Look I don't disagree with any of your main premise, i.e. long term monogamy is unappealing and most people have no interest in having sex with the same person and only them for decades or life (even if they think they do), and it violates every biological instinct.

But the problem is that you posit polyamory as the alternative, rather than what would actually happen if people stopped trying for monogamy, which is that most men past middle age would have NO relationships and NO sex, with anyone other than prostitutes, most women past menopause would never have sex again, and prostitutes would be really, really busy. And children would be impoverished and all the men no longer attached to an exclusive family unit would have no interest in working for and funding (directly or through taxes) the care and upkeep of all those children.

It's not like everyone is just dying to have strings free sex with people in the second half of their life, without any of the accompanying benefits of mutual companionship, social prestige, shared investment in kids/grandkids and real estate, financial benefits of joined earning power in one household, etc. In fact pretty much no one does. They want to have sex with hot young people. You compare monogamous and polygamous older men as if those are the only two options, but I know plenty of older guys who are just plain single. And they never have sex at all, just like the monogamously married for 25 years guys. Plus they're incredibly lonely and don't have the family stuff others seem to value. They're the prime suicide demographic.

There is no solution to this problem. The supply and demand of desirable sex partners is simply mismatched, which is precisely why pretty young women can command $600 an hour for sex and nothing else they could do pays remotely that well. And why zero 60 year old men or women could charge any amount to anyone to have sex with them (absent them being willing to engage in some horrific degrading practice a sadist wants that no one else will do or a rare fetishist).

This experiment has been done, like in many many societies, from the LDS in the 1800s to certain current Islamic countries to most ancient civilizations. It results in every case in poverty for children and most women, and the necessity of regularly getting rid of excess men through war, slavery, sacrifice, sending them off to be pirates or on dangerous missions or otherwise expelling them, etc.

Until you genetically engineer out the instinct for sexual possession and drive for exclusive ownership of one's mate, or for the sex drive to disappear at age 50, or for people to remain as beautiful and libidinous as 30 year olds their whole life, there is no solution or utopia. Men show remarkably little interest in remaining closely invested in their children once they're no longer living with the mother. Women past menopause don't want to have sex and no one wants to sex them, amd bc of viagra many are forced to pretend they still want to in order to avoid divorce. And everyone interested in sex desires the same pool of like 10% of the total population. The math doesn't work.

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There's a lot that could be responded to here, but at its' core your argument is admitting there's a lot of big problems with monogamy, and then throwing up your hands and saying nothing can be done about it without impoverishing women and children.

For one thing, this argument about it having been tried and universally leading to disaster is flimsy and very hand-wavey. I'll grant that a very particular and very patriarchal version of polyamory has been tried, and no one should be surprised that it sucks. But that's definitely not what Aella is proposing, and it's definitely not the only option.

But let's just assume everything you lay out is true. Why does that mean we have to remain married (lol) to monogamy? Why is there no reform or progress that could be made? Perhaps you're right, polyamory might not be a good answer to these problems, but that doesn't mean there are no answers. I agree that we aren't going to change human nature, but that doesn't mean that the way we've organized our culture is the best way to do so, just because it's less bad than other ways it has been tried.

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Well, what is your solution to the fact that most men, if unfettered by society and without social rewards and punishments, would desire to have a harem of multiple young fertile lovers in the 15 to 35 demographic? But said demographic is about a quarter of the size of the pool of men who want them? And when many men are taking more than one, those odds just get worse? Or the fact that most women, if unfettered by needs like social approval and security and financial support, also desire a small fraction of the most attractive and vigorous of men? Or that children require intensive investment by at least two parents (unless they have one very rich parent), and women are profoundly more burdened physically, emotionally, and financially than men are? It's a serious question. If you have solutions to these inherent problems, which seem quite intractable to me, I'm all ears. To me, monogamy seems like a social technology that has produced a lot of desirable outcomes. Though you'll have to believe me that I fully, 100% understand and appreciate the sacrifices it requires, especially for those best positioned to get their needs and desires met in a relatively easy fashion (since the sacrifice is likely to see most unfair and repressive, to them). I'm totally one of those people, I see it as a sacrifice, but I don't see a good alternative that could be adopted on a society wide scale without a lot of very bad side outcomes.

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Your arguments seem exaggerated. Like you are talking about a loose average but not saying so. There seems to be some general truth but it's as though you are speaking of emotionally immature people. An emotional immaturity that comes from hiding from problems.

All things being equal bodies in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are most desirable for oneself or a partner. Health, fertility, etc. However, fitness, skill, hormones, etc. can compensate. The advantages of a youthful body often go away with conversation.

I'm not speaking of monogamy vs polyamory but about people's willingness to put some effort into attractiveness, sociability, and sexuality. If two people are shacking up and neither cares much about sex fine. If they both care and they still like each other as human beings, whether monogamous or poly they can usually find some sexy common ground. If one cares and the other does not that's a problem for monogamy and not for polyamory.

I do often find myself more attracted to younger women. I don't want to entirely deny the younger body aspect but it doesn't seem to be the main difference. On average younger women are more responsive and more comfortable showing their own attractions. When I meet older women in their 70s and 80s who still have some excitement about interacting I find that quite attractive. So yes that is partially biochemistry but it's also something that people can cultivate.

Show me relatively healthy, happy, people who are in good shape and still go dancing, attend tantra events, dress nice, work on their social skills, etc., and are not getting laid and I will be surprised. I suppose it is a thing that people in their 20s can have multiple mediocre sex partners without trying hard. Older people need to work at it some and act like physical intimacy actually matters. It's not even unpleasant work. Either people pay attention to their bodies and sensuality or they don't. Sure one can buy it and one way or another there is a cost but people do have options.

I am sympathetic, especially as someone who was mostly stuck in bed for 10 years. However, in general, people are dissatisfied because they are not taking their lives seriously. A combination of working on oneself and learning to be open to people who work on themselves at any age seems to make the problems you describe go away. I have always dated people of all ages and assuming some level of philosophical compatibility it seems to be a matter of who is willing to come out and play. I don't think it's just me. I think it's a mindset and skill that people can learn from books and workshops.

A lot of this seems to come from a sex-negative culture which makes some historical sense but seems far behind technology. As it is now in the US at least, sex-positive and vibrant lifestyles seem to be more common in subcultures than in the mainstream culture. So yes this culture does promote youth and pays sex workers more but overall it's not the healthiest way to live.

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> Why is there no reform or progress that could be made?

Because people have been talking about this for millennia. We're already sitting on the reforms and progress; matrilineal societies with weak pair bonds were quite common in prehistory, and traces of their lifestyles are still seen in, for example, the Minengkabau. These gave way to patrilineal societies which often treated women as chattel, and were common across historical agrarian societies. Gradually the duty-centered lifestyles of arranged marriages were broken by figures like St. Valentine, and the prudish restrictions against birth control and pornography have vanished over the last hundred years. But now everyone is neurotic, over-medicated, addicted to their cell phones, obsessed over incels and sexual market value and ghosting and affairs and polyamory and asking the same time-honored question, "Isn't there anything to be done?"

Life is hard. It has always been hard. And I don't agree that it's a bad idea to change human nature, because I think that's the only way to actually, truly solve the real problems that face humanity. But if that's your position - if you don't want to change human nature - the best thing to do is to *embrace* that nature. Accept the contradictions, the conflict, the swirl of fears and desires, and the long history of fads and fashions that ultimately solved nothing, but expressed everything across the pages of history: The Story of Who We Are.

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I can't speak for Aella (and I'm aware you're really arguing with her) but what about the Middle Ages?

Everybody thinks people were superstitious prudes back then, but prostitutes and bathhouse ladies were an established feature of life. Marriage was seen as more than merely an expression of romantic love and a source of pleasure and fulfillment. It was regarded as an organizing principle of society, an economic unit, providing a role and a place for people. The *ideal* was as always for people to remain monogamous, but this ideal wasn't taken for the very essence of marriage. Thus, extramarital sex wasn't a threat to the very core of marriage, the way it is now. Rather, people seemed to have understood that there were biological needs like Aella experienced - don't glory in wanton adultery, but when the pressure is too much, go to confession and it's done.

Or maybe don't even go to confession unless you're making eyes at the priest; extensive records in medieval France suggest there was quite a lot of hanky-panky going on there. See: https://woodfromeden.substack.com/p/the-history-of-montaillou

Relaxed marriage norms did work for them; if they hadn't, we wouldn't exist.

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Yes, there was historically a LOT of prostitution, something people don't much like to talk about or acknowledge, either at the time or now. And rather hard to actually pin down, given it's generally been taboo enough that it's not as if people were stating it on a census, but my understanding is that in many places, up to 25% of women were prostitutes (old west US, Victorian London, historical Rome, etc.).

It seems to be something that a majority of people have always had a problem with, whether or not that was related to Christian "values" or not. Married women don't seem to like the chances of their husband falling in love and impregnating or otherwise diverting family resources that way, and men also seem to have a big problem with it that is a little more difficult to explain but I would imagine is related to the fear of what would happen if women weren't shamed out of selling sex and what would happen to the market.

I wonder if most people, if they don't want their spouse engaging sexually with others, would prefer, if they had no choice, that the spouse indulge via paid sex with a sex worker, or just cheat with a willing affair partner? Tough choice...on the one hand, the chance of being left and having them take up with the new person is lower with a sex worker. On the other, the quality and attractiveness one can secure that way is far higher.

I honestly bet most older married women wouldn't care much about their husband occasionally visiting prostitutes, so long as they were sort of ugly and didn't take too much money. If they could count on the visits not causing a danger of falling in love, developing an obsession, or diverting too much household money, they'd probably actually be happy for him to take some burden off her!

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I presume conservative men have a problem with it because of their ideals, and it makes introverted men uncomfortable. Though it's really not for me, I don't have a problem with it at the level it currently exists. I suppose one nice thing about the taboo is that we don't have prostitutes wandering up and down our street propositioning our kids!

But do you have any sources for your claims about the prevalence of prostitution? The only place I could believe 25% of women were prostitutes is the Old West. Rome seems unlikely, and about Victorian London, try this source: https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/156189

Really, I can't imagine many long-settled areas would have high percentages of prostitutes for any length of time, except insofar as such activity is culturally sanctioned (e.g. temple prostitutes), or it constitutes part-time work for women who also do other things.

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“You might argue we live in a society full of selfish degenerates who don’t care about their marriages - but if 40% of people are crashing at your intersection, maybe you should stop blaming the drivers and instead take a closer look at the intersection design?”

As a former escort and ‘naked therapist’ I can relate. 90% of my clients were married and not open with their wives seeing sex workers. Most talked about the lack of desire, her getting fat/older and undesirable (yet they put on 30 pounds over the course of their marriage, went bald and had terrible hygiene - their appearance never came up as a factor of why their wives didn’t want to have sex.) Most said they loved their wives but didn’t want to hurt them telling them they wanted sex outside the marriage. But what if she’s thinking about having an affair to get her sexual and emotional needs met- why not just talk about the pink elephant and admit what you really want but reassure one another that you’re not going to abandon the other. Why does the monogamy world equate sex outside the marriage as a sin?

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Not sure I saw children mentioned anywhere in that. Isn't the main purpose of societally-encouraged monogamy that it's more likely to be conducive to a healthy and supportive environment in which to raise to children?

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It's not the best environment for children when one parent is permanently resentful of the other. If it's monogamy or the highway, won't that make the dissatisfied partner more likely to leave, harming the children? If the spouse who doesn't want sex lets the other meet their needs elsewhere, the family can be preserved.

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Yes, but "meeting their needs elsewhere" definitely raises the risk that: (a) another child is brought into the world, which now means that the children on one side or other are going to get less attention; or (b) the dissatisfied partner leaves the relationship for someone they meet through the open relationship. Maybe those risks are lower than the risk that the relationship dissolves because of the monogamy, I dunno, but my point is that this "stack" (is that what we call a Substack essay?) criticizing monogamy doesn't address what I take to be the main reason for monogamy. As I understand it, the rise of monogamy parallels the rise of a lot of other good things that characterized advanced, happy, peaceful societies.

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It depends on how late you have children, but if you have them in your 20s, by the time you hit menopause the children are grown or nearly grown up anyway.

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> one parent is permanently resentful of the other

Not just that, both parents are permanently resentful of each other some times.

This article describes the failure mode of men resenting women for not getting their sexual, emotional, etc needs met.

There seems to be another side to this where women resent men for not getting their need for power, control, and freedom met. I think this leads to the controlling mother / mother-in-law tropes we often see

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Aella has a bit of a blind spot when it comes to reproduction. She's written elsewhere about childbearing couples being obviously less happy than childfree couples, when the data don't bear this out.

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Apr 18, 2023·edited Apr 18, 2023

For me whole idea of marriage is total nonsense. How people can be so stupid to promise commitment to one person for life under such rigorous law enforced terms? It doesn't really matter what you want or wish for if you simply don't have 100% control over the situation. Sure, try monogamy if it feels like appealing to you but getting married? Geez, why people give up their freedom so easily, getting enslaved on their own demand, lol. Not even once! I know people who got married literally 3-4 times in their lives. Same mistakes, never enough, catastrophy each time. They must really hate themselves if they "jump under the train" like that over and over again. :P

Also how people ain't aware of getting bored of each other after some time? Having sex often with the same person in a course of a month sounds like a terribly boring routine for me. Actually seeing chart about sex in very long relationships I'm more sorry for those who still have it often than those who stopped having it at all. :P My parents stopped having sex after just like 10y of marriage and sticked only to affairs with others and I guess it's the only reason why their relation survived at all. Lucky them that they both got bored at the same time and way and just got over it instead of turning their lives into hell like most marriages do raging senselessly in courts etc.

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I'm afraid you may be at an evolutionary dead end. I agree that the absolutism of Western attitudes towards marriage is a bit much, but marriage is found across virtually all cultures - and I say "virtually" just to hedge, as I've never heard of a culture ignorant of the institution.

People who don't marry have fewer children on average; genes passed on to fewer children are selected against; unless the heritability of your attitude is zero, Mother Nature will simply continue to shrug and pull it out like a weed in the garden. Homo sapiens are not frogs; we are a species of marriage, and our mating patterns are, however incompletely so, monogamous.

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My attitude is not written in genes, ideas spread in societies regardless of their autors. Just look at catholic church - priests and nuns don't breed yet their institution and ideology last centuries. :P

I'm also not sure if what you wrote is true at all. I read stats about my country where half of the pregnancies are unplanned and occurs prior to marriage. I remember research about blue eyes - scientists say that when this mutation has occured it needed one man to have like 70 children to preserve this gene from disappearing in one generation, I doubt in happened in any form of marriage. Anecdotally the most children have people who are "serially monogamous" - they have many monogamous relationships one after another. It may not be poly but also far from lifetime marriage that was created in times where didn't live that long.

When it comes to species - well, there are bonobo apes that are promiscous and ain't far distinct from us genetically. The more intelligent animal is the more important are behaviors learned from its parents. There are cases of cross-species upbringing that gives unusual results. Genes are not everything.

Homo sapiens is specific specie, our life is not all about instinct and breeding, we are above that. We have contraception and abortion to make our life easier and more pleasant. I don't see a reason why it couldn't be like that with the rest of our sexual life. After all divorces and registered partnerships are steps in right direction from medival marriages entangled with church and faith. And if mother nature really does selection - there's no need for social pressure anyway. :)

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As far as I know, that's how signalling games work.

As long as there are social advantages to making that kind of commitment, most people will do it, either without a second thought, or willfully aiming both to get these social benefits and to avoid the costs by not actually honoring their commitment.

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The rank thing was interesting as it was an compelling/frustrating mishmash of superpowers, and things you absolutely wouldn't want to be without. Then down at the bottom some things you don't care about at all, or seem actively harmful.

Read minds>Fly>Fulfilling Active Sex life>Extra 100 year lifespan>A Harem>Perfect Health>Need No Sleep

...and so on...

As for the overall article. Good analogy. Monogamy does indeed end up with a lot of people in rough spots (crashes) in terms of sex life. Though often the big downside there is compensated by upsides in other areas.

I have been pretty lucky overall in that our sex-life seems to have improved overtime mostly. I tend to think one of the big obstacles to polygamy is that the default arrangement would be fewer men to more women, and that this would lead to a surplus of unattached/undesirable men, which is socially destabilizing.

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"I tend to think one of the big obstacles to polygamy is that the default arrangement would be fewer men to more women, and that this would lead to a surplus of unattached/undesirable men,"

Then one of the big downsides of monogamy is that it forces a lot of women to be with a whole undesirable man each, when they'd much rather share a desirable one. As always, a matter of who gets their way.

"which is socially destabilizing."

In other words, the mass of unhappy, undesirable men is implicitly threatening the rest of society with doing something nasty if they're not handed over some women, mostly to have sex with them, which the women are mostly loath to. Therefore, the right thing to do is to stand up to them and uphold the interests of the women, because they can be fulfilled with just freedom, while those of the undesirable men need someone else's freedom to be curtailed.

Unsurprisingly, we already tend to do this. People talk and write a lot about how important it is for those who do have intimate relationships to be satisfied with them, but when someone never had a chance to find a sexual or romantic partner in their—usually his—whole life, that's no problem at all. Caring about it makes you a prime target for witch-hunting as a misogynist and a rapist.

Maybe we need to go back to having frequent wars to weed out all the weak young men, so women can happily share the tough survivors?

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Totally fair, I mean one solution would just be culling the problematic men, but I don’t think no people are up for that.

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Yes, really wish this criticism would be addressed.

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someone who advocates polygamy should address it!

In polyamory, though - in my survey, I asked polyamorous men and women how many romantic partners they had. I would guess that you'd predict the distribution is that there's more men with 1 and 4+ partners (which was the upper end of how many partners ppl had), while most women were more evenly distributed?

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No, id expect this to be somewhat evenly distributed as the gates are opened. The natural, long term trend, though, even with polyamory, I would expect fewer top tier men with tons of women. For many reasons: different sex drives, different desires for children, income disparities, goals in a relationship, etc

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enjoyed & largely agree with this post, and ESPECIALLY enjoyed the opening anecdote

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Another great article! Thank you for telling us about your experiences as an escort.

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Excellent! Clear, compassionate, and thought provoking. Thank-you.

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Thank you for your compassionate and thorough take on this. It warms my heart to see this topic discussed. The concluding sentence in particular is extremely powerful and deserves a lot more discussion.

Reading through some of the counter-arguments in the comments here, I'm noticing a trend. It doesn't surprise me, but it does make me sad. A lot of people, women in particular, seem to cling to monogamy as a security blanket against the weaknesses and failures of men, in a cultural sense. Without monogamy, men will abandon their children. Without monogamy, men will just seek and endless parade of 20 year old women to have meaningless sex with. Without monogamy, the entire fabric of society will collapse under the weight of mens' shortcomings.

I can't speak for all men, but I don't see myself in all that catastrophizing. I'd never abandon my children. In fact, my children are about the only reason I'm subjecting myself to an unhappy marriage. I'm certain that I would be happier if I pursued divorce, but I'm not certain that my kids would, so I haven't done it.

I'm attracted in a lizard brain kind of way to 20 year old women, sure, but if I was going to find another partner or partners in life, I would be looking in the 30-40 range, my own age. Not just because I have more common ground with them, but because I've enjoyed having sex with them more than younger women. I can't say for sure this trend will continue out evenly throughout the age spectrum, but I do know that stereotype is overlooking a pretty significant exception.

I get that all that is one random man's point of view, and it can't be automatically applied to all men. But one thing I don't think anybody understands about being a middle aged man, until they are a middle aged man, is that it takes an incredible amount of work just to overcome people's assumptions about you and your needs. Things like the assumption that I would abandon my children, if given the chance, and that my unrestrained sexual desire would always be for a nubile college girl.

I get that women, feminists in particular, don't have much or any patience for middle aged men lodging this complaint. I see why that's the case, and I rarely (bordering on never) even bother to register the complaint, because the fact is that I am privileged in a lot of ways, even if that privilege comes with some soul-destroying drawbacks. Personally, I'd be happy to exchange that privilege for some concessions toward a more fulfilling life, but that's not an option that's on the table.

Men have some serious problems in this culture. I have some serious problems. And some of them are rooted in our culture's obsession with monogamy, like a toddler's myopic attachment to it's favorite blanket. And the resistance to consider any solution to those problems seems to be rooted in assumptions that I have a hard time connecting to my lived experience.

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> others said they weren’t attracted in their wives

Typo, "in" should be "to".

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Thoughts on https://ymeskhout.substack.com/p/cuckoldry-as-status-jockeying ?

> The only real dalliance I had with polyamory was when I had brief flings with two married women, each in an open marriage, and both within a month of each other. I got to have some really fun sex and it also unlocked for me a power dynamic I previously was unaware of. It was ludicrously thrilling to find myself fucking a woman who had a husband. Further feeding that dynamic was that both women readily would disclose how difficult it was for their husbands to find dates.

> “How fucking pathetic!” I thought. If I had to rationalize the thrill I felt, I think it's entirely predicated on how status is demonstrated and exhibited differently for men and women. Status for women is much more apparent because (to simplify the topic significantly) it is almost entirely dependent on obviously discernable markers of youth and beauty. But status for men is significantly more situational and dependent on circumstance. In my mind, the fact that this married woman chose to have sex with me instead of her husband unequivocally demonstrated my higher status over him1, and that felt great.

> I have negative interest in having a threesome with another man involved. I'm not sexually attracted to men, but I've been to nude beaches and hot tubs with both men and women naked and felt no aversion, so that can't explain it. Rather, I think I would be way too intensely preoccupied with status jockeying to ever enjoy myself. If the other guy is higher status, I'd wonder “why am I here?” and also would presume that the status disparity would reinforce itself throughout the experience just by virtue of how the attention economy would play out. If the other guy is lower status, I'd start to wonder that the woman is also low-status (why else would she have sex with him?), and then of course I'd wonder if that also means I'm low-status.

> if you're a man and you let your wife/girlfriend fuck another man, that only gives him an opportunity to raise his status. And since status is zero-sum by definition, why would you debase yourself like that?

> So yes, it is indeed “heteronormative” and also clearly a double standard. My response is “Yes, and?”

> (...) Put another way, is the polyamorous man who is enthusiastic about his wife getting railed by other men enlightened or just a victim of a coping worldview. How can we tell?

Polyamory seems rather terrible if that's how it works.

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I'm not polyamorous, but that person's attitude doesn't feel typical of polyamory, or even of sheer promiscuity. He just seems repulsive and immature. Ordinary men have enough basic confidence in themselves to experience the feelings of connection and pleasure in the moment without reassuring themselves that every time they took a lady to bed they just one-upped somebody else.

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>We are far too rigid as a culture about the sexual needs of older men, we blame them for failing when it’s the system that demands too much.<

I think what you missed here is that the older men are literally paying you to have sex with them. If they abandoned their marriages and tried to form polycules with multiple women, how many women would be willing to do that with them, without being paid to do it? Probably none, and if there were any, they likely wouldn't be very high quality women. There may be some takers if the man is high enough in status, but that is just a roundabout way of paying for the sex.

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You mention status but my understanding is Aella charged quite a high hourly rate. Every older man I know who could afford to spend 10k on an escort is higher status and could find a relationship.

I know a few lonely older men, none of them could afford 10k

(By older I mean 50s & 60s)

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Yes, that is the point I was making when I said "but that is just a roundabout way of paying for the sex," thank you for repeating that for me.

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Polyamory won't fix that, but open relationship and ability to fulfill their needs with sexworkers will. Monogamic system and strict sexual culture means literal celibate for most older and unattractive people while they could easily have satisfying sex for money. Currently even if they do they have to hide as much as possible and pretend faithfulness.

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I don't see the difference between polyamory and "open relationship." Again, if you are an old man and you want to have an "open relationship" because your wife no longer puts out, what are the odds you'll be able to find a young, attractive woman to give you what you want? Again, without paying for it?

I suppose you can put forward "normalize sex workers for older married men" as a "solution," but really, the people you need to convince here are the wives of these older married men, who are likely to veto this idea. My guess is that this won't work because those women simply will not tolerate such an arrangement (for good reason, IMO, but again, I'm not one of those people, so I'm not the person who needs convincing).

And by framing the issue in these terms, we can sort of see why this "problem" and its proposed "solution" isn't ever going to be seriously pursued. The unfortunate reality is that society does not care about the needs of older married men in rocky marriages, sexual or otherwise, and you would pilloried as some sort of woman-hating pig for even suggesting this idea seriously in the broader cultural environment.

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I'm not talking only about men, normalizing getting sexual fulfillment outside of relationship would benefit both partners and even if one simply lost desire for sex still gets undisputable benefit of not getting nagged by second one. There are many benefits actually - keeping relationship, emotional support, financial stability. Whole rage about having sex with sexworkers is like raging for having a dinner in McDonald's. I don't think that jealousy is anything more than social construct, it can be changed easily. I was brought up in relationship without it at all and I personally don't even know what this feeling is, that's why I've never had problem with dating sexworkers.

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Why would you think jealousy is a social construct when it is clearly shown in most other species? Where, if the species isn't monogamous, the males still basically spend their lives fighting to the death with each other over mating opportunities, and in species that are semi or mostly monogamous (like birds or gibbons), both sexes spend plenty of time chasing away and fighting off sexual rivals, and the only way that extra-pair mating goes on is if it's secretive and the mate doesn't know about it?

I just don't understand how one can think that a human emotion/behavior that is seen not only universally in societies (in fact is the plot of many of our oldest stories going back to Arabian Nights and Greek myths), and is ALSO clearly observed across other species is a "social construct." Sure, societies can repress or amplify instinctual tendencies (towards greed, sharing, possessiveness, promiscuity, etc.), but it didn't put them there in the first place.

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Apr 23, 2023·edited Apr 23, 2023

We ain't living in the jungle anymore. What would work when we were just simple cave apes isn't needed now with our current self awarness. You clearly put monogamy next to violence and well - it says everything itself. Add inventions like contraception and abortion other species can't even dream about and we see how obsolete such aggresive behaviors are. Why being enslaved by primitive genes if we can focus on maximizing the pleasure?

And when it comes to source of this behavior - I still think it was created in the course of upbringing, not written permanently in our genes. Cross-species upbringing that occurs sometimes never results in the same behavior as in default one. The more intelligent animal - the more important upbringing is over genes. Well, even what we find attractive is hugely conditioned by culture, it changed alot across history. Changing the culture may change everything. Some would argue that even racism is part of our natural behavior, yet in civilised societies we got rid of it or at least know it's the right direction.

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Okay and are you a woman in a long term marriage with no sex? I suspect those people might feel differently from you on this topic.

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To keep with the auto metaphors, escorts are like the oil pan of the human sexual engine. Without escorts all that unspent male libido builds up. Sometimes it just and destroys the individual car, sometimes it leaks out into society, and sometimes it just explodes

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I really appreciate and largely agree with this post, but, Aella, I wish you would address why you don’t think divorce is the solution. Most people would say that is the cultural recourse or mechanism that is available for people who are deeply unhappy in a committed relationship. And yes, I get that divorce is costly, but 1) some common sense family law reforms would help, and 2) some cost should probably be accepted as inevitable when one partner strongly wants sex and the second partner strongly wants monogamy + no sex.

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Oh that's easy - she has something she likes better than divorce. Whatever else you might say about Aella, there's not much question about whether she's found something that she really loves!

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Oh another thing, you should do a book/article/podcast/etc. recommendations post!

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I love the ER doc/motorcycle metaphor. I want to play with it.

As a bike and motorcycle lover, I can say with some confidence that most of the time, the problem with a motorcycle is cars.

I don't on the other hand feel as though cars = poly.

The part I like is this. With a motorcycle, you need balance. Monogamy works that way. It is a balance between two people. It takes both skill and a particular desire to look out for all the accidents waiting to happen to be a successful motorcyclist. I'd argue that biology/culture is the car in this case. We aren't quite as monogamous as some species. Although, the data shows that even in monogamous species, both sexes cheat.

I have other relationship experience. I had friends in full poly relationships and I've been with partners that lean/were poly. Having additional partners definitely does lend some emotional-physical stability to the vertices of poly partnerships. Poly does have a certain advantage, for example, more points of balance. That is not to shade the other skills needed to make relationships work. The analogy that comes to mind is a motorcycle-sidecar combination as the minimum stable structure. It is also still vulnerable to cars...

FWIW, I'd argue that humans are suited to many styles of relationships, but cultures tend to gang up with human nature and form cars.

The beautiful wreckage is visible all around.

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