Ahhhhh….monogamy. The promise that keeps us promising.
And the promise that so often fails us. Or at which we fail.
Recently, a bloggy friend wrote me about the issue. He said,
I'm wondering if humans are meant to be monogamous. I know it's been said before, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around "one woman, for the rest of my life."
It's a bit odd, don't ya think?
Re-reading this quote, I find it’s pretty crystal that my friend’s knickers are twisty over the concept of monogamy—in his second sentence, for example, he’s is having a weird out-of-the-body experience. What he means to be saying, I think, is that it’s been said before that perhaps humans aren’t supposed to be monogamous—the clause “I know it’s been said before..” belongs with the previous sentence. Instead, he ends up saying that it’s been said before that he has a hard time with the concept of monogamy, if not the reality.
Which, probably, it has.
Even if only his unconscious admits it.
I wrote my friend back with my ideas on the subject of monogamy; he suggested I post my musings. Here they are, somewhat edited for style, though not for content:
I don't think humans are "meant" to be with one person. We are not geese. I think monogamy, like a political system, like an accessory, like a religion, is a peculiarly human choice, and one, if you make it, you have to make again and again and again, ad infinitum.
Or possibly ad nauseum.
Not to sound too much like the hard-assed grammarian and rhetorician that I have been trained to be, the abundance passive syntax in your short letter—“are meant,” “been said”—raises other questions, questions that actually are central to this monogamy morass. See, the passive syntax removes agency; in the sentences I don’t know who is doing the meaning, nor who is doing the saying. And in point of fact, in reality we as people and readers don’t either.
Who does say humans are or are not meant to be monogamous? Who or what means humans to be monogamous, or not? Figuring out the answers to those questions probably would help those struggling with the larger one-person-only question. Does society say it? Does God mean it? Does nature? Do you buy into those voices as important?
You and your beloved only can figure out what makes sense to you and your beloved. Monogamy is a big rock question. It’s like kids. It’s a dealbreaker. If you look in your heart and can’t compromise on not having a kid when you want one, you probably shouldn’t marry a person adamantly set against parenthood. If you look in your heart and believe that you cannot accept traditional monogamy as a foundation to your relationship, then you probably shouldn’t marry a person who does.
These opposing choices lead to badness. And not the good oh it’s so bad it’s good kind of badness, but real wickedness, real hurt, real pain, real betrayal, and real emotional scars.
Monogamy: it's not for me. Anytime I am hemmed in by some proscription, my desire, eventually, is to act out. Monogamy included. For me, though, it's a bit easier than for you, I suspect. I'm happy to have one man, as long as we can include women in our play, or public play in our play, or play in our play.
I look to Jenna Jameson for inspiration. Sure, I can do porn, but only with my husband. Or with chicks. Really, really hot chicks.
I don’t need to have a lover. In my relationship I don't want to build distance; I want to build intimacy, so my interest lies in finding a man I can explore physical—as well as emotional, intellectual, metaphysical and spiritual—possibilities.
In an ideal world, and this is not yet it, I will find a mate with whom I can explore a wide range of pleasure. I believe in trust, and I believe in a relationship predicated on trust, and I believe in honesty. And, honestly, I can't see that I'll ever make a conscious, willing, and truthful promise to have sex with one human being, and one only, for the rest of my life.
Which is why God created threesomes.
And hot bisexual chicks.