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Is Monogamy Still Working?

What do the latest studies on monogamy show? Find out what’s happening to marriage today and why.

While the social directive of monogamy has been around since the beginning of civilized history, so too has cheating been an active part of society. It is true that a traditional social norm is built around a monogamous society where a loving couple develops an emotional connection with each other and bonds together in matrimony. The norm involves living out their remaining days in an idyllic union, filled with wonderful emotional intimacy and blissful sex. Sadly, this social norm is rarely ever fulfilled in any marriage these days.

Studies on Monogamy

Recent studies on men involved in marriage or a committed emotionally monogamous relationship indicate that they still have somatic cravings for sex with others outside of the relationship. For the high percentage of men that become involved in extramarital, or extra-relationship, scenarios, many do not want their partners to be afforded the same luxury. While it is okay for them to have sex outside the union, it is simply unacceptable for their partner to do the same thing.

The study also concluded that even in relationships that are built on solid emotional ground tend to lose the deep intimacy as soon as the newness of the relationship has worn off. When that happens, men wish to stay emotionally connected to their partner, but continually look for other avenues to experience sex outside the union. The desire to stay in the relationship is supported by the fact that men are willing to be dishonest about their activity in the hope that they can remain in the relationship.

Deception and Dishonesty

Deception plays an enormous part in the disintegration of an emotional relationship when one of the couple steps outside the union to experience short-term sex with another. While honesty is important to continue the emotional part of the relationship, telling the truth about experiencing extramarital sex, or wanting to experience it, would likely be the death knell of whatever would be left of the couple’s bond.

Being truthful about having desires to experience sex with others would likely place an instant stigma on the person, and put an immediate end to the relationship. Even if the behavior is natural, so too is the deception, when the negative outcome is so predictable.

Are We Serially Monogamous?

Has it become apparent that we have become more of a serial monogamous society more than simply a monogamous culture? When individuals fall in love and marry with the subsequent divorce, only to repeat the process over and over again serially, they help support the notion that it is nearly impossible to stay physically and emotionally connected to one person for a lifetime.

Studies have indicated that monogamy places an unreasonable expectation on the married, or committed, couple that the union must restrict sexual activity. The very nature that the relationship has become both physically and emotionally exclusive apparently works against basic human nature. As nearly every intimate relationship will eventually begin to wither, it is basic human behavior to desire sexual closeness from a source that makes the person feel fulfilled.

Maybe the answer to whether or not monogamy still works lies in our understanding that perhaps it never did. Although human behavior rarely evolves, certainly the changes in society’s expectations create easier opportunities to step outside a relationship for sex.

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