Are we monogomous animals by nature???

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/02/2011 ( 130 moms have responded )

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It surprises me how many people cheat on their significant others. I know it happens for a variety of reasons, but is there ever a real excuses? Are we meant to have "soul" mates? Be faithful to one person always?

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Johnny - posted on 10/03/2011

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There is a big gulf between what is natural for our species and what we have developed as learned behavior from ingrained cultural teachings. Monogamy, particularly for the female of our species, has allowed for greater group/ethnic/national unity by ensuring that women are answerable and responsible to the man in their life. Obviously, that is not so much the case in our current cultural context, which may explain why the rate of infidelity is so much higher amongst modern western nations where women's equality has taken hold than it is in more traditional societies where women are still owned or controlled by men. Interestingly, this does not seem to change the rate amongst men. So either there were a few hardcore sluts and more prostitutes in ye olden times, or men were not always straying with women.....

Now, I've got no interest personally in cheating. My husband isn't much for that sort of thing either, it's not a worry in my life. We are very committed to one another. But I think it would be silly to deny that we each have urges to mate with others, I know we do. But we have chosen to form an exclusive relationship and we both have the brain power and will power to stick with it. Just because something is our "natural state" doesn't mean we are necessarily going to continue to do it. I mean, humans are a species of long-distance runners. That is how we originally thrived. You don't see me doing that either.

Tara - posted on 10/04/2011

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I don't believe that our biology is designed to mate for life as in the Trumpeter Swan, Gibbons, French Angelfish or Wolves. But I do believe that through our culture and needs to maintain security within our lives ie: food, shelter, protection we have as a species become more monogamous. This is through selective choice though not through biology itself.

Personally while I wouldn't want to be in a polygamous relationship, I have nothing against this if all parties are treated with respect.
I have no issues with polyamory and if my life were different or at a different time it would be something both Steve and I would consider.
We met later in life, when we had both established our own thoughts about love, life, sex and relationships and nicely enough we both held very similar beliefs etc. and so while we don't have an "open" relationship. We acknowledge that there is always potential for us to be with another couple or to enjoy the company of another couple, together though.
As well. on the topic of mates, stats show that couples who get together in their late 30's or early 40's now have a better chance of staying together than couples who meet and marry early in life. (and for everyone saying. "I' met ____ and we're still together so it's BS", there are ALWAYS going to be exceptions.

But in general, no I don't think we are meant to mate for life. Biologically speaking that would make us a weaker species that would not have survived this long. But culturally speaking we are all different and each cultures has their own customs when it comes to marriage.
We assume that marriage means between one man and one woman, but there are many cultures that still operate outside that model.
To each their own, we are gifted with the ability to understand our biology and then act with that understanding in mind.

Jenny - posted on 10/03/2011

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Marital vows don't sound very "natural". Isn't that a manmade tradition that is joined into between couples? Do you find other people attractive, not like you want to jump their bones but to the point you can enjoy looking at them? Or does that biological urge also float away when ring is put to finger?

Johnny - posted on 10/02/2011

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I think there is little evidence that we are naturally monogamous. Cultural constructs have been designed to ensure that women in particular do not have too many partners, but it is not our natural state at all.Across all cultural boundaries, approximately 30-50% of men are reported to have been unfaithful to their marital partner. A far lower rate of women, except in modern westernized nations. When studying the genetics of groups, scientists are frequently stunned by the rate of children whose biological father is different than the man they call dad (their mother's husband). Generally unbeknownst to "daddy".

I also just want to also point out yet again that anecdotal evidence may feel compelling in our personal existence, but offers little in the way of broad evidence to back an assertion.

Jenni - posted on 10/02/2011

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Sherri, many things... North American social norms, religious beliefs, contemporary norms. How you grew up, how many of us grew up, in fact.



If you were raised on Mormon compound it's possible polygamy might feel natural to you. It's would be what you were raised with, it's cultural norms, it's environment.

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Isobel - posted on 02/26/2012

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and while you are ovulating you are more likely to be attracted to the scent of a big burly tough guy than at any other time of the month



and in a blind test, they asked women to pick out which tshirts (from sweaty men) smelled the worst and they all picked out their own brother

Mother - posted on 02/26/2012

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" That's why women are more likely to cheat when they are ovulating." --what?? Is this true?? LOL Learn something new everyday!!

Jen - posted on 02/25/2012

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We aren't actually since we tend to have multiple partners before settling down. And lets face it people still often will stray in long term things from time to time.

Lacieann - posted on 11/09/2011

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I don't think we are instinctually monogamous. That's why women are more likely to cheat when they are ovulating. They want a good genetic match to produce the best offspring. I think we have been socially programmed to want monogomy, I'm happy being monogomous but I've been in an open relationship to and that was fine as well.
Are we monogomous by nature - No. Does this give people the right to cheat - No. I don't look down on people who want to be promiscuous as long as they are safe about it and don't lie or hurt their partners with it.

Tanya - posted on 10/12/2011

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I am! :) I don't know about anybody else, but I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who didn't feel they could be 100% monogamous. I'm in it for the long haul. I expect the same.

Donna - posted on 10/12/2011

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Nope I really dont think we are. But unfortunately I think we have been brainwashed into thinking otherwise. Honestly to think of my husband with someone else sexually kinda bothers me but I think if we were both doing it, it wouldn't bother me as much, just as long as we were honest about it and just as long as he wouldn't leave me.I just wouldn't wanna know about all the small intimate details

[deleted account]

No. By nature no.



But we can do it and it's pretty nice for me personally. But by nature humans have polygomous tendancies, that's why all the trouble right. But that's why all the pain and forgiveness too.

April - posted on 10/07/2011

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I don't think we are meant to be monogomous, but I would never cheat. I don't feel like it is something I am biologically designed to do, though. Maybe we have evolved as a species or maybe I have a genetic defect, lol. Whatever the case may be, I am glad to have found my husband! :)

Izzy - posted on 10/07/2011

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I havent read all of the post because its just too long. Just the 1st few ones. So if anybody already answered this question, im sorry.

What about girls that cheat? If guys cheat because of "Alpha male" instinct... what about girls?

Jaime - posted on 10/04/2011

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I agree with that Johnny, I was speaking to the aspect of being 'in love' but your comment explained that much better.

Johnny - posted on 10/04/2011

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Well, I am not sure I agree. People can have successful marriages that are more like partnerships than love matches. Where they have common goals that they are working for, and that are best met through a nuclear family support system. As long as people are comfortable and satisfied with their arrangement, then as far as I can see, it works. You said that, "They loved and respected one another, but I believe their marriage was about procreation and companionship." If they were happy with that, outside what other people think about it or expect from them, then it's working. What concerns me is that people enter into and stay in monogamous relationships and nuclear family set-ups because it is what society expects, not what is the right choice for them. As long as people are doing it for the right reasons for them, monogamy and the "traditional" family is realistic. But to please others, or fit in, or because it seems "safe" when it isn't what you want and what is really best, then I think that is more damaging. This idea that couples should stay together no matter what befuddles me.

Jaime - posted on 10/04/2011

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My grandfather fought in England during WWII, where he met his wife and had two children. During the war, his wife and daughter were killed when a building was bombed. His son survived and lived with his wife's family even when my grandfather came back to Canada after the war. Once he came back, he remarried my grandmother and had three more children with her. For as long as I knew them, they slept in separate rooms of the house and kept to themselves, only coming together for visits to our house and family gatherings. They loved and respected one another, but I believe their marriage was about procreation and companionship. I doubt my grandfather ever got over the loss of his wife and daughter and his relationship with his oldest son never went beyond his son's childhood. I know that back then it was very common to remain in the nuclear family construct for a number of social and political reasons...but today I just can't see that being even remotely realistic.

Johnny - posted on 10/04/2011

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Exactly Jaime. Right now, my husband and I are happy in our marriage. We saw a clip last night about Gene Simmons (speaking of not monogamous) and Shannon Tweed getting married. We were discussing if we had it to do over again, would we still marry each other. Both of us agreed that we actually feel stronger about it now, after 7 years of marriage, than we did when we got married. But who knows, perhaps that time wil come when we are miserable being together, I'm not sure what benefit there would be at all to staying together if that was the case. Right now, we're a team, working for our future, our daughter, and our community together. If we were at odds, none of the good stuff that marriage brings would be happening. So I fail to see the point.

Jaime - posted on 10/04/2011

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I think that was exactly my point Johnny. I don't think it's a matter of skill and maturity because it all stems from monogamy being a man-made social construct. Monogamy is not the 'natural' state of being...relationships, partners, it works for some people, but there is an incredible majority of the population that it does not work for. That doesn't make them immature or lacking in skill-set, just of a different mind-set about relationships and all that is attached therein.

Johnny - posted on 10/04/2011

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The demographic experiencing the greatest increase in the divorce rate is the over 60 crowd. I'm not sure skill and maturity are always going to do it. Perhaps people are realizing that marriage is rather pointless if it's making you miserable. I think we really over inflate the value of monogamy and marriage. There are other ways to support one another, and build families and communities. Being stuck with someone you don't like all that much for 40 years is perhaps not the best way to create successful families.

JuLeah - posted on 10/04/2011

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:) Well, then to be clear... I am not sure I have the skill or maturity to pull it off

Jaime - posted on 10/04/2011

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Ya, I shouldn't have discarded one proposed social norm for another because I honestly believe that, like every other social ideal, monogamy and polygamy and any other form of relationship rests on a continuum. It's difficult to say exactly what is 'normal' from one person to another and one culture to another. I guess I was just commenting more on the 'skill and maturity' part of what you had said, JuLeah. I agree though that "there is not one way, or one right way"

JuLeah - posted on 10/04/2011

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Jaime ... I don't know what the norm is for humans. I have only seen humans within culture that dictates such behavior.

I am not sure how accurate the information I have is regarding cultures that are not as ... ridged

From a, rasing the off spring, perspective it makes sense that two adults is better then one - unless you are in a tribal setting like elephants or chimps

Maybe it is just different for differnt people. Maybe there is not one way, or one right way. I know people in poly relationships who are happy and would not live any other way ... I know folks that don't cheat, but don't have long lasting relationships, a few months or years with this person and then a new person ...

Jaime - posted on 10/04/2011

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JuLeah, I agree with a lot of what you said in your second last comment, except the last sentence about "it takes a level of maturity and skill most don't have to be in a long term relationship". I disagree because I don't believe that monogamy is a natural, human concept. Being prone to having many partners and even a few partners at one time I think is more the norm, but in accordance with societal ideals it is thought to be the opposite. I think that a small percentage of the world population is capable of a lasting, long-term relationship the same way it happens in the animal kingdom I'm sure.

Nikkole - posted on 10/03/2011

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I was reading a book the other day called Mean Genes and it talked about why men cheat they have it hard wired in there brain to spread there seed i guess you would say it's in NO way and excuse for men who do cheat now women i think we are more monogamous but thats not always the case i think we chose to cheat it may be wired in a mans brain to have sex and have children but he does not have to go on that feeling and that goes the same for women. (sorry it didn't say much about women just men so im guessing lol)

JuLeah - posted on 10/03/2011

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Just cause I like to toss in my two cents:

Lesbian and heterosexual women respond differently to specific human odors, a brain-scanning study has found.

The homosexual women showed similar brain activity to heterosexual men when they inhaled certain chemicals, (pheromones) the researchers say.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/03/2011

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Yes Brittany, we all understand the definition of polygamy. The way I personally feel about it, I would feel cheated on. I would not have a marriage arranged in such a manner, partly for that reason....partly cause I was never taught to share in kinder.

Also, the sweaty t shirt has been done in slightly different ways...where women during different times of their cycle (off and on) would smell sweat from men on shirts....it was a pheromone experiment, and the women would pick the shirt that smelled the best to them. That is not a new concept of testing sexual attraction towards a mate due to chemistry.

JuLeah - posted on 10/03/2011

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I don't think we are taught how to do relationships. As people change and grow ... their relationship needs to adapt, but people lack the skill to make that happen.

If we are not happy, and we are taught 1) we must always be happy 2) it is our right to be happy 3) we need to blame someone or something if we are not happy

We go looking for love - that magic new feeling that we think it is all about

I think it takes a level of maturity and skill most don't have to be in a long term relationship

Brittany - posted on 10/03/2011

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Brandi we studied this, along with some other rather unusual experiments, done by cultural anthropologists.

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Brittany--- That sweaty shirt experiment was part of that documentary I mentioned, that scent mechanism that is built into us was to also be able to scent family/relatives from non relative to prevent any kind of incest from happening.

Brittany - posted on 10/03/2011

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As I am reading through the comments I am seeing many comparing cheating and polygamy.

Cheating can be defined as being sexually unfaithful to your spouse.

Polygamy can be defined as a husband having many spouses.

I understand that polygamy is something way out of most of our norms here. There is nothing wrong with that. The individuals who are in these relationships do not view it as cheating. Often, not always, before any sexual act is done the husband has married the other woman, the wives have approved of this woman and she has been living with them for some time, to make sure that she is a good fit for the family.

This is not something that I would do in my life but, if it works for them it works for them.

Humans do have a natural instinct to mate with the opposite sex who has the most diverse set of DNA then they do.

There was an experiment done not to long ago with women and sweaty tee shirts. The took tee-shirts from men who had been working out (without deodorant on) and let women smell them.

One of the shirts was of their significant other and the other were just two random men. Quite often to women would pick their husbands shirt and it was shown that out of the other two that yes, her and her husband were least alike.

Some woman picked shirts of other men. This does not mean they don't love their husband or have cheated or want to cheat all this means is that her and her husband have more familiar DNA then her and the guy she picked.

I feel like I am not explaining this very well but, I am in a rush Caoilainn has dance in 45 mins......if there is any questions or confusion I will do my best to answer them or explain when I return.

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I agree with Brandi. Humans are not meant to be monogamous. We are genetically hardwired to seek out the people who we feel will be genetically suitable to carry on the human race. I was attracted to my husband for a multitude of reasons but I distinctly remember thinking the first day we had met that this is the man I want to father my children. I love my husband and I am fully committed to him and can't see myself being with anyone else but that doesn't mean I am not attracted to other men. It's human nature. The same thing goes for my husband. We have a saying "Look but don't touch"


You can also watch "The Science of Sex Appeal" free at Discovery.com

Sherri - posted on 10/03/2011

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Sure other men are attractive just have no desire what so ever to ever be with them. So to me that is far from emotional cheating.

See to me marriage and yes marital vows was 100% for us. If my husband wanted to be with me but without the commitment of marriage. He would have been kicked to the curb, that would have been an automatic deal breaker for me. If I knew this from the very beginning I wouldn't have even dated him. Marriage is and was that important to my husband and I .

Sherri - posted on 10/03/2011

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What do you mean by emotional cheating??

Also this was a deal my husband and I made before we were married so we both know 100% what would happen if we ever crossed the line and broke our marital vows.

Rosie - posted on 10/03/2011

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i dont' think we are meant to. it basic human nature to find other people attractive, to want to be with them. the only thing that keeps us from doing that (alot of the time) is our mental power to overcome the physical. we are taught that being in a relationship means staying with that person. nature would have us doing other things...

Elfrieda - posted on 10/03/2011

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I don't know what I would do if my husband cheated. Cry a lot, I think! Then who knows?
Good thing he's not the cheating kind. I'm more likely to be tempted than he is, I think, but I'm not going to ruin our lives like that.

[deleted account]

And see I try to be more forgiving.... I honestly do not see it as a deal breaker for me.
What about other forms of "cheating"? There is emotional cheating... is that unforgivable to you also?

Sherri - posted on 10/03/2011

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I can honestly say if my husband strayed tomorrow. It would be an automatic marriage ender and completely unforgivable. My husband agrees with this if the reverse where to ever happen as well.

[deleted account]

"The Science Of Sex Appeal" Its called, I'm sure you can rent it through NETFLIX or REDBOX its very interesting.

Once again I am not arguing FOR cheating. Biologically we are not made for monogamy period. BUT everybody every day has to make the conscious decision to be faithful if in a relationship. I would not choose to stray but like it or not people make mistakes, im not perfect so why would I personally decide someone was no longer worth it for making a mistake?
My husband does not see it the way I do. I believe everybody deserves a second chance. If someone is "serial cheating" on their partner then yes divorce should be considered.
My husband and I are faithful to each other. Neither of us has any desire or "need" to go somewhere else.
And I do agree that the people in relationships who stay to try to make it work more often than not cause more harm. But if one mistake is made, most deserve a second chance.

Also I dont have to be christian to be faithful to my husband.... I have actually known MORE agnostic/ atheists who are more faithful compared to christians I have known.

Elfrieda - posted on 10/03/2011

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@ Brittany Thompson

Just an FYI, because I know you like being precise (what with the whole animals vs mammals thing)

Polygamy is multiple spouses of either gender, and it's a general term.

Polyandry is a woman with more than one husband.

Polygyny is a man with more than one wife.



As for the original question, I don't think it's "natural", because we are naturally selfish and it's hard for people to do what we know is right. That doesn't mean that it's not what we're meant to do, and what is best for us, our kids, and society in general.



And if we're wired for serial monogamy, it's a good thing we change over the years! ;) I wouldn't want to be married to the guy my husband was 7 years ago, because I've changed, too, since then. The main thing is to change together, and shape each other as you go. That's my opinion.

Sherri - posted on 10/03/2011

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No because for me it is 100% natural. Do you get along 100% with every person you have ever met no. So on occasion yes we argue then it is done. I don't find that work, I find that a normal course of life.

Jenny - posted on 10/03/2011

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Noone said monogamy wasn't possible. Sherri, by saying you are working at it are you acknowledging it is not natural therefor requiring the work?

Krista - posted on 10/03/2011

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When we began discussing Religion our teacher asked us if any of us knew the size of Christianity. The general answer was between 60% and 75% of the whole world's population. I knew these people were about to have the shock of a life time. Two girls cried, four people reported her to the Dean and almost half of the class dropped the course.

That is incredibly sad. It's not like she was saying anything BAD about Christianity, just that it's not the majority religion in the world. And they still got all up in arms about it?

Unbelievable.

Sherri - posted on 10/03/2011

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Nope I am not the same person and neither is my husband when I married at 25 and I am now going on 40. I can still assure you will never stray or become unfaithful. We grow and change together.

I really find this to be the case with people who marry with the mindset that it is for life. If you really believe divorce is not an option then you work together as a team. Do we have our bad days of course but we get through them and know that next week will be better.

Jenny - posted on 10/03/2011

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Another thing to keep in mind is life expectancy was in the mid-30's when traditional nuclear families became "the norm". With many people living past 100 and the majority past 70 that is 2-3 lifetimes. for those past 30 are you the same person you were when you were 20? I know I'm not. Will you be the same person when you are 50? Will your partner? I think if both partners change in life the same way and remain compatible they should consider themselves lucky as they are the minority. Just being realistic here.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/03/2011

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They obviously need to get out into the great big world more often.

Brittany - posted on 10/03/2011

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I apologize if I come off as a know it all. I am not a know it all.

For a long time I thought most Christians realized how small of a population they (or We) are. Until I took an Anthropology class last spring.

When we began discussing Religion our teacher asked us if any of us knew the size of Christianity. The general answer was between 60% and 75% of the whole world's population. I knew these people were about to have the shock of a life time. Two girls cried, four people reported her to the Dean and almost half of the class dropped the course. This was quite a culture shock to them.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/03/2011

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It is just quite a blanket statement. That is all I am saying. I don't remember anyone saying only Christians were monogamous. I guess I need to reread.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/03/2011

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That is an odd statement "Some individuals do not realize how small the Christian Religion really is." I think it is quite the opposite....people realize how small it is, and get pissed off at Christians for being such knowit all's.

Brittany - posted on 10/03/2011

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Yes there are other Religions that practice Monogomay, that is why I said Typically but, not always. I was trying to put it into perspective. Some individuals do not realize how small the Christian Religion really is.

I was using numbers that I have memorized over time. Not trying to exclude any other religion.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/03/2011

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No biggy. I really don't think religion specifically impacts EVERY monogamous person out there. I know some follow it to a t because they are afraid to burn in hell. But I don't think it is fair to say only God fearing religious people are monogamous.

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