Monogamy, What is it Good For?—Frank Soto

 

I increasingly see my role on Ricochet as consuming as much of the liberal media as I can so that the rest of you don’t have to. While perusing the intellectual wastelands, I invariably come across articles that confidently assert that the way human beings have been doing something for several millennia is totally wrong.

It seems the New Republic is beginning to question this whole monogamy thing.

The current model of lifelong, cohabiting monogamous partnership has never been such an outdated ideal

Now that is a hook. Any article that endeavors to refute an institution such as monogamous marriage in less than 1,200 words is guaranteed gold.

Liberal social attitudes mean monogamy for the sake of it is but a moral trinket. Fine if you’re in the early throes of romantic love and only have eyes for each other. I’ve been there many times and what a wonderful feeling it is. But it’s no secret that romantic infatuation doesn’t last.

Could it be possible that people engage in cohabiting, monogamous partnerships for reasons aside from their feelings? Is it conceivable that this particular arrangement has existed throughout human history because it offers discrete benefits?

Since the entire biological drive for procreation aims at passing down your DNA, I suspect few men would work to support a family if they ran a significant risk of the children their wife gave birth to not being their own. Similarly, how many women are comfortable having a man’s child without a commitment from him that he won’t abandon her at some future date for a younger woman?

Of course, these concerns are minimal for the wealthy, who possess the means to cope with the negative consequences of terrible decision making. Most of us are not rich however, and cannot easily afford the costs. The advice of Hollywood actresses and wealthy authors is of questionable value to the average person. Someone should write a book on this topic.

No matter how rich you are though, some consequences cannot be mitigated. Studies estimate that 110 million Americans have a sexually transmitted disease. You run approximately 1 in 3 odds of your next partner bringing a little something extra into the bedroom with you. Now, you could demand all prospective lovers supply you with negative test results before coitus commences, but it is a bit of mood killer.

Alternatively, you could find a single partner, remain faithful to them, and run no risk of infections. What an outdated concept.

There are other assumed rules of commitment applied blindly. What, for example, is the obsession with living under the same roof?

I’m just spitballing here, but I’d guess it’s the cost of multiple roofs.

If you think life-long commitment is still needed to start a family, a replacement for that has been found too. Earlier this month it was reported that the number of single women seeking artificial insemination with a sperm donor has doubled in five years. This is more significant if you consider that as late as the 1950s single motherhood was deplored so much that they could be locked away in a mental asylum.

Can the author not posit any possible reason it was deplored? Perhaps the tripled risk of ending up in jail that children raised in single-parent homes are exposed to? Or the fact that being raised by married parents reduces the risk of living in poverty by 82%? Do liberals really believe that moral preening is the only reason societies have structured themselves around monogamous relationships?

None of us think a lifelong commitment is needed to start a family. Many of us, however, recognize the wisdom of doing it that way.

It is telling that the author’s only reference to children in her idealized anti-monogamy world is to point out that they can still be created. How they will be raised above the poverty line and effectively educated when commitment is shunned is left to the imagination. Perhaps all children will be shipped off to government boarding schools at the age of six so that their parents can relive their college glory days forever.

I’m obviously not suggesting that we treat life like one big Club 18-30’s holiday with a new lover for every change of bed linen. Life would be anarchical, board meetings would be in danger of turning into orgies..

Well now you’ve lost me completely. Board room orgies was about the only thing this plan had going for it.

We will continue to fall in love and to believe the feeling will last forever. But it is time to modernize the rules and expectations. That means casting away the fairytale and facing up to the fact that a life partner—should we choose to have one—fulfills only one corner of our emotional, romantic and sexual needs. The belief that we can find one person to meet all of them is one which is very likely to be considered radical in the future.

For propriety’s sake, I will avoid openly pondering which corners of your sexual needs a second or third partner can fill while your life partner is filling another.

Personally, a world where relationships mirror a game of musical chairs sounds like a hell that could only have been devised by the proprietor of a dating website who was looking for a never ending parade of clients. Wait a minute…

Helen Croydon is the author of Screw The Fairytale: A Modern Guide to Sex and Love. She is also the founder of the dating website parttimelove.co.uk

There are 101 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  1. Doctor Bass Monkey Inactive

    Antisocial people don’t get social diseases. Vivez les misanthropes!

    • #1
    • April 30, 2014, at 12:01 PM PDT
    • Like
  2. Taras Bulbous Inactive

    If monogamy is such an outdated, analog concept, why the desire for equal rights in regards to marriage?

    Progressive thought tries in vain to disprove natural laws. My favorite is the attempt to argue that men and women are completely and totally equal in all ways, and gender is a social construct. Where are all those female NFL O-linemen?

    • #2
    • April 30, 2014, at 12:42 PM PDT
    • Like
  3. KC Mulville Inactive

    Frank Soto:

    Board room orgies was about the only thing this plan had going for it.

    That line deserves applause.

    • #3
    • April 30, 2014, at 12:51 PM PDT
    • Like
  4. DocJay Inactive

    Get with the times Frank. It’s a boink fest out there.

    • #4
    • April 30, 2014, at 1:16 PM PDT
    • Like
  5. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    That means casting away the fairytale and facing up to the fact that a life partner—should we choose to have one—fulfills only one corner of our emotional, romantic and sexual needs. The belief that we can find one person to meet all of them is…

    …pretty stupid, actually. She’s right about this.

    The stupidity lies in expecting every last dad-blasted need you have to be met in the first place.

    Life isn’t perfect. If you can find one person willing to marry you who meets a large “corner” of your needs in those areas, and who you can also stand to be around for long periods of time, you’ve got it good. And when you’ve got it that good, you’d be a fool to mess with it by seeking to have your remaining “corners” filled through adultery.

    I’ve had some bad luck in life, but extraordinarily good luck in marriage. Marrying Mr Rattler has been the best thing that every happened to me. But getting every need met? Pppphht.

    For example, when spouse A has a lumbar injury or spouse B has colitis, a few needs go unmet. That’s life.

    • #5
    • April 30, 2014, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • Like
  6. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Frank already hit all the major points of lunacy in the TNR piece — well done, sir — but I think there’s a fair point in there that deserves attention: that our expectations about monogamy coupled with our life-expectancy make marriage a harder sell.

    To be clear, I’d argue the benefits in terms of stability, intimacy, and child-rearing outweigh the costs, but we should acknowledge that asking someone to forgo all future couplings for the next fifty, sixty, or seventy years is a pretty steep cost.

    • #6
    • April 30, 2014, at 1:28 PM PDT
    • Like
  7. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: I’ve had some bad luck in life, but extraordinarily good luck in marriage. Marrying Mr Rattler has been the best thing that every happened to me. But getting every need met? Pppphht.

    Seconded. One’s spouse should fill many of one’s needs or desires, but the expectation that he or she should fill all of them is romantic twaddle.

    • #7
    • April 30, 2014, at 1:32 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. Done Contributor
    Done Post author

    Tom Meyer:

    Frank already hit all the major points of lunacy in the TNR piece — well done, sir — but I think there’s a fair point in there that deserves attention: that our expectations about monogamy coupled with our life-expectancy make marriage a harder sell.

    To be clear, I’d argue the benefits in terms of stability, intimacy, and child-rearing outweigh the costs, but we should acknowledge that asking someone to forgo all future couplings for the next fifty, sixty, or seventy years is a pretty steep cost.

     Maybe I’m alone in this, but I find the idea of serial dating in my sixties to be hellish. Count me out.

    • #8
    • April 30, 2014, at 1:39 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. Arahant Member

    Frank Soto: Increasingly, I see my role on Ricochet as consuming as much of the liberal media as I can so that the rest of you don’t have to.

     Thank you. I’ve seen too much manure in my life to want to shovel through liberal media.

    • #9
    • April 30, 2014, at 1:50 PM PDT
    • Like
  10. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Frank Soto:

    Tom Meyer:

    Frank already hit all the major points of lunacy in the TNR piece — well done, sir — but I think there’s a fair point in there that deserves attention: that our expectations about monogamy coupled with our life-expectancy make marriage a harder sell.

    To be clear, I’d argue the benefits in terms of stability, intimacy, and child-rearing outweigh the costs, but we should acknowledge that asking someone to forgo all future couplings for the next fifty, sixty, or seventy years is a pretty steep cost.

    Maybe I’m alone in this, but I find the idea of serial dating in my sixties to be hellish. Count me out.

    But once you get real old, swinging at nursing homes can get pretty hot. At least, that would explain the latest trend of mass outbreaks of STDs at nursing homes. The women greatly outnumber the men at that age, making each man a stud.

    • #10
    • April 30, 2014, at 1:53 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Frank Soto: Maybe I’m alone in this, but I find the idea of serial dating in my sixties to be hellish. Count me out.

    Likely, it’s the kind of thing that sounds better in theory than it works in practice.

    Relatedly, I’ve always been more-than-mildly amused by stories of couples where the husband pushes for an open marriage only to discover that his wife has far more success at it than he.

    • #11
    • April 30, 2014, at 1:54 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. danys Thatcher

    I only have to remember 1 man’s clothing sizes & preferences. ;-)

    • #12
    • April 30, 2014, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • Like
  13. Jason Rudert Member

    Solid piece, Frank.

    • #13
    • April 30, 2014, at 4:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  14. James Of England Moderator

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    That means casting away the fairytale and facing up to the fact that a life partner—should we choose to have one—fulfills only one corner of our emotional, romantic and sexual needs. The belief that we can find one person to meet all of them is…

    …pretty stupid, actually. She’s right about this.

    The stupidity lies in expecting every last dad-blasted need you have to be met in the first place.

    For example, when spouse A has a lumbar injury or spouse B has colitis, a few needs go unmet. That’s life.

     Perfect. If you ever meet a polyamorous person, do be sure to check if they have any unmet needs. If the answer is “no”, and remains no even as you explore the different areas of their lives where such needs may exist, they’re probably not taking your question very seriously (or perhaps they’re just creeped out and you should drop the questioning until you get to know them better).
    One person rarely guarantees happiness (although they can help a lot), but the suicide rates amongst those who practice complicated promiscuity suggests that their contentment is no more certain.

    • #14
    • April 30, 2014, at 4:59 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. Vance Richards Member

    Frank Soto: Increasingly, I see my role on Ricochet as consuming as much of the liberal media as I can so that the rest of you don’t have to.

     And thank you for doing that.

    Seriously, I could never read all the way through a Thomas Friedman column and would never think to look at the New Republic. But you have been picking out the worst that the liberal media has to offer and mixing it with just enough sarcasm so that the rest of us can enjoy it. Keep up the good work.

    • #15
    • April 30, 2014, at 5:11 PM PDT
    • Like
  16. Jimmy Carter Member

    What is it good for?

    Man has hung onto this archaic construct for 1 reason: having to remember only one Birthday and only one Anniversary (and those are difficult enough).

    • #16
    • April 30, 2014, at 5:54 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Done Contributor
    Done Post author

    Vance Richards:

    And thank you for doing that.

    Seriously, I could never read all the way through a Thomas Friedman column and would never think to look at the New Republic. But you have been picking out the worst that the liberal media has to offer and mixing it with just enough sarcasm so that the rest of us can enjoy it. Keep up the good work.

    Because the press doesn’t hold liberals to account the same way they do conservatives, they are much more free in their calls for what ever insanity strikes them today.

    I guess I’ve got Ann Coulter syndrome. I have more fun watching and reading liberals than conservatives.

    • #17
    • April 30, 2014, at 6:14 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. Jason Rudert Member

    Frank, do you ever read The Jacobin? Or n+1? These should keep you busy for a while.

    • #18
    • April 30, 2014, at 6:24 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Jason Rudert:

    Frank, do you ever read The Jacobin? Or n+1? These should keep you busy for a while.

    I have, sometimes. And for some reason, they don’t strike me as nearly as delusional as the so-called moderate left-wing press. Maybe it’s because they proudly embrace their crazy, instead of trying to pretend it doesn’t exist.

    I have a certain respect for people who can stand up and say, “Yes, I’m crazy. And I revel in it.”

    • #19
    • April 30, 2014, at 6:48 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. Foxman Inactive

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Frank Soto:

    Tom Meyer:The women greatly outnumber the men at that age, making each man a stud.
    With the help of little blue pills

    • #20
    • April 30, 2014, at 7:40 PM PDT
    • Like
  21. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Foxman:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:The women greatly outnumber the men at that age, making each man a stud.

    With the help of little blue pills

    Of course with the help of little blue pills. How could it be otherwise?

    • #21
    • April 30, 2014, at 7:42 PM PDT
    • Like
  22. Arahant Member

    It could be my family. Who needs pills, blue or any other color?

    • #22
    • April 30, 2014, at 7:49 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. EThompson Inactive

    Personally, a world where relationships mirror a game of musical chairs sounds like a hell that could only have been devised by the proprietor of a dating website who was looking for a never ending parade of clients.

    I fail to understand why the only two choices in life are early marriage/early parenthood or serial hook-ups? What the heck happened to the concept of dating and having the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people?

    • #23
    • April 30, 2014, at 7:58 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    EThompson:

    I agree, but fail to understand why the only two choices in life are early marriage/early parenthood or serial hook-ups? What the heck happened to serial dating and having the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people?

    The most common choice among “good girls” these days seems to be serial monogamy (having sex with one guy at a time, for a fairly long time, without getting married (or getting married and then getting divorced)). From a practical perspective, this of course forecloses opportunities on both ends.

    The stubbornly chaste girls at least know that only guys who are reasonably serious about them (rather than sex) will bother to date them for any length of time – and hey, if chaste girls get dumped a lot, that’s just an opportunity to meet more guys!

    The rampantly, happily promiscuous girls also get to meet a lot of guys.

    It’s only gals who put out early, but who also don’t want to think of themselves as promiscuous, who meet only a few guys in a romantic context before their eggs start screaming at them to marry! marry! no matter which guy they’re stuck with at the time.

    • #24
    • April 30, 2014, at 8:08 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. EThompson Inactive

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    EThompson:

    I agree, but fail to understand why the only two choices in life are early marriage/early parenthood or serial hook-ups? What the heck happened to serial dating and having the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people?

    The stubbornly chaste girls at least know that only guys who are reasonably serious about them (rather than sex) will bother to date them for any length of time – and hey, if chaste girls get dumped a lot, that’s just an opportunity to meet more guys!

    My point exactly. :)

    • #25
    • April 30, 2014, at 8:25 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    Whiskey Sam:

    Antisocial people don’t get social diseases. Vivez les misanthropes!

    Seconded. The modern dating game, such as it is, must be one of Dante’s circles of hell.

    • #26
    • April 30, 2014, at 9:12 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. Liz Member
    Liz

    Vance Richards:

    Frank Soto: Increasingly, I see my role on Ricochet as consuming as much of the liberal media as I can so that the rest of you don’t have to.

    And thank you for doing that.

    Seriously, I could never read all the way through a Thomas Friedman column and would never think to look at the New Republic. But you have been picking out the worst that the liberal media has to offer and mixing it with just enough sarcasm so that the rest of us can enjoy it. Keep up the good work.

     The New Republic used to be better, especially when Galston was still writing there. He’s on the left for sure, but he’s thoughtful, fair-minded, and a good writer. I think he’s gone to Brookings. Here’s a quote of his from a recent WSJ article:

    “And we can do more to encourage a culture of work and marriage while acknowledging that for the foreseeable future, a large percentage of children will grow up in single-parent households whose mothers and fathers will need help to become more effective parents.”

    I doubt he has much in common with Miss Croydon.

    • #27
    • May 1, 2014, at 5:57 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. Ed G. Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Foxman:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:The women greatly outnumber the men at that age, making each man a stud.

    With the help of little blue pills

    Of course with the help of little blue pills. How could it be otherwise?

     Yeah. Sometimes I chuckle at the talk of “low T” on commercials and such; my wife gets angry even. Of course there are real cases of malfunction causing trouble that could be medically corrected, but growing older isn’t a malfunction even if we perceive it that way (assuming that our 20-25 year old bodies constitute the appropriate baseline).

    • #28
    • May 1, 2014, at 6:45 AM PDT
    • Like
  29. Ed G. Member

    EThompson:

    Personally, a world where relationships mirror a game of musical chairs sounds like a hell that could only have been devised by the proprietor of a dating website who was looking for a never ending parade of clients.

    I fail to understand why the only two choices in life are early marriage/early parenthood or serial hook-ups? What the heck happened to the concept of dating and having the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people?

     It turns out that most people aren’t nearly as interesting as you hope or as they think.

    • #29
    • May 1, 2014, at 6:59 AM PDT
    • Like
  30. Kofola Inactive

    Ed G.:

    It turns out that most people aren’t nearly as interesting as you hope or as they think.

     Back when I was still dating, in most cases, finding someone completely boring was a step up. Rank insanity seemed to be the norm with many of the women I ended up on dates with.

    • #30
    • May 1, 2014, at 7:30 AM PDT
    • Like
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4