• Tuesday July 14,2020


We explain what monogamy is and what forms it takes. Why criticism, and differences with polygamy. Monogamy in animals.

Monogamy is a love relationship that is established with only one person.
  1. What is monogamy?

Monogamy is a type of marriage, the most common in the legislation of the majority of the countries, which contemplates the union of two individuals through a Exclusive, unique and unique sexual and loving bond .

This concept can also be applied to animals that maintain a link of this type with their partner, at least during the breeding and breeding season.

The term comes from the Greek monkey ( uno ) and g mos ( marriage ). Monogamy however is not synonymous with marriage . There may be other types of marriage arrangement, such as polygamy (polygyny or polyandria).

Although the monogamous model is the traditional and customary in the West, in the 21st century alternative forms of erotic or loving organization have emerged, such as polyamory. However, none enjoys formal recognition of any kind, nor of great social acceptance yet.

Broadly speaking, one can speak of two forms of monogamy:

  • Strict monogamy . That which stipulates that a single person must have an erotic and romantic connection throughout life, except in the case that said person dies (and sometimes even so).
  • Serial monogamy . The most common in the West, establishes that the erotic and romantic nexus must occur in a unique and exclusive way between two individuals determined at the same time, although for a time determined by mutual agreement . Once one of the parties decides to break the union, they will be free to build a new one with another person.

See also: Falling in love

  1. Monogamy in humans

The forms of monogamy vary along with the culture.

There is much debate about the character of our monogamy species. It can be considered part of a set of cultural and historical impositions, the result of the religious domination of Western society during the long medieval period, which would have left its mark.

It is even associated with the logic of private property, capitalism and the western status quo of the 21st century. This trial is mostly based on the oppression of women, since in many societies monogamy is reinforced and monitored over women, but it is flexible around men.

There are also those who affirm that the polygamous logic of multiple sexual partners is the most faithful to our biology and the fundamental principle of spreading the genetic seed as much as possible.

On the contrary, others claim that there is even a genetic basis for monogamy, because throughout the history of the species, this sexual behavior appears linked to the expression of a set of 24 genes related to brain development. Therefore, the most intelligent species in nature cultivate this type of bond.

However, it should be noted that it is not biology but culture that determines our behaviors . That is to say that both monogamy and its variants have in the history of humanity various motives and contexts of appearance linked to religion, tradition and historical conditions.

Paradoxically, according to anthropological studies, 16% of human societies embrace monogamy, but only 5% disapprove of extramarital sex.

  1. Monogamy in animals

Some animals, such as penguins, have monogamous relationships.

Monogamy is uncommon in animal species, and can be seen in just 3% of known mammals, according to some scholars. Some of them are killer whales, some rodents; but also some species of birds such as penguins, crows, parrots and eagles.

In any case, for a species to be declared monogamous, it must meet the following five conditions :

  • Male and female should cohabit and be selected selectively in the long term or during the periods of reproduction and rearing.
  • Non-family individuals must be repelled from the nest, burrow or family territory, even if they belong to the same species.
  • The parents devote extensive attention to breeding .
  • Reproduction is regulated at the social level by the individuals of the species.
  • Incest is avoided among adult individuals.
  1. Monogamy and polygamy

If monogamy implies the exclusive sexual and romantic link between the individuals of a couple, polygamy instead proposes a multiple but regulated link. In other words, it is about the possibility of getting married to several people at the same time or successively.

When it comes to a man married to several women, it is known as polygyny . Polyandria is much less frequent : a woman married to several men . Polygamy is accepted by cultures such as Islamic or Jewish, in its more traditional variants.

Follow in: Polygamy

  1. Critics of monogamy

A high percentage of monogamous marriages end in divorce.

As we said before, there is much disagreement about the convenience of monogamy for humans. Broadly, it is criticized:

  • Machismo Given the macho cultural patterns of most human societies, monogamy is fulfilled and monitored in the case of women, but it becomes more flexible in the case of men, allowing this higher quotas of freedom Sexual and romantic.
  • Link to private property . Monogamy appeared in our species at the same time as agriculture and the idea of ​​private property, which makes women part of the heritage of men, of the objects they own, since they lose the freedom to choose with what The male wishes to reproduce, being generally given by his parents according to material motivations.
  • Link with religion . It is no secret to anyone that many religions foster an exclusive monogamous link, punishing instead extramarital affairs. This was particularly intense during the European Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church ruled with an iron hand. Hence, moral considerations about monogamy are linked to conservative values.
  • Divorce Rates Monogamous marriages have been shortening their usual period of life in most modern societies, allowing the interruption of the relationship and the beginning of a new one, exceeding 70% of marriage cases in some countries. Thus, serial monogamy is embraced, which does not exclude extramarital sex (infidelity) and which, on a general level, makes citizens monogamous, we are repressed, as Sigmund Freud affirmed. .

Continue with: Family Assembled

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