Does Monogamy Really Work?
For most couples, monogamy is a normal expectation when they get married or commit to a long term partnership. Yet, as Peggy Vaughn, author of The Monogamy Myth told me, “Your wedding vows are not a one-time inoculation against infidelity.”
It is normal to feel comforted by the thought that our partner is never going to have sex with anyone else but us. Marriage can give us the illusion that our partner is bound by a legal agreement to never cheat. This comes from a long history of marriage as primarily a real estate contract, used purely as a way to perpetuate a name or lineage. For many centuries, marriage was completely and totally about property value; marriage guaranteed that real estate would pass on to one’s own offspring, thereby keeping it in the family. The only way to guarantee that your own child would inherit your property was to keep your female mate safe (and trapped) at home. Those were dangerous times. But today, with birth control and DNA testing there is no longer a need to use the same harsh outside control. Today we are expected to marry not for our names or for property, but for love and for desire.