Recently I’ve been listening to Sex at Dawn and Mating in Captivity while I’ve been out and about doing my route. (Hey it rhymes!) Both audio books have given me a lot of food for thought.
A lot of people have decried and discredited Sex at Dawn, saying that the research is biased and that the author’s have their own agenda. I would agree with the agenda part for sure, some of their language that they use and the way that they write (or in this case, the way that it was narrated) makes an agenda very apparent. I’ve seen and heard that there are other books and whatnot that, at the very minimum, refute a lot of what the author’s had to say. (Sex at Dusk comes to mind, as well as Promiscuity.)
There is a “statement” of sorts that the authors of Sex at Dawn mentioned several times throughout the book that got me to thinking though, and it goes something like this:
If monogamy is our “natural” state, if it is our “natural” sexual strategy, then why do we need to enforce it?
We’ve had years of religion and family forcing monogamy down our throats. We’ve enacted laws, both past and present, that either try to curtail “extramarital activities,” or provide punishments for those who get “caught.” We’ve even got tax break incentives for people to get married.
If monogamy is our “natural” sexual state/strategy, then why adultery? Why “cheating?” Why the “cock carousel?” Why do we need to enforce monogamy if that is our natural state? Why is it both men and women usually end up having multiple partners over the years?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe monogamy is our natural state. At least it’s not mine. The idea of being with just one woman for the rest of my life, at least sexually, doesn’t really appeal to me. I’m glad for the experiences that I have had, and intend to have more before I’m done.
My argument, my complaint, is with the fact that bias and morality end up in research when it comes to damn near everything. I know that confirmation bias is a real thing. I know that we as human beings, as people, are not infallible and that we end up usually looking for things to confirm our ideas, our outlooks if you will, instead of actually seeking “the truth.” It just gets so frustrating when you want to learn about a subject and it seems that for every article, or paper, or what-have-you, there is another article, paper, etc., that refutes it.
Sex at Dawn cites a lot of studies and research that points to the notion that we as human beings aren’t naturally inclined to monogamy. Apparently Sex at Dusk (I haven’t read it yet, so I don’t know for certain. It’s on my next to read list) refutes a lot of what Sex at Dawn had to say.
That seems to be the problem with a lot of “research” these days, and maybe it always has been this way. One study or finding points at one thing, and then another points in a totally different direction, refuting the orginal premise. Who is “right?” Who is “wrong?”
I just want to find the truth. That’s all I’m looking for, is the truth. What is, instead of what “ought to be” or what “should be.” This is what I find so frustrating with many things and is why I tend to “go off” on moralists and purists. I don’t want your morality, I just want the facts. I want the truth. Stop selling me your agenda and just show me the information that points to how things are.
This is why I take issue with the “patriarchy” and TradCon crowd. I don’t have a problem with their message as a whole, but I do have a problem when they are offering it up as “the truth” when clearly you can see, on a daily basis, that the only real patriarchy that exists in the United States and in the West today is the State. If monogamy and marriage were the “natural ways” of us being, then why no-fault divorce? If patriarchy really exists in our modern times, then why do men get divorce raped and have no authority in their marriages?
Again I ask, if monogamy is our “natural sexual strategy,” then why all of the laws and whatnot that enforces it? If monogamy was our “natural state,” then wouldn’t we be doing it as a whole? Why would we need laws and social or cultural customs to enforce it? We don’t need laws and codes of enforcement in order to make us take a shit or to eat, so if monogamy is “natural,” why the enforcement, and why do we as a whole seem to be going against what is supposed to be biologically natural for us?
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One thought on “Morality and Biology”
you know, one could ask the opposite question as well.
if monogamy really was NOT our natural state and people are NOT monogamous by nature, then why is monogamy (and always was) so common, so universal among all cultures at all times? families made by one man-woman couple are a universal feature of humankind. would it be so, if forming a monogamous couple was not part of our nature?
i think that, as always, the answer probably lies in the middle. humans are a pair-bonding species (albeit human pairs tend not to last an entire lifetime) with a tendency to engage in occasional extra-couple sexual behavior. in other words, we are a mostly monogamous emotionally, and a bit less so sexually. With racial and individual variance, of course.