The Difference Between Casual and Committed

The Code of Hammurabi states that he loses his right to do so if the wife herself gives him a slave as concubine. The position of the second wife was that of a "slave girl" in respect to the first wife, as many marriage contracts explicitly state.


Although an Egyptian man was free to marry several women at a time, and some wealthy men from Old and Middle Kingdoms did have more than one wife, monogamy was the norm. This may suggest that some men abandoned first wives of a low social status and married women of higher status in order to further their careers although even then they lived with only one wife. Egyptian women had right to ask for a divorce if her husband took a second wife. Many tomb reliefs testify to monogamous character of Egyptian marriages, officials are usually accompanied by a supportive wife.

The instruction texts belonging to wisdom literature, e. Instruction of Ptahhotep or Instruction of Any , support fidelity to monogamous marriage life, calling the wife a Lady of the house. The Instruction of Ankhsheshonq suggests that it is wrong to abandon a wife because of her barrenness. As against Betzig's contention that monogamy evolved as a result of Christian socio-economic influence in the West, monogamy appeared widespread in the ancient Middle East much earlier. In Israel's pre-Christian era, an essentially monogamous ethos underlay the Jewish creation story Gn 2 and the last chapter of Proverbs.

Examples of these documents were found in Elephantine. They resemble those found in neighbouring Assyria and Babylonia. Christianity adopted a similar attitude cf. The wisdom books e. Book of Wisdom , which provides a picture of the society, Sirach , Proverbs , Qohelet portray a woman in a strictly monogamous family cf.

Non-monogamy - Wikipedia

The Book of Tobias speaks solely of monogamous marriages. Also prophets have in front of their eyes monogamous marriage as an image of the relationship of God and Israel.

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Roland de Vaux states that "it is clear that the most common form of marriage in Israel was monogamy". The Mishnah and the baraitot clearly reflect a monogamist viewpoint within Judaism Yevamot 2: Some sages condemned marriage to two wives even for the purpose of procreation Ketubot 62b. Ammi, an amora states:. Whoever takes a second wife in addition to his first one shall divorce the first and pay her kettubah Yevamot 65a. Roman customs, which prohibited polygamy, may have enhanced such an attitude [ original research? The ancient Greeks and Romans were monogamous in the sense that men were not allowed to have more than one wife or to cohabit with concubines during marriage.

According to Jesus Christ monogamy was a primordial will of the Creator described in Genesis, darkened by the hardness of hearts of the Israelites. Jesus avoids entangling himself in juridical or casuistic controversies; instead, he appeals twice to the "beginning". By doing so, he clearly refers to the relevant words of Genesis, which his interlocutors also know by heart.

Western European societies established monogamy as their marital norm. The women's rights movements in these nations want to make monogamy the only legal form of marriage. The United Nations joined these efforts in when the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women , an international bill of rights for women that over nations have agreed to implement.

Article 16 of the Convention requires nations to give women and men equal rights in marriage.


Polygamy is interpreted as inconsistent with Article 16 when it extends the right of multiple spouses to men but not to women. The United Nations is thus working through the Convention and CEDAW to promote women's equality by making monogamy the only legal form of marriage worldwide. The founders of Communism determined that monogamous marriage inherently oppressed women and therefore had no place in communist society. Friedrich Engels stated that compulsory monogamy could only lead to increased prostitution and general immorality, with the benefits of restricting capital and solidifying the class structure.

The first class antagonism which appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamian marriage, and the first class oppression with that of the female sex by the male. The monogamous family is distinguished from the pairing family by the far greater durability of wedlock, which can no longer be dissolved at the pleasure of either party.

As a rule, it is only the man who can still dissolve it and cast off his wife.

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However, the communist revolutionaries in China chose to take the Western viewpoint, of monogamy as giving women and men equal rights in marriage. The newly formed Communist government established monogamy as the only legal form of marriage. The new democratic marriage system was based on the free choice of couples, monogamy, equal rights for both sexes, and the protection of the lawful interests of women.

It abolished the begetting of male offspring as the principal purpose of marriage and weakened kinship ties which reduced the pressure on women to bear many children, especially sons. With arranged marriages prohibited, young women could choose their own marriage partners, share the financial cost of setting up a new household, and have equal status in household and family decision-making.

While the protocol does not suggest making polygamous marriage illegal, article 6 of the protocol states that "monogamy is encouraged as the preferred form of marriage and that the rights of women in marriage and family, including in polygamous marital relationships are promoted and protected. Recent discoveries have led biologists to talk about the three varieties of monogamy: The distinction between these three are important to the modern understanding of monogamy. Monogamous pairs of animals are not always sexually exclusive. Many animals that form pairs to mate and raise offspring regularly engage in sexual activities with partners other than their primary mate.

This is called extra-pair copulation. Genetic tests frequently show that some of the offspring raised by a monogamous pair come from the female mating with an extra-pair male partner. Reichard, , [85] p.

Whatever makes a pair of animals socially monogamous does not necessarily make them sexually or genetically monogamous. Social monogamy, sexual monogamy, and genetic monogamy can occur in different combinations. Social monogamy does not always involve marriage in humans. A married couple is almost always a socially monogamous couple. But couples who choose to cohabit without getting married can also be socially monogamous. Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature , described the human mating system as "monogamy plagued by adultery".

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Serial monogamy is a mating practice in which individuals may engage in sequential monogamous pairings, [86] or in terms of humans, when men or women can marry another partner but only after ceasing to be married to the previous partner. One theory is that this pattern pacifies the elite men and equalizes reproductive success. This is called the Male Compromise Theory. Serial monogamy may also refer to sequential sexual relationships, irrespective of marital status. A pair of humans may remain sexually exclusive, or monogamous, until the relationship has ended and then each may go on to form a new exclusive pairing with a different partner.

This pattern of serial monogamy is common among people in Western cultures. Evolutionary theory predicts that males would be apt to seek more mating partners than females because they obtain higher reproductive benefits from such a strategy. A study done in found a significant difference between ages of remarried men and women because the men have a longer reproductive window. Serial monogamy has always been closely linked to divorce practices.

Whenever procedures for obtaining divorce have been simple and easy, serial monogamy has been found. Why less is more , further suggests that Western culture's inundation of choice has devalued relationships based on lifetime commitments and singularity of choice. It has been suggested, however, that high mortality rates in centuries past accomplished much the same result as divorce, enabling remarriage of one spouse and thus serial monogamy.

Monogamy is one of several mating systems observed in animals. However, a pair of animals may be socially monogamous but that does not necessarily make them sexually or genetically monogamous. Social monogamy refers to the overtly observed living arrangement whereby a male and female share territory and engage in behaviour indicative of a social pair, but does not imply any particular sexual fidelity or reproductive pattern. Sexual monogamy is defined as an exclusive sexual relationship between a female and a male based on observations of sexual interactions.

This type of analysis can uncover reproductively successful sexual pairings or physical contact. Genetic monogamy refers to DNA analyses confirming that a female-male pair reproduce exclusively with each other. The incidence of sexual monogamy appears quite rare in other parts of the animal kingdom. It is becoming clear that even animals that are overtly socially monogamous engage in extra-pair copulations.

An example of this was seen when scientists studied red winged blackbirds. These birds are known for remaining in monogamous relationships during the course of mating season. During the course of the study, the researchers gave a few select males vasectomies just before mating season. The male birds behaved like they do every season, establishing territory, finding a mate, and attempting to make baby birds. Despite apparent social monogamy, the female birds whose partners were surgically altered still became pregnant, indicating that overt social monogamy did not predict for sexual fidelity.

The highest known frequency of reproductively successful extra-pair copulations are found among fairywrens Malurus splendens and Malurus cyaneus where more than 65 percent of chicks are fathered by males outside the supposed breeding pair. Elacatinus , also widely known as neon gobies, also exhibit social monogamy. Hetereosexual pairs of fish belonging to the genus Elacatinus remain closely associated during both reproductive and non-reproductive periods, and often reside in same cleaning station to serve client fish. Socially monogamous species are scattered throughout the animal kingdom: A few insects, a few fish, about nine-tenths of birds, and a few mammals are socially monogamous.

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There is even a parasitic worm, Schistosoma mansoni , that in its female-male pairings in the human body is monogamous. The low occurrence of social monogamy in placental mammals has been claimed to be related to the presence or absence of estrus—or oestrus—the duration of sexual receptivity of a female. This, however, doesn't explain why estrus females generally mate with any proximate male nor any correlation between sexual and social monogamy. Birds, which are notable for a high incidence of social monogamy, do not have estrus.

Researchers have observed a mixed mating system of monogamy and polygyny in the European pied flycatcher. Psychological studies of social monogamy have relied heavily on observations of married couples. These studies focus on relationship satisfaction, duration and attachment. The North American microtine rodent's vole complex social structure and social behavior has provided unique opportunities to study the underlying neural bases for monogamy and social attachment.

Data from studies using the Microtis ochrogaster or prairie vole indicate that the neuroendocrine hormones, oxytocin in female prairie voles and vasopressin in male prairie voles play a central role in the development of affiliative connections during mating. The effects of intracerebroventricular administration of oxytocin and vasopressin have been shown to promote affiliative behavior in the prairie vole but not in similar, but non-monogamous montane voles. This difference in neuropeptide effect is attributed to the location, density, and distribution of OT and AVP receptors.