Monday, March 9, 2009

Infidelity Monogamy Humanity (and books)

"...the fact that people continue to have affairs and divorces may demonstrate that simple monogamy is not adequate to deal with the complex psychology of human beings."

That quote is from the Toscano's Strangers in Paradox; from the conclusion of the chapter on polygamy and sex roles. It is, I thought, an intriguing idea.

So just for kicks, I am reading Against Love, Laura Kipnis' polemic against the institutionalized concept of monogamic bliss. And after that, I am going to read Not Just friends, by Shirley P. Glass; a guide to avoiding and recovering from dalliances outside of the institution of marriage.

Then I think I will rent a few seasons of Big Love and look into the local suburban swing scene. Purely for educational purposes, mind you.
(Ahem. I AM joking about the swinging. You know that, right?)

Meanwhile I will give DH lots of tender loving foot rubs, because he keeps looking at the books on my nightstand and rolling his eyes.


amelia said...

on one of my recent jaunts through barnes & noble, i ran across another book you might want to take a look at. _I don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage_ by Susan Squire. it's on my list to read one of these days.

G said...

oooooh! thanks amelia. just put it on my list of books to eventually read as well. (Dang, that shelf just keeps piling up, doesn't it?)

adam said...

You've inspired me to read a little wider here. :)

As a big believer in attachment theory, anything BUT monogamy will not be secure, imo, so naturally I am intrigued by people who claim otherwise. I don't think our makeup allows us to be secure with multiple partners... makes me think of a study someone did with voles (the cute little animals), who apparently tend to pair up, but when the researchers blocked their oxytocin (the cuddle hormone), they all turned in to little James Bonds, engaging with multiple partners.

Where does the info in "Against Love" come from?

G said...

While Laura has a large collection of stats and studies that she uses as ace cards the style of the book is anecdotal and humor, not so much research.

It's a polemic, or in other words an intentionally one-sided rant and she admits that from the start.

(Amelia's book suggestion sounds a little more academic based.)

xJane said...

I have to say that I agree that maybe humans aren't made out to be monogamous. Somewhere I read about the "soft plug" that proves it from an evolutionary standpoint; but where does that leave couples who love each other? I think our culture should be more accepting of alternative forms of marriage.

djinn said...

I studied anthropology for awhile. A long while. Us humans are a varied bunch capable of many sorts of arrangements. However, individual humans, not so much. Me, I'm hopelessly monogamous. Others, not so much; so, no theories, just what works for you. More info? On this subject just ask; I've read so many monographs (both primate and human) just ask.