogamy but I am at the same time understanding and respectful of other’s decisions to pursue a monogamous lifestyle. From where I stand it seems we have a long way to go towards total acceptance.

So let me put the question out there again. Is monogamy natural? Let me know what you think.

Footnote: I am yet to read “Sex at Dawn” but it sounds like a fascinating book. 🙂

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