Monogamy Is Not Natural (And Why It Doesn’t Matter)

It may be surprising to some of you to hear me say that monogamy is not natural, considering I talk about building healthy relationships with one person and not running around picking up women at bars, or something.

Well, it’s not natural. In many ways it’s quite unnatural for us, actually. On a biological and instinctual level, if we did not have the societal construct of marriage, we would probably be like most other animal species on the planet, just working to reproduce. Sure, there are some naturally monogamous animal species, but they are far outnumbered by those which are not.


But, I don’t think the fact that it’s unnatural matters, really. Airplanes are unnatural. Television is unnatural. Processed foods are unnatural. But we don’t use that as an excuse for not putting them to use.

People who say monogamy is unnatural, I find, are usually using it as an excuse. They’re using it as an excuse why they cheated on their significant other. As an excuse why they are single. As an excuse to avoid proposing to someone.

And if that’s how you really feel, that’s great! We all make our own choices and should live our lives in the way that make us happiest. Some people are most happy staying single, and none of us have the right to judge them for it.

What I do have an issue with, though, is the word choice. You see, whether or not monogamy is natural, it is a choice. You choose to begin dating someone, and then you choose to be exclusive with them, and then maybe someday you choose to marry them. When you do any of these things, you are making a promise to this person to commit to them intimately and to be monogamous with them.

If you do not feel as though you are capable of making this commitment because you are subject to and unable to control your own biological urges, then the answer is simple: Do not make the commitment. Remain single. Enjoy your life in the way best suited to you. Marriage should not be everyone’s end goal – happiness should be.


But to enter into a commitment with someone who has a different vision of their own happiness than you do of yours, is to enter into a false relationship based on a lie. It is a lie to yourself and to him/her that you will be able to be that teammate they want for their vision of happiness.

And, furthermore, to blame infidelity on biology is a cop-out. It is to avoid responsibility for your own actions and it is to drag the rest of us down with you. It is to suggest that inevitably we are all subject to falling to this temptation and that, eventually, everyone will probably cheat.

I, for one, like to consider myself a being evolved beyond the control of my instincts. To insinuate otherwise about anyone is to insult their very ability to control their own actions.

As humans we have the ability to make conscious choices about how we live our lives. If every decision we made on a daily basis was based strictly on our most basic animal instincts, we never would have evolved past the stone age. But thankfully, we have. We make multiple choices daily that are based on our desires and wants for the life we envision for ourselves. Monogamy is one of those choices.

So, no, monogamy may not be something that our species naturally gravitates towards. I do think that love bonds us together. We learn more and more about chemical reactions in the brain when we are intimate with someone that bonds us together, but that is not enough to transcend life’s challenges. It is not enough to make us stand by and support someone. It is not enough to drive us to always show them how much we appreciate them. It is not enough to make us do all of the small romantic things that show we care.


All of those things are conscious choices we make on a daily basis. They are not natural, either – but that’s what makes them mean so much.

A good man won’t even have any interest in looking for other women because he will be too busy finding new ways to love the one he already has.

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17 thoughts on “Monogamy Is Not Natural (And Why It Doesn’t Matter)

  1. Well-written James.

    However, I think its important to make the distinction that humans are fudnamentally different than animals – born with the ability to develop a conscience, access a collective cognition, the ability to be introspective regarding the meaning of life and of existence. To reduce humans to just another species that, thanks to society, has developed constructs like marriage, is a bit radical, and the reason why I cannot tolerate when men compare their sexual needs to that of an animal’s – human beings are not animals, they are beings of consciousness, cognitive power and most importantly – CHOICE. It is our responsibility to use them wisely.

  2. Easy way is act on insticts and because of that you are not evolving. I have seen many people who act if they can do anything that comes on their mind like cheating, backstab, false loyal and lot’s of other. Like if they think no rules or boundaries are apply to them in this world and they always make damage to someone.
    Much harder is to resolve war within you, or in other words working on yourself or self-discipline and be responsible for your choices how it will affect other being in this case – monogamy or any other, so I agree with James.
    Learn from my example, I never cheated the person I was with because it was my choice, my time is spent more useful on ideas, to create, to work hard, in nature. And I am not without weaknesses,flaws but constantly trying to improve, FORGIVENESS is first thing you need to do, with yourself and others, move on. I don’t have time to bother such small things like cheating, constant negativity, lying, disrespecting, playing mind games etc and I hope I will be like that in future. If I have something to say you’ll first to know or, I am not interested in harming people, what person remember in end is only how they felt with you.

    Of course I will not tolarate if someone disrespect me or is bad to me, I will just fly away from that person, I become invisible, that person needs help from professionals. Absolutely nobody has right to disrespect You. I am also working on my self consciousness as much I can and I can tell you it’s really hardest work in this life, and it’s not easy way, to be better person you want is hard but it’s really rewarding and you will be happy, I am. Happiness isn’t given, you must earn it – become better person. Don’t work on “get”, work on “be”.

  3. “You choose to begin dating someone, and then you choose to be exclusive with them, and then maybe someday you choose to marry them. When you do any of these things, you are making a promise to this person to commit to them intimately and to be monogamous with them.”

    The English language stinks…because you said the exact opposite of what you were trying to say when you used the word: “them” instead of “him” or “her”. Them-plural and Him/Her-singular.

  4. A committed monogamous relationship is a beautiful thing <3

    A committed non-monogamous relationship is also a beautiful thing <3

    Any mutually consensual, honest relationship style may lead to a commitment. On the other hand, people who can't commit won't, regardless of their relationship style.

    For example, my father was monogamous but he never committed to anyone or anything but drinking. So although he slept with only one woman through any given phase of his life, he was never able to "transcend life’s challenges…stand by and support someone…show them how much he appreciated them…or do the small romantic things that showed he cared."

    My husband, on the other hand, is polyamorous and he's been committed to our relationship for 25 years. He does all of the above and so much more. He's a wonderful father, friend and life partner and we're just as in love as ever.

    I would never knock monogamy, but this blog is misinformed and misleading. Monogamy may be wonderful, but it isn't the only route to commitment and happiness.

    1. btw, I’d like to be very clear here that polyamory does *not* equal cheating. Cheating involves hiding, lying, manipulating other people and refusing to acknowledge and take responsibility for one’s extra-marital relationships. The polyamory community condemns all these things at least as stringently as does the monogamy community.

    2. I don’t recall ever saying commitment and monogamy is the only road to happiness…in fact I have multiple articles about not committing, staying single, or being married. I clearly state repeatedly in articles to do whatever makes you happy, regardless of what it is.

      What exactly is misinformed about my thoughts?

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