What does science and history say about why humans continue to try (and fail) at monogamy?
We are not, and never have been, a completely trustworthy species.
According to the dating app Feeld, there has been a dramatic increase in interest in couples exploring non-monogamy and opening up their relationships.
Since the last lockdown was lifted, the number of women searching for “ethical non-monogamy” and “polyamory” on the app has increased by nearly 400% – a whopping 500% more than this time last year.
Given the obvious interest in non-monogamy, one must wonder when monogamy became the norm and whether we are even supposed to be monogamous.
If this is the case, humans belong to a very small group of creatures.
True monogamy is extremely rare in the animal kingdom, particularly among mammals.
The California mouse and the Malagasy giant jumping rat are two of only a few animals known to mate for life and remain faithful to one another.
This type of monogamy is known as “genetic monogamy” by scientists.
Prairie voles, swift foxes, and golden-cheeked gibbons are examples of animals that are almost completely monogamous, but they don’t always succeed.
Lobsters do not mate for life, despite what Friends merchandise has told us over the years.
They’re actually quite naughty.
They form a monogamous attachment, or “pair bond,” for about a week, then shag each other irrationally before breaking up.
It’s more of a holiday romance than a timeless love story.
This type of monogamy, in which both partners form an attachment and remain faithful-ish for the duration, is known as “social monogamy” and is fairly common in the animal kingdom.
What about humans? We’ve all been raised on a diet of Disney movies and love songs that seem to promote genetic monogamy as the norm, if not the ideal.
This may be true for a select few, but I believe we can all agree that humans are not strictly monogamous as a species.
We’re not even monogamous, to tell you the truth.
At best, we try to be faithful to one partner at a time (a practice known as serial monogamy), but we’re not very good at it.
“While there are many ethnographic studies on human mating patterns,” a 2019 literature review concluded.
UK news summary from Infosurhoy
Here’s what science and history have to say about why humans keep trying (and failing) to be monogamous.
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Why do humans keep trying (and failing) at monogamy? Here’s what science and history says