I’ve been pondering various ethical, naturalistic, pragmatic, and all other kinds of questions and thoughts about relationships lately. I’ll admit to being a bit apprehensive about broaching the subject here, mostly due to how I think the subject of sex is viewed in our culture and especially since, no offense, a lot of people on this forum seem to be a bit more “mature” than I am and are bound to have more conservative opinions on the matter.
Since my skepticism set in I haven’t really settled on what I think is “acceptible” or even a status-quo for how I approach matters of relationships and sex. I think this really is an area where once you throw religion out the window, there isn’t much left in the realm of “guidelines”.
Let me be clear, I’ve searched this forum already and read all the “well whatever floats other peoples’ boats is fine” opinions various people here have expressed throughout the years. This is not what I want to discuss. I want to know YOUR opinions on what YOU think would be not only acceptible, but would be something you think YOU yourself could really do IRL without remorse, maybe even without consequence.
Tricky yes, in a public forum nonetheless, and emotionally uncomfortable, for me definitely. But, on to the gist:
I have difficulty understanding why we bother in the secular world with single-partner relationships, and especially marriage. And the effects of how it’s done currently seem severe to me. I think I understand why this mechanism developed, I was recently watching an episode of “Through the Wormhole” (I think) that touched on the subject: The premise set forward was that since human babies are pretty much useless at birth and require lots of effort to raise, it is through evolution that humans started forming pair-bonds to ensure security for the child. Fair enough. Then we skipped to Bonobo’s, one of our closest cousins, and they bonk whatever and whenever they please. They even use sex to resolve conflict and build pack bonds. They raise offspring “as a villiage”, and so on. Which you could argue is even more secure for the infant… So there are the extremes. But where would you think is the ethical place to be?
In the modern world, it’s hard for me to see why humans don’t just go that route. Single mothers and fathers are all over the place, most of whom exclusively believe in single-partner committed “secure” relationships … but it didn’t work out, and they divorce, next moment they are raising a child alone. So what was the point? It’s not like we’re fending off predators and having trouble collecting food. Single parents manage these days. It’s not easy, but even then I’ve noticed they usually find another partner quite keen on the kids and life goes on. … And the people who believe these things have “affairs”, which are supposedly extremely morally reprehensible and shameful, yet happen all the time. But why? If it happens so often surely it means we’re trying to suppress a core part of our natural instincts.
So of course I’ve been doing homework and read about homosexual parents, “Polyamorous” relationships (where some people love, have sex and raise children in small groups), stumbled on some docu’s about mormon polygamy (they all seem fine with it, in an anti-woman kind of way), and so on…
I can’t really end this post with any conclusions because I have none. I once watched a committed (bi) gf of mine passionately make out with another woman. I felt a tinge of jealousy and insecurity but quickly got over it and realised it really wasn’t that big a deal… and everything was fine. Besides it was pretty hot, and I’m an atheist so didn’t quite see the harm. The question quickly became “Ok, but if it was a man?”. I’ve contemplated it and I THINK the answer is: I’d be fine with it as long as I was sure it wouldn’t affect our bond.
I feel that since I love this person, and want to see them happy, why would I stand in their way?
Does that make me a wierd freak outlier of some sort? Because I don’t generally feel inclined to go out there and chase that, I’m not into all kinds of kinky sex stuff, and I wouldn’t attend a “swinger” party since that just seems icky… but I think the only difference between me and other people is that I see other people and feel attracted, and I don’t feel guilty about it. Whereas other people view such an attraction as “betrayal”, prejudicial, shameful, and so on.
My current partner definitely is the single-partner type and so of course I feel obliged to toe the line with her… which to me indicates this may be what many people do. I don’t think humans are really, truly, biologically inclined to single-partner relationships. For me there is way too much experiential evidence that this cannot be the case. I think we all just do what our societal framework dictates since the social fallout from NOT doing so is severe. I think disproportionately severe.
The polyamorists have this idea that love is not a finite resource: That loving a second person does not impinge on your love for the first. And I buy that.
Of course nobody, and I mean nobody, around me sees it that way. I’m venturing a guess that even us skeptics (incl me) have a hard time pushing the boundaries of what we would do IN REAL LIFE that would be counter to ye olde ‘One partner, get married/settle down’ mantra. In spite of me having these philosophical ideas swirling around in my head I’m not sure how I would react if the situation got a lot more real than it did that one time.
Thoughts? Opinions? Indictments?
(Apologies for the wall of text)