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Let's stop putting monogamy on a pedestal

Sasha Brown-Worsham

by

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Sasha Brown-Worsham has written for dozens of publications over the course of her years as a journalist and blogger. She lives outside NYC with her three children, husband, and multiple pets. She is working on her first novel.

Why do we have to pledge to be monogamous for the rest of our lives in marriage?

Monogamy is simple, right? Two people in love pledge their lives to one another and promise that no matter what gorgeous George Clooney or Kate Upton person comes along, that they will stay true to one another and only share their bodily fluids with their beloved. It's simple. Straight-forward. Impossible.

Cheating is never a kind thing to do and a person who does so is often viewed as a pariah. But the reality is, monogamy is not natural. You don't have to take my word for it.

Monogamy is just not the natural order.

"Although monogamy is the norm in contemporary western societies, this is a relatively new convention," says Cara Santa Maria in the Huffington Post in a piece about the natural order of monogamy. There is more:

"Looking again to our closest animal relatives, amongst primates in general, roughly 80 percent have been documented as predominantly polygamous. This figure is close to estimates of the existence of the practice amongst human hunter-gatherer societies. Only about 3-5 percent of known animal species have been documented to exhibit monogamous pair-bonding."

More: 6 Sex-after-birth problems all new parents encounter

So what gives for humans?

We have evolved to value our non-animal side. And monogamy and marriage have become part of that. But think of the pain we might save ourselves if we let go of that construct. Let's accept that just because we sleep with another person doesn't mean that the love we feel for our primary partner is in any way diminished. Where did we get the idea that it was anyway?

More: 6 Extremely common sex problems it's OK to finally talk about

There is more than one way to have sex and for many of us, we know how to distinguish between the sex we have for love and the kind we have just for fun. So why can't we have both?

When I married at 25, I did so with the knowledge that I would only be with one man for the rest of my life. But when you are 25, that is a really, really long time. Would I change it? Not for a second. But I also know there are all kinds of rules that couples can play with in their own marriages. I am not advocating sneaking around and lying. But I am advocating openness and accepting our animal nature.

We make our own rules in our own marriages. So maybe monogamy is an antiquated notion we want to fling to the wind. So what? Maybe if we all did it, our lives would be a lot happier.

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