to wonder why bigamy/polygamy is illegal?

(72 Posts)
YouBloodyWolf Sun 11-Nov-12 09:09:31

WTF has it got to do with the State? Granted, it'd make inheritance and taxation a bit messier but that's hardly a reason. Granted it's probably a throwback to more churchy times, but it never even seems to be up for debate.

I'm not polygamous, don't even know if I'd want to be, but it seems a bit unreasonable to me.

ArthurShappey Sun 11-Nov-12 09:19:22

I guess because it's normally entered into without the knowledge of the partner/s.

For example, if your DH had another wife and family elsewhere and you had absolutely no idea would you still ask the question why is it illegal?

I think in this day and age it provides women with a certain degree of protection. Certainly when children come into the equation, I would say men would be far more likely to have more than one 'spouse', and in event of a divorce the woman would be in a very weak position if there were more wives at home wrt division of assets etc.

YouBloodyWolf Sun 11-Nov-12 09:27:41

Arthur - but isn't that because it's illegal and it's not really part of our culture.

MissWinkly - do you think it would be men taking multiple wives, not vice versa? I wonder why that is?

OpheliaPayneAgain Sun 11-Nov-12 09:30:09

In polygamous societies, which are usually, but not always patriarchal, the man has to show he can afford wives. My collegue is from Ghana, his uncle has 100 plus wives - he can afford them because he has lots of goats (apparently) - I'm sure there's more to it than that, but 100 wives is 99 more bouts of PMT to deal with and 100 MILS as far as I can ascertain grin. Other than his core wives, he only see's the others once a year to impregnate them. They come from miles around apparently, he has super sperm and it only takes one night! (I feel a lot of that may be very tongue in cheek by my collegue.)

Monogamy is not a natural state. The veneer of civilisation is a thin one, if we were in a doomsday adventure, you'd find women gravitated to he-who-can-bring-home-the-dinner-and-stave-off-predators rather than your Mr Metrosexual, who would be a bit of a wuss in the event of a Mad Max style new civilisation.

Then when Mr Caveman has had his peak and overturned by a new challenger, all the women would move over to the young blood for their protection.

I can see the validity of having more than wife, many hands with child rearing, jealousy isn't usually isn't a factor, when you get older you do all the grandmothery things without any of the bedroom necessities as someone younger has come along.

ihavenofuckingclue Sun 11-Nov-12 09:34:11

Its illegal because marriage (which is meant to be a union between 2 people to the exclusion of others) is a legal ceremony and legal contract.

Why does it bother you? If you want more than one partner do it.

thebody Sun 11-Nov-12 09:34:27

Currently dh is snoring and intermittently farting.

One man is enough for me.

tiggytape Sun 11-Nov-12 09:34:50

I don't think that bigamist are forced to act in secret purely because it is illegal.
Isn't it more likely that most women who are a 'victim' of it wouldn't actually agree to it even if it were legal and their husband told them up front about plans to get another woman pregnant, marry her and pay for her house and her children too.
You don't hear of many bigamist cases where both women are totally fine with it and just hiding it for legal reasons. In most cases, one party at least is very upset and has been deceived and lied to.

The law protects people who would never knowingly enter into this kind of marriage.

But surely if it were legal and someone entered into another marriage without the knowledge of the other partners, that would be fraud, so illegal anyway?
If everyone is consenting, I dont see a problem with it.

Generally yes, I do. I don't see two husbands getting along without a power struggle. Only one cock in the farmyard and all that. And though my viewpoint is skewed (worked in dv for quite some time), all 3+ setups I encountered were one man, more than one woman, and the women were subjugated and played off against one another.

Of course there will always be exceptions, I'm in no way saying that there aren't healthy polygamous set-ups but they are very much the exception.

OpheliaPayneAgain Sun 11-Nov-12 09:38:15

Polygamy isn't illegal - bigamy is though. A person can have as many partners on the go as he/she likes provided they don't marry all of them at once.

YouBloodyWolf Sun 11-Nov-12 09:40:29

Interesting about the Ghana way of doing it, Ophelia. So the wives from miles away still have property rights? Been a long time since my anthropology degree smile I think one problem we have in the west is that we spend a freakish amount of time with our spouses - we expect them each other to perform so many roles that maybe it's no wonder things get fraught.

I wonder how many of the common problems in the 'Relationships' folder would occur in a polygamous society?

cheekydevil Sun 11-Nov-12 09:40:44

I was going to say "why would any woman in their right mind want two husbands?" But I am now thinking deeper. What about if you have one who is super practical but is devoid of emotion and affection giving qualities and treats you like his personal maid and then one who is everything the first one isn't? hmm

cheekydevil Sun 11-Nov-12 09:43:20

I used to live by a bigamist his wife no 2 was not a happy woman when it came out.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-Nov-12 09:46:11

YABU. We've determined, as a society, that we acknowledge just the one marriage (or civil partnership) to one person at a time and state has legislated according to our wishes. Marriage may be a personal commitment between two people but it is also - at heart - a very hard-nosed, legal contract that confers all kinds of rights and responsibilities on both parties. Money, property, inheritance rights, next of kin status and so forth. Bigamy and polygamy breach that contract.

DontmindifIdo Sun 11-Nov-12 09:48:02

Yep, marriage is a legal contact between two people, to change this would cause massive headaches and would have to be done in a way that reduced the status of marriage.

For example, in the UK law an understanding that all financial assets are shared within the marriage regardless of who they came from (unless you have pre-nup). If then a 3rd party came into the marriage, where does that leave the spilt of assets? If the first wife had £1m when entering a marriage, this would then become an asset of both her and her DH. If he then took a second wife, would the second wife have a claim on that money if her marriage to the DH broke down? Argubly she would because it was also the DH's money.

In countries where polygamy is legal, first wives rarely have a say in who will be second/third wives. So you agree to share your life with one person and end up with other people in your marriage contract that you didn't agree to share your life with.

Sallyingforth Sun 11-Nov-12 09:49:02

If men generally had several wives there wouldn't be enough women to go round. So a lot of frustrated men looking for relief. Expect to see a lot more rape and prostitution.

Good point about next of kin status - if multiple spouses were allowed who would be NOK? First spouse? Or does one get allocated the role? Tricky situation if you're in hospital and your spouses can't agree on a treatment plan.

OpheliaPayneAgain Sun 11-Nov-12 09:49:41

wolf no idea re the anthropolgy of Ghana. I assume tribal, wives, quasi wives, concubines. Give a one of the villages you are over all chief of, a goat, and take your pick of virgins. However, the way it was sold to me was: the women all wanted this chaps baby! At last count he had 117 he was aware of shock

Mrsjay Sun 11-Nov-12 09:50:55

his uncle has 100 plus wives

WHAT shock that must be exhausting for him grin

It is a lot to do with wealth in some societies and banding together for working etc I do think modern relationships is about the mans ego rather than his wealth though i watchaa these programmes about when they are on and the man goes about like a dog with 2 dicks while his wives serve him and have babies , usually American men , you never see any like the man from ghana with his hundred wives or sheiks with their wives do you

Mrsjay Sun 11-Nov-12 09:51:41

oh excuse all the typos in my last post blush

Mrsjay Sun 11-Nov-12 09:53:13

Or does one get allocated the role?

I think NOK is a first wife the woman he married first and then any goats or whatever is distributed between wives , but id imagine some women and their children will miss out and be at the bottom of the pile

ihavenofuckingclue Sun 11-Nov-12 09:58:10

Tbh I am not sociable enough for more than one husband.

YouBloodyWolf Sun 11-Nov-12 10:22:05

Cogito - aren't you just saying that it's illegal because it's against the law? And who's made that contract? How many of us have ever even thought about it, let alone raised it with our MP?

Many of the societies that tolerate polygamy seem to hold women in pretty low regard and the situation seems to work out better for the man (although one thing I do remember from uni is that a lot of the time power relationships are not what they seem). I wonder how it'd work here, where we've mostly outgrown that?

Cheekydevil - I think that'd be one of the good points, having a range of personalities and attributes.

Sallying - I don't know how you figure that out. And you're looking at it from a many women per man view.

I'm not saying that I think it's a great idea, I'm just wondering about it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-Nov-12 10:45:09

"Cogito - aren't you just saying that it's illegal because it's against the law?"

Yes I am. The law of the land is determined by the people via the democratic process. Civil partnership is a new law which was brought in because of popular demand for equality and a government being elected that represented that popular demand. There is no such popular demand for polygamy or bigamy but, if there was, a government would have to seriously consider it.

MORCAPS Sun 11-Nov-12 11:21:01

I do sometimes think that a large group of women caring for the children with adult males coming and going [snurk] would work better.

I like other women and the happiest times in my life have been when I have had a group solid group of women around me and we all look after the children collectively. This has happened a few times in my expat life. Husbands come and go with work so you form close bonds with the other wives as they are more constant.

I wouldn't want to share my husband though, so it is tricky.

Also wouldn't want anybody forced into the setup if they wanted to do it differently.

Cailleach Sun 11-Nov-12 11:30:45

Polygamy is not a good idea as it causes a shortage of available wives.

Boys and girls are born in roughly equal quantities, so if follows that if you start giving more than wife to particular men and one man somewhere is going without.

When a whole society is doing this, and not just the head honcho at the top, you have a huge pool of angry and restless and potentially violent young men. Basically, women will become luxury items because this artificial scarcity means like anything else that is rare, they will be exchangeable for a high price (dowries) so the temptation to commoditise them will be immense (especially true in poorer countries.)

As for the women themselves, they will be locked up in the house as the risk of them being kidnapped is so great (Middle East esp, India and China increasingly, although this is due to female infanticide not polygamy in the latter two cases...) and severe restrictions will be placed on their social behaviour.

Like any 'luxury goods', they will be hoarded by said head honchos as visible proof of the honcho's wealth and status, as mentioned above. This means that only an increasingly tiny minority of wealthy men will be able to marry at all and so pass on their genes.

In most human societies wealth concentrates itself in the hands of just a few families. In female-limited societies, this means only certain families will manage to reproduce as only they can afford to purchase breeding stock for their sons.

Leaving aside what other abnormal stress responses all this will cause in society (resentment and violence against women being the main one) what this does to the male side of the gene pool doesn't bear thinking about...don't forget, humanity has a tiny gene pool compared to most other mammals and we cannot afford to do anything to reduce it still further.

The way the polygamous Middle East / North African Arab/ Arabised societies used to get round this was by kidnapping African, Hindu and European women for the slave trade. East European women were particularly targeted during the Ottoman Empire, for instance.

Polgyamy is a great social evil and I am amazed people still don't understand this.

MORCAPS Sun 11-Nov-12 11:35:29

Yeah, I was thinking more along the lines of being free to shag whoever took your fancy without any laws of marriage or ownership.

I don't think would work in the real world though.

Marzipanface Sun 11-Nov-12 11:38:29

Bigamy is a crime
Polygamy is the practice of having more than one partner.

I would be more than happy to have more than one husband!


Good post.

I think polygamy is generally a reflection of a culture where women are seen more as trophies / possessions rather than people in their own right.

Cailleach Yeah, you do know that women can be polygamous too? Throughout your whole post you didn't mention women having more than one husband, only men having more than one wife. Given that fact, I think most of your post can be written off as unsubstantiated nonsense, really.

Personally, I think it's no-one else's business what consenting adults choose to do - so I have absolutely no issues with polygamy.


Most polygamous cultures (rather than individual lifestyle choices) tend to be polygynous rather than polyandrous.

I think a distinction needs to be made by a woman choosing to have a polygynous or polyandrous lifestyle and a culture where the possession of a number of wives is seen as a status symbol.

There are very few polyandrous cultures and rather more polygynous ones.

IvanaHumpalotCountDracula Sun 11-Nov-12 12:01:49

Cailleach is correct about the privileged and surplus males. This is happening today within the separatist (polygamous) Mormons in the states. Young men are excluded from the community/religion on flimsy basis to cover the lack of available women. Exclusion or lack of wives is also used for social control of the men.

I had an interesting conversation a couple of years ago with a Morrocan taxi driver. The current (I think) king has banned multiple wives. There are restrictive exemptions but you have to apply for a special license to have a second wife. This has led to a massive increase in divorce - no second wife for the man means divorce for the first wife. There is little (no state) support for first wives or their dependents. I visited a couple of argon oil projects which were staffed entirely by divorced first wives.

I have no problem in principle with polygamy - I think it should swing both ways (men and women as multiple partners) with stringent protection for partners and dependants. Secular fair laws which reflect current thinking rather than religious ideas.

Procrasstinator Sun 11-Nov-12 12:17:21

My dh is from a polygamous culture; his dad had 4 wives, so dh has 26 brothers/sisters ( he thinks!) I imagine that there would be genetic problems to be considered? Nearly everyone we meet in his home town/area is related in some way.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-Nov-12 12:18:40

Didn't polygamy generally emerge in religious communities (thinking especially of Mormons and Muslims) because there was a surplus of women and they were deemed not to be respectable as well as vulnerable unless they 'belonged' to a man? Then again, the Mormon founder Joseph Smith is rumoured to have fully embraced the idea of polygamy at about the same time as he was fully embracing his serving girl Fanny Ager....

fuzzywuzzy Sun 11-Nov-12 15:40:40

Polygamy predates Islam & I presume the Mormon religion, the prophets of the old testaments had many wives King David had a lot of wives 7 and some accounts add more. Abraham had at least two I think etc

Places like Bhutan & Tibet have Polyandry it's to prevent land being broken up as men marry different wives and want to sell off land or split away from their families as land is a scarce & the chief means of income. I vaguely remember reading about an account where one of three brothers fell in love the other brothers agreed to divorce their current wife and marry the younger brothers lover. Then it was her responsibility to ensure she had a child with each to prevent accusations of favouritism.

We don't really need laws allowing multiple concurrent relationships, people practice it, it's a social norm surely till one settles down?

Procrasstinator Sun 11-Nov-12 15:41:52

my dh culture is not based on religion

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sun 11-Nov-12 17:30:39

I tried to find that mildly amusing fridge magnet type poem along the lines of 'having a man who can cook, a man who is good in bed, a man who can clean', etc and finishes with the line.... above all never let these men meet each other! but I couldn't.... sums this up for me grin

McChristmasPants2012 Sun 11-Nov-12 17:49:05

I think it is possible to love 2 people at the same time. When pregnant with my 2nd child I wondered how could I love another baby as much as I live DC1. But love is not split it multiples.

It would take a lot of give and take and compromise if a marriage of 3+ is going to work.

Myself I couldn't share my husband, I would be far to jealous of another women having my husband attention in an emotional and sexual way.

lljkk Sun 11-Nov-12 18:59:41

You could have polyandrists married to polygamists married to more polyandrists married to more polygamists.

But you don't need contracts of marriage for all that, you could just have people being very promiscuous begetting children with multiple partners who beget & cohabit with multiples.

Oh wait, we already have that in half the council estates. sad

And considering the social chaos these habits evidently cause, not sure that the state should sanction such relationships with special privileges. If individual religions want to allow it to happen, fine.

nightlurker Mon 12-Nov-12 03:13:38

I don't think that Polygamy is normally a good thing or good for society, so I definitely oppose the law sanctioning it. I think it's ok if there is a severe shortage of men, and all consent and choose that lifestyle. In modern society where there isn't a shortage of men, however, I lean toward it remaining illegal.

On the other hand. if it were legal, it might help some of those women who are manipulated into those relationships be able to be better helped by the law, but those women easily could be helped through other laws instead.

StuntGirl Mon 12-Nov-12 03:38:27

I don't agree with it personally. In every poly relationship I've ever known everyone has claimed to be totally ok with it and not at all bothered about sharing and totally organised with the reality one person has always been seen as 'lesser', and two of them have had a more serious/traditional relationship with someone else occasionally on the side. I have never known any of these relationships end well. (I've never been involved in one of these relationships by the way!)

I'm sure there are some people who could make a poly relationship work but I think they are very much in the minority.

AnnaKissed Mon 12-Nov-12 05:35:51

I read an interesting book written by one of Osama bin laden's wives. It's an insight into the practice if you are interested OP. She appeared to be happy with the situation, calling the other wives "her sister wives" and they were company for each other because he was away a lot. The children played together and they all live in a huge house together with a floor each etc. The other wives became family and in Saudi Arabia where family is pretty much all you have, she seemed to value that. As she was the first wife, she had some say in if and when he could marry other women.

However she did come across as very oppressed in general.

nooka Mon 12-Nov-12 06:10:13

For a really good account of the impact of polygamy, this judgement of the balance between state intervention/individual freedom is very interesting reading. Essentially it concludes that polygamy is almost always expressed as polygyny and very rarely as polyandry, and that it is highly associated with harm.

Certainly the polygamous communities in BC appear to be really oppressive, selling off girls in their early teens to the powerful men and throwing surplus young men out.

blueemerald Mon 12-Nov-12 07:43:40

A friend of mine started seeing a polyamorous guy. He was 110% certain of his lifestyle, he'd been conducting his relationships as such for 6-7 years (we're 26). He was seeing my friend and another woman, who had another boyfriend. (He was also adamant that sex/dating without the knowledge is cheating in polyamorous relationships too!) 6 weeks later he is "in love" with my friend, had dumped the other woman and wants to be with her and just her forever.

cory Mon 12-Nov-12 10:07:21

The only culture I know of that practised polyandry was Tibet and there iirc it was the specialised situation of a woman also marrying her husband's brothers so that they would step in and provide for her in the event of his death; it was never about a woman marrying any second man that took her fancy.

As other posters have mentioned, most polygynous societies have tended to be very hierarchical, with important men who get multiple wives and lesser men who get none. Marriages themselves also tend to be hierarchical with a head wife having more power and the other wives ranking lower. It is very difficult to see how it would work in a society where man and wife are seen as (at least nominally) equal and where the chance for everybody to have their sexual needs met is seen as desirable.

DappyHays Mon 12-Nov-12 10:20:47

This thread is reminding me of a woman who lived across the road from us as kids. She had 2 partners, all 3 of them living under the same roof. Not sure if she was married to any of the two. There were a couple of kids. They all seemed happy. Plenty of gossipy neighbours trying to figure out what was what over the road, but no-one knew because the lady in question didn't ever discuss it rightly so with them.

Don't ask me how everyone knew that one of the guys wasn't just a brother or friend, but they did.

EdgarAllanPond Mon 12-Nov-12 10:23:57

marriage is the point at which you rcognise your relationship in law.

that's why bigamy/ polygamy is unlawful - marriage is a legal recognition of an exclusive relationship.

DappyHays Mon 12-Nov-12 10:27:16

marriage is a legal recognition of an exclusive relationship

People who have extra-marital affairs should therefore be arrested too grin

LeBFG Mon 12-Nov-12 10:47:22

Polygamy tends to evolve in socities with scattered resources, thus explaining why a lot of desert societies choose polygamy. One male dominates the resource and the women join up with him rather than starving with the other resource-poor males. In primate species with more harem mating, male balls are smaller. In humans, men have larger balls (there is more competition between men) indicating the prevalence for pair bonding. Estimated extra-pair mating rates are about 30% however (from sketchy memory), so we're far from exclusive, til death-do-we-part types!

Our society deems pair bonds are more valuable than multiple bonds, particularly wrt bringing up children. In the interests of promoting these 'stable' values, the legal side of polygamy, bigamy, is illegal. I agree with this.

EdgarAllanPond Mon 12-Nov-12 10:50:38

polygamists/ bigamists will have made false declarations in order to marry more than one person.

LeBFG Mon 12-Nov-12 11:36:24

Edgar, your arguments are around the existing legalities, which make no provision for polygamous relationships/marriages. OP wants to discuss why this should be the case (at least, that's how I understand her post).

nooka Mon 12-Nov-12 18:14:27

Fundamentally because polygamous societies are great for the top men, and pretty shit for everyone else.

CrunchyFrog Mon 12-Nov-12 18:16:13

I had a great-something grandfather who had 4 goes at bigamy. Never divorced any of them (I suppose none of the subsequent 3 were legal anyway.)

To me, it's the ultimate extension of patriarchy, and it's horrible.

GreenEggsAndNichts Mon 12-Nov-12 18:34:35

I've not read the entire thread, so I apologise if this has already been said:

We can talk about equality, but let's just assume that most of these marriages would involve one man with multiple wives. It's just the way these things tend to happen (see, uncle in Ghana grin with 100 wives). It's rare to hear of a woman with multiple husbands.

So you have a community which allows a man to have 10 wives. great. What happens to the other men? I will tell you. There are small towns in the US where Mormons have the majority, the town council is all Mormon, etc, so everyone accepts that the older men take the young girls as wives. They have a lot of children. The boys of those children? Get driven to nearby states and dumped as soon as they are old enough to fend for themselves. A link to get you started if you think I'm making it up.

This isn't even taking into consideration that obviously, the female children are discouraged from education beyond the basics of keeping a house and making life lovely for men.

Why does this matter to society? I don't think these practices should be legal. Leave the females to think this is their lot in life, and send the weaker (poorer?) males off to have no mate at all. It's not right.

I realise I am quoting some extreme cases, but these are situations which have sprung from generations of ingrained, accepted polygamy. If consenting adults want to engage in it, fine. But most societies which engage in it seem to have prohibitions placed on the females and I wouldn't want to see that acceptable here.

LeBFG Mon 12-Nov-12 19:13:06

Actually, I think the argument around low status males and lack of women is a good reason not to promote bigamy in a country i.e. because it would lead to social unrest.

I'm not yet sure why polygamy per se is seen a social taboo. I suppose there's such a thing as open relationships and even open marriages. It's not obvious to me why women would be oppressed in these sorts of relationships. Although, as some other posters have attested to, this does appear to go on in some parts of the country.

TellyRotsYourBrain Mon 12-Nov-12 19:17:02

What a stupid question. YABU

nightlurker Tue 13-Nov-12 05:39:36

Just want to be sure that it is mentioned that those groups green mentions are very small breakoffs from the mainstream Mormon (LDS) faith. The LDS faith forbids polygamy, teaches that men and women are to be equal partners, and that men and women should strive to get as much education as possible.

CrackerJackShack Tue 13-Nov-12 08:28:17

What they argue in the ME is that while birth rates are roughly 50/50, boys have a higher rate of death. So in most countries in the world there are more women of marriageable age, than their are men, so it is men's duty to marry these spinsters.

pigletmania Tue 13-Nov-12 10:16:47

I think it's to protect families an prevent incest.

EldritchCleavage Tue 13-Nov-12 12:37:31

no idea re the anthropolgy of Ghana. I assume tribal, wives, quasi wives, concubines. Give a one of the villages you are over all chief of, a goat, and take your pick of virgins

Yep, Ghana is all about buying virgins with goats. Please.

It is very irritating to read it put in those kinds of terms. Polygamy in Ghana works in different ways in different areas, and is not universally accepted or uncontroversial nowadays by any means. Don't assume women like it, they often put up with it, particularly in rural areas, for lack of alternatives. Women with money/education/good family support are unlikely to accept polygamous husbands.

It's not much different from families here where the parents are unmarried, father comes and goes, has children with other women (which doesn't tend to work out so well for the women and children here either). Except not so much scope for throwing around the word tribal and references to goats.

LessMissAbs Tue 13-Nov-12 12:40:02

Does it extend to husbands too? I mean, are you arguing that all people, regardless of gender, should have no good reason not to have more than one husband?

Actually, if you think about it from that viewpoint, it becomes less of a good idea. More than one husband would be a hassle. Far better to have a husband for security, and a few boyfriends/toyboys. Which is actually what happens a lot of the time in Western society anyway.

Problem solved.

DontmindifIdo Tue 13-Nov-12 15:08:58

Also, if you legalise it, how to you limit the number of combinations?

So, if you had it working both ways, you could have a husbandA who has wives 1 and 2, however what if wife 2 decides she wants another hubandB - you would have 4 people in a legal commitment, but would wife 1 and husband A need to be in agreement before wife 2 took husband B? Or could wife 2 legally just bring another person into the family without needing permission of the others? What if husband A was happy with it, but wife 1 who had agreed to sharing her DH, not agreed to another man in the family? If huband A died, how would his estate be devided up? How many combinations could you have? Could husband B take another wife (wife3) who is in a relationship with the same husband as wife2 but not wife 1, how would you work out what was fair? Would all the people in the arrangment have to "marry" the new person joining to prove they all agreed to this addition to the family?

People can have complicated relationships, but marriage is a legal commitment that links two people, the only way this could work is to break the link between a marriage and a legal commitment, and then what would be the point of anythng other than a religous ceremony for marriage?

grimbletart Tue 13-Nov-12 15:25:00

Why does nature provide an equal number (roughly) of males and females if polygamy (which is normally polygyny rather than polyandry) was natural?

LeBFG Tue 13-Nov-12 15:45:42

Other mammals have polygamous mating systems, or engage in polygamy (gorillas) at least some of the time. They also have even sex ratios, so I'm afraid you can't argue it from 'natural' principles gribletart.

nightlurker Tue 13-Nov-12 15:51:11

Even in cases where birth rates favor males greatly over females, there is polygamy (such as with lions).

freetoanyhome Tue 13-Nov-12 15:59:53

wouldnt bother me if it was legalised, after all, affairs go on all the time. Maybe make it legal and make sure men pay for the kids they sire.

grimbletart Tue 13-Nov-12 16:06:58

Indeed LeBFG (I have a scientific background so am well aware). It was tongue in cheek. Should have put a grin. But it means it is massive fuck up that leads to ownership and subjugation of females, fighting among males and alpha males leaving the rest in the lurch.

By the same token I think it is fuck up by nature that women aren't born with zip fasteners on their abdomen. I'll put a grin here in case anyone takes me seriously.

FreckledLeopard Tue 13-Nov-12 16:08:39

Not sure about polygamy and bigamy, but if you take a step back from the notion of marriage, the idea of monogomy is something that is culturally accepted but in reality, does not reflect the true state of affairs between monogomous couples. A recent survey showed that over 50% of men and women have affairs at some stage during their marriages/relationships. Given that monogomy is something that doesn't appear to work very well, then perhaps more thought should be given to polygamy etc?

Assets/children/inheritance etc aside - it ought to be possible to live a lifestyle that allowed multiple partnerships regardless of gender. If a woman wanted more than one lover, fair enough, and vice versa.

Did anyone read the recent Guardian artice on this subject?

foreverondiet Tue 13-Nov-12 16:12:14

re: man with 117 wifes - surely another problem with this is that lots of his children are going to end up marrying each other and high risk of congenital defects?

nightlurker Tue 13-Nov-12 16:26:09

I think the reason why marriage is supported by the government is to reduce the number of partners a person has and help ensure that children are raised by their biological parents, if possible. There are very clear benefits to society that come from monogamy.

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