The Daily Nash-on

a mindstream from just another statistic…

Is fidelity overrated ?

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A very interesting article, that helps put content on the blog when I dont feel like writing anything….

Biologists have long understood that monogamy is rare in mammals. Of about 4,000 mammalian species, only a handful has ever been called monogamous. The tiny list includes beavers and a couple of other rodents, otters, bats, certain foxes, a few hoofed mammals, and some primates-notably gibbons and the tamarins and marmosets.

So may be the whole fuss over exclusivity, monogamy or fidelity is not warranted. May be it is time to accept ‘wayward behavior’ as an inherent

human quirk.

Scientists in the US are now focusing on a ‘monogamy gene’ in mice which is said to promote monogamous behavior. When a certain type of mice was injected with the monogamy gene from another similar type, there was a noticeable change in its behavior. Instead of mating and immediately moving on, the injected mice would show more of an attachment to its mate! But scientists say that the ‘monogamy gene’ would not work similarly for humans. The monogamy gene is broken down into three parts – lust, romance and attachment – and in some cases these three don’t work together. This may cause strong attachment to one person and mad romantic love for another.

What makes monogamy or sexual fidelity important for humans? Obviously, monogamy gives a strong sense of family values to individuals and few would doubt that emotionally stable men and women would contribute to a healthy society. Imagine a society where children grew up in families where they were able to perceive that there was something wrong in the relationship between their parents. Or they grew up seeing their parents with multiple partners. Most psychiatrists would agree that it would have a detrimental effect on their emotional health.

However forced monogamy may have its critical downside as well. Some studies show that many men experience performance anxiety because they try to curb their natural, authentic sexual response which may be interpreted as promiscuous or lustful, which has immediate great negative connotations. This conditioning creates the foundation for guilt and performance anxiety. Thus sometimes sex in marriage conflicts with the male’s powerful early conditioning. When he feels inclined to stray or ‘cheat’, he ultimately and invariably is bombarded with guilt and self-hatred.

Expressed in another way, the man and woman in a permanent, exclusive relationship may be having sex at cross purposes. For him, traditionally, sex has meant challenge and conquest and a variety of women. This is missing in marriage. For her, sex meant belonging, intimacy and security. Since men invariably try to accommodate female needs rather than fulfill their own, whether ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they will may well be living a huge lie which would lead to unconscious resentment against their partner. Only when the marriage finally ends, when and if it does, can a man fully feel and admit the intense sexual frustration that was pent up.

There is another school of thought who believes that free love or multiple partners are not unethical. They say that physical intimacy is an act similar to others like jogging or going for a movie which can be done and enjoyed with several people. These are things that people can do together. When they do it together, they do not expect their partner to only do such an action with them only. Sex, as far as our society is concerned, is the only thing which we should limit to one individual. But perhaps that limiting nature of a physical relationship is what makes it beautiful among two people.

So, in other words, you marry one person, you remain faithful to that one person for all of the remaining days of your life. Impossible? No. Easy? No. Necessary? Well, that one has no one answer.

The formula for any successful relationship is trust. Therefore, whether or not monogamy is necessary is something that must be decided before the relationship begins and the decision must be honoured or you have violated your partner’s trust. Most people assume that issues relating to ‘affairs’, ‘cheating’, ‘extramarital affairs’, etc, are based solely on sexual intercourse. This is not true. The real issue at stake is the violation of trust. So, what does that mean for you, in your current relationship?

That depends. First of all, do you want to have more than one sexual partner? Is this something you have already discussed with your current significant other? Do you trust your partner enough to share your thoughts with them? The best course of action, naturally, is to have these decisions cleared up before the relationship begins. However, if you are in a long term relationship, and your feelings have changed, that’s a deeper, more revolving situation. That problem will depend on the outlook of both partners and the way the matter is handled. No one should be forced to do something they do not want to do-that includes sharing partners or having a single partner.


Written by Nash

August 12, 2005 at 5:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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