Is Monogamy Natural? – Video Panel for YourTango

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 11.04.07 PMWhat does fidelity actually mean? And is it the same as monogamy? Is it even natural? I was pleased to join YourTango relationship experts on this video panel where we discussed monogamy and fidelity.

Monogamy has been a controversial topic for quite some time. While some insist that monogamy is unnatural and outdated, other skeptics reject the overall notion of falling in love with and committing to just one person, going as far as to say that the state of monogamy is entirely impossible. Is being in a monogamous relationship really that difficult?

Joined by YourTango Experts Senior VP Melanie Gorman, Therapist SaraKay Smullens, Relationship Retreat Guide Mary Ellen Goggin and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Alicia H. Clark sit down with Anthropologist and Human Behavior Researcher Helen Fisher to discuss the nature of monogamy. Those who have no faith in monogamy say that it is only natural for eyes to wander and for people to indulge in polyamorous relationships. Helen Fisher (who has studied the topic of monogamy for many years) fully believes that monogamy is part of human nature, even going as far as to mention that  “The drive to form a pair bond, to rear our children as a team probably evolved over 4.4 million years ago. In every single culture in the world, the vast majority of men and women in every pediment, every igloo, every apartment building have one man and one woman.” Even if you don’t personally believe in monogamy, science has proven that it is in fact natural.

However, although it appears that monogamous relationships are the norm, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easy for couples to maintain a monogamous lifestyle.  Dr. Alicia H. Clark mentions that rigidity and boredom can have an effect on your loyalty towards your partner, stressing that forgetting to keep things fresh with your partner can have a lasting effect on your connection. Keeping things alive and vivacious can go a long way to strenghtening your bond. Naysayers should take note that successful monogamous relationships are still entirely possible; they just take work.

Watch the video for more insightful tips on how to maintain a monogamous relationship and keep from straying:


Alicia H. Clark, PsyD