Serial monogamy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Serial monogamy is characterized by a series (at least two in length) of long-term, exclusive sexual relationships entered into consecutively over the lifespan.[1] In common usage partners need not be married, but there is never more than one partner at a time. This behavior is a variant of monogamy, in which a given individual has only one sexual partner throughout life.

Serial polygamy is sometimes used to describe this behavior, generally with the intent to disparage it.[2] However, this is a misnomer because this behavior excludes the practice of having multiple sexual partners at one time.


[edit] Animals

Main article: Animal sexuality

Generally, any animals that do not mate with one partner for life can be considered serially monogamous, including those who find a second mate only upon the death of the first. There are arguments that evolutionary biology has selected a four-year mating cycle for humans based on natural birth spacing,[3] as well as the belief that finding a 'fully' monogamous species is rare.[4]

[edit] Western culture

Within Western culture, serial monogamy is considered more fundamental than "full" monogamy.[5] [6] The behavior is seen as beneficial insofar as it allows needed testing (through dating) before making a lasting commitment, but as a problem when the cycle of beginning and ending relationships repeats infinitely.[7] Relatively few people consciously enter a long-term relationship wanting it to eventually end so as to begin another.

[edit] Divorce

Serial monogamy has always been closely knit with divorce practices. Whenever procedures for obtaining divorce have been simple and easy, serial monogamy has been found.[8] As divorce has continued to become more accessible, more individuals have availed themselves of it, and many go on to remarry.[9]

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Definition by Health24's sex glossary.
  2. ^ Serial Monogamy, Serial Polygamy, or Worse? suggests that some rich men only practice serial monogamy because polygamy is illegal.
  3. ^ Sex: Myths, Lies and Straight Talk, an ABC News Original Report.
  4. ^ See Barash's (Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington) Deflating the Myth of Monogamy and references to "extra-pair copulation."
  5. ^ Serena Petrella (Department of Sociology, Carleton University, Canada) declares serial monogamy a "norm" in her article Only with You – Maybe – If You Make Me Happy: A Genealogy of Serial Monogamy as Governance and Self- Governance.
  6. ^ Feminism and The Moral Animal states: "We do not actually live in a society built on monogamy, but on serial monogamy."
  7. ^ see Nzgirl.
  8. ^ It is said to have been "rife" in ancient Rome Alternative Forms of Marriage Serial Monogramy at
  9. ^ In Canada, 46% of divorcées will remarry according to Till death do us part? The risk of first and second marriage dissolution by Warren Clark and Susan Crompton.

[edit] See also