On the same day, Kit Opie of University College London and his colleagues published a similar study on primates, which are especially monogamous — males and females bond in over a quarter of primate species. In our own lineage, however, fathers went further. She says, "I know from experience that many people learn to create the relationship and sexual lifestyles that they desire, and find a way to fit themselves into the culture while they're at it.". ", Dossie Easton, a psychotherapist and relationship counselor, told Hopes & Fears the she believes a lot of institutions profit by controlling the population towards monogamy by instilling lots of guilt and shame. To combat infertility, men began to choose only one mate. Many female mountain gorillas will mate with the same dominant male, sometimes for pleasure, sometimes, Roberto Schmidt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images, gray-handed night monkey became monogamous, to keep other females in the group from being able to get pregnant. When the STIs infiltrated the population, it decreased fertility rates among men with multiple sex partners. (Most people in these cultures are in monogamous marriages, though.). “Monogamy is a problem,” said Dieter Lukas of the University of Cambridge in a telephone news conference last week. For example, the ratio of their finger lengths is different. She talks about the different cultural standards for monogamy across the world, including the United States where she says "we are trying to figure out how to combine long-term romantic relationships with the plethora of opportunities for other forms of sexual or romantic entanglement, and different people are making different choices." Hopes & Fears asked a biologist, psychologist, and sexuality expert to figure out if humans are hardwired to just be with one person at a time. The vast majority of human societies embrace a mix of marriage types, with some people practicing monogamy and others polygamy. But are humans meant to be monogamous? Same-sex marriages acknowledge commitments that in many cases existed long before they won legal recognition. Hopes & Fears asked a biologist, psychologist, and sexuality expert to figure out if humans are hardwired to just be with one person at a time. Only 17 percent of human cultures are strictly monogamous. Given that 80 percent of early human societies were polygamous, why did later populations become largely monogamous? While we in the U.S. hold monogamy as the norm, it isn't necessarily that way in the rest of the world, starting with the Animal Kingdom where monogamy is actually very rare. Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? She says "it seems more natural for humans to want a personal harem, so each of us get to enjoy sexual variety, but insist on sexual exclusivity for our lovers, so we don't have to deal with jealousy. They live in large groups where the females mate with lots of males when they’re ovulating. Related: People Who Live in This State Have the Safest Sex. He can carry them, groom their fur and protect them from attacks. “They may have gone beyond what is normal for monogamous primates,” said Dr. Opie. In a new study, Dr. Lukas and his colleague Tim Clutton-Brock suggest that monogamy evolves when females spread out, making it hard for a male to travel around and fend off competing males. Men and women are both inclined to seek multiple sexual partners for a variety of biological reasons. “The human mating system is extremely flexible,” Bernard Chapais of the University of Montreal wrote in a recent review in Evolutionary Anthropology. He does concede, however, that complications can arise with non-monogamous relationships and lifestyles (as they can with any way of living) especially in societies that impose it as a standard. As with all things concerning the human heart, it’s complicated. Our lineage never evolved to be strictly monogamous. A study from the University of Waterloo found that prehistoric humans may have started favoring monogamy (and rejecting polygamy) thanks to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and peer pressure. He says that having one partner at a time isn't monogamy, it actually fits into the category of serial polygyny. As hunter-gatherers started settling in one place and living in larger populations, STIs like gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia were more likely to spread, according to the research. In 2011, Emma Nelson of the University of Liverpool and her colleagues looked at the finger bones of ancient hominid fossils. There are even some societies where a woman may marry several men. The hormone levels that course through monogamous primates are different from those of other species, possibly because the males aren’t in constant battle for females. According to Ryan, humans have sex hundreds of times for every baby conceived, as opposed to other animals that have a ratio closer to 12 to one. He says, "we have sex when the female isn't even ovulating—or with no female even involved!" Our own ancestors split off from the ancestors of chimpanzees about seven million years ago. Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. The extra supply of protein and calories that human children started to receive is widely considered a watershed moment in our evolution.

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