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Serial monogamy

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jeremytrewindixon
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May 9 2007 04:40
Serial monogamy

It seems to me that serial monagamy has emerged as a standard - the virgin and life-long faithful are patronised and regarded as "inexperienced" while mutiple partnership is regarded as immoral. Even 'soft-edged' serial monogamy, where one reamins friendly with one's exes is often regarded with suspicion.

The following was an aside by me in a discussion elsewhere (Leftwrites in Australia) concerning so-called "raunch" culture and the criticism of it by Muslim clerics and non-Muslim conservatives.

Quote:
Of all possible systems of sexual morality serial monogamy is the one which makes most for social atomisation. It tends to turn ones life into a series of intimate betrayals; repeatedly people who once were closer to you than anyone are turned into strangers, even enemies. This can only devalue love and loyalty. Faithful-unto-death affirms the value of loyalty; while sexual libertarianism or “polyamory” affirm the values of freedom and openness - while both, practiced by people who love, can affirm the value of love. Serial monogamy affirms the value of ditching people who are no longer of use? or what? I think this should be scanned.

Is serial mongamy a new dominant standard, if so why?, and is this to be resisted?

Feighnt
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May 9 2007 05:20

while the strictest ideas of monogamy are certainly still around, it seemed to me that much of the world has been, more and more, questioning what you call "serial monogamy." i mean, even if you just look at tv shows, you constantly see people screwing around with whoever and it's usually not depicted as something particularly bad - and i think its had an effect on how people view sexual relationships (or maybe vice versa, i'm not sure).

redstruggle
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May 9 2007 05:30

Why would it need to be resisted? There is no reason why anyone should try or be able to enforce their conceptions of sexual morality and how people should interact on the rest of their community, even if one percieves serial monogamy to have certain emotional costs and disadvantages. If anything, we should fight against the concept of a 'dominant standard' and emphasise that individuals should not be subject to prevailing ideas about relationships, but should instead be able to live according to their own decisions and feelings.

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Bubbles
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May 9 2007 05:48
redstruggle wrote:
Why would it need to be resisted? There is no reason why anyone should try or be able to enforce their conceptions of sexual morality and how people should interact on the rest of their community, even if one percieves serial monogamy to have certain emotional costs and disadvantages. If anything, we should fight against the concept of a 'dominant standard' and emphasise that individuals should not be subject to prevailing ideas about relationships, but should instead be able to live according to their own decisions and feelings.

yes!

Spikymike
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May 9 2007 20:45

This thread might not have been the best way to start some discussion on the themes of sexual, family and social relationships in this society and the future, but there must surely be some space for this area which seems sadly neglected by pro revolutionary minorities.

While I would agree that none of us need to be engaged in pressing new moral codes of sexual behavior on anyone or encouraging the development of 'dominant standards' this should not be used to stifle debate of this critical area of human behavior, which if it doesn't interest the average right on revolutionary on these threads, does interest the rest of humanity.

There was a great deal of discussion and new thinking around that old theme of 'the family, private property and the state' and 'the sexual revolution' during the 70's and early 80's (including in the publication I was involved in called SOLIDARITY for Social Revolution'). Some of the stuff published then was, in retrospect, a bit embarrassing, but it wasn't all rubbish. Of course some people did themselves a lot of damage by interpreting the slogan 'the personal is political' too literally but I sometimes think the reaction to the excesses of that period has gone a tad too far.

Most pro revolionaries will admit that in revolutionary periods sexual and cultural experimentation is let rip, but whilst they are prepared to examin the connections between that period and the here and now in terms of economics, strikes, occupations, political organising etc seem reluctant to examin the same connections in terms of sexual and family relations.

Modern capitalism has loosened many of the old bonds in terms of sexual and social behavior in a positive way but it is hardly the case that people are sexually liberated in any meaningful sense and the desire to be liberated and the suppression of those desires are still powerful forces which we ignore at our peril..

In the same way we resist lining up in capitalisms democratic policy debates of 'for or against the NHS or Council Housing' we should not line up in the current 'liberal versus fundamentalist' debates around sexual and family issues. But we surely still have something to say in this area of human behavior?

We may wish ''that people should be able to live according to their own decisions and feelings' but decisions and feelings develop within particular material and social circumstances now and will in the future.
There is an interelationship between social and individual change which includeds sexual behavior and which is worthy of exploration.

Issues around monogomy are not irrelevant to such a discussion. (I may return to this).

There are also some connections with internal and external Political group behavior - the psychological factor I have referred to elsewhere. (I may also return to this)

petey
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May 9 2007 21:01
revol68 wrote:
send this shit to the problem pages where it belongs!

please

jeremytrewindixon
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May 10 2007 03:53

redwing says:

Quote:
There is no reason why anyone should try or be able to enforce their conceptions of sexual morality and how people should interact on the rest of their community, even if one percieves serial monogamy to have certain emotional costs and disadvantages. If anything, we should fight against the concept of a 'dominant standard' and emphasise that individuals should not be subject to prevailing ideas about relationships, but should instead be able to live according to their own decisions and feelings.

Yeah, yeah. Motherhood statements, redwing, with which no-one is likely to disagree. Not me, anyway. (Although I'm not quite sure if you agree with me that serial monogamy has become a dominant standard. If you do agree that it has become a dominant standard then it seems you must also agree that this should be resisted, but again you are not very clear. Since you are interested enough to post maybe you should think about the subject a bit.)

However communities do set norms and penalise people who break those norms, even if "just" by treating them as comical outsiders. Anarchists have traditionally argued that just exactly this phenomenon can be relied on to largely keep order. Now my point is that serial monogamy seems to have become a new established norm, enforced by community pressure. The polyamorist is dirty, immoral; the lifelong virgin or faithful-unto-death is endearingly ingenuous but not quite a full adult. Serial monogamy is how real normal people live. This is how it looks from where I stand.

And I have briefly argued that serial monogamy is destructive of human solidarity and is thus not desirable as a social norm. I don't know whether its prevalence is a cause or effect of rampant capitalism, that is one of the questions I hoped a discussion here might throw light on. But it is certainly very compatible with capitalism, one trades in ones computer, one trades in ones car, one trades in ones partner. I'm not arguing that people should be prevented from changing partners or whatever.

Anarchists have an interest in human solidarity, and also have an interest in changing social norms. Maybe the subject strikes too close to home for comfort for some people.

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Lazy Riser
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May 10 2007 08:42
Quote:
And I have briefly argued that serial monogamy is destructive of human solidarity and is thus not desirable as a social norm.

Not too sure about that. I'm sick to death of human solidarity, I just want to dish out messy facials from now on.

Steggsie
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May 10 2007 23:01

Jeremy - I think good old Zygmunt Bauman argues along those lines in 'Liquid Love'.

Which brings us back to Lazy: perhaps you should think about reducing your emissions?

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madashell
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May 11 2007 05:18
Quote:
And I have briefly argued that serial monogamy is destructive of human solidarity and is thus not desirable as a social norm

What is there about serial monogamy that is inherently "destructive of human soliarity"

You seem pretty determined to portray serial monogamists in a purely negative light, as sexually repressive bastards who regard the person they're with as a disposible instrument, something that can be "traded in" for a better model. What do you base this upon?

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888
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May 11 2007 05:36
madashell wrote:
Quote:
And I have briefly argued that serial monogamy is destructive of human solidarity and is thus not desirable as a social norm

What is there about serial monogamy that is inherently "destructive of human soliarity"

You seem pretty determined to portray serial monogamists in a purely negative light, as sexually repressive bastards who regard the person they're with as a disposible instrument, something that can be "traded in" for a better model. What do you base this upon?

The words give it away - "serial" implies disposable while "monogamy" implies sexually repressive. It's destructive of solidarity because the two people involved are expected to never talk to each other again, and that goes for each side's friends, too - note how he qualifies this by saying that soft-SeriMog is treated with suspiciion (I haven't noticed that that's true).

petey
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May 11 2007 12:12
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"monogamy" implies sexually repressive

roll eyes

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May 11 2007 14:34
Quote:
regard the person they're with as a disposible instrument, something that can be "traded in" for a better model.

This is my current approach actually. Works well enough as far as I can tell.

Daniel B
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May 11 2007 15:30

Sorry if I've been polluted here by reading Freud before reading anyone else, but isn't Monogamy supposed to be repressive? And once it ceases to be repressive with one person it's time to move right along and fulfill purpose elsewhere, so to speak?

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May 11 2007 15:53

It’s as more of a loyalty swap, like, I'll stay faithful to you in order to avoid the anxiety of sexual competition. When your gf/bf no longer does it for you sexually (and for those who prefer sex with people under 40, it’s bound to happen eventually) you’ve got to play away to get your jollies and put up with the fact they’ll do the same or do a runner in disgust. Simple as really, don't really see the issue. What I do reckon though, you either enjoy your sex life or die of cancer or a heart attack. There's a bit of Reich for you.

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epk
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May 11 2007 16:26

I recently read statistics about the U.S. saying that about 51% of white women and 70% of black women (dunno about other ethnicities) are unmarried. But I'm not sure if more choose to stay romantically unattached or whether there's that "serial monogamny" Jeremy is referring to. There certainly seems to be a trend of deepening atomization and breakup of the nuclear family (so maybe I should call it 'atomic fission'?) . I think this applies to Israel as well, although to a lesser extent.

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May 11 2007 17:19

Yeah. My Mrs was saying that women don't need monogomy unless the sex is good enough to make them want to mark their territory. I think as Brinton sort of pointed out, it's a "good thing(tm)".

lem
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May 11 2007 17:37

i think it's a good question cool it's a standard. not saying that it's like amazing to criticise any standard (maybe it is), but its good practice at least.

lem
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May 11 2007 17:38

cancer for me them laugh out loud

lem
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May 11 2007 17:42

yeah, sorry to tp. but its my opinion at the moment that marxism offers a much needed universality. so i suppose i want to point out that 'serial monogomy' might be an attempt to offer another, whilst denying the value of liberal diversity/diffetrence/whatever term dos not upset you.

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madashell
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May 12 2007 16:58
888 wrote:
The words give it away - "serial" implies disposable while "monogamy" implies sexually repressive.

Not necessarily. AFAIC, it just means choosing to be in a sexual relationship with one person at any one time, while recognising that relationships rarely last forever. It works for some people, it doesn't for others. Whatever jangles your bangles.

Monogamy is only repressive if you don't enjoy it.

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It's destructive of solidarity because the two people involved are expected to never talk to each other again, and that goes for each side's friends, too

What are you, 14?

j.rogue
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May 13 2007 21:38
Quote:
What is there about serial monogamy that is inherently "destructive of human soliarity"

A major aspect of monogamy is privileging one relationship/person over others. It is also a huge component of the myth of the nuclear family. I do not think it fosters solidarity to focus all of your intimacy into one relationship, generally at the expense of others, and especially in a society that values skinny white rich people over "the Other." Non-monogamy and polyamory take more work, sure, but I think that when done well it is far more egalitarian and actively constructs human solidarity. Not to say I rail against people in traditional relationship, but I do think it is important to question the construction of those traditions.

petey
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May 13 2007 21:46

wall

Steggsie
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May 13 2007 22:03
j.rogue wrote:
Quote:
What is there about serial monogamy that is inherently "destructive of human soliarity"

I do not think it fosters solidarity to focus all of your intimacy into one relationship, generally at the expense of others, and especially in a society that values skinny white rich people over "the Other." Non-monogamy and polyamory take more work, sure, but I think that when done well it is far more egalitarian and actively constructs human solidarity. Not to say I rail against people in traditional relationship...

How very magnanimous of you.

Also, I sleep around quite extensively and I can assure you that it's not hard work at all.

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Lone Wolf
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May 13 2007 23:52
Steggsie wrote:
j.rogue wrote:
Quote:
What is there about serial monogamy that is inherently "destructive of human soliarity"

I do not think it fosters solidarity to focus all of your intimacy into one relationship, generally at the expense of others, and especially in a society that values skinny white rich people over "the Other." Non-monogamy and polyamory take more work, sure, but I think that when done well it is far more egalitarian and actively constructs human solidarity. Not to say I rail against people in traditional relationship...

How very magnanimous of you.

Also, I sleep around quite extensively and I can assure you that it's not hard work at all.

Well no, it wouldn't be difficult for you, love, would it cos j. rogue is talking about actually working at relationships with a number of people and not just one and doing so, presumably, in an upfront and ethical way - you are just talking about making like an alleycat - big difference!! roll eyes

Love

LW X

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May 13 2007 23:58
madashell wrote:
888 wrote:
The words give it away - "serial" implies disposable while "monogamy" implies sexually repressive.

Not necessarily. AFAIC, it just means choosing to be in a sexual relationship with one person at any one time, while recognising that relationships rarely last forever. It works for some people, it doesn't for others. Whatever jangles your bangles.

Monogamy is only repressive if you don't enjoy it.

Quote:
It's destructive of solidarity because the two people involved are expected to never talk to each other again, and that goes for each side's friends, too

What are you, 14?

Madas.. yeah agree with all of this...tho i didn't realise you had such an extensive jewellry collection. wink

Thing is just because there is a norm, doesn't mean peeps shouldn't feel that that isn't a valid choice for them if it suits them - to go against the norm just to make a point is really lame and not revolutionary at all - because that isn't a free will choice. There is nothing more wince-inducing than someone trying to experiment with a sexual or relationship model that doesn't suit in order to look cool - way too Mark from Peepshow! tongue

Love

LW X

PS Lem - no worries about the cancer/celibacy thing - i am sure a lot of peeps on here are not wildly sexually active and you can take a good thing too far..i take Lazy's point that sex has certain health benefits but overdoing it can also cause probs - the heart attack may still happen for other reasons - Viagra overload perhaps?? black bloc

PPS redstruggle - good to read your post - hope to see some of your other posts on here....welcome newbie..altho i don't know why jez wink called you redwing - perhaps he is a twitcher?? (maybe cos he doesn't have enough sex... tongue )

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madashell
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May 14 2007 00:59
j.rogue wrote:
A major aspect of monogamy is privileging one relationship/person over others. It is also a huge component of the myth of the nuclear family. I do not think it fosters solidarity to focus all of your intimacy into one relationship, generally at the expense of others

All you're doing here is describing the aspects of particularly unhealthy, co-dependent relationships. Not all monogamous relationships necessarily imply ignoring all other personal relationships. And what's wrong with the nuclear family in itself?

Quote:
and especially in a society that values skinny white rich people over "the Other."

roll eyes

j.rogue
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May 14 2007 17:36

First of all, non-monogamy =/= "free love" with no communication or consequences, it is about having relationships with more than just one person. Madashell, you are right, there are people out there who are in monogamous relationships that do have strong relationships with other people. Hell, there are non-monogamous people who only care about people they are having sez with and not the rest of the community. I am more talking about the model, not the exceptions to the rule. Also, could you elaborate on the eyerolling emoticon? That doesn't communicate your criticism of my comment very aptly.

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May 14 2007 17:45
j.rogue wrote:
First of all, non-monogamy =/= "free love" with no communication or consequences, it is about having relationships with more than just one person. Madashell, you are right, there are people out there who are in monogamous relationships that do have strong relationships with other people. Hell, there are non-monogamous people who only care about people they are having sez with and not the rest of the community.

No, people who have no strong relationships with anybody else are the exception. Unfortunately for your argument, relationships don't fit into neat little boxes that conform to whatever entirely imaginary "model" you subscribe to.

How many people in monogamous relationships do you actually know?

Quote:
I am more talking about the model, not the exceptions to the rule. Also, could you elaborate on the eyerolling emoticon? That doesn't communicate your criticism of my comment very aptly.

As if there's any need to criticise it. It's such a patently rediculous thing to say.

Steggsie
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May 14 2007 18:23
Lone Wolf wrote:
Steggsie wrote:
j.rogue wrote:
Quote:
What is there about serial monogamy that is inherently "destructive of human soliarity"

I do not think it fosters solidarity to focus all of your intimacy into one relationship, generally at the expense of others, and especially in a society that values skinny white rich people over "the Other." Non-monogamy and polyamory take more work, sure, but I think that when done well it is far more egalitarian and actively constructs human solidarity. Not to say I rail against people in traditional relationship...

How very magnanimous of you.

Also, I sleep around quite extensively and I can assure you that it's not hard work at all.

Well no, it wouldn't be difficult for you, love, would it cos j. rogue is talking about actually working at relationships with a number of people and not just one and doing so, presumably, in an upfront and ethical way - you are just talking about making like an alleycat - big difference!! roll eyes

Love

LW X

Miaow! How's the view from the moral high ground? I might resent being called an alleycat simply because I have slept with a lot of people; just as I'd resent, if I were currently in a 'traditional' monogamous relationship, being informed I was putting all my human solidarity in one basket.

Otherwise, what madashell said.

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May 15 2007 15:25

Steggsie

Heh! black bloc The view from the moral high ground is just fine - better than being stuck in the lowlands heh! wink

Nah basically you and i both agree with madas on the "avoiding boxing people in" bit but i admit i was being a bit bitchy to ya cos i felt you were being bitchy and sarcastic to j. rogue who WAS referring to the practice of ethical polyamory and that was NOT the same as your throwaway comment about sleeping with a lot of people. J. Rogue is accurately, I think., stating that relationships take a lot of work and that in this work human solidarity can be built because trust, honesty etc would be being practiced. Just sleeping around doesn't really develop anything except maybe sore bits??? wink

Love

LW X