In September of 2015, TIME Magazine sought to answer the question, “Is monogamy over?” With increased rates of marital infidelity, the invention of cheating sites like Ashley Madison, and the rise of Internet porn, it’s little wonder the query is being investigated.
Should we all just go pawn our wedding rings?
Anyone with a TV knows the reality: high-profile breakups, like that of Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting, seem to dominate the news cycles. Marital failure offers no quarter for the rich or powerful. After 40 long years, Al and Tipper Gore called it quits…sort of. They’re not officially divorced but that hasn’t stopped the “Inventor of the Internet” from dating another woman.
Yep, monogamy can be really hard work. Which may be why it’s under the microscope – again – to determine if it’s an institution worth preserving. Of course, it depends on who you ask. TIME Magazine asked a number of social leaders their thoughts on the subject. Here are just a few excerpts:
Monogamy is a charade we insist on, thus institutionalizing dishonesty.
~Toni Bentley, author of The Surrender, a book about the pleasures of anal sex from a female’s perspective.
Legalizing polygamy actually empowers women.
~Nathan Collier, some guy who lives in Montana.
David P. Barash, an evolutionary biologist, argues against monogamy on the basis of animalistic instinct still residing in humans ever since we supposedly shed our hairy fur and walked off the plains of Africa on two legs. “It can be argued that a woman would be better off as the 20th wife of a very wealthy man than as the only wife of a pauper. But even though monogamy isn’t natural and therefore isn’t easy, it does offer the benefit of biparental care. And because human children need so much parental assistance, protection and investment, humans, perhaps more than any other animal, especially benefit from monogamy.” In other words, monogamy is tough, but biologically-speaking, we should do it for the kids.
Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church and author of The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating has a different take. “I’ve officiated my share of weddings and done my share of premarital counseling. I always ask couples why they are getting married. Survival of the species never makes the list.” (After 20 years of ministry, I concur.)
To its detractors, monogamy is tough and therefore should be an abandoned practice.
What about child birth? That has its fair share of difficulties. Should we toss that practice aside? How about pitching no-hitters? Or colonizing Mars?
There’s no denying the obvious: monogamy is under serious attack. But it will never be obsolete as long as trust is desired and love is cherished.
Nancy Gibbs. “Is Monogamy Over?” Time Magazine, September 21, 2015: Pages 64-65.
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