Can a monogamous culture be called "uptight"?

Can a monogamous culture be called "uptight"?


A woman was asking on this thread what was her boyfriend supposed to be called in Spanish being herself married.

Caza said this:

I´m just curious to know where in the world is it acceptable to have a Husband and openly admit to having a boyfriend?

Gekko said this:

I think there are still a few cultures that are less uptight about it than the American cultures

I am surprised at the expression "uptight" in the sentence. So do you consider the thought of monogamy to be uptight? I consider the expression rather insulting. Not flattering anyway.

Gekko was fast to add an article on polygamy, of course, as this is the one to take into consideration. As polyandry (woman with several husbands) can almost nowhere be foundwink

I wonder though about the word uptight, as one of the societies that actually accepts polygamy are Arab countries, interesting thought to consider precisely those countries as "liberal" and not uptight, as American countries.

Islam Main article: Polygamy in Islam In Islam, polygamy is allowed for men (making it polygamy), with the specific limitation that they can only have up to four wives at any one time.

Well, only up to four at any one time...not so bad thenraspberry

So is the thought: only one couple...uptight? Should we all have several husbands , boyfriends, wives....

updated JUN 21, 2010
edited by 00494d19
posted by 00494d19
monogamous culture - webdunce, JUN 12, 2010
This is a funny question. We are only asking it on the surface. At the heart of a human, there is no desire to share with an other the very heart matter. We say things like it doesnt matter, but wars have been fought over this. And, there's STD/AIDS. - carol-daniels, JUN 12, 2010
thanks web, please edit my post next time - 00494d19, JUN 12, 2010
OK. - webdunce, JUN 12, 2010
My dearest Heidita, I think you will find uptight people, as well as very mellow people, in both monogamous & polygamous cultures. - 005faa61, JUN 12, 2010

27 Answers


I heard it said in church that a person can be so open-minded that their brains fall out. And I think we're seeing a lot of that in society today.

The fact is that people need intimacy on an emotional level. While not all monogamous relationships supply that intimacy, polygamous marriages become increasingly less capable of fulfilling that need.

It's not being "uptight", it's what the greater society has decided is best for people, and for good reason.

updated JUN 21, 2010
posted by Goyo
Jejeje "so open minded that their brains all out..." I love it - Izanoni1, JUN 12, 2010
vote - ian-hill, JUN 12, 2010
hmmm, Goyo, our pastor said that too - we must go to the same church! - mountaingirl123, JUN 12, 2010
I totally agree Goyo. It is hard enough for people to enjoy intimacy with one person at a time... let alone more - FELIZ77, JUN 12, 2010
Mi novio es el mejor :kiss: - 00494d19, JUN 12, 2010
You can also close your mind so much that it appears no one's home. Ive seen the evidence.jejeje! - barhamo, JUN 13, 2010

No offense, but when I hear about a man cheating or having more than one wife or family, I am disgusted. I can´t even explain how much I stand against this. I believe God made man and wife, not man and wives. It is just not acceptable and just not morally correct. I think some men have just gotten selfish and greedy. I think that marriage is a beautiful thing, and for them to destroy it like that is a perversion.

updated JUN 13, 2010
posted by NikkiLR
Vote! - amykay, JUN 12, 2010
I agree - FELIZ77, JUN 12, 2010
Amen - Goyo, JUN 13, 2010

I have good reasons to write the post in the way I did. Of course, we have just stumbled upon another one of the highly controversial themes for forums, besides politics and religion.

Yes, I can understand how the term "uptight" can be considered insulting. That is not my intention, but I do understand it. Maybe I should have used the term "conservative", although likewise, some of us feel that our views are pretty liberal as they are, and then someone else comes across and slaps us with a label that places us as Victorian old fogeys. Again - I apologize if I bother anyone, but then I also realize that it is absolutely impossible to be on the good side of everyone all the time. I do tend to get in trouble from time to time for that. grin

Anyway, on to the core of the subject: I do not claim to be an expert on the field, nor have I done any serious research on the matter. However, I am a trained sociologist, and there are a number of things that interest me about human behavior. So I read about and loosely follow certain subjects, such as human sexuality, human behavior, and certain trends.

It is no secret that the rates of divorce in the Western world are very high. Also, we need only glance casually at the headlines of any newspaper or social magazine to see that marital infidelity is very high. Everybody does it: rich people, famous people, politicians of any persuasion, people of all nationalities and many different religions.

There are many ways to interpret these behaviors and trends, and of course everyone is free to pick the explanation that best suits his or her view of the world. My view is that the human animal, the "evolved" ape, just like most of its primate relatives, simply is not wired to be monogamous.

There are a number of biological and evolutionary reasons for that, but the bottom line is that forming a life-long bond with a single mate is not a built-in biological trait of the human being.

Yes we are "rational beings", and therefore we can make choices that allow us to control our "base instincts", and behave in certain ways that allow us to function better within certain social and cultural structures. But do we really function "better" by sticking strictly to these rules and conventions? I am not so sure.

It is my opinion that those societies were the human nature is very tightly repressed (strictly enforced monogamy, no divorce, no homosexuality allowed, no public displays of affection, etc), tend to show signs of severe mental stress that eventually finds expression in hurtful, violent ways: family violence, suicide, child abuse, and so forth.

Interestingly, large societies that become very anarchic, also show all kinds of severe injurious behavior. It seems like humans need some degree of social control - but an excessive level of control and repression results in what, to my personal view, is an unhealthy society.

It appears that small societies where there are very few rules, that are also very informally enforced are the healthier, happier ones, in terms of mental health. Alas, there are too many people in the world today, and such societies are no longer practical nor viable.

It is my opinion that there should be certain guidelines, and that people should responsibly commit to those guidelines that they are willing to follow: if you are willing to be monogamous, then by all means, sign a traditional marriage contract. If you like open relationships, and your partner(s) agrees, then you should be able to live that way without suffering social condemnation. What I object to is the hypocrisy of people who loudly condemn certain behaviors, and then it turns out that they have been engaging in those very same behaviors themselves. Just this last year there have been many prominent cases discussed in the media: conservative, "pro-family", "pro-marriage" politicians who are caught cheating, and must confess their infidelities publicly, to the shame of friends and relatives.

Anti-gay homophobes that turn out to be gay themselves, after all. Morality-preaching priests, who turn out to be pedophiles and /or homosexuals and abusive.

I believe that as long as people are open and sincere about the way they relate to others, as long as they don't engage in hurtful or violent behavior, and as long as all the partners involved are adults in their full mental capacities, they should be allowed to form whichever relationships work for them.

I agree with Heidita that there appears to be far more information about (and support for) polygamous societies than polyandrous ones. Yes there have been many polyandrous societies in the historical record - but most are now extinct. The article I referenced does mention polyandry, and another wikipedia article discusses that subject in some more detail.

Having said all that, and for the record: as I mentioned before, my wife is a psychologist and knows the same things about humans that I have mentioned here. Even so, she does not believe in polygamy, and she expressly indicated that she would not tolerate extra-marital affairs nor sharing me with anyone. I considered that before getting married, and agreed with that condition. So out of respect to her wishes, and to the commitment I made to our marriage, I am monogamous and faithful to my wife. But it is a conscious decision, and it means that I do not condemn open marriages where both partners are aware of the situation and approve of it.

I definitely do not approve of cheating, the betrayal of vows, or hidden affairs. As I have mentioned in other posts, I abhor lies and the breach of confidence that lying implies.

updated JUN 14, 2010
edited by Gekkosan
posted by Gekkosan
Wow, Gekko. A simply amazing post. I could not agree more. You covered it all, and well. - Lrtward, JUN 14, 2010

Gekko said:

if you are willing to be monogamous, then by all means, sign a traditional marriage contract. If you like open relationships, and your partner(s) agrees, then you should be able to live that way without suffering social condemnation.

I have promised to be monogomous to my husband and would never break that promise under any circumstances. I don't consider myself to by "uptight" at all. It's just my personal belief that being unfaithful is fatal to a relationship. It's the deception and lying that does tremendous damage to the couple.

However, if you have an agreement with your partner that it's okay to sleep with other people, then that's fine. There's no deception in that arrangement, and two consenting adults can do whatever they want as long as no one gets hurt.

If you don't like the idea that people have more than one sex partner (or have a same-sex partner) then don't participate, but mind your own business and don't harass others that do.

updated JUN 14, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
The word "harass" has left me wondering...was my post harassing? Curious about your definition. - mountaingirl123, JUN 12, 2010
No, no..Patti. I had no one particular in mind (well, maybe some of those right wing self-righteous #%@) when I said "don't harass" people who have alternative lifestyles. - --Mariana--, JUN 12, 2010
Right on Marianne! Gekko also although a bit long winded. - Yeser007, JUN 12, 2010
I know it Yesero. Sometimes I can't help myself. I just want so badly to make sure my meaning is clear! - Gekkosan, JUN 12, 2010

I think the real question for many posters is that of do we have the right to judge?

I know that the Bible teaches that we are not to judge other people, but the original meaning for that word was "judge" in an eternal sense. Human beings do not "judge" where other people spend eternity.

However, the Bible is also clear that we are to use discernment regarding other people's behavior.

If a person from my culture has multiple lovers, I believe it is wrong. Goyo explained it quite well regarding emotional attachments, etc. That's where the "being so open minded our brains fall out" is applicable.

If a person from another culture has multiple partners, I believe that God will deal with it. (I don't mean that as a threat, such as "God will get you...grrrr!" but rather, God knows everyone's hearts and therefore is able to judge fairly.) If someone asks me my opinion on that practice in the other culture, I will state that I do not agree with it.

Referring to a previous post: I know that it is common for Mexicans to have multiple lovers. My observation of this practice is that it results in familial dysfunction, lack of intimacy between the spouses, and cripples the children in their future ability to maintain intimate relationships. On the surface things look great, agreed. But the number of Mexican friends I have had who are miserable inside because of infidelity is painful.

I am not casting stones on Mexico. I see some of the same thing in the US with the same results.

updated JUN 13, 2010
posted by mountaingirl123
We not only have a right to judge, but a duty to do so, if we believe other people's actions harm the society we live in. And that society now is the world. - ian-hill, JUN 12, 2010
Ian I believe we should judge certain behaviour as wrong it is the behaviour that we should condemn as wrong such as terrorrism not the individuals involved God will judge them - FELIZ77, JUN 12, 2010
Why have any laws then Feliz ? - ian-hill, JUN 12, 2010

@ ian-hill: My personal belief is it is up to God to judge, not me. I can choose not agree with, not to like it, and not live my own life that way. Whereas it would not work for me, it may work well for someone else; who am I to stand there and tell someone that they're a horrible individual for choosing to live their life diffrently than mine? I am aloud my own opinions and beliefs, just as you and everyone else is aloud theirs.

updated JUN 12, 2010
posted by KatieLou
"Allowed not aloud" . In my opinion giving God the responosibilty is the easy way out. - ian-hill, JUN 12, 2010
God already did judge it. That's one reason why we have a Bible - scottdoherty, JUN 12, 2010
The Bible is one of the places where polygamy is an unquestioned fact of life, however. Same for relationships that today are considered incestuous. - Gekkosan, JUN 12, 2010
Polygamy was common in cultures such as those mentioned in scripture in the Old Covenant/testament times but it is clear in The New Covenant / testament that marriage is to one husband for life - FELIZ77, JUN 12, 2010
Indeed. So l suggest we make clear then to what passage of the Bible we're referring to. The Bible as a whole is rather full of contradictions. - Gekkosan, JUN 12, 2010

I believe in being truthful and faithful to myself.

I couldn't agree more, estimado amigo. Esto muchas veces me ha causado problemas, pero ...I coulnd't care lesswink

updated JUN 13, 2010
posted by 00494d19
First 'couldn't' ok, second one needs a fix. - LateToDinner, JUN 13, 2010
She types with mittens on her hands. - --Mariana--, JUN 13, 2010
There we go. We may not always agree, but I think we understand each other. I can live with that. :-) - Gekkosan, JUN 13, 2010
:) - 00494d19, JUN 13, 2010

'Uptight' is indeed an interesting word to use when posing this question. The situation as explained seems to be more of a private matter - how society labels it is unimportant. Clearly, as a married couple they may have unmet needs, and have implemented a solution that works for them - whether it is considered socially acceptable or not. I suspect that at one time the married couple being discussed in this scenario may have also been 'uptight', because they got married.

  1. If this is a situation that existed prior to getting married, then THAT would be weird. There is no reason to get married, if you are not
    interested in being committed to that person.

  2. doing something that is considered socially unacceptable, then wanting to share it with the world and label everyone else as 'uptight' because they don't approve... well, I'm not sure I have a word for that, so I'll just say that is weird.

If I were to say I like to have sex while wearing a clown wig, and having a ball shoved in my mouth while cats lick jelly off my ears... I certainly wouldn't ask why people are so uptight about it.... because THAT would be just as weird as the clown wig, ball, and jelly.

The bottom line, this is just one of those situations that the people in question have to privately accept, and put it in their closet with all their other 'skeletons'.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

updated JUN 13, 2010
edited by primus
posted by primus
I like this answer very much! - Gekkosan, JUN 13, 2010

So here are my humble thoughts. Gekkosan didn't really think before choosing the word "uptight" but explaind and apologised his way through it. Apology accepted. I certainly don't consider myself uptight and I would never cheat on the one I love. I have been on the recieving end of that in a prior marriage and it sucks (if anyone is offended by the term let me know and I'll change it). But this is not about cheating is it? The issue was/is polygamy and open relationships, and, in this sense, I say whatever is OK with the consenting adult couples, whether hetero or homosexual, is OK with me. It is no one elses concern. For me, I am and will remain a one woman man.

updated JUN 13, 2010
posted by Yeser007
oh...such a shame...lol, :P - 00494d19, JUN 12, 2010
ah haha! - Yeser007, JUN 12, 2010
Very well said, Gary! - --Mariana--, JUN 13, 2010

Someone else can quote chapter and verse, but I know Jesus said something about casting the first stone.

updated JUN 13, 2010
posted by nizhoni1
Yes Jesus said those words in John Ch 8 v 7 - FELIZ77, JUN 12, 2010

I believe the question of “should polygamy or polyandry be an accepted custom in any culture”, would be a question that could only logically be decided by the culture itself.

Since there are societal differences among cultures, any “specific” culture should never be so presumptuous as to suggest that what another culture approves as an accepted custom to be either a “wrong” or for that matter a “correct” custom.

I believe the correct response to the question would be something like the following:

In my culture we believe a specific custom is either accepted or not in our culture. I therefore find a specific custom to either be acceptable or not acceptable relative to my beliefs in my culture.

However, if I find another culture approving the antithesis of a specific belief of my culture, why would I have the right to repudiate the customs of any other culture?

updated JUN 12, 2010
posted by Rolest
This is a very tricky and difficult issue that is at the core of many international conflicts, and of the frictions caused by the intevention of the government of the USA abroad. - Gekkosan, JUN 12, 2010
That is a good point. One culture trying to implement its ideologies on another is wrong. Many wars have begun do to incongruent religious beliefs. - Rolest, JUN 12, 2010
Some issues like child abuse and rape should be considered totally unaccapetable in all cultures and any culture that makes no effeort to protect its weak and vulnerable is not deserving of respect in my view - FELIZ77, JUN 12, 2010
therefore, if we accpet all cultures without question, do we then say that all human behaviour is acceptable? - FELIZ77, JUN 12, 2010
accept, I mean - FELIZ77, JUN 12, 2010
Outlandish or barbaric behavior is unacceptable especially if one converges all societies into a cohesive unit, called “humanity”. From that viewpoint, one would be part of the “world society” and those type of deeds would be universally unacceptable. - Rolest, JUN 12, 2010

Wow, I'll check back later to see if there is any blood! One could spend the entire day just correcting the typos, without even getting into rebutting or explaining away! But I need to get back to working on my very basic Spanish.

But quickly - Heidita, I do not take uptight as an insult but as someone else's opinion.

updated JUN 12, 2010
posted by LateToDinner
haha, no, jeje (re the blood) - margaretbl, JUN 12, 2010

A dear friend of mine is the daughter of number 4 Wife, she says that it worked very well . Each child knew who their birth mother was but that number 1 Wife was called "Mother"and she delegated out the household jobs to the other wives., Many Chinese males who came here during the "Gold rush"would support their wife back in China although would marry another woman here and start another family. I know of such a family and the father eventually was able with our help to bring the Chinese family here from mainland China and all are living quite happily together. One could say that if a man or woman wants to take another spouse then it is testament to how happy they are in the marriage,and maybe it is better than divorce and then remarriage , less costly and more shared responsibility, it is worth looking into .Just leave me out of it I have served my time with honors and now enjoy a healthy retirement.

updated JUN 12, 2010
posted by ray76

I know for a fact that many (I wont say all because I am only referring to the individuals that I personally know) Mexican men and women are very much okay with having multipul partners, but it's not as open as you would think. Its more a hush-hush, don't ask, don't tell kind of thing. I know many, many men and women who have their spouces and lovers on the side, but they never address their "affairs" with their "main partner." I, personally, find that unusual. If you claim to be okay with, then why continue to hide it? I don't agree with it, but then again its diffrent strokes for diffrent folks, who am I to judge?

updated JUN 12, 2010
posted by KatieLou
If you can't make a judgement then who can? Or are you saying we should not have opinions? - ian-hill, JUN 12, 2010

On the planet that I come from (Earth), there are no monogamous cultures.

updated JUN 14, 2010
posted by 008f2974
Really ? - ian-hill, JUN 14, 2010
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