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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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. 

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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!

Oops! I Read the Comments Section When a Dating Blogger Mentioned an Open Relationship

Am I fooling myself thinking society accepts non-monogamy?

So of course, just when I think people are starting to come around to the acceptance of non-monogamy, I go ahead and read a few words of “wisdom” from the real world.  Ugh!

Let me preface this by saying proudly that I am exuberant over the love, support and acceptance I have found in my real life, and my social media world, look at this amazing sex positive community for example.  I have worked hard to surround myself with educated and loving people, with whom I respect even at moments of disagreement and with whom I have convinced myself that they show the same respect for mine.  But in the last few weeks, I have seen something that takes me back to a time before I found this incredible community and it’s heartbreaking.

There is a dating blogger who is sharing her story about being in her first open relationship (the specifics about committing to this or trying to run away screaming are not really relevant here).  So, I will simply summarize by saying she is sleeping with a man who is polyamorous and engaged to another women, and whatever her actual motivations are, she is sharing this experience on her blog.  And as such, I have been reading and following along, with a bit of nostalgia, going back to when I first met E, and all the ups and downs that I experienced learning about non-monogamy for the first time.  And that was all well and good, up until I saw her comment section explode and I made the horrific mistake of reading a few opinions on the matter.

The majority of the male comments reflect the notion that this guy is a creep and manipulating the dating blogger for sex.  This sentiment is echoed by the female majority saying things like, “run now”, or “I’ve been down this road and it only leads to heartache”, and “why are you wasting your time on someone who could never love you?”.  All in all, it is doom, gloom, judgement and criticism from a monogamous side of the world that I don’t often see. 

How is this possible, you may be asking yourself, given the content of your blog?  Honestly?  I’m not 100 percent sure, so if you want to weigh in on this, please be my guest (in the comment section would be lovely!).  What I do know is that my blog didn’t evolve to non-monogamy, and thus I have never captured this broader monogamous audience.  I have been very open and honest right from the get go about what content lies within.  And whenever I write something controversial, I try to do my research ahead of time, and aim to present a balance of ideas whenever possible.  Again, this really is a point that you, dear readers are welcome to share your rational for coming back week after week.

But back to the comment section of this particular blogger.  You see, she is doing something incredibly tricky, which is to explain a situation to an unwilling audience, and that is what directly challenges their core beliefs about the evils of non-monogamy.  It is so easy to use words like cheater, manipulator and user.  So much so, that I believe if this guy ever found out about her blog, he would end things immediately.  Some perceptions you just cannot come back from regardless of your intentions.  So I sit here, reading comments and feeling heartbreak and shame that this is the world that open, polyamorous and swingers really fear.  This judgemental, and hate filled place, shouting uneducated opinions and all manor of unsympathetic close-minded views really exists.  For you see, this is a place were logic fails, and fear takes over.  This is the black hole of the social media internet that all writers and bloggers fear.  This is the place where your level-headed sanity begins to question things and your resolve wanes in the face of public opinion.

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I want to tell myself that I should never read the comments.  But the reality is that I needed that reminder that the world is not as advanced as I have been leading myself to believe.  My readers are amazing.  My supporters are wonderful.  But there is an entire world out there that is going to judge first and ask questions never.  When I finish writing my first book, this is the world I will be facing.  This is the place I need to be aware exists and this is the land I need to learn to rise above. 

In the meantime, thank you for reading, supporting and doing what you can to build the sex positive community.  I need people like you and I hope on some level you need me too!

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Ways I “O”, Being a Female

False sex educators and the truth about female orgasms.

If you follow me on Twitter then you most likely have seen the interactions I have had over the last few months with a little account run by Jane.  If not, here is a quick rundown.  Jane likes to self promote herself as a sex educator and brags that she has over 20 years investigating everything to do with the female orgasm.  She has no education in the field, instead she is financially so well off that she does this as a passion project and won’t let silly things like science get in her way.  She constantly does shout-outs pleading with any women who orgasms to reach out, and talk to her about them, because according to her “women are terrified when talking about orgasms” “and only orgasm as part of the male fantasy”.   When I started following her she had an impressive 208K following count, was asking lots of questions and seemed to be fairly responsive.  I love reading anything to do with sex, and a women doing research on orgasms seemed like a really cool account to follow. 

But then, it got a little weird.  I remember reading one of her little quips which stated that a woman cannot orgasm through her cervix because it was not a sex stimulator and any women who claims to do so does not actually know what on orgasm is.  Hmm… Well that just doesn’t seem right.  And with a few internet searches of actual scientific research I found that this is not factually based. Phew, my body is not wrong according to science and I do know what an orgasm is.  So, I did my due diligence and wrote to her about my own experience with being multi-orgasmic and a few links to the research I had just done.  And very swiftly she removed herself as a follower of mine and I moved on with my life… until late last year when her name popped up again.

So I went onto her feed looking for information on any recent research she had about orgasms. One of my early posts on Quality versus Quantity of my own orgasms is a piece that I always wanted to expand a on, so I will be honest, I just filtered her many posts looking primarily for orgasm research.  But what I found instead was alarming.  She mentioned that women only get turned on by fantasy and erotica, and that physical stimulation is not a real orgasm in women.  She went onto say that vibrators were an invention of the sex industry to help women fake orgasm and what a female achieves with one is not authentic.  After being horrified for a few moments, I went on a quick, then filed her under the, “must be a troll” category and tried to get on with my life. 

But honestly, with that many followers and so many mutual sex positive friends in common, I began to doubt.  Why would all these people be following her too?  I mean, I will be honest, when I first came across her account I questioned the validity of my own orgasms and actually did some research.  So, while a troll she may be, this was bordering on dangerous.  A self promoted sex educator who spouts things that sound click baity could actually be doing harm to those looking for help or knowledge.  And that’s when I decided to start quoting, questioning and rallying a few people to take notice.  And after a few weeks, I am very proud to say it worked.

I was blocked from her within the week of my mission.  It turns out that she doesn’t accept anyone challenging her opinions.  She believes that her ability to achieve orgasm once every two weeks makes her special and a unique individual, and therefor anyone who achieves more than that is misguided, uniformed, faking it, or just plain lying.

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Being as open as I am, I take great offence in being called a liar.  I can achieve multiple orgasms in a single session, in a wide varieties of ways including clitoral, internally (deep and… well not always so deep), and externally on various parts of the erogenous zones on my body.  I am not including this to brag, but one of her accounts key points is that women will not talk about orgasms, that we afraid, ashamed, or just don’t achieve it, so it must be a myth for the majority.  And I am hear to say loudly and proudly that each of us achieves sexual satisfaction in our own ways.  They should all be celebrated, and explored and repeated whenever possible.   So, thank you all for being part of this amazing sex positive community, and for those who interacted with her, thank you for asking questions, and sharing your own experiences.  I hear and see your words!  

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