16

votes

Touch, sex & monogamy in paleo/hunter gatherer societies

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM

My understanding of some neuro-psychological features of humanity, lead me to believe that mankind is currently deprived of activities like touch, including maternal and non sexual touch, orgasm, trust relationships and general affection. Based on what I know of the mind, and am theorising, I believe that this behaviour would improved mood, peacefulness, sociability, trust between people and general psychological profile.

I have heard academics also suggest that modern aggression, and violence is connected directly to sexual taboo, and a lack of non-sexual touch. Basic sensory deprivation has been shown to increase violence in some.

Here John Prescot argues:

"I believe that the deprivation of body touch, contact, and movement are the basic causes of a number of emotional disturbances which include depressive and autistic behaviors, hyperactivity, sexual aberration, drug abuse, violence, and aggression."

"Human societies differ greatly in their treatment of infants. In some cultures, parents lavish physical affection on infants, while in others the parents physically punish their infants. A study of anthropological data by the author [2] found that those societies which give their infants the greatest amount of physical affection have less theft and violence among adults, thus supporting the theory that deprivation of bodily pleasure during infancy is significantly linked to a high rate of crime and violence."

http://www.violence.de/prescott/bulletin/article.html

Social monogamy appears to be pretty uncommon in modern hunter gatherer societies. Theres some genetic evidence that monogamy started around the same time as agriculture.

Certainly touch taboo, as in non-sexual touch, that we have in modern society, seems extremely unlikely, especially given that most early societies, even post agricultural ones celebrated sex as sacred.

For example, the egyptians used to have public sexual enactments, as part of their religon. This evidence for sacred regard of sex goes pretty far back.

So unlike today, there would have been no cultural impetus not to touch, for fear of it being regarded as sexual, as thus taboo.

If a grok hugged another fellow grok, its doubtful he would have avoided genital to genital contact, for fear of it being considered a come on, like modern huggers do.

Moreover, most probably, if a mother, parent, or elder hugged a child, there would have been no modernised fear of pedophilia, or other social judgements, because of this lack of taboo.

Basically did stone age people touch, have sex more, and were they polygymous?

And what is the neurochemical, psychological, and physiological implications of not living that way?

Does anyone have any interesting studies?

(Or just thoughts on these ideas)

Its somewhat academic, because the society we live in, is the society we live in, but at the same time, its something id like to give some thought. Social dynamics are a reasonably big part of being a human being, and those social dynamics are not guided by how we live now, but how we have evolved.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on October 04, 2012
at 02:51 AM

ps. polyamory is pretty darn complex, swinging/monogamish is an easier transition...

06894589e5710456ed32c2cd10891c05

(260)

on June 22, 2012
at 02:13 AM

Let's get everyone into bed first, and then we'll focus on the important stuff. Being comfortable with your sexuality and who you are allows others to submit to situations where the touch and intimacy can occur. Very few people are even comfortable enough to let one of those things happen, let alone both. At least we can root for the people getting half of what they need.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on June 14, 2012
at 01:24 AM

I don't disagree with you. With land use comes the need to control land and safeguard property owning. Argriculture would be the reason, religion the means. IMO, of course. And thanks. :)

D45e43b08cd99a04f5d4294a871e1078

(1010)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:41 PM

oh cmon, can't blame us guys, ur hot!

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:09 PM

I would argue that religion wasn't the motivator for seeing people as property, but agriculture. Then religion blossomed around it as justification to reinforce it. There is a part of me that wishes Western civilization hadn't messed up relationship arrangements, but I'm also not interested in bucking societal expectations in that way. Kudos to you for finding something that works for you.

98d720a6522ba165e3e13e7cc69572da

(30)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:31 PM

(@Amy B.) Being the lurker that I am, I had to recover my account to leave this comment but I was compelled to mention that I often find myself in the same situation you described in your last comment. Sometimes I don't even read; instead I just do some people-watching.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on June 13, 2012
at 03:39 PM

My bf and I are really open. We can have whatever type of other relationships we would want, either just sexual or very romantically serious. We work very hard at making sure homelife is very secure, especially for my daughter, who is special needs. I approach other relationships as I always have, by just trying to let them be what they will be. Some people do practice polyfidelity, but it's not our choice. There are many different approaches, you're right.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 13, 2012
at 01:28 PM

I've been thinking alot about it. I used to love living in the city and I miss it. But in truth, I think what I miss more is the "tribe" of 10 or so people who existed while I was in grad school (when I was in the city). I think I was meant to have some number of close friends. So, I'm surrounded by tons of weak-link type friends while exile in suburbia has led to fewer friends whom I see on a daily basis. I also think that the facebook culture makes us lonelier because we have more distant friends and less close friends. I get the same as you, sometimes I need to be out in the world.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 01:22 PM

Thanks, Treees. You're so right: sometimes I never feel more alone than when I'm surrounded by people. The funny thing is, I'm a HUGE INTROVERT, so most of the time, I *prefer* to be by myself. But when the mood strikes and I *want* company but for whatever reason can't find any, the loneliness makes me jumpy...almost like I want to crawl out of my skin. (Times like that I take a book to a coffee shop or something. I might not be *interacting* with anyone directly, but at least I'm out there in the world instead of holed up in the house, alone.)

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 13, 2012
at 12:24 PM

A key challenge is that as a guy, there is a constant risk that a touch is perceived as sexual, even if it is not.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 13, 2012
at 12:14 PM

What you're describing sounds so much like the relationship many people have with their dogs. Nobody bats an eye that you cuddle, they hop in your bed and you wake up next to them. It seems we all seek what you're describing without realizing we are doing so.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 13, 2012
at 12:10 PM

I know I'm a broken record, and I think I responded to you before. But, our society is so good at imposing "alone crowds". We are socially isolated and yet the shear number of people crowding us is also overwhelming. We crave real bond and instead we have masses of strangers.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:07 AM

That seems very healthy. One of my reasons for this reflection is that most mammals, especially social ones tend to sleep in "piles", whether they are related or not. Its of course even more common with familes with young. I have a few experiences of adult non-sexual cuddling while sleeping, and it seemed weird at first, but then very natural, albiet a rare experience.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:03 AM

" in india adult males can hold hands because they are friends. this would be considered ghey in the west. also men dance with other men to assert their masculinity, have a good time, and its normal." That would be so refreshing!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:02 AM

Regardless of monogamy etc, definately we are more sexually reserved, I agree. Interesting thought on the monkeysphere etc. We learnt similar things in psychology, about how we are mentally primed for smaller groups - thats why we cling to celebrity, because its a smaller group. I am curious about how you practice this. Do you have a seperation between love and sex, or do you still primarily cultivate relationships with emotional affection? Do you practice polyfidelity, or would you? My breif reading suggests that there are many different approaches, I myself dont know much about it...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:55 AM

I think this is really huge. Innocent people touch each other, whether they be children or whatever. Its only when we become socialised we stop doing it. I think I am going to make a concious point of non-sexual touching more, as I can.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:52 AM

Thanks for this. I have read some reviews on the book, and now am very interested in reading it.

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3

(837)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:45 AM

raney Exactly! I believe we are not as much sex starved, as we are, touch (oxytocin) starved. For many, the only extended touch they get is from sex/hookups.

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3

(837)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:30 AM

What about polyamory? Polygamy tends to mean one man, many women, which is not very egalitarian.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:19 AM

I also am in a relationship where we silently agreed that it's "okay" to be physically close to other people- I'm "allowed" to dance however I want with whoever, I'm "trusted" to let guy friends sleep in my bed when my boyfriend isn't here, I have girl friends that I can cuddle and stay with- and my boyfriend gets the same "privileges". All in quotations, because this was never a topic we had to discuss, it's just how we operate.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 12, 2012
at 10:57 PM

I substitute taught a 2nd grade class once and the experience was similar. All these adorable children wanted to hug me and touch my hair and lead me around and hold hands. I could see why people like to have children (I never had children)--for all that unfettered touching and innocent sweetness. It is sad our culture drives that out of us.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:23 PM

Well, I know *my* world would be better! =)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:22 PM

*Sniffle.* :`) Thanks, Jamie!

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:13 PM

I had never thought about the connection between coping mechanism development and being nurtured. Wow - gives me some serious thinking to do, thank you.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 12, 2012
at 08:56 PM

My sexist pre-conception is that a male would reflexively be more receptive than a female. Whether that's genetic or societal is up for debate.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:53 PM

Agreed. It's not a coincidence that when we fall in love, the "passion" part only lives up to 2-3 years or so. Which is how long children need to get born and walk. Then, the parents go on new relationships. Sure, there are some couples that they manage to have passion for each other all their married lives, but it's rare.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:31 PM

+1 for Sex at Dawn.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:25 PM

While I don't disagree, I think it would be a much more appropriate and profound statement to say that: the earth would be a more pleasant place to live if everyone received the physical intimacy they needed to feel fulfilled and loved. Both are certainly important, but if the only physical intimacy one receives is sexual, something deep will be missing.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:51 PM

Makes me want to give you a hug! :( (In a non-sexual way, of course lol...) Hope you get your hug soon...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:50 PM

Makes me want to give you a hug! :( (In a non-sexual way, of course lol...)

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:47 PM

Diane: been here. I'm not sure if this is your choice for personal space or just circumstance, but one of the hardest and most rewarding things I've done is learn to hug friends. Star by shaking hands when meeting strangers, build up by hugging your best friends when you see them (when you meet and part). It does make a difference.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:43 PM

Agreed, Sol. I think they've done experiments along those lines -- that infants who are held more thrive a little better. There's also something to do with the way the stress coping mechanisms develop, too, when a baby has no maternal contact vs a lot. (A "nurturing or comforting" environment, vs one where the infant feels like he's on his own can have significant effects on health later in life. Robert Sapolsky talks about this in the book *Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers.* Fascinating stuff.

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12 Answers

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17
35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on June 12, 2012
at 01:10 PM

It's clear to me that touch (sexual and non-sexual) is very very important for emotional well-being. I very much value touch.

When I was a student at Stanford many years ago the Stanford Medical Center had a program where volunteers would come into the hospital to hold premature infants whose parents couldn't be there to hold them or who needed breaks. I've read (don't recall where) that infants who aren't held don't thrive.

On a slightly related note, I volunteer in hospice. In particular, I sit with clients who are actively dying. When it feels right I will hold the client's hand during my vigil shifts. Even in death, I believe that the comforting value of touch is really important.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:43 PM

Agreed, Sol. I think they've done experiments along those lines -- that infants who are held more thrive a little better. There's also something to do with the way the stress coping mechanisms develop, too, when a baby has no maternal contact vs a lot. (A "nurturing or comforting" environment, vs one where the infant feels like he's on his own can have significant effects on health later in life. Robert Sapolsky talks about this in the book *Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers.* Fascinating stuff.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:13 PM

I had never thought about the connection between coping mechanism development and being nurtured. Wow - gives me some serious thinking to do, thank you.

10
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:37 PM

Take it from someone who's been alone and somewhat socially isolated for far too long:

We cannot deny the importance of human touch. Be it sex, caressing, massaging, hugging, or just hand-holding. Just some expression of, "Hey, I'm here. I'm with you. We're not in this alone."

I don't think people were meant to be islands. I love (and NEED) personal space as much as anyone (don't like crowded buses/trains, etc), but when you go as long as I have without a long, strong, warm, deep, loving HUG, something inside starts to wither.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:50 PM

Makes me want to give you a hug! :( (In a non-sexual way, of course lol...)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:22 PM

*Sniffle.* :`) Thanks, Jamie!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 13, 2012
at 01:22 PM

Thanks, Treees. You're so right: sometimes I never feel more alone than when I'm surrounded by people. The funny thing is, I'm a HUGE INTROVERT, so most of the time, I *prefer* to be by myself. But when the mood strikes and I *want* company but for whatever reason can't find any, the loneliness makes me jumpy...almost like I want to crawl out of my skin. (Times like that I take a book to a coffee shop or something. I might not be *interacting* with anyone directly, but at least I'm out there in the world instead of holed up in the house, alone.)

98d720a6522ba165e3e13e7cc69572da

(30)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:31 PM

(@Amy B.) Being the lurker that I am, I had to recover my account to leave this comment but I was compelled to mention that I often find myself in the same situation you described in your last comment. Sometimes I don't even read; instead I just do some people-watching.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 13, 2012
at 01:28 PM

I've been thinking alot about it. I used to love living in the city and I miss it. But in truth, I think what I miss more is the "tribe" of 10 or so people who existed while I was in grad school (when I was in the city). I think I was meant to have some number of close friends. So, I'm surrounded by tons of weak-link type friends while exile in suburbia has led to fewer friends whom I see on a daily basis. I also think that the facebook culture makes us lonelier because we have more distant friends and less close friends. I get the same as you, sometimes I need to be out in the world.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:51 PM

Makes me want to give you a hug! :( (In a non-sexual way, of course lol...) Hope you get your hug soon...

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 13, 2012
at 12:10 PM

I know I'm a broken record, and I think I responded to you before. But, our society is so good at imposing "alone crowds". We are socially isolated and yet the shear number of people crowding us is also overwhelming. We crave real bond and instead we have masses of strangers.

9
Cd717290eb43a6e17061f9920deed977

on June 12, 2012
at 02:58 PM

It's been a long time since my anthropology days, but my impression from reading ethnographies of hunter gatherer societies is that the norm was serial monogamy. Long-term monogamy was rare, as was "cheating."

Serial monogamy was not a problem for the kids involved because they are living all together in a small community, so the kids have access to all the adults, even if their parents are no longer a couple. They also have access to their other relatives, so they have lots of sources of affection, as does everyone.

It seems like a much more humane way to live, especially for the children.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:53 PM

Agreed. It's not a coincidence that when we fall in love, the "passion" part only lives up to 2-3 years or so. Which is how long children need to get born and walk. Then, the parents go on new relationships. Sure, there are some couples that they manage to have passion for each other all their married lives, but it's rare.

6
06894589e5710456ed32c2cd10891c05

(260)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:01 PM

All I know is this earth would be a more pleasant place to live if everyone got laid more often.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:23 PM

Well, I know *my* world would be better! =)

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3

(837)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:45 AM

raney Exactly! I believe we are not as much sex starved, as we are, touch (oxytocin) starved. For many, the only extended touch they get is from sex/hookups.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:25 PM

While I don't disagree, I think it would be a much more appropriate and profound statement to say that: the earth would be a more pleasant place to live if everyone received the physical intimacy they needed to feel fulfilled and loved. Both are certainly important, but if the only physical intimacy one receives is sexual, something deep will be missing.

06894589e5710456ed32c2cd10891c05

(260)

on June 22, 2012
at 02:13 AM

Let's get everyone into bed first, and then we'll focus on the important stuff. Being comfortable with your sexuality and who you are allows others to submit to situations where the touch and intimacy can occur. Very few people are even comfortable enough to let one of those things happen, let alone both. At least we can root for the people getting half of what they need.

6
F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:29 PM

Nobody touches me unless it is sexual and that really bothers me a lot. Since all touch seems to have a goal, I cringe when I am touched. You may have something there.

D45e43b08cd99a04f5d4294a871e1078

(1010)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:41 PM

oh cmon, can't blame us guys, ur hot!

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:47 PM

Diane: been here. I'm not sure if this is your choice for personal space or just circumstance, but one of the hardest and most rewarding things I've done is learn to hug friends. Star by shaking hands when meeting strangers, build up by hugging your best friends when you see them (when you meet and part). It does make a difference.

5
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:15 AM

I put this in another answer, but I feel like it's relevant to the conversation about the importance of non-sexual touch:

I did a huge term-project on the placebo effect, and found that a lot of treatments that shouldn't necessarily have a strong physiological effect would have a really massive one the more the practitioner touched and manipulated the bodies of the patients. I think it is really important, and I know that when my boyfriend goes fishing and we are apart for a long time I start to physically contact friends and family way more- more hugging, more leaning on them, just looking for some contact. I have one really good buddy that was going through a rough time last year during fishing season, and we decided to share a bed (with no sexual connotation, he is homosexual and we weren't looking for that kind of contact) and we both just felt so much better waking up next to each other and being able to hug each other whenever.

Whenever a friend or family member is widowed my mother always brings gift certificates for massage along with a whole bunch of food, because she always says they'll need it when they're ready. I think after working in the hospital for her whole life, she sees how important being able to hold someone's hand or rub someone's back and shoulders is. She used to bring us to the hospital sometimes on her day off and we would give some of the elderly widowed ladies manicures, pedicures, food massages, and hand massages, and it always made them tear up they were so happy. Some of them hadn't been touched, except to be shuttled to different hospital rooms or poked at by doctors, in ages.

I think self massage is really great for staying in contact with yourself, but saving up for some massages (you can go to massage schools for a deal too) would be a great way of getting some human contact.

For more Paleo Diet hacks: The Role and Importance of Touch - PaleoHacks.com http://paleohacks.com/questions/110813/the-role-and-importance-of-touch#ixzz1xdFuVnjm

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:19 AM

I also am in a relationship where we silently agreed that it's "okay" to be physically close to other people- I'm "allowed" to dance however I want with whoever, I'm "trusted" to let guy friends sleep in my bed when my boyfriend isn't here, I have girl friends that I can cuddle and stay with- and my boyfriend gets the same "privileges". All in quotations, because this was never a topic we had to discuss, it's just how we operate.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:07 AM

That seems very healthy. One of my reasons for this reflection is that most mammals, especially social ones tend to sleep in "piles", whether they are related or not. Its of course even more common with familes with young. I have a few experiences of adult non-sexual cuddling while sleeping, and it seemed weird at first, but then very natural, albiet a rare experience.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 13, 2012
at 12:14 PM

What you're describing sounds so much like the relationship many people have with their dogs. Nobody bats an eye that you cuddle, they hop in your bed and you wake up next to them. It seems we all seek what you're describing without realizing we are doing so.

5
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on June 12, 2012
at 04:12 PM

I'm poly now, and yes, I do consider it a natural state. Some of the other comments suggest that it's somehow hard on the children, but I'd like to point out that not being mono doesn't mean, necessarily, having a sexual free for all, where a ton of babies are produced, no one knows whose they are, and fathers are somehow not allowed to participate in child-raising. I don't know any poly women, personally, who are that dim.

Many cultures have practiced various forms of non-monogamy, and it has it's good points and bad, just like monogamy.

But, to answer your question, I do think they led more sexually free lives, and that most of our sexual reservedness comes from the imposition of religious doctrines, and the subsequent viewing of women and children as property. However, I also think that most people view the more recent past (the last few hundred years) as much more sexually restricted than it was. If there is a common factor that cuts across time and culture, it's that we are gluttons for a variety of appetites. Personally, I don't make any moral assumptions about that, beyond the fact that I think coercion is wrong.

I think the "neurochemical, psychological, and physiological implications" are that we're more clannish and less open than we need to be. Although, things like the "Monkey brain sphere" or Dunbar's number (they're the same thing) may be a cause or effect of that, I don't know.

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2012/06/10/what-is-dunbars-number/

http://www.thenewjournalist.co.uk/2012/02/22/multiculturalism-the-monkeysphere/

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on June 13, 2012
at 03:39 PM

My bf and I are really open. We can have whatever type of other relationships we would want, either just sexual or very romantically serious. We work very hard at making sure homelife is very secure, especially for my daughter, who is special needs. I approach other relationships as I always have, by just trying to let them be what they will be. Some people do practice polyfidelity, but it's not our choice. There are many different approaches, you're right.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on June 14, 2012
at 01:24 AM

I don't disagree with you. With land use comes the need to control land and safeguard property owning. Argriculture would be the reason, religion the means. IMO, of course. And thanks. :)

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:02 AM

Regardless of monogamy etc, definately we are more sexually reserved, I agree. Interesting thought on the monkeysphere etc. We learnt similar things in psychology, about how we are mentally primed for smaller groups - thats why we cling to celebrity, because its a smaller group. I am curious about how you practice this. Do you have a seperation between love and sex, or do you still primarily cultivate relationships with emotional affection? Do you practice polyfidelity, or would you? My breif reading suggests that there are many different approaches, I myself dont know much about it...

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:09 PM

I would argue that religion wasn't the motivator for seeing people as property, but agriculture. Then religion blossomed around it as justification to reinforce it. There is a part of me that wishes Western civilization hadn't messed up relationship arrangements, but I'm also not interested in bucking societal expectations in that way. Kudos to you for finding something that works for you.

4
Cf599755619b0588e5e6ed4cb5cef50d

on June 12, 2012
at 06:17 PM

Read "Sex at Dawn," a fascinating evolutionary history, about why we did not evolve to be monogamous creatures. I'm now reading "Ethical Slut," which is about how to bring polyamory into your life. However, the boyfriend is not as interested in it as me :-(

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 13, 2012
at 05:52 AM

Thanks for this. I have read some reviews on the book, and now am very interested in reading it.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:31 PM

+1 for Sex at Dawn.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 12, 2012
at 08:56 PM

My sexist pre-conception is that a male would reflexively be more receptive than a female. Whether that's genetic or societal is up for debate.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on October 04, 2012
at 02:51 AM

ps. polyamory is pretty darn complex, swinging/monogamish is an easier transition...

3
Afc0b8e755ac7cdde6b517fdadb50026

(778)

on June 12, 2012
at 02:35 PM

im not in favour of living in a matriarchy where the kids live with the mom and the dads dont know which one is theirs if any at all. theres enough broken single parent households and weve seen studies on kids not thriving without their father etc.

id rather know which kids are mine and live with them while being a good adult figure in the lives of any kids that i do come across.

monogamy is better than polygny polygamy etc.

as for touch. in india adult males can hold hands because they are friends. this would be considered ghey in the west. also men dance with other men to assert their masculinity, have a good time, and its normal.

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3

(837)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:30 AM

What about polyamory? Polygamy tends to mean one man, many women, which is not very egalitarian.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 13, 2012
at 06:03 AM

" in india adult males can hold hands because they are friends. this would be considered ghey in the west. also men dance with other men to assert their masculinity, have a good time, and its normal." That would be so refreshing!

3
3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

on June 12, 2012
at 01:23 PM

I cannot speculate about paleolithic monogamy, many early neotlithic civilizations were not monogamous, perhaps a trait carried over from their past? Anyways, I think the need for two parents is very natural, since the mother and father both fulfilled different roles in a famile. The mother was the caregiver and nurturer, and the father was the hunter and protector. That being said, if you look at some species of dolphins, the females mate regularly with many males out of the family group or pack, this way the males do not know which offspring is theirs, so they protect them all. Not quite an answer, but a thought.

1
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on June 13, 2012
at 04:04 PM

In the 90s someone came out with a book similar to Sex at Dawn. Something about women being rather promiscuous- the author imagined these sperm wars going on. The one sentence refutation was that human sperm looks a lot like the sperm from primate species where the females are monogamous. The promiscuous chimps have powerful swimmers, while the monogamous appear to have more room for error. So, when Sex at Dawn got so much play, well, it is a testament to the fact we like fantasy more than non-fiction. Here in our late modernity, there are a lot of ways to minimize the dangers of being promiscuous- taboos against certain practices almost certainly rose up in the paleolithic precisely because avoiding behaviors that led to injury and death were the only way to avoid injury and death. They didn't have our technology, nor did they have our provincial views about sex, identity, etc... Nor did they have a government willing to play daddy, or extract money from someone else.

As to non-sexual touch, there was undoubtedly a lot more of it.

0
4fe25b94900fa181297eeddbf8410a81

on August 07, 2013
at 08:08 AM

Sex at Dawn's thesis is that sex was a free-for-all among the hunter-gatherer clan. They note that the human female often emits coital cries, which would attract the men in the group to a lady in the mood for love. She is multi-orgasmic, whereas the human male tends to go to sleep after one shot. The human penis has a unique coronal ridge which is a rather efficient tool for scooping out previous deposits of semen during intercourse.

The clan is completely communal in matters of food. Everything is shared. They have no concept of private property. So why would one person belong to another rather than to the beloved group? In some current non-monogamous tribes, children are thought to take traits from the various men whom the woman had mated with. "I got it on with Tom for his good looks, Dick for his strength, and Harry for his sweet disposition!"

Having participated in Sexual Freedom League parties, I can testify to the feeling of comradeship among the fellows taking their turn with a lady who enjoys "pulling a train". No jealousy. And the previous activity turns you on. There is a lot of gratitude and friendship for the lady who is sharing herself. One wouldn't think of denigrating her for her generosity. Sex in such a setting promotes clan bonding, not pair bonding.

Humans seem designed to have their sexual competition withing the vaginal tract. Studies are showing that the various spurts of an ejaculation have various compositions to favor the sperm being deposited over that to follow or which preceded it.

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