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Men will never be able to become absolutely monogamous

Recently, a widely advertised myth about the genetic polygamy of the person has taken root in the modern society. It runs as follows: the mother-nature has taken care that all homo sapiens, males and females, reproduced with no attention to the rules of the superficial morals and old-fashioned postulates. However, everything is totally different when it comes to life and nature. So what’s polygamy, to what extent is it programmed by nature and what stands behind that phenomenon in reality?

A few words concerning biology…

Talking about mammals as a whole, we should say that the system of marital relations is considered to be a heritable specific characteristic. As a rule, an animal can realize only one program or some of its variants that are encoded in the genes. Polygamy

According to some scientists like V. Dolik, the wide variety of marital relations means co-existence of contradictory innate programs of humans. These scientists say that the human’s evolution was misbalanced by the fact that sexual experience was passed on not only by simple teaching. In other words, the so-called Cultural Revolution came to power.

There are some monogamous mammals like the wolf, the fox, and the stoat. It means that the male has only one female with whom he brings up the cubs. There are also some polygamous mammals – the sable, the wild boar, the roe, and the mountain hare. Their males have several females, and it is the females who bring up the cubs. Animals like the squirrel and the beaver can be both polygamous and monogamous. For Cheiroptera, like the great bat, polyandry (when a female has several males) is very typical.

Apes are even more interesting for studying the human. For example, the chimpanzee, the orang-utan, and the gorilla males copulate with all females; they dominate and don’t take care of the cubs. On the contrary, gibbons, standing lower on the genealogic tree, are monogamous. It is considered to be here that the human instinct of jealousy comes from. By the way, the fact that the human females are always ready to couple is the evolutionary method of always keeping the male near themselves and the cubs.

In spite of the common opinion that polygamy is encoded in the genes, most contemporary ethologists are inclined to think that humans don’t inherit the types of marital relations. Saying that the human is polygamous means overestimating the genetic determinism. As a matter of fact, according to ethology (the science studying animal behaviour, mainly analyzing the genetic (hereditary, instinctive) components of behaviour and the problems of its evolution), the term “pure instinct" is, actually, the same term as “ideal gas” in physics.

The main role belongs to the species’ intelligence, which plays the role of a peculiar lining between the inborn stimulus (eating, catching prey, etc.) and the inborn reaction. The sociologists also point out that teaching is of tremendous importance for the development of the human society.

One of the disputable questions still to be answered is whether the development of the human society went on from polygamy to monogamy, or vice versa. Recently, the second point of view has taken over.

D.S. Guld, the American anthropologist, says the postulate "the human is an animal" is primitive. He thinks direct analogies of humans with animals are usually absurd and says it’s the wrong way to go. For example, when the drake rapes the duck, it increases its reproductive activity, while the same act is considered a sociological pathology among humans.

Reasons for polygamy

Psychoanalysts distinguish several reasons that might lead the person to long for sexual relations with several partners at a time. The old postulate says “all of us come from our childhood”. The main reasons for polygamy lay in the peculiarity of the child-parent relations.

The child’s love for his mother is the basis for his harmonious development. We all know that nothing can be compared to the love of a mother: she gives all her attention and even sacrifices herself to the child. This bond serves as an example of the intensity and the uniqueness of pair relationships. But if, for some reason, the child didn’t get the love he needed from his mother, as a grown-up, he’ll waste a lot of time looking for his "perfect partner". However, a man of sense understands that there's no such person, because "the perfect" and "the ideal" is more likely to be from the fantasy world rather than from real life.

There isn’t even a single person who could justify the hopes of his/her partner and correspond to his/her secret wishes by 100%. Polygamy is a an attempt to combine the two things, or, in other words, to create the ideal image. For example, women having such relationships might say that one of the partners is "smart, serious and earns good money” while the other one is “young, optimistic and sexually active”. Roughly speaking, a person refuses to work at the relationship and him(her)self. He/she wants to reach absolute happiness without making maximum efforts.

The second reason for polygamy that comes from the childhood is the unreasonable power of the parents over their child. A powerful mother or a tyrannical father can certainly lead to polygamy. Such parents never lose an opportunity to show their superiority to the child; they cultivate in every possible way the feeling of dependence in their own child and this way stifle his/her will. When the child grows up, he/she is unconsciously afraid of the fact that his/her partner will behave in the same way, and thus tries to keep his/her partner at a distance by having another love affair. The fear of somebody else’s authority and dependence on the partner keep the person from getting into a serious relationship.

The third reason for polygamy received the name “Don Juan’s complex”. Why did this man keep "conquering" women all the time? The answer is very simple : because of being diffident . We can only feel sorry for that man. Because of his inner fears, he has to keep proving to everybody his irresistibility and sexual appeal. The lack of love belongs to the same category. It leads the person to trying on new relationships.

The fourth reason that has something in common with everything mentioned above is the fear of a serious relationship. The term "serious relationship” means that a person is emotionally mature enough for a marriage (either civil or official), that he’s ready to take responsibility for his actions, and that he understands the risk he’s taking. And polygamy is the perpetual search for the “emergency exit” or the “back entrance”.

Some specialists, for example, the scientists from the French School for Psychotherapy, say that when a person has several partners, it means that none of them really match him. And what is more, this can also mean that a person has a neurotic complex.

Latent polygamy.

Importantly, polygamy isn’t based on the principles of an “open marriage”, which is still considered to be a rare thing, but on secret unfaithfulness. Besides, most of the treasons fall into the same pattern.

After a period of time that the two people have been living together, one of the partners begins feeling the need for emotional "injection". Stable relationships, the habit and everyday routine spur the person to search for something spontaneous and unpredictable. And many find adultery the easiest way to reach it.

But in most cases the intensity of feelings and the new colours of life give place to a commonplace question: "And what do I do now?" And as it usually turns out, this hasn’t been the best way to solve the problems of the marriage. So, in most cases the person only worsens the situation.

All in all, before getting involved in another relationship, one should ask himself - what for? - in order to estimate the consequences of that step. By the way, the opinions that infidelity is the best way to boost the marriage are considered amateurish by psychotherapists because they are only the way of escaping a conflict. The reason for infidelity is very seldom just a simple interest for sex. In most cases, it has been caused by a great number of problems.

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12/2008 02/2009


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