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You are here: Science & Tech » Science » Biologically, research says, we are ‘non-monogamous’

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SCIENCE & TECH
Science

Biologically, research says, we are ‘non-monogamous’

Published 1st May 2012

The majority of people, who read this research, will generally dismiss it due to its contradiction to social norms. So while reading, put those pre-judgments aside for a few minutes and think. Even if you may not be one of these people, chances are, some of your friends are…

Last term the LGBT society had a guest speaker, Prof. Eric Anderson, whose research primarily surrounds University level students and their relationship preferences. From interviewing participants Anderson found that although the majority of people, as we concur, start with the aim of pursuing loving monogamous relationships, we “cheat”. I used to consider just thinking about kissing someone other than my partner “cheating” and many of my friends, of all genders, would be hurt if they thought that their partners were doing this too.

Anderson’s research focused on understanding why people do this. He suggests that it could be due to social acceptance that we, as individuals, enter into monogamous relationships; whereas in actual fact our biology directs us more towards non-monogamy. He goes on to say that about 78% of the young men he interviewed had cheated, but still loved their partners. If this is the case, why do we not want to be open with one another about our sexual or loving desires towards other people? Anderson goes on to suggest that monogamy is an irrational ideal because it fails to fulfil a lifetime of sexual desires. Cheating, therefore, becomes the rational response to an irrational situation. Apart from the social pressures around us to be monogamous, with all films promoting love-triangles where one main character should decide between person A or B; one reason we don’t have non-monogamous relationships is probably, jealousy. We may be happy to have other partners ourselves or tantalize ourselves by thinking about sleeping with someone else, but we wouldn’t be happy about our partner having or thinking about ‘hot sex’ with another person. However, if our partner is happy with someone else as well as us, why shouldn’t we be happy for them, if we love them?

Polyamorous (multiple deep meaningful loving – not purely sexual – relationships) and non-monogamous relationships are becoming more accepted culturally, one of the places this area is becoming more dominant is in psychology, anthropology and sociology research literature.


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