Carlos Montano

Aracely Miron

Viet Mai

Stephene Porras

Gender Differences Report

Chapter 6


Polygamy and the Nature of Men


            Chapter 6 starts with a story of how the Sun King Atahualpa had many young, beautiful women that were his concubines and how he chose them at a really young age to ensure their virginity. The other men who were not noble were basically forced in to celibacy because Atahualpa had most of the women or married them to him noblemen.  Also it went to say that if a man were to violate anyone of his women it would led to total destruction of the man who committed the act, his entire family and even his village.


            Next the chapter goes to tell about the arguments that evolution brings forth. Those arguments are centered around Evolution being more about reproduction on the fittest rather then survival of the fittest. Stemming from that point of view there are two other arguments that are raised that include behavior being learned and NOT inherited, and the second being a contradiction about inherited behavior being inflexible but that human are clearly flexible. Basically the first argument is an exaggeration and the second is just plain false.


            It then goes into another section that talks about the point of marriage and basically how our mating system is foolish. He describes our system being foolish because the name “monogamy” is only there because the democracy prescribes it, which means that if we were to relax the anti-polygamy law it would flourish. He gives examples about how powerful men have usually had more then one mate even though they only had one wife, and that our system is clearly plagued my adultery. Therefore calling our mating system a monogamous one is a joke because it is not at all.


            Furthermore males are the dominant sex by far and are the seducers in our mating system. The reason for this is because they can mate with more females without the commitment and don’t have much to gain from these relationships. Females however have to carry the offspring and take care of them for a long period of time, where as the male does not need to stick around. Women are the more choosey sex and therefore select their mate with quality and the males sex is more worried about the number of females he impregnates. 


            A turn on this view is the introduction of phalaropes, where in this species the roles are reversed. The male here is seduced by the female and takes care of the offspring while the female go around looking for another mate. The females here also take the initiative or courting the males. He then relates this example to the essence of the Red Queens message which is that one or the other will be condemned to an unnatural fate. The way I think he is relating these tow ideas is that the male lives a life that is unnatural compared to the rest of the males in the world. They are the caregivers here and the ones who are dominated my the females which is “unnatural” to the male sex. So what is good for the females here, may not be all that great for the males.


            Homosexuality is another issue covered that really caught my attention by the way he touched on their promiscuity. His main idea here is that homosexual men are behaving like men, only more so, and that homosexual women are acting like women, only more so. So basically he is saying that straight men would do exactly what homosexual men did if women would be interested in the acts that gay men performed.


            There is large debate as to why different animals have different mating systems. In other words, why do some animals “choose” polygamy instead of monogamy, or vice versa? Many theories have been put forth to answer this question. One factor that may influence animal mating systems is the game theory or dependence on the actions of others. In the polygyny threshold model, if the advantages of a bigamist with good territory or genes exceeds that of a monogamist with his faithfulness and parental care, polygamy will result. Polygyny, however, can actually benefit females more than males. Because some males will have an abundance of wives, the majority of other men must be celibate. Women, on the other hand, who wish to pursue careers will find other women to help in the responsibilities. The mating system theory gives answers as to why polygamy or monogamy is chosen. First, if choosing faithful males is better, there will be monogamy. Secondly, if mated males can coerce the women to have them, polygamy will happen. Third, if women can’t do worse in choosing an already mated male, there will be polygamy. Finally, if the already-mated females can prevent other females from latching on to her mate, monogamy will happen. A second factor that may influence mating systems is ecology or socioecology. Antelopes, for example, have very different mating systems according the habitat in which they live. Small forest antelopes are monogamous, whereas open woodland and big plain antelopes are polygamous. The same holds true for chimpanzees. The problem with this theory is that some species share the same ecology but have different mating systems. The black grouse and the red grouse are examples. The answer lies in their ancestry or history. Black grouse are descended from forest dwellers, while red grouse are not.


            Human mating systems can also be explained through history. As man moved into grasslands and woodland savannas, a generally unchanging environment, they hunted animals, gathered fruits and seeds, were social in tribes, and were hostile to others. Characteristics of these early people are still evident in today’s societies. This contributes to the ideas of the environment of evolutionary adaptedness or EEA. Others believe that people are constantly adaptive and therefore have man potential mating systems. When men were hunters they were monogamous because hunting is more luck than skill. Even the best hunters could come back empty handed. The food could spoil easily, so if he had extra, sharing could only be beneficial. There was not yet the concept of wealth. When man discovered agriculture, however, the wealth and power structure was born. Farming leads to hoarding and therefore, men that had accumulated a lot of food were also the most rich and powerful. As some men became more powerful, one man could support several women and be polygamous.


            Power seeking is an important characteristic of social animals. Power tends to lead to reproductive success. It also can be multiplied using alliances. Alliances can happen between brothers, ensuring gene success, or through reciprocity in which one animal helps another in order to be helped later in return. The evolution of power has gone from brute strength, to a combination of strength and cunning, and finally to man in which cunning alone can be a step into power. Humans are different than most animals, however, because great power in society does not always lead to reproductive success.


Anthropologist Mildred Dickemann from California went out to seek how Darwin’s ideas applied to humans.  She found out that many of history’s early civilizations were very polygamous. Many early societies behaved just how many animals did or do today. These early societies, especially the leaders, left as many descendents as possible.


John Hartung of Harvard University hypothesized that “…a rich person in a polygamous society would tend to leave his or her money to a son rather than a daughter because a rich son could provide more grandchildren than a rich daughter” (p.197). This is true because men with wealth are very attractive to females, so the male will have many women and many children. The rich person will be repaid by having many great grandchildren. Women with money cannot increase her fertility. “The more polygamous a society, the more likely if will show male-biased inheritance” (p.197).


In the mid 1980’s Laura Betzig researched six different civilizations that were known to have very polygamous leaders. These six early societies included Babylon, Egypt, India, China, Aztec Mexico, and Inca Peru. Each of these cultures had leader with harems (secluded with very many concubines and virgins secured just to bear the ruler’s children. All of these societies used similar methods to achieve maximum reproductive success like wet nursing, fertility monitoring, and claustration of the concubines. They would also keep women slaves more than male slaves because female slaves were more valuable for sexual endeavors. The ruler could take these women and make more slaves with her. An interesting fact is that the masters would let certain slaves go free, but usually these slaves would be his illegitimate children. Another interesting fact that Betzig found was that these rulers would almost always have one main woman as their queen. They would always be treated better than the others. This woman would have the ruler’s legitimate children who would go on to rule the nation.


During the time of Medieval Christendom, polygamy still went on, but it was very secretive. Many women had jobs in monasteries and castles that their tasks included sleeping with the men of these places. Many noblemen had women to copulate with because they had power, but most peasant men did not marry before they were forty and they rarely had a chance to fornicate.


It was very obvious that many problems were caused because of the sharing and collecting of women. Violence broke out many times in many societies because of men wanting more women or men stealing women. Sex is the principal cause for mayhem and murder even today. In Christianity, sex was never considered a sin until it was seen to cause trouble. That is why it was a sin because polygamous relationships cause chaos of jealousy and fighting. The monogamous Germanic tribes that frustrated the polygamous Romans so much were able to agree with each other and direct their aggression towards to fighting others. Rome (and other polygamous societies) had problems internally because of all of the Romans were fighting with each other instead of other nations. Women are the most important asset to many societies. Numerous anthropologists have theorized that cultures fought for limited resources, but this was not true. Resources are never really limited, but the spreading of genes has always been more important. One interesting fact was that many armies have been motivated by getting to “keep” all of the women of the army that they defeated. Many know that rape and war go hand in hand. Generals condone the raping of villages that are taken from the enemy. Many believe that shore leave for the navy is so that the men can go and fornicate so that they stay happy and motivated. Resources, wealth, and power are never the only agenda on the mind of men. Many men want that so that they can get the ladies.


Many historians believe that monogamous relationships are the core of the family now because when monogamous men could vote against polygamists, the polygamists had no chance to rule. Today, we see politicians trying to keep the cleanest reputation they can so that monogamous people will vote for them. Today, fornication is a very bid compromise for men and women. Women have just as much say in it as men do (if not more).




The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People

By: David P. Barash, Ph.D.

Judith Eve Lipton, M.D.


Chapter 1: “Monogamy for Beginners”


An anthropologist by the name of Margaret Mead defines monogamy as the hardest and rarest of all human marital arrangements.  There is powerful scientific evidence supporting monogamy as being not “natural.”  Humans can be, maybe should be, but it is unusual and difficult.  Does monogamy equal morality?  Religious and moral issues teach that nonmonogamy is wrong but it is this inner restlessness that supports that it is against nature. Literature has also had reflections on monogamy and infidelity like The Iliad and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.  There is always the struggle to want to remain monogamous, although it is very difficult.  Amongst all mammals, monogamy is nonexistent and males do not care for the young.  In the 1930’s E.F. Knipling conducted a study on screw-worm flies in agriculture.  He believed that sterilizing the males would lead to lower reproduction, but reproduction still occurred, which led him to conclude that multiple mating is practiced in order to procreate.  Geoffrey A. Parker, a British behavioral ecologist stated the idea of sperm competition, which is another way of saying nonmonogamy.  Charles Darwin was actually the first to bring up this idea with a domestic goose mating with a Chinese goose, even though it was another species.  However, Darwin didn’t explore too far because, even today, it makes people uneasy.  There are techniques used to clear up paternity.  First there was the use of blood types for example, A, B, AB, and O.  Now we have DNA fingerprinting, which is complex but extremely accurate.  The idea of mating exclusivity is used as a social system in this book.  There is the discrepancy and hypocrisy of men claiming for sexual partners than women, going along with the stereotypes of “real man” and “virtuous woman.”  More recently, scientific research is looking for evidence of true monogamy, as opposed to the opposite.  Early research was very male-centered but more recently, females and their strategies are being observed more closely.  There is a difference between social monogamy, one man and one woman interacting exclusively, and sexual monogamy, a man and a woman only copulating with each other. 




Carlos Montano

Aracely Miron

Viet Mai

Stephene Porras

Gender Differences Report

Chapter 6

Outline for Ch. 6

Polygamy and the Nature of Men


  • Empire of Incas
  • Ruled by "Sun King Atahualpa"

- Keep many virgin women to himself (concubines)

- Other Indian men were basically Celibacy

- If they violated Atahualpa women then they would be killed along with   their entire family, their animals, their servants and

villagers along with the entire village destroyed and then stoned.

- He and his noblemen had a majority holding in the paternity of next


- Most of the women he kept for himself, the rest married to favored



Mankind, An Animal-

  • Argument: Evolution is more about reproduction of the fittest than survival of the


- Those who thought humans were unique advanced into 2 arguments

1. In humans everything about behavior is learned, not inherited.


2. Inherited behavior is inflexible behavior and humans are

clearly flexible (false)

- Inherited tendencies permeate everything we do and are


  • Every behavior is product of an instinct trained by experience


The Point of Marriage-

  • Our society is has a mating system that is designed for monogamy that is plagued

by adultery.

- This is seen when viewing the fifth method that compares humans to animals that share our highly social habitats.

  • Monogamous societies may only tell us what their democracy prescribes, not

what human nature seeks. (relaxing the anti-polygamy laws and it flourishes)

- Powerful men usually have more then one mate, even though they only

marry one.

  • Mankind is both polygamist and Monogamist depending on circumstance

- Human shouldn't have mating system (foolish) because they do what they want.

- Adapt their behavior to the prevailing opportunity


When Males Pounce and Females Flirt-

  • If males had their way women would live in harems. If women had their way men

would be faithful.

  • Males are the Seducers and females the Seduced

- Men are expected to ask for females hand in marriage, males bow on one

knee or are the first to bring it up in conversation. . . therefore pounce.

  • Reasoning for males to pounce is because they are the one who invests more in

creating an offspring and least likely to gain from each mating.

  • He = Quantity, She = Quality: Men can father another child every time they

copulate, whereas women can only bear the child of one man only at a time.


Feminism and Phalaropes-

  • Male is courted my aggressive female and he takes care of the eggs and the


  • They are the exceptions that that prove the rule (rule being Fruit-flies)
  • Females take initiative of courtship
  • Polygamy represents a victory for one man and the majority is condemned to


  • Essence of Red Queens message: One or the other will be condemned to an

"unnatural" fate.

- Meaning: what is good for one person may not be good for another.


The Meaning of Homosexual Promiscuity-

  • More female prostitutes then males, higher demand for females.
  • More promiscuous gay men then straight

- Study showed 75% had 100+ partners, 25% had 1000+ partners (Kinsey

Institute study of Gay Men)

  • Not allowing gay marriages mitigates against “stable” marriages
  • Straight men would do similar acts if women would be interested in them to.
  • Homosexual men behave like men, but only more so, and homosexual women

behave like women, but only more so.


Monogamy or Polygamy?-

  • Game theory: dependence on actions of others

- polygyny threshold model – a choice

                                - bigamist with territory or good genes

                                - monogamist with parental care

                - mating system theory – a female’s choice

                                - choosing faithful males are better – monogamy

                                - mated males coerce females to mate – polygamy

                                - mated males are no worse than non-mated males – polygamy

                                - mated females prevent their male to mate again – monogamy

  • Socioecology: dependence on ecology

- Females live according to food and safety, not sex

                - Proven animal studies

                                - antelopes

                                - chimpanzees

  • History: dependence on ancestry

- Same ecology, different mating systems – ancestry

                - Black grouse and red grouse

- have same habitat, enemies, and food, but different mating system

                                - black grouse are descended from forest dwellers

Human Mating Systems

  • EEA (environment of evolutionary adaptedness)

- grasslands and woodland savannas (generally unchanging)

                - behavioral patterns still characteristic today

                - combination of time and place

  • People are adaptive: there are many potential mating systems
  • Hunting

- luck not skill (no hoarding)

- monogamy

  • Agriculture

- hoarding – accumulated wealth – power

                - polygamy


Power: Important Social Characteristics

  • Used for sexual success
  • Alliances

- brothers: ensure gene success

                - reciprocity : “you help me, I help you”

  • Evolution of power

- strength (simple animals)

                - strength and cunning

                - cunning (humans)


Highly Sexed Emperors

  • Many rulers of early civilizations had harems full of fertile women

- Babylon

- Egypt

- India

- China

- Aztec Mexico

- Inca Peru

  • Similar methods were used to maximize reproductive success of these women

- Wet nursing

- Fertility monitoring

- Claustration of the concubines

  • Rulers would always have one woman that would be their main woman

- She would be the queen

- She would raise the legitimate children

- Those children would be future rulers

  • Christendom and polygamy

- In Medieval times, monasteries and castles had harems of “employed” women for fornication

- Polygamy was still practiced, but much more secretive.


The Rewards of Violence

  • Polygamy caused violence

- Sexual competition led to murder and mayhem

- Monogamous societies like Germanic tribes had less internal problems than Polygamous societies like Rome

- Polygamous societies fought over women

  • Christianity saw polygamous violence as problem

- Made sex a sin if not from monogamous relationship

- Noticed that sin caused trouble

- Sex itself was never problem or sinful

  • Fighting over women goes way back

- Iliad by Homer started with abduction of Helen

- In pre-agricultural societies, captives of war were more women than men.

  • Military turns blind eye

- Shore leave of Navy has primary purpose of access to prostitutes

- Rape and war always have high correlation with each other

  • Monogamous relationships make more sense today

- Men found out that one faithful wife was better bet than going our killing for women

- Monogamy causes less chaos

  • Why monogamy over polygamy

- Not Christianity

- Not Women’s Rights

- Monogamists outvoted polygamists

                - Monogamy became core of family during Industrial Age

- Polygamists have not survived in politics and power