I’m guessing that most people reading this post are happy being monogamous, or at least that’s what we’d admit to. Yes, some people are swingers and some people have affairs, but these practices are generally frowned upon by the general population. And yet a quick search on the web and you will find a plethora of surveys stating different statistics for the number of people who’ve had an affair at some point, some of them as high as 80% (though most sit around 30%, which seems more realistic). Chances are, despite the general feeling that monogamy is something to strive for, we will all know someone who has either had an affair, or have had an affair ourselves.
So why is monogamy so hard for some of us, and why do we strive for it so much? I understand why we all want to be monogamous. We like the feeling that comes with being in a relationship. We like to feel special knowing that this one person likes us above everyone else. That’s why it can feel so bad when we discover that it isn’t necessarily so. As for why it’s hard for some of us to be monogamous, well I guess it’s because you never actually stop being attracted to other people simply because you are in a relationship. Every one of us will experience that little heart-flutter of attraction to some new and exciting person we’ve just met from time to time, no matter how committed we are in a relationship, or how long that relationship has lasted. How you choose to react to those feelings, especially if they are reciprocated, is where some of us fail the test of monogamy.
Then comes the question about whether expecting our partners to be faithful to us is realistic. When we talk about relationships and marriage we speak about commitment and vows, but how realistic or fair are some of those vows. What right do I have to expect my partner to only have sex with me exclusively? What right do I have to essentially “own” someone else’s body and dictate how they use their body? Are we asking too much?
Let me put this another way. We in the so-called “enlightened” west look down on cultures who have very strict cultural rules about gender relationships, especially women. We all “tut-tut” about how silly it is for some cultures that don’t allow married women to be left alone with a man who is not their husband. But sometimes I wonder if someone will one day look at our monogamous western culture and “tut-tut” us about our oppressive sexual rules that forced people to never express themselves sexually with anyone but their partners.
I’m not for a moment suggesting that we should all of a sudden stop being monogamous and start going at it like rabbits with all and sundry. All I’m asking is if it’s actually OK for one person to dictate to another person how they use their body. Homo Sapiens are a social animal. We like to socialise and communicate with other Homo Sapiens. If we’re happy for our partners to express feeling and emotions with other people using words and music and body language, and yes even touch, why are we not happy to let our partners express themselves sexually with other people? To be honest, I don’t have an answer to that, but it is something I continue to struggle with as a concept from time to time.
So what do you guys think? Is monogamy too much to expect? And is it OK to dictate to another person how they use their body?
John James has written 203 posts.
JJ is a blogger who is bored with traditional opinion blogging. He is a co-founder and editor at KiKi & Tea. He also represents the grumpy middle-aged man demographic on KiKi & Tea. He is a writer by trade and a frustrated rock star / crime fighter by night, and blogs about music at newmusicrevue.com.
Follow on twitter: @JohnJamesOZ