Is it a choice?

This is a question that I have been pondering on today after discussion on facebook. We’ve all heard that argument on non-heterosexuality about it not being a choice and it being something we can’t help. Sometimes people do the same for non-monogamy and talk about it being a choice.  There does seem to be this tendency to compare polyamory to sexuality, after all you could technically label it under the parachute term “sexuality” if you really wanted to… but I don’t think it’s quite as simple to compare being poly to being gay. At first glance you can see the similarities – gay people are in the minority against straight people, poly people are similarly outnumbered by the norm. However, if you boil it down to simple desires things seem a little different.

You don’t have to look far to see how the majority of monogamous people struggle to be monogamous. Yet they are still regarded as monogamous because they choose to be… you probably wouldn’t say the same of a straight person struggling to be straight. So for the sake of argument lets just say for a second that anyone who struggles to be monogamous isn’t “innately monogamous” – it doesn’t come naturally to them, they have to force it. Just like a non-straight person who wants to be straight would have to force that.

Now we’ve established that the majority of people struggle with monogamy in some way… I would say all (because I’ve never encountered this mythical natural monogamist), but there may well be exceptions. I’d go more into why I see it this way, but I feel like I’ve already discussed that before. If you really want some proof that we’re not naturally monogamous though go and read Sex At Dawn… anyway… So if we’re using the comparison to homosexuality then it’s like almost everyone is gay but they’re living a lie. So it does seem a bit silly to compare the two.

So if most of us are innately that way then what are we really “choosing” or not? Perhaps it is just the choice of being yourself and being honest about it or not. Deciding not to deny your own desires.

Personally I saw it more as choosing polyamory because I believe it’s healthier and more honest… but that really is just a logic thing. It’s a choice I’m very glad of  – I wouldn’t want anyone to believe I am just doing what comes naturally without thinking about it. It’s an informed choice, and like they often say of monogamy, one I make every day.

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2 thoughts on “Is it a choice?

  1. This is an interesting way of looking at things. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I’m not sure how you would even go about making the case that monogamy is ‘natural’. Maybe some kind of fall argument, that humans have deviated, through sin or society, from the natural ideal.

    I guess that aiming for a ‘natural’ relationship is not necessarily something we want to do anyway, because natural relationships are full of animals (and probably plants) doing things which are advantageous for them but bad for others. What we really aim for is a relationship that is a true partnership, beneficial for all parties, and that will always require compromise and difficulty whether it’s poly or mono.

    I got distracted by Jehovah’s Witnesses in the middle of writing this, so I may have lost my train of thought somewhat.

    • Haha yeah I’m not sure how people argue that monogamy is our natural state either – but I think I remember someone once saying that jealousy is an evolutionary construct to make is monogamous… sounds like quite a long shot to me. And… well, you’ll know from the post before this where I think jealousy comes from…

      I totally agree that we shouldn’t be just having relationships in the way that is natural to our biology. I think our natural state is probably similar to other apes in which the alpha male in a group gets to mate with all the females etc (you know the story). In my opinion monogamy is like a step up from that in terms of fairness because everyone gets to choose their partner and no-one is left out… but it’s not perfect either. It is interesting to debate our biological way though I think. Because it is the only objective way you can say: all humans are innately this way. And it is partly based on how we ‘naturally’ function that we decide what we need and what we don’t need… and therefore how it is possible to have relationships without our nature ‘getting in the way’ so to speak

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