There have been debates surrounding the issues of a monogamous relationship in today society, as the perspective of marriage is changing in North America. Although divorce rates in North America are decreasing, more couples are choosing to cohabit with their partner as it is becoming less stigmatized in society*. Furthermore, the increase of cohabitation is becoming the first co-residential union formed among adults; the timing of these cohabitation is taking place during the same time in life when individuals were once getting married*. From those couples that are cohabitating, they either continue the relationship and get married or eventually breakup. From the couples that are cohabiting couples that do end up getting married, there is a 50% chance that they will end up getting divorced. One of the top five reasons for getting a divorce is because most couples claim that they are no longer attracted to one another which leads to their separation*. Is it possible to maintain monogamous relationships today?
The question of debate should not be if it works, but where it originated, and if we as a species should be following the same patterns as our ancestors. Ryan and Jethá, contribute monogamy to the development of agriculture (Ryan & Jethá, 2010). On the contrary, Zuk believe it is instilled without our genes, and is natural part of the evolution of the human spices (Zuk, 2013). This essay will explore the options of Ryan, Jethá, and Zuk, of the evolution of monogamy. It will also include which account I believe to be accurate. I will argue even if Zuk has the evidence was correct it would still not disprove Ryan & Jetha but with the respect to the question of monogamy.
Ryan and Jethá’s premise towards monogamy is monogamy goes against nature, we are supressing our nature sexual urges for monogamy. Monogamy has been forced upon human beings either or religious beliefs, social expectations, or political pressures of the perfect family. Ironically the pornography industry in the United States “generates more revenue than CBS, NBC, and ABC combined and more than all professional football, baseball, and basketball franchises” (Ryan ; Jethá, 2010). Proving that we are unhappy or unsatisfied in our monogamous relationships. This asks the question why do we feel the need to be monogamous?
From an evolutionary perspective, monogamy was instilled with the development of agriculture according to Ryan and Jethá. Furthermore, they go on by saying before agriculture men and women were of the same value, having the same amount of food and social support (Ryan ; Jethá, 2010). Societies were formed that shared everything to ensure the greatest chance of survival. These society would breast feed each other babies, share food, and sexual partners (Ryan ; Jethá, 2010). But then, agriculture began to form with “radical shift in the status of women, and other social configurations that together represent an enigmatic disaster for our species” (Ryan ; Jetha, 2010). The development of agriculture put a dollar or ownership value on everything. Only men having the entitlement to have ownership of land, economy and women. Women no longer played a valuable contributing tole to society, they were property to be owned by men. Each man being allowed one woman to himself, just as he was permitted to owning one house.
As a result, monogamy was developed and incorporated and instilled in religion and politics. Defying the practices of out species ancestors and pressuring us to have on single sexual partner, whom we build a life with. Monogamy was considered the “American Dream”, a happy marriage, only ever needing each other emotionally and sexual, satisfying every desire with one person. In addition, Ryan and Jetha comment on common ancestor to the human species being chimps and bonobos. Research has found that if these animals are observed for long enough periods of time “you’ll see female chimps having intercourse dozens of times per day, with most or all of the willing males, and rampant bonobo group sex that leaves everyone relaxed and maintains intricate social network” (Ryan ; Jetha, 2010). The human species shared ancestors with these animals only 5 million years ago, evolutionary speaking this is recently. From analyzing this statement, it is in our nature have multiple sex partners. Ryan and Jetha state that monogamy obscures the “true nature of our species’ sexuality leaves half our marriages collapsing under an unstoppable tide of swirling sexual frustration, libido-killing boredom, impulsive betrayal, dysfunction, confusion, and shame” (Ryan ; Jetha, 2010). The entire human species feels guilt for our natural desires. The system of monogamy resulting in a large amount of unhappy and unsatisfied people, despite being in a loving relationship.
Opposed to Ryan and Jetha, Zuk does not believe monogamy can be contributed to one single moment in the development of the human species. Zuk view on monogamy provides a different perspective from Ryan and Jetha in that it mainly focusing on the genes of the human species. He explains that the nature of the huan species does not depend on the behaviour of our ancestors but that “evolution means changing the genes that occur in the population, which means that the individuals who have higher reproductive output are more likely to be represented” (Zuk, 2013).
Evolutionary speaking a male is better off with multiple female sexual partner to increase his chance of passing on his genes, while a female will benefit from a partner even if he is not the biological father (Zuk, 2013). Thus, monogamy is understandable in todays society, with men wanting to ensure their genes are being passed on by having on mate and that mate being faithful to only him, and women wanting someone to help with parenting. Unlike Ryan and Jetha, Zuk believes that there has been plenty of time for todays human species to be defined as different then our chimp related ancestors (Zuk, 2013). The genes of the species has changed over the last five million years. Zuk believes that monogamy is not against our nature, as nature is “the case at every stage in the evolutionary process” (Srigley, 2017)