Is monogamy evolving?

Rumours of organized sex parties in Gaborone where married people come and indulge in zany moments of pleasure with other people, gives us a glimpse of what monogamy has become in some aspect


Contrary to our morals and righteous principles, it is not a wild thought to assume that monogamy is evolving.  With cheating and extra marital affairs being normalized and embraced as ‘human nature’, the modesty of monogamy is facing major challenges in cementing itself as the relationship construct people aspire for or must seek to achieve. So now the question becomes, how do people balance commitment and freedom in their love lives, while confined to the expectations of monogamy?

The fantasy of the ultimate prince or princess who only has eyes for you is quite a stretch when you notice what is happening on the ground. Most people entertain the notion that having a relationship or sex with only one person for an indefinite amount of time is too difficult and unnatural. “This monogamy construct is proving to be a headache to its creators. Look at the divorce rates, Jerry Springer, Cheaters and the like. Why would man create a rule just to give himself a headache?” observed a young man when I posed the question.

Then enters the alternatives. You have things such as open relationships used to signify a primary emotional and intimate relationship between two partners who agree to have sexual relationships but not romantic relationships with other people. Another interesting facet is sex orgies or parties. A study described in Psychology Today in 2014 found that between 23 and 40 percent of men and 11-22 percent of women are curious to try it.

In the midst of hearing about ‘sex hockey clubs’ in places like South Africa and rumours of organized sex parties in Gaborone where married people come and indulge in zany moments of pleasure with other people, it gives us a glimpse of what monogamy has become in some aspect. “Monogamy is the choice, whereas having multiple partners is what is more natural,” stated **Thabang. Additionally, these trends point to the emergence of a refreshed monogamy that appeases society with its one man one woman pretext, whereas indoors it is something that extends to third parties.

In a piece titled “An Inconvenient Truth: Sexual Monogamy Kills Male Libido,” co-author of the New York Times best seller, “Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, And What It Means for Modern Relationships,” Christopher Ryan suggests that being in a monogamous, long-term relationship decreases a male’s sex drive. In other words, being with the same person for a long period of time can inherently make you — assuming you’re a man— not want to have sex with your partner. However, it would be interesting to understand this in the context of a woman’s sex drive.

“Humans are instinctively social creatures. Sex, and its distribution has been made into a commodity that has become traded in the social markets that human societies have created. Now the problem with that is, that when a commodity is to be traded, you get market forces such as demand and supply; and that is where the deception comes in. Each of us deceive each other so much so we find ourselves in a situation where women have told themselves to be the gatekeepers of sex, and men its faithful patrons who receive “the gift” upon paying some kind of “toll” to the gatekeeper,” explained another opinion.

Monogamy ofcourse has its scientifically proven benefits such as low mortality and less economic costs as compared to polygamy. According to Prof. Joseph Henrich, a cultural anthropologist, monogamy’s main cultural evolutionary advantage over polygamy is the more egalitarian distribution of women, which reduces male competition and social problems. By shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, institutionalized monogamy increases long-term planning, economic productivity, savings and child investment.

Balance is what becomes hard for some people. While you want to maintain monogamy as the rule, there’s also the need to understand if your partner feels ‘free’ in that situation. “This is where spicing up your love life, travelling, being adventurous and maintaining the spark gets important in monogamous relationships,” stated Lorraine. “The fire must keep burning.”

It may be that monogamy is still intact in its promise of cherishing ‘the two become one’ principle, or it may be accommodating new facets to its construct to allow some sense of sexual freedom. You decide.