Sociology Index

Monogamy

Polyandry, Polygyny

Monogamy is having only one husband, wife, or sexual partner at any given time, or living at the same time. Marital monogamy refers to marriages of only two people. The term monogamy is used to specifically refer to marital monogamy. Polygamy is marriage with several spouses, or more than one spouse, at once, or living at the same time.

Social monogamy refers to two persons or creatures who live together and cooperate in acquiring basic resources such as food, clothes, and money. Sexual monogamy refers to two persons or creatures who remain sexually exclusive with one another and have no outside sex partners. Genetic monogamy refers to two partners that only have offspring with one another.

Whatever Happened to Feminist Critiques of Monogamy? Stevi Jackson and Sue Scott
During the 1970s heterosexuality was identified as a key site of women's subordination. Feminism and feminists sought to enhance women's sexual autonomy, to secure the right to define our own sexualities, to resist sexual coercion and exploitation.

One central feature of these debates was an emergent critique of monogamy that cut across other differences (between lesbians and straight women, between self-defined socialist and radical feminism). Drawing critically on the ideas of the sexual revolution and on older socialist and egalitarian traditions, as well as on more recent analyses of patriarchal relations, monogamy was questioned as a cornerstone of patriarchal privilege, enshrining men's rights over women's bodies, and as central to an ideology of romantic love through which women's compliance was secured.

Ambiguity of Monogamy as a Safer-sex Goal Among Single, Pregnant, Inner-city Women
Monogamy by Whose Definition?
Paula J. Britton, John Carroll University, Cleveland
Oneida H. Levine, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Anita P. Jackson, Stevan E. Hobfoll, James B. Shepherd.
It was our premise that women may be misperceiving and underestimating their risk due to differences in their definition and beliefs about monogamy, and thus are not changing their behavior. When compared to long-term monogamous women (self-reporting one partner in the past year), serially monogamous women (reporting two or more partners in the past year) perceived themselves at greater risk but did not report more frequent use of condoms. It is possible that a suggestion of monogamy may be subject to multiple interpretations and thus could be providing women with a false sense of safety. Risk reduction should be defined in specific behavioral terms.

Fidelity With(out) Monogamy: Love and Intimate Relationships in the 21st Century - Wosick-Correa, Kassia. Annual meeting of the American Sociological Association
Abstract: This article explores contemporary fidelity among those who embrace monogamy in constructing their intimate relationships. Previous research focuses on rates, reasons, and permissiveness of extramarital sex without operationalizing monogamy. I explore cheating and veiled fidelity as a deliberate digression from traditional tenets of dual sexual and emotional monogamy. I argue that both contemporary definitions and practices of monogamy as well as what constitutes cheating are tempered by: (1) what is considered “sex,” and (2) distinguishing between sexual and emotional fidelity. Further, although dual monogamy remains the ideal, individuals do engage in contact with others. Data show the distinction between sexual and emotional fidelity is most apparent when violating monogamy; emotional infidelity is regarded as a more severe infraction than sexual infidelity.

Bisexual Women, Non-Monogamy and Differentialist Anti-Promiscuity Discourses
Christian Klesse, Keele University, Sexualities, Vol. 8, No. 4, 445-464 (2005)
Popular discourses on bisexuality assume a peculiar interrelation between bisexuality and non-monogamy. Drawing upon qualitative research in gay male and bisexual non-monogamies in the UK, explores bisexual women’s accounts on the effects of promiscuity allegations on non-monogamous sexual and relationship practice. The issue is complicated by the intersection of promiscuity discourses with discourses on race/ethnicity and class. The regimes of violence that go hand in hand with the stigmatization through promiscuity allegations police women’s sexual behavior making it more risky for women of certain positioning move and socialize in certain cultural contexts.

Marriage, monogamy and HIV: a profile of HIV-infected women in south India
S Newmann, P Sarin, N Kumarasamy, E Amalraj, M Rogers, P Madhivanan, T Flanigan, S Cu-Uvin, S McGarvey, K Mayer and S Solomon
A retrospective study was conducted on 134 HIV-infected females evaluated. The mean age was 29 years; 81% were housewives; 95% were currently or previously married; 89% reported heterosexual sex as their only HIV risk factor; and 88% reported a history of monogamy. The majority were of reproductive age, thus the potential for vertical transmission of HIV and devastating impacts on families is alarming. HIV prevention and intervention strategies need to focus on married, monogamous Indian women whose self-perception of HIV risk may be low, but whose risk is inextricably linked to the behaviour of their husbands.