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MONOGAMY: Is it paleo? Brain vs. Penis

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 18, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Beautiful women, they are everywhere. The primal urge to screw everything with two legs and a nice rack is a prevalent theme among men, an instinct. Blondes, brunettes, the occasional deep chested redhead. Skinny girls with tits incredibly out of proportion with their small frame. Firm bodies, curvy bodies.

But to my question: Is monogamy in the cards? From an evolutionary standpoint, since so many of us paleos are all about our history, did ancient man screw just one woman for his entire life, or the majority of the latter?

Regardless, how do you stay faithful when our urges and our instincts are so clear? The thought of screwing the same woman the rest of my life scares me, but I love her enough that I've always stayed faithful and will continue to. BUT, my penis says otherwise..

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on June 18, 2011
at 08:50 PM

It is ridiculous that people have carried on clinging to those polarising sterotypes for so long. Although, a lot of anti-redhead sentiment is actually a remnant of deep-rooted English anti-Celt prejudice - so in some ways it is perhaps not so different from what is usually considered to be racism.

55dbaa499be7740b1cf5a0b5adf188f1

(198)

on June 18, 2011
at 08:42 PM

I don't know about being black but being a redhead is also a little disheartening at times, either we are seen as beautiful or ugly, no in between, and lots of people have their opinions on redheads be it sexual or mental....no pun intended.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 18, 2011
at 08:22 PM

@Wozza: great book. @edrice: Check out the study -- I'm going to wager a guess that it is a vast over-generalization. I think the point is that people who are thoughtful and inquisitive about their choices often go against the grain (evolutionary instinct, conventional wisdom, social norms) and therefore score higher IQs. But, I'm sure there is such thing as a questioning, intelligent conservative ... ;-)

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 18, 2011
at 08:20 PM

@Wozza: great book. @edrice: Check out the study -- I'm going to wager a guess that it is a vast over-generalization. I think the point is that people who are thoughtful and inquisitive about their choices often go against the grain (evolutionary instinct, conventional wisdom, social norms) and therefore score higher IQs. But, I'm sure there is such thing as an questioning, intelligent conservative ... ;-)

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on June 18, 2011
at 08:14 PM

It's normal to get turned on by attractive people. Some people say fantasize about it. I think that pretending that they're someone else is almost worse than cheating, but what you do solo is a big whatever. I learned before meeting my husband that most of the people I was uncontrollably attracted to were huge disappointments in bed. I have taken that to the mindset that the risk of 'not good' sex is not worth losing my family over.

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on June 18, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Okay. So my personal advice, based upon my life experience is this: If you have trouble wrapping your head around long-term monogamy, it's pretty normal. You're scared that you'll screw up and someday hurt her. I felt this way when I was getting married, but did it anyway. I've now been married 3 1/2 years, and have surprisingly had little temptation thus far. Your love for your spouse and desire to keep them from harm outweighs your hormones, at least while sober. Kids also help this. You never want to admit to your kids that mommy left because you're a slut.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:56 PM

Yup. I wish I could upvote this response more than once.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Not sure where that leaves us paleo conservative atheists. Funny how these studies always find members of the opposing group are always dumber, with just the right amount of data. Could be using Ancel Keys methodologies...

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:53 PM

I came here to say the recommend the same book

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on June 18, 2011
at 07:50 PM

Well put, Simibee. +1 for you.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:38 PM

Me too - I must have sat there gaping at the computer screen for several disbelieving moments when I first saw it, before I checked my calendar to see that it wasn’t April 1st. That an evil little troll like him is accepted in academic circles makes me really question the validity of "peer reviewed".

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:27 PM

kanazawa's article from a few weeks ago on black women being less attractive than all other races of women really shook me up.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:24 PM

Hopefully your lady friend is not reading this...

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Great answer. My sentiments exactly.

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:02 PM

And I'm not that easily offended, to be truthful.

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:01 PM

I think that it is an important question that could have been phrased less offensively.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on June 18, 2011
at 06:41 PM

I think it's an interesting question crudley put :D

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 18, 2011
at 06:38 PM

Had to downvote as I just don't see how this relates to our diet or if anyone can get an answer that will improve their bodies/mind.

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12 Answers

16
Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:18 PM

To be honest, I'm not a fan of this sort of Paleo extrapolation. It is vanishingly unlikely that we can accurately figure out the sexual mores and norms of Paleolithic tribes, much less ones that could even be generalised across entire eras and continents.

I suppose that I'm also wary of this sort of line of reasoning, as all too often it feels like proponents of evolutionary psychology advance their own personal agendas with suppositions unsupported by evidence, apart from their own modern perspective on what life "must" have been like.

For example, I have seen this sort of reasoning advanced by those who seek to define women's possibilities within very narrow roles (which just coincidentally happen to resemble those of that golden, nostalgic era; the 1950s). I have also seen rape defended as an evolutionary appropriate sexual behaviour by the same logic.

Satoshi Kanazawa, for example, seems to have carved out a career in academia by draping his racism and misogyny in the quasi-respectable covering of pseudo-scientific terminology.

Personally I have absolutely no problem with mutually consenting adults adopting whichever polyamorous or monogamous arrangements suit them best - but let's not attempt to justify our sexual decisions via a dietary framework.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on June 18, 2011
at 08:50 PM

It is ridiculous that people have carried on clinging to those polarising sterotypes for so long. Although, a lot of anti-redhead sentiment is actually a remnant of deep-rooted English anti-Celt prejudice - so in some ways it is perhaps not so different from what is usually considered to be racism.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:56 PM

Yup. I wish I could upvote this response more than once.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on June 18, 2011
at 07:50 PM

Well put, Simibee. +1 for you.

55dbaa499be7740b1cf5a0b5adf188f1

(198)

on June 18, 2011
at 08:42 PM

I don't know about being black but being a redhead is also a little disheartening at times, either we are seen as beautiful or ugly, no in between, and lots of people have their opinions on redheads be it sexual or mental....no pun intended.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:27 PM

kanazawa's article from a few weeks ago on black women being less attractive than all other races of women really shook me up.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:38 PM

Me too - I must have sat there gaping at the computer screen for several disbelieving moments when I first saw it, before I checked my calendar to see that it wasn’t April 1st. That an evil little troll like him is accepted in academic circles makes me really question the validity of "peer reviewed".

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Great answer. My sentiments exactly.

4
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on June 18, 2011
at 07:44 PM

I have the urge to slap you hard right now but I wouldn't want to end up in court so thankfully my brain will pull me back from that edge. If we all acted on every urge we have, like a bunch of 2 year olds, we'd end up in a pretty big mess now wouldn't we? Evolution has brought us forth from merely surviving to control our urges for a greater good. We all get the chance to evaluate a situation weighing the consequences of our actions against our urges. We all do it all the time (I have the urge to sleep until noon but oh, I might lose my job if I do that) and it shouldn't be an different with sexual urges that may have dire consequences if acted upon.

Put on your big boy undies and learn to use your imagination a little?

(I think this is a valid question and I think many men struglee with this idea quite a bit. Some women do to! It would seem you just aren't ready for a commitment like that and that's o.k. You'll be ready when you're ready.)

2
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on June 18, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Unfortunately, I would have to estimate that the Mormon-style polygamy arrangement was the norm in the Paleo era. I know this is a conjecture but you cannnot really reject this conclusion. The Paleo era basically amounted to warlordism led by chieftains, autocrats, and elders who surrounded themselves with family members and underlings. Since men are physically stronger than women, this had to be the norm; if the reverse were true, we would have had hyena-like polyandry with multiple worker bee males for each reigning queen female.

This is why we should perhaps draw the line at diet, sleep and exercise in implementing Paleo. We frequently hear the term "Paleo lifestyle". But the Paleo way of life in sex or politics meant rape, murder and mayhem. There is no need to romanticize aspects of Paleo life other than diet, sleep and exercise.

2
Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

on June 18, 2011
at 07:20 PM

You should read "Sex at Dawn." It describes the evolution of sexuality, the biologic urges of penises, etc [http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Dawn-Prehistoric-Origins-Sexuality/dp/0061707805].

The authors argue that there is such a thing as lifelong love, but they also think we should be more open/forgiving about extra-curricular sexual activities and suggest this might possibly be better for long term health, hormone levels, etc. There is way too much in that book to post here. Alternately, I will also note that there was a study

[Kanazawa et al. Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent. Social Psychology Quarterly, 2010]

that showed that monogamy (and liberalism/atheism) correlated with higher IQs in men (perhaps because of their ability to askew such evolutionary urges). Interestingly, there was no correlation between monogamy and IQ in women... Just sayin'.

:-)

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:53 PM

I came here to say the recommend the same book

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Not sure where that leaves us paleo conservative atheists. Funny how these studies always find members of the opposing group are always dumber, with just the right amount of data. Could be using Ancel Keys methodologies...

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 18, 2011
at 08:20 PM

@Wozza: great book. @edrice: Check out the study -- I'm going to wager a guess that it is a vast over-generalization. I think the point is that people who are thoughtful and inquisitive about their choices often go against the grain (evolutionary instinct, conventional wisdom, social norms) and therefore score higher IQs. But, I'm sure there is such thing as an questioning, intelligent conservative ... ;-)

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 18, 2011
at 08:22 PM

@Wozza: great book. @edrice: Check out the study -- I'm going to wager a guess that it is a vast over-generalization. I think the point is that people who are thoughtful and inquisitive about their choices often go against the grain (evolutionary instinct, conventional wisdom, social norms) and therefore score higher IQs. But, I'm sure there is such thing as a questioning, intelligent conservative ... ;-)

2
215d3126214343a5760316f195a06b97

on June 18, 2011
at 07:13 PM

Well there are married couples who are open to inviting others into the bedroom. Not my style, I enjoy monogamy- it can be a challenge- but I like that. And it's just generally sweet to be with that one person for the rest of your life.
I'm not a guy- but I am visually turned on like most guys. I would say for a man to deal with this dilemma- just fantasize. And honestly- fantasizing can be more enjoyable because you are with someone you are comfortable with- there are no insecurities/inhibitions.. just close your eyes and pretend. Wives do it too ;)

2
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:07 PM

Do you know, as a gay man, beautiful women are - FRIENDS! So the problem doesn't arise (pun intended).

But I DO think monogamy is probably post neolithic - ownership of land, farm animals etc meant property to leave. And who would you want to leave it to but your own progeny? (or a cats home!!! - which I totally disapprove of).

Pre ownership of land would surely mean sharing - a large animal, a find of fruit, and probably sex too?

2
2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on June 18, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I'll be honest, this post does NOT surprise me, I believe men, from an evolutionary perspective, would have "sown their seeds" in as many ladies as possible to ensure gene survival. However I believe women would have had an invested interest in remaining with one man because of the protection/providing, also statistically, a man is FAR more likely to harm another man's child than his own and I'm pretty sure that statistic would be true of our hunter gatherer ancestors. Now we obviously have the moral dilemma (or you males do I should say) as you maybe fall in love with someone you then don't want to betray or upset or potentially ruin your family unit (if you have one) So generally I think (most) men are in a constant battle between their penis and their desire not to hurt the one they "love" what ever that really is.

1
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on June 18, 2011
at 07:50 PM

Social monogamy is natural to the human animal. Sometimes that correlates with sexual monogamy among individual couples. True sexual monogamy isn't found in any but a tiny handful of species (we are not one of them).

There's never been a time when the modern human species acted like chimpanzees or bonobos IMO. Our males are intelligent, very invested in their young, and they need to be reasonably certain the children they care for are their own. However there's a big advantage for women to cheat on their husband if they are a loser, and have their babies with a higher-quality man. Men benefit as well if they can get some extra-pair copulation in and spread their seed beyond their wife/wives (while another man does the parenting).

All of these feelings and proclivities are completely natural and as old as our species. They are seen in all cultures. Women want the best babies, men want more babies (but also want to invest in the children they know are their own). Thankfully we have individual choice and ability to reason through and overcome these tendencies as necessary.

0
34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on June 18, 2011
at 08:21 PM

I think the urge was always there, but not easily acted on outside of civilized times. You know that nervousness most men feel when they approach a strange female? I think that is the very real feeling that this is exactly the sort of thing that could have gotten a man killed by an angry mate or family member of the female in the past.

Here is an excerpt from, "Human natures: genes, cultures, and the human prospect By Paul R. Ehrlich":

"...disputes occur frequently in contemporary HG societies, and especially when men compete for women... one Copper Eskimo group of fifteen families, every adult male had been involved in a homicide. Muder among the !Kung bushmen... were 20-80x higher...[and other examples]...little reason to doubt that such levels of violence also occurred widely in prehistoric HG societies."

I think the reason some men's instinct to chase women is so strong is because it may have been the only way to overcome their fear and pass on their genes. Probably also why many women like confidence, it would take a pretty confident man to successfully mate with the most women. I know in salmon there are a lot of precocious males that will try to "sneak in" and mate with fertile females quickly to avoid having to "win" the females in competition with larger males. Makes me think of a lot of promiscuous friends I have with "little man" complexes.

0
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on June 18, 2011
at 08:09 PM

I imagine, actually that polygamy would have come along with agriculture. It would benefit a man to have more women and children to work the farm. Pre-agricultural man would have been more content with one woman and their offspring to hunt for...imagine Grok having to keep several women with their several children each safely sheltered and fed...that seems pretty clearly agriculturaly born to me.

0
32d2f8a41a121608d07aa68aa17991c7

(597)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:59 PM

This question should start, "I never believed those letters to Paleo Hacks were true. . ." A bit gratuitous and silly.

Anyway, it's the paradox of being a "social animal," isn't it? It isn't just men, it is probably (in my experience, anyway) everyone at one time or another. Maybe monogamy isn't a good choice for people who don't want to choose it? In either case, using history to justify behavior in the modern era is as silly as using biological arguments to do the same. We make agreements and hopefully we honor them even when we don't want to. When the agreement doesn't serve you anymore you move on.

0
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on June 18, 2011
at 07:56 PM

Find a woman who satisfies both and there is no problem. Who cares what happened in the past?

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