Monday, December 6, 2010

The Problem with Polygamy

I was flipping through the channels one night last week, and happened upon the latest in reality television programming -- Sister Wives.

This show is all about the life inherent drama associated with three (or is it four) women, all living with one man. According to the man, it was not his idea to enter into this lifestyle but his wives's.

On the surface, this might seem like a great gig for the man. But, upon further investigation, I've found some issues with this lifestyle.

First off, I noticed that this family was not swimming in money. They live a rather impoverished life, make their own clothes. I don't think any of the women worked but said they were happy taking care of their multiple children. I can tell you right now, that would never fly in my household!

And then there is the thought of the man's, and women's, marital relations. From the man's point of view I can tell you this. Fantasizing about multiple partners, even if not at the same time, is one thing. But, actually performing these duties over and over with multiple wives makes me believe that quality might give way to quantity. I don't know, maybe it's just me. But I would rather give quality over quantity.

It also seems to me that this situation is skewed toward men. I can understand, from a evolutionary standpoint, why men desire this type of lifestyle. Back when we struggled to populate the world and mortality rates were high, it was advantageous to cultivate far and wide. Plus, this goes a long way in explaining how men became hunter/gatherers. I can imagine maintaining a relationship with a whole harem of women when relatives visited. You know, relatives like Aunt Flo.

It's no wonder men in this situation would leave for weeks at a time in search of "food." yeah, right. I imagine those hunting parties just leaving the family domicile and hanging out on the other side of the mountain with all the other men in commiseration.


And lastly, the one thing I don't understand is that no one ever really talks about a polygamist relationship with one woman and many men. This is proof-positive that women are somehow further along on the evolutionary path then men. Women have developed the intelligence to weigh the good and the bad with this type of relationship and have decided to forgo this for the standard monogamous model. Men, on the other hand, still fantasize about gathering their own little harem to meet their immediate and ongoing sexual (and other) needs. Unfortunately men have not reached that point in their evolutionary process that enables them to think ahead to that time when they must support their harem both emotionally and financially.