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Thread: Polygamy vs having multiple girlfriends

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    I assume that the non-believers here are ok with a man having multiple girlfriends at once. But should polygamy be illegal or not? It seems the ancient Greeks and Romans were against monogamy though
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy_in_Christianity
    "...Polygyny is found in the Old Testament and over 40 important figures had more than one wife..."
    I'd keep polygamy illegal because if it were allowed in today's society there would be no reason not to also allow polyandry as well as group marriage. With multiple girl- or boy-friends there are far fewer legal issues to contend with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    I assume that the non-believers here are ok with a man having multiple girlfriends at once.
    Not really. There are about the same number of males and females in the human species. When players juggle several women at the same time (easy to do in our hookup culture with things like Tinder and "Netflix and chill") that means that there aren't enough women for the rest of us. 80% of women want to have sex with 20% of the best looking, most suavest men (aka best bullshit artists). To encourage that further would make the problem even worse.

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    Senior Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    A 19th century free love colony in Oneida NY lasted a fairly long time, and apparently (according to the article) some descendants still live there. This was a religious colony, whose members believed that the Second Coming had already occurred and everyone should be living in Paradise. This meant practicing what the article calls "complex marriage."

    To achieve perfection and live without sin required Oneidans to “nail marriage to the cross,” according to Noyes [the colony founder], who believed the spiritual dimension of lovemaking brought partners closer to God as well as each other. “The new commandment is that we love one another, not by pairs, as in the world, but en masse,” he decreed.

    In theory, complex marriage eliminated jealousy and the “claiming spirit” by marrying all the men of the community to all the women and encouraging members to enjoy frequent lovemaking and multiple partners. Oneida men took responsibility for birth control by practicing “male continence,” coitus reservatus, which supposedly provided Oneida women with greater sexual satisfaction and fewer pregnancies than more typical Victorian matrons.
    The colony began to practice a form of eugenics, with a committee deciding who should impregnate whom. I read somewhere (not in this article) that most of the kids born looked like the colony founder, which led to discontent among many of the men and the ultimate disbanding of the colony.

    IN the end, John Humphrey Noyes took his radical religious vision too far for even his longtime followers. In 1869 the Oneida Community began a eugenics experiment in the selective breeding of human beings that Noyes called stirpiculture and produced 58 children from couples chosen by a committee on the basis of their spiritual qualities. In preparation for the baby boom, a new wing called the Children’s House was added, where youngsters would be raised communally in nurseries and dormitories set apart from the private bedrooms of their parents. But parental feelings undermined complex marriage, unleashing desires for romantic love, courtship and monogamous marriage among the younger generation
    I lived in a group marriage in the early Seventies, which broke up after a few years. We're all still friends though.

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    In an enlightened forum such as this I don't understand why polygany is assumed to mean one man can marry multiple women and exclude the possibility that one woman might want to marry multiple men....
    The disadvantage of polygany is that it is hard to know who the father is of the child.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    In any culture where polygamy is a long standing tradition, it's still quite rare. Only the top wealth level men have more than one wife. The rest of the population have conventional one wife households. Kinship by marriage is probably the oldest form of inter-family alliances. It's not difficult to see that the man who controls more resources will have other family groups who want to form alliances, and limiting yourself to one wife would block a lot of lucrative opportunities. On the other hand, the guy with four sheep has to make do with whatever family will let him have a daughter. He knows better than to ask for a second. It's a pretty stable system. Everybody knows their place and raising one's status by marrying up is one of the few options.

    When modern societies adopt polygamy, it's usually because a shortage of young men and an over supply of women of all ages. Polygamy seems a reasonable solution, even though implicit in this is the idea that women cannot control resources for themselves. They have to be under the roof of a man. Also implicit is the idea that a woman has little say over whose wife she becomes. Seriously, why would an 18 year old(or younger) woman want to go be the third wife of a 60 year old man, and his first and second wife. It's a short term solution which quickly outlives its purpose, when balance returns to the marriage age young men.

    Once again, marriage becomes a way to form economic family alliances with powerful men. What is observed is, wealthy men with marriage age daughters trade them with similar men. The young men of the culture are caught in a bind. If they want to marry, they have curry favor with the guys who have control of the young women. The rebellious teen age boy not only cannot get a wife, he can't even get a date. By the third generation, it's become a modern feudal society, where everyone owes their livelihood to someone who has more wealth and power, except in this case, they're all old men.

    The result is a lot of young men desert the culture. This is inevitable when more liberal but monogamous societies are withing walking distance.

    Marriage, as it exists today is a special form of legally sanctioned corporation, where the principle stockholders are expected to have sex with each other. The law defines the aspects of the corporation and the responsibilities of the two stockholders. If a child of the marriage is not properly clothed and fed, the government looks first at the names on the marriage license. There are many more such things. Now that women have all the legal rights as any man, it's reasonable to ask if monogamous legal marriage has any relevance at all.

    There's nothing to prevent a man from legally marrying one woman and then bringing home as many common law wives as he can manage. In a society where women have all the legal rights as a man, this may be as difficult as it sounds.

    As for the question about multiple girlfriends, how does that work? I've been in relationships which were exclusive to a certain degree, for the past 50 years. One thing I learned at an early age, I could have two girlfriends, only as long as neither of them knew the other existed. I think multiple girlfriends violates some law of physics, or maybe one of those rare man made elements which are created in an atom smasher and exists only for a few milliseconds.
    This is a good post, but I'd also add that polygamy can work in a woman's favor.

    Culturally, keeping multiple wives seems strange to a monogamous society, but to these polygamous societies this is just how it works. And given that polygamy opens the opportunity for more women to marry men with money.

    In a monogamous society there is a one-to-one relationship between husband and wife. A multi-millionaire husband can only spread his resources to one family, which creates a scarcity of wealthy and skilled men. This means that only the most sought-after-women have access to the most sought-after men. The losers here are wealthy men, and the less sought-after-women.

    Whereas in a polygamous society the less sought after women have greater access to wealth and resources, and aren't forced to marry poorer men. The losers are poor men, and sought after women, who have to share their resources.
    Polygamy really doesn't fit into the modern Western "marry for love" marriage model. That is the basic problem when proposing legalization of polygamy in modern societies. Even though a small percentage of women may have a higher standard of living, the concept of wealthy men having multiple wives, just because they can, is dependent upon a woman having little autonomy and trading the control of her father's family for being under control of her husband.

    "Any port in a storm" is born of desperation and you're still in a storm.
    That and it'd be a cultural taboo here, monogamy is normalized. I'd be interested to know how women in polygamous marriages actually feel about them when all things involved are considered.

    I'd assume some crave more autonomy, but it may not be as cut and dry as it seems. Some might prefer the increase in living standards when weighed against sharing husband, and for others they just don't know any different.

    So a direct comparison between the two marriage types might be a little hairier than it seems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    In an enlightened forum such as this I don't understand why polygany is assumed to mean one man can marry multiple women and exclude the possibility that one woman might want to marry multiple men. And what if multiple men want to marry multiple women? It's not really an issue of two people marrying each other, but of one person marrying into a group. The issue to me is about which rights, responsibilities, and privileges marriage provides and how multi-partnership relationships adapt. Marriage involves commitments because of things like children, bank accounts, and mortgages, not to mention custodial care relationships. How many people would be allowed in any one marriage, and would two or more groups be allowed to combine into one marriage? You see it quickly spirals out of control.
    I see no reason the government should limit the number in a marriage, nor any reason to prohibit a group joining a group. On the other hand, most polygamous marriages are somewhat abusive. I would have no problem with something like an age-25 requirement for polygamous marriage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    In an enlightened forum such as this I don't understand why polygany is assumed to mean one man can marry multiple women and exclude the possibility that one woman might want to marry multiple men....
    The disadvantage of polygany is that it is hard to know who the father is of the child.
    DNA testing will tell you if you really need to know. From a legal standpoint everyone in the marriage should be considered a parent of any child of the marriage.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    In an enlightened forum such as this I don't understand why polygany is assumed to mean one man can marry multiple women and exclude the possibility that one woman might want to marry multiple men. And what if multiple men want to marry multiple women? It's not really an issue of two people marrying each other, but of one person marrying into a group. The issue to me is about which rights, responsibilities, and privileges marriage provides and how multi-partnership relationships adapt. Marriage involves commitments because of things like children, bank accounts, and mortgages, not to mention custodial care relationships. How many people would be allowed in any one marriage, and would two or more groups be allowed to combine into one marriage? You see it quickly spirals out of control.
    I see no reason the government should limit the number in a marriage, nor any reason to prohibit a group joining a group. On the other hand, most polygamous marriages are somewhat abusive. I would have no problem with something like an age-25 requirement for polygamous marriage.
    Do you have any evidence that polygamous marriages are more likely to be abusive than monogamous marriages? I wouldn't actually expect that the isolation abusers seek to create around their victims would be as easy to construct in a routinely polygamous society, not that I doubt such things happen nevertheless.

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    In an enlightened forum such as this I don't understand why polygany is assumed to mean one man can marry multiple women and exclude the possibility that one woman might want to marry multiple men. And what if multiple men want to marry multiple women? It's not really an issue of two people marrying each other, but of one person marrying into a group. The issue to me is about which rights, responsibilities, and privileges marriage provides and how multi-partnership relationships adapt. Marriage involves commitments because of things like children, bank accounts, and mortgages, not to mention custodial care relationships. How many people would be allowed in any one marriage, and would two or more groups be allowed to combine into one marriage? You see it quickly spirals out of control.
    I see no reason the government should limit the number in a marriage, nor any reason to prohibit a group joining a group. On the other hand, most polygamous marriages are somewhat abusive. I would have no problem with something like an age-25 requirement for polygamous marriage.
    I can understand your concern for abuse. But how do you not think there's a problem concerning the "rights, responsibilities, and privileges marriage provides and how multi-partnership relationships adapt. Marriage involves commitments because of things like children, bank accounts, and mortgages, not to mention custodial care relationships." Say the woman who gave birth to a child wants to leave the marriage. Does the law say she has no responsibility? How many of the members of a group marriage should be allowed to make decisions for one who needs medical care but is unable to speak for themself? Etc, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    In an enlightened forum such as this I don't understand why polygany is assumed to mean one man can marry multiple women and exclude the possibility that one woman might want to marry multiple men. And what if multiple men want to marry multiple women? It's not really an issue of two people marrying each other, but of one person marrying into a group. The issue to me is about which rights, responsibilities, and privileges marriage provides and how multi-partnership relationships adapt. Marriage involves commitments because of things like children, bank accounts, and mortgages, not to mention custodial care relationships. How many people would be allowed in any one marriage, and would two or more groups be allowed to combine into one marriage? You see it quickly spirals out of control.
    I see no reason the government should limit the number in a marriage, nor any reason to prohibit a group joining a group. On the other hand, most polygamous marriages are somewhat abusive. I would have no problem with something like an age-25 requirement for polygamous marriage.
    Do you have any evidence that polygamous marriages are more likely to be abusive than monogamous marriages? I wouldn't actually expect that the isolation abusers seek to create around their victims would be as easy to construct in a routinely polygamous society, not that I doubt such things happen nevertheless.
    Much of the polygamy is with the polygamist branch of the Mormons. It's mostly abusive.

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