Is Monogamy Natural?

Neil StraussAdvice22 Comments

Greetings Inner Circlers. You’ve arrived at my first video email. Let’s get into it: Is monogamy natural?

Is non-monogamy natural?

Have you had successful CNM (consensual non-monogamy) loving relationships?

Where do you stand on sexual exclusivity vs sexual freedom?

I’ve done and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

This is a complete reframe of the whole monogamy vs non-monogamy debate, and closer to the truth of healthy relationships:

22 Comments on “Is Monogamy Natural?”

  1. So six months into miy last relationship, I talked about opening things up with my boyfriend–seeing other people…one weekend a month. He hated the idea and got really nasty about it when I first brought it up, even though I told him how much HE meant to me …….still made me me feel terrible. We split a year later. My current BF and I have an open relationshp and it’s working great.

    I still get the urge to anonymously mail a copy of The Truth to my old bf!

    1. Rachael – how does the world find more women like you? Seriously. I know you are out there but so many like you have been shamed or silenced by insecure guys…

  2. How do u tell your monogamous family and friends that your in an open relationship? it’s exhausting for my wife and I to keep it all a secret

  3. Appreciate your short discourse on relativism but the bottom line is that you’re non-monogamist, since you’re entertaining the idea of non-monogamous relationships. Could have said it quicker, mate.

  4. Strauss has become incredibly internally conflicted and confused. His external values and his world view don’t fit with his nature and he can’t reconcile the two. He seems desperate to prove his new values not just to himself but to everyone else and renounce his old ways, as if having been a womaniser was the most terrible thing. Incredibly blue pill. Complete 180 turnaround.

    Back in his Game days he had it all and understood what men do best and why they do it. I’d bet the ranch he was happiest in his ‘PUA’ years and his self-flagellation will continue to be a part of him for the rest of his life. How the great have fallen.

  5. I’m currently writing my book called Things People Do and in it I talk about a family member who is a dick. What I mean is one day he decided he’d live but he’s still going to be a dick and bang other people’s girlfriends. So he has a wife and he still bangs other girls.i really think Kevin Smith said it best, “a relationship starts when a man sticks his penis into a woman and ends the last time he does so, everything else is here say.”

  6. A relationship is about connection, cooperation, and commitment. In the Greek language, there are different terms for love. Different people fit the different types of love. They form your relationship needs, and you negotiate the connection, cooperation, and commitment part.

    Everybody is multigamous. Multigamous is more useful than nonmonogamous. You have fellow citizens, acquaintances, neighbours, friends, and lovers past and present.

    The idea that you can only connect with and commit to one person is a lie. You’ve already connected with and become committed to many people in your life, all your life. Not only that, but you don’t relate to another person in a vacuum. When you meet that special someone, you’re meeting THEIR family, neighbours, exes, orbiters, enemies, and exes, and you may meet their other lovers as well. And they’ll meet yours. Let’s be honest about this, we’re adults now.

    Monogamy or nonmonogamy? Well…that may be a false choice. A more useful question would be, what is the ideal form for a new relationship that harmonizes with your life goals and relationships you already have? Storge, Pragma, Ludus, Agape, Eros, Mania, other nec? Which one fits you, them, the two of you, AND the relationships you are already committed to with others in every category? From there you make your decision.

  7. Great, Neil – I think it’s also worth thinking about “inner (game)” stuff which you mention in The Truth – in particular, “why do I feel the need to be in a monogamous, or indeed non-monogamous relationship?” Because, and this is radical and a lifetime’s practice, at the end of the day the *need* for a monogamous or a non-monogamous relationship – actually the need for any relationship – comes down to our deep identification of ourself as an “in-need” person. A person who is separate from others, who is therefore without, lacking. In a relationship we can fool ourself into thinking that this existential insecurity is ok – “oh, it’s ok to not want my partner to be with other people – that’s healthy right?” or indeed “it’s ok to want to experience and connect with lots of people – that’s healthy, right?” – but actually buying into the dictations of that insecurity is never healthy: always harmful. Why? Because ultimately it is based upon something that is not true – the nature of our being is *not* a person who is separate from others and existentially in-need – that’s just a bunch of concepts that we’ve got caught up with and believe they are more than just concepts, that they are the truth.

    (Quick way to prove this: who are you? You identify with your body and your mind. What are they? Your body is a bunch of cells which come from the food you eat, the water you drink and the air you breath (oh, and a couple of embarrassing bits of your parent’s bodies…). What is your mind? Practically speaking it is a collection of thoughts, feelings, ideas, memories, opinions and so forth. Where have they come from? From interacting with others! How could you think clearly without using a language that you yourself did not create; how could you have opinions without learning about opinions of others; how could you write without reading the writing of others? Therefore the sense of inherently separate, distinct and isolated self is unfounded – we exist in dependence upon others; indeed, we exist within a state of *interdependence*.)

    Importantly, I’m not saying that it is not healthy to have boundaries in a relationship, or indeed to open boundaries – what I’m saying is that what really counts is understanding why we want – or indeed feel we need – these things.


  8. I’m personally a monogamous person but it would’ve been very convenient for me not to be. Married women love me and I coulda partaken in some sweet and glorious tits and vagina over the years, but my inner moral compass would get in the way. I’ve never actually pulled the trigger on a married lady, but I’ve noticed on average they are way easier than singles by a huge margin. But then, that just makes me question the value and promise of being a mono-man. I suppose if you’re a one woman man in your very core, you’d have to find one of the few women who are also (truly) monogamous, and live with the odds.

    Sometimes what sounds like cynicism is just pure truth. I’m all for equality and women’s rights, but with more independence and power, they’ve revealed they’re just as bad as men in almost every way. This makes monogamy even more challenging for the few men who aren’t cheaters. Seek and you shall find…I guess.

  9. There are only 2 species in the animal kingdom who are truly monogamous – Black widow spider, where the male does not get a chance to be polygamous since it is eaten up by the female after the first coitus and some worms who are found in the gall bladder of a hippo, who fuse during coitus and therefore can’t separate again. Other than that, elephants, swans and penguins have the tendency to be monogamous.

    Humans? Ha. It only depends on the power equation which gender will become monogamous. In the middle ages when women had less social power, men were polygamous, especially in Asia and Africa. In certain tribes of Africa, women are polygamous as a social arrangement because the power equation is different.

    Given our current social structure, men are likely to be polygamous and women are likely to be serially monogamous.

  10. Interesting after reading the truth and you goin back with Ingrid makes it seem like monogomy is what you choose
    After going through the whole journey of every expirience that most men dream of.
    So how are you saying it’s a made up concept
    Everything is made up
    Nothing is real except what we choose to believe

  11. Between consenting adults any mutually agreed upon relationship type can lead to two healthy, satisfied adults and a healthy, honest relationship. The issues do not arise from non-monogamy or monogamy, they come from two individual’s failure to communicate and consequently operating in two different relationship types and failing. I think any relationship based on trust, honesty and open communication allows people to decide together what kind of relationship they want to be in and on what terms (see The 5 Love Languages). Assumptions are the death of real connections (or anything that could lead to them) and lies & deception are the proof that the real motivation behind the words/actions were, and always were, one’s own ego/shame (Yes, I read The Truth, highly recommend). Happy Holidays 🎄

  12. P.S. Speaking I’m general, not about self or relationship type prefernce. Just answering the question.

  13. This is great. Very post-structuralist, right? Like, instead of going back and forth about which way is right and which way is wrong, we look at the underlying structure that holds these notions in place as GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF OUR EXISTENCE, and show how the structure itself is an human invention, often by institutions, that serves the interests of the institution in question by convincing people that they need to be this or that or do this or do that to be good enough, to count for something, to be accepted by peers, and then you SMASH IT TO BITS. Bravo, Neil. Seriously. And the gravy for me is that this puts into words something I’ve always felt without ever being able to articulate it. A relationship is a conversation. Forever. My girlfriend are pushing the boat into these waters very slowly, so we have plenty of time to talk along the way… Cheers all and Happy New Year!

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