Is Polygamy Progressive?

November 16, 2008

As a preface, let me point out that this post has nothing to do with Mormonism, which I’ve posted about lately. Mainstream Mormons long ago denounced polygamy. Although Fundamentalist Mormons still practice it, they are entirely separate from regular Mormon church.

What this post is about is whether polygamy is consistent with progressive ideals.

This came up yesterday when I was talking with a couple other progressive guys (both straight) about gay marriage. They mentioned the right to gay marriage in the same breath as polygamy — under the assumption that I agreed that these were basically the same thing.

But polygamous relationships and gay relationships aren’t the same.

Perhaps the main problem that I have with polygamy is that it seems to only be a practice in paternalistic cultures — where only men are allowed to have several wives. I’ve yet to ever see an example of a polygamous society where the women are the only ones allowed to have polygamous relationships. In fact, I’m not sure I can think of any example of a polygamous society where women have same right to have other partners as men.

So, it’s not so much that I oppose polygamy, per se, but historically (and presently) it has presented itself in ways that generally have hurt women. Perhaps there are isolated examples to the contrary. But
this is the general rule.

And on a practical level, polygamy just doesn’t seem to work. Because it’s hard enough for two people to work out a complex relationship, let alone three or four or five people. Unless, of course, one of those
people is the boss. Which is basically what happens, so I’ve noticed, in polygamous cultures that are paternalistic; the man is in charge. When that happens — when one person is in charge of the others in the relationship — then at least the relationship probably can stay together. But I still think it only works for the man.

What do ya’ll think?

Also — what about polyamorous relationships? Which are generally thought to be non-exclusive, non-marital, and (usually) bisexual/ bi-flexible.

In my opinion, that’s the difference between polyamorous relationships and polygomous relationships: polygomous relationships tend not to be bisexual/bi-flexible, they tend to be oriented at marriage, and the tend to be exclusive — no sex outside of the polygamous marriage.

The idea that polygamous relationships aren’t bisexual/bi-flexible begs the question, are polygamous relationships inherently controlled by one person? I think so. If there’s no bisexuality involved, it’s either going to be one man having a marriage/relationship with several women or one woman having a marriage/relationship with several men — but either way, there’s that one person in the middle.

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6 Responses to “ Is Polygamy Progressive? ”

  1. bucky_katz on November 16, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    I am against polygamy, for many of the same reasons you are, Mr.Oink. But I do agree that it would be incredibly interesting to see a polygamous relationship where it is one woman with many men? Do these exist?

    I don’t see how polygamy works because, as stated above, it is hard enough for two people to get along, but when you involved 4 or maybe 5 *women*, it gets heated and nobody can agree on anything. It breaks my heart when children are brought into a polygamous marriage because I would think it to be confusing and always vying for your father’s love, amongst all the different people in the household. It can’t be good.

  2. MrOink on November 16, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Yea, like I said, I’ve never heard of a polygamous relationship with one woman and many men. Which, of course, raises a red flag to me about the whole polygamy business.

  3. Tesla Falcon on December 7, 2008 at 2:07 am

    To alleviate some of your ignorance, I will speak to your main 3 questions.
    1) Polyandrous relationships DO exist. Here’s a YouTub video on the society. They have very little supplies on the mountain so sharing a wife keeps the population down.

    2A) The reason most people think that polygamy “hurts women” is because of the very accurate observation of the need for a “head” in all relationships. The head is the “focal point” of the relationship. When that person speaks, the other listens. If that person has a need, the other person seeks to fulfill it. In many monogamous relationships, the woman sets herself up as the head. If the man stands up for himself and tries to be the head, he’s called “abusive”. (“How DARE he grow a set!”) Once another woman enters the picture, we now have 2 heads. It won’t work. Even Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters.” In order for a polygamous relationship to last, BOTH women MUST submit to the husband as the sole head. Note how often online that women love to consider how nice it would be to have multiple husbands so she’d be the sole head.

    2B) The primary reason for polygany being so much more prevalent over polyandry is the simple difference in both the libido and physical sexual ability of 90+% of men vs 90+% of women. Considering the agrarian culture that has been enjoyed the world over until the 20th century, marrying girls off young, even as 2nd+ wives made sense to increase the size hence economic capacity of the family. Historically speaking women always outnumber men. Birth rates are never 50/50. The more relaxed the society is, the more they tend to birth girls rather than boys. The more agressive and mobile societies tended to have higher boy brith rates but also much higher male mortality. As the boys and girls grow up, girls have historically been more protected than boys thus boys tended to die more than girls and even more so as the ages went up. Further, marrying ages for the two historically were VERY different. Girls historically married between 13 and 16 of age. Boys tended to wait until they were 20, 30, or even later so as to establish their careers, live their adventures, etc. Thus it was not historically uncommon for a 45 yr old man to settle down for his quieter years with a young girl of 15. As you can imagine, widow rates were quite high, so polygamy was also a way to help even things out and assist the widows in the neighborhood who may still be in their 20s or 30s and very horny with young children to rear.

    3) My wife and I have been considering the idea of me having a 2nd wife. It was painful for her to think of, at first, but it’s gradually become more of a fantasy game than a real wish or pursuit. The core idea that makes it more satisfying for her is the idea of bisexual experimentation. While the Mormons and Muslims are hyper strict on the anti-female-female contact thing, even to the point of circumcising women to prevent them from enjoying sex and being tempted to enjoy each other, my take on it is very different. Instead of separate houses, we’d all be in one bed, and I wouldn’t mind if they started without me. ;) Part of the jealousy issue that polygamous wives have to contend with is sex: “what are my husband and his other wife doing by themselves without me?” For those polygamous couples I’ve talked with online, they said that once the door of the bedroom was opened, it was no longer the nagging mystery that drove them crazy. The experienced wife got to chuckle from the new wife’s sloppy technique and stiff movements, while the new wife got to chuckle at the old wife’s sloppy and loose “equipment”.

    4) The whole homosexual marriage and polygamy controversy is at clear odds with reality. In most people’s minds, marriage is all about sex. That’s the difference between my girlfriend and my wife. Before we married we didn’t have sex and were GREAT friends. I wanted to have sex with her so we got married. We’re still great friends (13 yrs later) and we’ve had a LOT of sex (and kids). But modern legal marriage isn’t about sex. With or without the paper, young men and women all across America have sex in all kinds of combinations, with all kinds of people, at all kinds of ages and of both genders. Underage girls play with underage girls, underage boys, and even both at the same time. What’s the difference between that and marriage? MONEY! The law set the minimum age for marriage, but that doesn’t stop the underage boys and girls from having sex. The law set the genders for marriage, but that doesn’t stop GBLTs from having sex. The law set the maximum number for a marriage but that doesn’t stop swingers and orgies. Here’s the silliness: a guy can knock up as many one-night-stands as he wants and have NO responsiibility for it legally, but if he decides he wants to stick around with two of those women and be a daddy to his kids, he’s not going to get the chance cause Big Brother’ll drag him to jail. A woman over the age of 21 can choose to be a stripper, star in an adult film and sleep with every man who walks by and that’s ok; she’s a “free woman”. She could even get into a regular sexual relationship with a married man, and that’s ok cause it’s her choice. But if that same woman talks to the wife and moves in with the couple to continue the sexual relationship on the “up and up” instead of the sly, she’s now “oppressed and abused”. If, as a mistress, she gets pregnant, she could file for government assistance as a single mother and that’s right and proper since “such women need help”, but If she moves in with the couple and get’s pregnant, the law now calls her “abusing the welfare system” since she’s “married”, but the government won’t allow her to marry the married man legally so they haven’t, technically, gotten married. So is she a single mother that needs help or are we actually recognising the polygamous relationship logically & denying help because it isn’t needed. Marriage today is NOT what it once was. Real marriage is still out there, but most look at marriage politically, economically, and socially. Very Few look at it in what it’s supposed to be: a commitment for life to live with and love the other person.

  4. Locket Necklace : on November 1, 2010 at 1:43 am

    i’m not totally against gay marriage, coz gay persons need to be happy to ::

  5. Fire Grate on December 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    i think that gay marriage should be allowed in certain states but not in other states ~..

  6. Steven Smith on July 5, 2011 at 6:15 am

    I’m against Polygamy. but for gay marriage fire grate is correct it should be allowed in some states :)

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