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The Misconception on the Issues and Controversies Surrounding Polygamy

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Have you ever pondered the thought of having more then one spouse? Or being married to a few women or a few men at one time? Your children having a few mothers or a few fathers? This is called polygamy and seems to remain one of the last taboos. Polygamy should be legalized because it caters to our natural sexuality, benefits natural selection, and brings regulation.

Polygamy is where a person has more then one spouse at one time. There are 3 types of polygamy. The first and most common form is polygyny, where a man is married to more then one woman at the same time. Polyandry is the opposite, where a woman has more then one husband. Then there is group marriage where multiple men are married to multiple women. It became illegal in 1862 when congress passed the Morril Act, which prohibited plural marriages (Polygamy). Despite this act, 30,000 to 100,000 people in the U.S still practice this lifestyle (Duncan, 1).

Many people say that polygamy is an outdated practice and has no place in modern civilization. The Republican Party went as far as labeling the practice the “twin relics of barbarism” (Polygamy). When speaking about polygamy people automatically think of women’s rights, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints, or young girls being forced into marriage. All of this is because of a bad connotation and absence of regulation. Many Americans and others around the world practice safe, healthy, loving polygamous relationships.

Most consider monogamy to be our natural tendency and polygamy to be an expression of lust and immoral behavior. However, the truth seems to be the very opposite. Monogamy is as new as agriculture, which arose 10,000 years ago and modern human beings have been around for about 200,000 years. Our ancestors in prehistory practiced group marriage. Everyone in the tribe was married to everyone, and no one was sexually confined to one person (Ryan & Cacilda). This doesn’t mean that they slept with anyone and everyone, but everyone in the tribe had a relationship with one another. Everyone also helped with raising the children, so every child had more then enough love and nurturing. Polygamy is actually how we started… naturally. Not only was it practiced in prehistory but is also practiced around the world today. The Musuo have practiced matrilineal polyandry since the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD). With survey data, polyandrous marriage is associated with higher fertility then patriarchy (Zhang).

Polygamy also benefits natural selection by creating sperm competition. A monogamous relationship where a woman only has sex with one man completely eliminates sperm competition. If a woman has sex with multiple partners within a short time period, only the best sperm will win (Ryan & Cacilda). A 2007 research investigated sperm samples from humans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and rhesus macaques. The human sperm travels at 0.2 km/ hour, chimpanzees and macaques had a speed of 0.7 km/hour and the gorilla’s speed was only 0.1 km/ hour (Anitei). This points to humans being mildly polygynous. In another study, phalluses made molds of human penises remove sperm-like substances from an artificial vagina (Anitei). This means that the penis developed its shape to possibly remove its “competition”. Many women also report that men thrust more deeply and quickly after signs of infidelity, an act researchers think is directed toward sperm removal (Anitei). (By reading the book “Sex at Dawn”, you will also see that it is natural to our body’s anatomy.)

If the science and the history don’t convince you, then maybe justice will. Many argue that polygamy is immoral and leads to underage marriage, rape, incest, abuse, and welfare fraud. These things do happen in polygamist’s societies, yet they do happen everywhere else. Also, because it is illegal, many victims are forced to practice it underground and have a fear of reporting to law enforcement. This is because they are fearful of their families being torn apart, which leads to leaders taking advantage of their communities. With legalization, polygamous marriage can be regulated and kept safe. It would also allow the mistreated to trust their government to take care of them and get justice. For example, many women are forced to take their children and run for the rest of their lives and live in fear. If it were to be legalized, these women could report what was done, and live their lives without running.

Polygamy isn’t evil and is just associated with a bad connotation. If the U.S were to open their minds, they might find that this practice isn’t at all bad and supports high family values. Polygamy caters to our natural sexual tendencies, benefits the evolution of the next generation, and brings regulation and justice to those that might be victims of the downsides of this practice.

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