This video strings together clips of some popular spokespersons on the subject of monogamy.
Some of the speakers correctly highlight the tension between our subconscious mammalian mating programs. Namely, we evolved with the urge to fall in love and pair bond. And we also evolved with the urges that can enlarge our genetic footprints via extra-pair couplings and serial monogamy.
So, what we do with this information?
Do we use the answer to the question, “Is monogamy natural?” to rationalize following our conflicting impulses wherever they may lead us? Certainly, some of us have done this. One example is Chris Ryan, a speaker featured in the video. With his ex-wife, he wrote a trendy treatise on polyamory. For a thorough, evidence-based critique of his work see Sex At Dusk.
Ryan also seems oblivious of the extensive research showing that porn use consistently increases sexual and relationship dissatisfaction. It doesn’t make monogamy more bearable as he implies. It seems that partners of porn consumers correctly sense this increase in dissatisfaction. Both partners and researchers appear to lack any terminology for this uneasiness other than ‘concerns about infidelity’. But whatever terminology people use, these partners’ insights appear to be well founded. Perhaps their uneasiness shouldn’t be dismissed as a relic of religious moralizing.
Back to the question at hand: ‘What we do with this information?’
Is it wise to turn over our mating choices – and the timing of any changes in mates – to our limbic/mammalian impulses with their shortsighted genetic priorities?
Mate choices have a vast impact on our lives. So do divorces and courtships. All can influence, positively or negatively, our ability to pursue our life’s work, or even to engage in critically important personal development. Impulsively changing or adding lovers to the mix is clearly a high priority for our genes, and is definitely not a “sin.” It may, however, lead to massive regrets as we drain our energy, misdirect it, or get back what we’ve given out.
Mates matter. Cultivating close, trusted companionship promotes wellbeing on every level. That said, mate changes are sometimes inevitable. Yet, if ever there were an occasion to heed “the still, small voice,” that occasion would be when facing a mating decision.
Otherwise, we’re puppets of the noisy impulses coming from our subconscious mammalian software package – and its familiar short-term goals.
He without self-restraint today forges the shackles that hobble him tomorrow. ~ I Ching