Cheaters and Monogamy

Another Chapter in my Defining Monogamy Series

Cheaters and Monogamy


In my last post, defining monogamy, I compared how lenient we are will infidelity in the animal kingdom when compared with the strict social constraints that we have within our human species.  Now for a little bit of social fun, I created this little poll:

When I asked people on twitter if they would label a person who cheats as monogamous, non-monogamous, or other, it was instantly apparent that anyone could cheat and that the label of monogamy was just not valid.  And I agree with this entirely.  The reason I asked the question was to prove something that has always bugged me, non-monogamous people often get labelled as cheaters.  You can discuss ethical non-monogamy till you’re blue in the face, but there will always be someone who says that if you cannot be faithful to one person then you are not with the right person and you should leave.  Or that non-monogamy is just an excuse to get some strange and that you really are just a cheater or unfaithful at heart.  The whole negative pushback is real, especially in the real world, which is why so many of us hide it.  There are a multitude of people who, no matter what, will call anyone who is anywhere on the non-monogamous spectrum a cheater.

And this is a huge problem for me.  As Dr. Liz Powell tweeted “People who are monogamous or non-monogamous can all cheat.  Cheating doesn’t define your relationship structure”.  And this is the rub, cheating doesn’t define your relationship structure, but if you cheat, then you are no longer monogamous.  You are outed from that exclusive club.  Well, that is what is indicated by the above poll anyways.  Again, we are so quick to shout that if you cheat then you are not monogamous.  But how many cheaters still call themselves monogamous?  I would hazard to say most do.  They don’t want to label themselves in the category of non-monogamy just because they had an indiscretion.  That would almost be more than they could handle.  They must keep working to remain monogamous, and learn to overcome the mistake that they made.

I am always fascinated by inconsistencies in our society.  And in this case, hypocrisy is king.  Is it a common held belief that to own that you may not be monogamous could be worse somehow than admitting that you cheat?  Are there that many people out there terrified of a little self-reflection?  Is it true of our society that cheating is almost an accepted action, but non-monogamy is still the big bad taboo?  That we are evil outliers who are just having rampant orgies and sullying the sanctity of our bodies by sharing them with more than one person?

Let’s be honest here, if you are reading this post you are probably an enlightened sex positive individual, and I don’t make that statement to brag about me.  Instead, I am actually trying to give you a compliment.  You have taken the time to research something that you were probably not raised to believe, and you are now thinking outside of the box when it comes to your own monogamous upbringing.  Wherever you land on the monogamous or non-monogamous spectrum is irrelevant at this point, because you have already asked the first question in regards to something most people take for granted, that everyone in our society is monogamous.

Now, to show a balanced view, I had one person mention that non-monogamous doesn’t imply cheater (thanks @justinaaverydc) but I think he is in the minority.  Yes, on my filtered, sex positive twitter, many of us understand this.  But in the real world?  Nope.  In the real world, we for some reason are lumped in with the cheaters.  And in fact, I can shout ethical non-monogamy rhetoric until I am hoarse and still will get blank looks and snide comments that I am a whore.  Or someone who is unfaithful, with disbelief that my partner would let me sleep with other people.  This is part of the reason I no longer date single men, but that is a whole other topic.

NoMoreWetSpot.com

Now at this point, I would like you to keep in mind how easy a subject like this is to talk about.  We all have first hand experience with cheaters so we can talk at length about what our society feels is the correct thing to do with them.  But I ask again, if you cheat, does that automatically make you non-monogamous?  Why would we, on that end of the spectrum have to include cheaters as part of our subset?  Is it fair that they are automatically relegated to our spectrum simply because those in monogamous land don’t have room for them?  Are cheaters by definition non-monogamous?  It’s a two- way street here.  And it brings biases out, the whole which is worse? being a cheater or being non-monogamous with such labels as philanderer, slut, easy, and the list goes on and on and on…

So, I leave you with this one question, if you have ever cheated, do you still consider yourself monogamous?  At the end of the day, it may only be your label that matters.

As usual, I have posted a few sexy, behind the scenes photo’s on my Patreon!  Enjoy!


Defining Monogamy

Cheating and Infidelity in Animals and Humans

In my last post, I asked “why are humans so strict about monogamy, and yet so flexible when it comes to animals” which if you haven’t read, please take a moment to do so here.  Perfect, now let’s get right into the heart of the matter, defining monogamy: cheating, and infidelity in animals and humans.  Cheating and infidelity are the primary culprits or indicators for the failing of monogamy, and could lead us into learning more about our human definition of the word, why it came to be, and where this will take our species moving forward.

We have all asked our selves, why do we cheat at some point or another in our lives.  In fact, I asked pointedly, Why Do Men Cheat? Our Evolution Ignored, back in 2013.  And it comes up time and time again.  We as a species, cheat.  And when we cheat, we question our monogamy.  But what if, we questioned our monogamy prior to cheating?  What if we understood our species, and need for procreation and survivability of our genetic core or at a level beyond how we were raised?  Could that information lead us to loosen our definition of monogamy to something more in line with the one we use in the animal kingdom?

Writing this, I still feel that gut reaction, that I was raised with monogamy and cheating is basically evil.  We loath the cheaters, and strive for the monogamous ideal.  But in nature, that is not the best practice for species survival.  In fact, if monogamy was as strict as it is in humans, the genetic variability would be reduced and many species would have perished.  Think of this in a pack of lions for example.  If the alpha was the only one to successfully mate with the lioness’s then only his genes would be passed down to the next pack.  Within one generation there would be 50% less genetic variability available to pass on.  That’s huge.  So, instead, the alpha tries diligently to impregnate all the females, but thankfully he’s got to sleep sometime.  And the polygamously dominated society gets an influx of genetic material from outlying lions and the few betas in the pride, pouncing quite literally on an unsuspecting lioness.  Therefore, providing one example where monogamy would just not work from a survival standpoint no matter how attractive having a harem may be.

Now perhaps you’re thinking that this example is not fair because no one believes lions are monogamous.  So let’s look at a monogamous animal grouping, the black vultures.  Here, the species practices social monogamy for the entire mating and raising of young, and actually attack any bird involved in infidelity.  But again, the key here is social monogamy, whereby the animals are only pair bonded for the duration of rearing offspring which is about 8 months.  Compare that to 18 years in humans and we have a huge problem, which almost everyone has faced in their lifetime.  How is one expected to be with only one human being for an entire 18 years, if we agreed to hold ourselves to a universal definition of monogamy?

I for one, was raised to believe this was possible.  But once I got into the real world, the likelihood of that actually happening quickly deteriorated.  Even with my first long term partner, with whom I lost my virginity, and spent nearly 9 years with, I still strayed.  I fully embraced monogamy, yet, I could not live up to the ideal standard.  And to come full circle, at that point in time, I never questioned if I was a monogamous human or not.  I wanted to be, I was raised to be, and I tried really, really hard, so I must have been monogamous right?  The evidence of course was contrary, just as it is with our animal counterparts. 

As I mentioned, straying from time to time, is part of animal behaviour and still allows the pair to be labeled socially monogamous.  Humans who stray from time to time are labelled cheaters, philanderers, and if then embrace this as part of who they are, a whole new spectrum arises called non-monogamy. So again, what if we questioned our monogamy prior to infidelity?  What would the look like?  And has there been a point in our human evolution where monogamy was not the standard definition of human bonding?  Further, how important is monogamy to the survival of the human race?

These are the questions I will continue to ask over the coming weeks.  So please stay tuned, like, share, and as always, feel free to ask your own questions via Twitter, Facebook, or in the comment section of this blog.

Want to support the blog and keep the writing coming?  Check out my Patreon page where you can see behind the scenes pictures, surveys, and get the latest news from Breaking Away From Monogamy.

Defining Monogamy:

Humans versus Animals

My take on Elmer Fudd: Defining Monogamy

One of my favorite blog posts is Something About Ducks, and the first time I thought about defining monogamy.  It was short and sweet, but meaningful because I was able to have a frank discussion about monogamy with a family member, and then get to geek out a little with some science.  So, may I present to you a comparative post discussing the definition of monogamy in humans and the animal kingdom, and how that interpretation impacts us.  Don’t worry, I won’t geek out too hard, and if you stick around until the end, you will find the link for the sexy, behind the scenes pictures I keep reserved for fans only. 

Let us start at the beginning, with the definition of monogamy thanks to our lovely friends at Wikipedia: Monogamy is a form of relationship in which an individual has only one partner during their lifetime, or only one partner at a time (serial monogamy).  And for a little fun, let’s compare to the definition of monogamy in the animal kingdom: Monogamous pairing refers to the natural history of mating systems in which species pair bond to raise offspring. 

Did you catch that?  It turns out that the very definition of monogamy is different depending on your species.  We humans, adhere to a very strict definition of monogamy, while our counterparts in the animal kingdom are a little more fluid about it.  In fact, many species are by definition monogamously pair bonded even if during the mating season one of them strays, so long as they return to continue raising their offspring.

So why are humans so strict about monogamy, and yet so flexible when it comes to animals.  Why are we OK with accepting animals doing what they do, behaving in a way that has obviously allowed them to survive, and even flourish, and yet, so critical of humans exhibiting the same behaviours?  Why are we so adamant to separate ourselves from animalistic instinct to sleep with more than one person?  Obviously we could blame many things here, religion, politicians, the battle of the sexes, and let’s not forget sexually transmitted diseases and genetic protection.  But talking about genes, can I share one more thing that I learned in my rabbit hole quest for knowledge?  That scientists are currently working to discover the neuro-molecular genes that may lead to monogamy in animals. 

Can you imagine if they find an actual mechanism that predicts or determines if a person will be able to maintain monogamy or not?  This may not just be something that people do because they were raised that way, or want to for their children, or even just by sheer force of will alone.  It might actually be deeper rooted than that, it may turn out that we have genetic indicators to determine if we are supposed to be non-monogamous or a monogamous species.  Watching researchers trace monogamy in invertebrates and seeing where we branch off, or takes turns, and then following those shifts absolutely fascinates me.  It’s one thing to trace our human origins of non-monogamy in such amazing book as Sex at Dawn, but to delve even further, into our animal counterparts and discover genetic material and our actual make-up? 

Honestly, the impacts of this make me super excited.  Mixing science, and knowledge, and a subject matter that has been my identity for what feels like a decade is just beyond… well… I think I am going to go formulate a few more posts to follow this up.  The first thing that comes to mind is the comparison between the young raising cycles of humans and animals.  And of course how this duel definition could impact our views of cheating, or infidelity.  The possibilities are endless with science at our side.  So please, if you have any suggestions you would like me to research or discuss feel free to share via Twitter or in the comments section of this blog as I would love to hear from you!

And as promised, here is the link to my behind the scenes photos… enjoy!

Cheating is Still a Gender Biased Issue

A few years ago I wrote a post aimed at women who cheat and how they give non-monogamy a bad name.  It’s something that over the years has come up time and time again, and the reason I wrote it pointing the finger at women specifically is that I feel there is a huge discrepancy between how we treat men who cheat, versus women.  And thus, I want to address this point again, but from a different angle now that I have grown a little older, wiser, and if I’m honest a little bolder with my recent life experiences.

Firstly, whenever I hear the sad news that a friend of mine has experienced cheating, the first thing I do is calmly remove myself from the situation and slowly gather information before forming any opinion.  I have learned that being Switzerland is a far more valuable place to sit than just picking sides and quickly reaching out to both parties in a quest to plant my flag on the winning side.  I am always available to listen, and provide any insights when asked, but as I have mentioned in previous posts, I do not go out of my way to seek out drama anymore.  I would rather be approached than provide my unsolicited opinions into someone else’s very complex relationship.

The next step I take, and the most important one to this post and my current gender blogging trend, is to pretend that the opposite gender is telling me the story and gauge how my reaction changes to the information (yes this is valuable in same sex couples too).   And why do I feel this is so important?  Because throughout my childhood and formative years, I bore witness to at least a dozen acts of indiscretions either through my mother, or hearing her talk with her friends about them.  And one clear thing always resulted, a witch hunt, and it was almost exclusively towards the male.  Whether the man did the cheating or not, he always seemed to deserve it somehow.  He either treated the woman badly and thus drove her away, or he was lying man-whore who should have never gotten married in the first place, or the ever common drunken mistake with the whole forgive and forget or divorce the so-and-so etc.

Growing up with this constant narrative, I began to ask myself why cheating was always exclusively blamed on the man.  And further to this, why the women always escaped unscathed even when they were the ones who very often cheated.  And this line of questioning started to expand further after having experiences of my own in the this very dicey place.  Every single time that I have come close to cheating it has been my own doing, and I would say 80 percent of the time, the man has been the one to put the brakes on.  Yes, this is full disclosure.  I was very unhappy in the latter part of my last long term relationship and I came increasingly close to cheating on numerous occasions.  And again, I repeat, I was the one who was in the drivers seat.  And what’s more, I was the one who consciously drank excessively in order to have something to blame if I got caught or needed an out.

Perhaps I am just more self aware than many people out there.  Or perhaps I just have reached a point in my life whereby I would rather be honest with myself and others than sugar coat a damn thing.  Whatever the case may be, I have not actually participated in this male witch hunt.  And that is definitely against the grain.  Yes, it takes two people to cheat.  And yes, relationships are incredibly complicated, and that only supports my theory that always blaming one side, especially the men is just wasted time, energy and makes everyone involved look even more like the assholes.  So I guess where I am at right now is that cheating is an issue for the couples themselves.  If you are going to form an opinion on someone else’ relationship, I don’t think it is too much to ask that you try and look at it from both sides first.  Cheating is a gender stereotyped issue and thus we need to ensure that we flip the narrative and judgement every once in a while, if for nothing else, than to give hope to the future generations that cheating will be discussed more fairly and judged on individual merit and not just gender sway.

I would love to hear your opinions on this, or lessons that you have learned when it comes to helping friends through indiscretions, so please leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter.

Some People Are Assholes and Give Non-Monogamy a Bad Name


As a follow up to a recent post about practicing Ethical Non-Monogamy, I feel it is only fair to mention that sometimes people are just assholes and don’t give a damn about ethics.  I like to imagine my perfect world where these people are in the minority or don’t exist at all.  However the truth is that people do exist who are looking for open relationships or non monogamy for all the wrong reasons.  If you are curious about opening up your relationship, and would like to start swinging or any other variety of monogamish, I truly hope that your positive experiences far outweigh the negative.  This is a story however of a very misguided male seeking a relationship without the word ethics in his vocabulary.
One of my non-monogamy forums that I frequent had a male user ask for advice and help with assisting his wife to open up their marriage.  This is a question I have been asked quite a few times over the years.  And there are many books, forums and resources available to help introduce non-monogamy to someone who has never heard the term.  Here however is this guys back story and why he is an asshole.  They were together for 15 plus years, had a young child and he was miserable. The problem in his words, was that he was trapped so to speak, because he had to turn down sex from a young, hot female due to his monogamous marriage.  So this guy did a bunch of research, and decided he was prepared to divorce his wife, and lose his child in order to sleep with other people.  He was willing to lose everything he had, in order to have full control over his sex life.  And he decided to call this his true nature, that he was either open or polyamorous at heart.  Let that story sink in for a moment. 
Now, here you are, looking for new partners in non-monogamy and you come across a profile for this guy.  He presents himself as a good family man, married, and with full blessings from his wife to have a little fun on the side.  What you don’t know is that he forced her to let him have some strange for fear of losing their family.  She is at home, miserable, devastated and he is out chasing tail because it is his God given right as a man to have sex with whomever he chooses.  He had a chance encounter with the notion of non monogamy and will do what it takes to prove the grass is greener on the other side.  Spoiler alert, it is NOT!  Non-monogamy is hard, and this guy does not have the communication or emotional aptitude to be successful, that is my earnest hope at any rate.

I’m sorry to say, this story is real.  A woman out there is going through this.  This man is on Tinder, and is actively seeking strange, as his family falls apart.  And if you chatted with him, you would never know.  My heart breaks for this woman, and I abhor this man.  But what does that mean for the rest of us?  Do we give up because there are bad apples out there who are abusing the system?  No, we promote ethical Non-Monogamy.  
We call out people like this.  If we are on a date with this person, we ask them if their significant other is really OK with things.  If they are not listed on each others profile, ask to meet them.  Watch this person’s reaction, and be critical in your thinking.  Protect yourself, physically and emotionally.  Everyone is entitled to make a mistake here and there, but we have a duty to be respectful of our fellow man.  To do no harm.  This arrogant man has proclaimed that he was in physical turmoil being tied down to one woman, forever.  But he made the commitment for a monogamous marriage and is now changing the rules.  This man, is an asshole.  This man is NOT the norm within the non-monogamous community, but you need to be prepared in case you meet him or chat with him.  What he is doing is selfish and cruel, and we can either be afraid of experiencing this lifestyle on the off chance that we may run into him, or we can be aware and have a plan for when we do.  Let’s work together to make this lifestyle a welcome place to be, ask questions and grow in your own sexuality.  And finally, don’t be that asshole!