I have often written, and will continue to write about the evidence in our evolution for not being monogamous. We are one primate that falls in between the loving passion of Bonobo’s and the risk taking chimp’s. Both of which are our closest cousins on the tree of evolution. Mating rituals between these two other species could not be more stark and contrasting. What it says is that our common ancestor, from which we diverged could have been both monogamy and polygamous in sexual experiences. Our past is littered with facts about how we have been both at one time or the other, though not exclusively. We have practiced both polygamy and monogamy, as individuals Humans have survived the environment, created offspring and adapted.
lingering on the edge of the jungle, our ancestors may have lived in groups, or family structured packs. Women would benefited from the protection and cooperation of the males. Traditionally the dominant male had access to females in other primates, but in our ancestors pair bonding may have played a role. Males benefited by producing more offspring making it more likely that those offspring would survive. Scientists believe that the ridge of the penis was used to dislodge sperm from the vaginal area, while the tip is for ejaculating close to or on the opening of the uterus. The closer the sperm are when they are ejaculated the better chances of survival. In our history having sex with more than one male, or female just made sense. Not every offspring survived. We were not fully on top of the food chain and humans were prey. Our evolutionary path left us with brains that started becoming more complex, but unlike most animals we had no other defenses. While we still had large canines, and thick body fur, we lacked any form of true protection from predators lurking, waiting for opportunity. So many offspring were needed to be made for the few that would survive to adulthood and create the next generation.
As we evolved man changed. We became more bipedal, more cognizant of our surroundings. We lost body hair, took up tools, and kept moving towards the inevitable. The day when suddenly we would become agricultural. We learned to not only eat food, and tubers from the ground, but to cultivate food for the future. It was a dynamic change in our evolution. Instead of migration, humans could now settle down and farm the land. We could harvest the food and store some of it away. It created the ability for us to have stability. Man became aware of his surroundings, and learned to kill prey, and predators. What this meant was it was no longer the most beneficial to be non monogamous. Women suddenly found that in this environment the survival of their offspring depended on the accumulation of resources to secure their health and future. It was women who created monogamy.
The change in behavior benefited men and women. Men were more sure about their offspring being genetically theirs, without knowing anything about genes. Women were assured a place to be cared for, and their offspring given a larger chance of survival. This was certainly not always the case. At the dawn of monogamy there was still much of the fear and insecurity in the males about their offspring. If a male questioned the paternity of the offspring he would likely kill it after birth. Infanticide may be linked to the death of the Neanderthal species. But even homo Erectus, and homo sapiens have likely practiced this behavior. That was because resources were limited, and males wanted their own offspring to survive.
As we have continued to evolve the same can be said for modern day man. The same behavior patterns still exist. Both monogamous and non monogamous of both sexes exist. The determination is in the hands of the individual. What we do see still is the differences in how males react to taking care of non genetic offspring, as well as females. It is twice as dangerous to entrust a non related person with your offspring. While this is not always the case, it has been shown to happen significant amounts of times. Lacking the bond with offspring often leads to lesser treatment, as well as lower success rates in children. As divorce rates rise, the effects are seen on society. Once a divorced couple remarried many times the children from the previous marriage receive less care and attention. Their chances of success in life go down. The potential for college and continued studies goes down. In fact the child suffers in many ways. Some times at the hands of the surrogate parent.
The power of monogamy lies in the better chances of success of the children. Even if parents are not fully happy their children are still more likely to do twice as well as those from divorced homes. Monogamy may sound boring, but there is some passion and care that can’t be found in non monogamous relationships. Having a stable partner means you are more likely to have your needs met, with open and honest communication. It means that you have security, and more intimate bonding. The power part of monogamy is knowing that sex is not the only need filled in the relationship but likely all needs including that of your children. Many people fail to get it right the first time, and some fail to ever get it right.
That is not because we are going against our nature. That is because we come from a diverse nature. We are not one thing by biology. We are many things by choice. Ultimately it is up to every single person to chose what is right for them. Society, and family can not pick what we need, though they may influence it. A person who wants more than one love may choose polyamory. While another person who feels the need for intimate fully attentive love may chose monogamy. The central ideal is to not let others choose. Biology can only give us the evidence for the past and our continuation to the future. It is us, however, who choose how to use that information. May people are not having the sex they want because they won’t speak up. Some people don’t realize what their needs are. Some people fear their own sexuality. But the reality is we are built in form and behavior for many types of relationships. As long as all are consenting adults, then really only the comfort of the individual is substantial.
From the shifting forward of the pelvis, so that humans can have sex face to face, to the transfer of hormones across the skin, to oxytocin in sperm, we have come along way in our sexual evolution. Humans have risked it all in one way or another to choose the sex they are having, and for us existence no longer depends on what sex we do choose. Instead we are free to enjoy the natural and biological benefits of sex. We are free to be responsible and enjoy each other. With our bigger brains, and our ability to understand we have made sex exciting and fun. There is a lot of power in sex. What we choose defines us, and what we do can destroy us. But it is the risk we take for evolving to be humans. We even went so far as to develop a set of feelings unique to human nature, the overwhelming intoxicating, and highly addictive love.