With the recent exposure of Ashley Madison customers at the hand of hackers, some are chalking it up as business as usual. After all, news of politicians’, celebrities’ and business leaders’ extramarital affairs seem to make the headlines with regularity and infidelity is a well-known cause of divorce across the nation. With all the hubbub surrounding the latest cheating scandal, one might wonder if humans are meant to be monogamous.
If you look at it from an animal kingdom perspective, mammals in general do not tend toward monogamy. In fact, only 3 to 5 percent of the approximate 5000 species of mammals including humans ‘are’. The life-long, monogamy superstars in this category being the beaver, wolf and some bats.
Men tend to stray more than women according to evolutionary psychologists. It often boils down to a question of costs and benefits. Men have less to lose by playing the field, whereas women stand to lose ‘dads’ resources – the bottom line being that the interests of their children is not improved by promiscuity so why go there.
According to some scientists, it seems that the committed partnership of a man and a woman is all about the kids. The human species has evolved to make lasting bonds between men and women to raise their offspring, but this family bond may range from strict monogamy to polygyny and all shades in between – monogamy often characterized as a societal structure rather than a natural one.
When asked the question, a sociology professor at the University of Washington in Seattle asserts humans are ‘not’ monogamous creatures. She points to a really monogamous animal humans can aspire to, however… “the goose”. In the world of geese, ‘love’ is exclusive and lasts forever. After that first encounter, the goose will never mate again…even if their mate is killed. Now that’s commitment.
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Source: livescience.com, “Are Humans Meant to Be Monogamous?” by Jeanna Bryner, accessed August 24, 2015.