Why We Fuck...
Sex. To some of us it feels like little more than a swing ride at the park. To others it's their main directive in everything they do. Your desire to fuck is deeply held in your primal brain. We needed to survive first, but once we felt safe enough, sex was the next thing on our pre-historic minds. In the book, Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, they put the research on it's head and explain how our natural bias has affected what we think about our human ancestors prior to the agricultural revolution. Let's explore what their sexualities were really like!
You're probably up to date on what the "standard narrative" of human sexual evolution is all about. To sum it up: monogamy. This offers women the security of resources that she'll need to raise her children, and men the certainty of paternity to offer his resources to his children. This logic has many, many flaws. First, it relies on the unproven fact that women needed a single man to provide for her. Did women live alone in the woods before agriculture? NO! They lived in tight knit groups (usually up to 150 people) with lots of people to support them. And second, that men cared about which children were exactly theirs. This is a fallacy of patriarchy. Maybe the most important understanding you should have about patriarchy is that it was created for men to know who their children were. This erupted after the agricultural revolution, because then private property was important.
The standard narrative is built on two mistakes. Mistakes that we created because we assumed that pre-agricultural, foraging people were exactly like us now. Although, what they don't understand is that we are heavily entrenched in patriarchal, capitalistic, scarcity mindsets now. Before the agricultural revolution there was plenty of food for everyone. If you had elders they knew how to get food, water, shelter, safety. It is understood that in a nomadic, foraging society they might have spent a couple hours a day on survival. Imagine a whole tribe going out to collect food for everyone. And there are no refrigerators, so it all must be eaten immediately. Also imagine a world that wasn't overpopulated. If things ran out here we just all pick up and move a few miles down the road. Pre-agricultural people did not live in scarcity. They lived in plenty.
So, resources weren't a huge complaint. Women weren't desperately trying to get men to stay with them in order to keep their children alive, like the standard narrative would have you believe. And men weren't overly concerned with who their children were. In a small society everyone raised everyone. You can see evidence of this today in the very few remaining societies that have lived on. Children were a group issue, and everyone participated.
We can also look to our closest DNA relatives, bonobos. These incredible apes are highly intelligent, matriarchal, and hella polyamorous! Their societies are full of sex. They use sex to communicate, to greet each other, and just to socialize. With the males unconcerned about when they will have sex again, it has created an expansive community built on abundance and female-female alliances. All males help raise all children in the society. They have one very key similarity to humans as well. Females have sex all throughout their cycle (not just when ovulating) and ovulation is obscured. This creates the conditions for a society built on social interaction, social support, and not worrying about whose children are whose.
With all this evidence (and more honestly), this points to the fact that humans are not naturally monogamous. Pre-agricultural societies lived in small groups that had sex with multiple partners. There is plenty of evidence that say that humans weren't just fucking anyone either, but that there were multiple relationships cultivated. So, humans weren't just randomly promiscuous but were selective and developed relationships that were either primarily sexual, more emotional, or fully emotional. They had the full spectrum of relationships. This reduced jealousy and helped the group become more cohesive. You will naturally work towards solutions that benefit everyone if you're fucking most of them.
Monogamy would have destroyed these small societies. Instead of everyone working together in a selfless, group-oriented manner, they would hoard their own resources for their partner. This would lead to much smaller groups forming, and likely leaving the individual family on their own to deal with all the issues of surviving. This would have stunted the evolution of humans as we would have been easier to kill. 150 humans were a lot harder to kill than 2.
So, why did they get it so wrong in the standard narrative? Ingrained conditioning about who we are is why. In Sex at Dawn, the authors looked beyond the research that scientists did and looked at who the researchers were and what they said about their research. In most cases they found that the researchers were doing bias-affirming research. Most of them "couldn't even imagine" a society where humans weren't monogamous (their words exactly), so the research they did was trying to confirm monogamy, rather than objectively looking at the facts. In so many cases, they found the researchers doing backflips to try and make monogamy fit the narrative. No matter how high they had to jump the researchers were convinced that monogamy was the only answer for humans, and thus dismissed anything that was glaringly the opposite!
And it still persists today. There are many people who are hell bent on keeping the status quo on monogamy. Think about it. Monogamy was developed by the patriarchy to control their paternal certainty, turning women into little more than property for thousands of years. They are afraid to their core of letting this go, even though they might not consciously know that's what they're doing. Many people have turned monogamy into their identity. I am a good wife. I am loyal. I am trustworthy. But you can be those things outside of monogamy, too. I am an amazing partner, and also polyamorous. I am wildly loyal to my partners, we just don't have an agreement that we can't fuck or love others. I am trustworthy, I tell my partners everything. Literally every gory detail of my sexual life my partners know about because they want to know, and I want to know about theirs, too!
We must escape the idea that monogamy is natural (it's not), that we can only be safe in single partnership (you can't), and that monogamy is the only "real" way to build a life with someone (it soooo isn't). Thousands of years of patriarchy have brainwashed so many of us into thinking that monogamy is the only answer. I believe that we all deserve a choice. Monogamy can be one of those choices if that's what you truly want. But it has to be a choice, and not the only option you were ever given. I wish to live in a society where non-monogamy and polyamory are recognized as the natural option, and monogamy is understood that it's against our nature, but people are free to choose it anyway. A society that lacks this choice isn't serving its community. You'll see cheating, prostitution, porn addiction, and sexless marriages in a society built on monogamy as the only choice.
If you've gotten this far and you're still questioning (thanks for being here), then I've got a final note for you. non-monogamy can look however you want it to. There are not strict rules. You can design the type of relationship you desire. Some people prefer hierarchy, saying that they have one primary partner, and other relationships are secondary in importance to that one relationship. Some people choose to have only one emotional relationship but several strictly sexual relationships (sometimes called swinging). Some people choose to only have emotional relationships and not have sex with anyone. Some people want all their partners to live together and fuck each other. Some prefer to have their relationships separate. There are thousands of configurations your relationships can take and that can also evolve over time. Mine certainly has! So, maybe one style of non-monogamy is not attractive to you, then find another way. And fucking celebrate that those people have found what they love!
INSPIRED ACTION: Take a look at your gut reactions to non-monogamy. Did this blog upset you? Do you feel uneasy about some of it? Start peeling back the layers on this. Journal about where these feelings originate (religion, government, society, school, friends, family?). Start identifying what are natural truths and what are man-made. To take down the patriarchy we must take down monogamy as the only choice. Patriarchy is built on this lie.