I was reading the Los Angeles Times today (it happened to be in the break room at work and I had nothing to read, otherwise I would have avoided it) and in it was an article about a new documentary that will be airing on cable TV called “Love and Cheating.” This documentary follows 8 couples and explores the world of polygamy. The article was obviously in favor of polygamy, calling monogamy an “archaic” way of living.
I happen to be married but if I were not married I would have the same view I do now. I believe that humans are serial monogamists. I do not believe it is healthy (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically) to be a polygamist. One of the things wrong with this society is that it teaches people that if something is wrong with their lives, all they have to do is get rid of what is wrong, find something new and their life will be alright again. This society does not teach people that if something is wrong in your life you must work hard to correct it. This is a quick-fix, pleasure-indulging, lazy, trend-following society.
A few years ago the trend in sex was bi-sexuality. When I was 13 years old I came to understand that I was bi-sexual. When I was 21 I found out that it was trendy to be bi and that most single men were looking for bi-sexual girlfriends. Single women called themselves “bi-curious” (a title which still disgusts me, but that is a whole other essay) and all over TV and movie screens you had actresses trying out girl-on-girl kisses. This is the same period in time when Ellen came “out of the closet” and sent her career right down the toilet. Apparently it was ok to dabble in lesbianism but to outright dismiss men as sexual partners was unforgivable.
Now that bi-sexuality has become boring and blase there has to be a new trend to keep sex exciting. This trend has come in the form of polygamy. Not only is it now acceptable for single men and women to have sex with and carry on relationships with several different partners at the same time but it has now seeped over into the lives of married couples. People who have been married for 5, 10, or even 15 years are bored with having sex with the same person. Instead of spicing up their sex lives by taking the responsibility of their marriage into their own hands, they simply decide it would be much more exciting to have sex with other people.
Having sex with someone other than your spouse totally negates the need for marriage. Why get married when you are not going to honor the one basic moral law of marriage and be monogamous? Why not just live together? Why go through the hassle of arranging a wedding (and anyone who has ever arranged a wedding knows what I’m talking about) and just save yourself and everyone else the trouble and just be single?
Going back to the LA Times article, the writer claims that Hollywood is to blame for the unrealistic expectation people have when going into a monogamous relationship. He says that in the movies you see people searching for the one person who will satisfy their every need. He claims that in real life there could never be one person who could satisfy you sexually, emotionally, and mentally. Well, I hate to disappoint him but the idea of monogamy didn’t start with Hollywood. People have been practicing monogamy for thousands of years.
Monogamy has been traditionally encouraged by religious institutions. For thousands of years Christianity taught its followers that sex was only reserved for their spouse. If you had sex with someone who was not your spouse you were doomed to an eternity of pain and suffering in hell. This could be because the church sought to control people and one way by doing that was to tell them which morals they should believe in. The Church took it one step further and suggested that even if you thought about having sex with someone other than your spouse, you would go to hell.
Through the years as people moved away from their religions the belief in monogamy stuck with them. A person got married and stayed married until one of the people in the marriage died. “Till death do us part.” You do occasionally read about people who got divorces and were shunned by their community but for the most part monogamy was the norm.
Now here comes the sexual revolution. Suddenly, women are on birth control and this liberates them sexually. They can have sex when and with whom they please and not have to worry about getting married. Marriage was beginning to be phased out by the younger generation. You had millions of couples living together but not getting married. It didn’t matter if they practiced “free love” because they were still technically single. They had the freedom to love and have sex with whomever they wanted. It became in style to “swing” and it seems like everyone tried it. Why not? Marriage wasn’t holding these people back.
A small shift in mentality happened in the 1990’s. More and more people, whose parents were part of the “free love” movement of their youth, were choosing marriage and monogamy over having several sexual partners. They wanted the stability marriage represented for them. These people found someone they thought would be a good partner for them and they settled down into the humdrum life of marriage.
Well, they got bored. And so here we are again at the beginning of my essay. Married people are bored of having one partner and so instead of choosing to rejuvenate their marriage they are opting for the easy way out and are taking on multiple partners.
Let me just offer some advice to those who think polygamy is a great way to spice up your love life. It won’t. The reason people are getting married instead of just living together is for security, safety, and responsibility. People want something that is stable, something that ties them to each other more than just living together will, and they want to know that if it doesn’t work out, a court will hold one of them responsible.
If you’re tired of the same ol’, same ol’ in the bedroom there are literally thousands of ways you can spice it up. There are books, DVDs, CDs, classes, seminars, retreats, etc. Why stray from the one person you once thought was your soul mate? Take responsibility for your decision to marry and exhaust all possible resources before you decide to give up. If having sex with another person is the only thing you think will bring life back to your marriage, think again. One of you will inevitably end up getting hurt and it will ruin what you once had. You might as well get a divorce and remain as friends. That way you can have sex with whomever you want to and not be bound by the bonds of marriage.