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Let women be promiscuous Sexual disenchantment can't be blamed on evolution


August 18, 2023   7 mins

Once upon a time, Darwinian theory was regarded as anathema to feminism. It presents gender stereotypes as inherent and predetermined, rather than as a production of socialisation and implies that women should fulfil “traditional roles”. No wonder it found a natural home among social conservatives. More surprising, though, is how a new generation of feminists have embraced evolutionary theory, using it to explain the current sexual disenchantment they see in the world.

Women, as they see it, are losing in our overly casualised, hook-up-oriented sexual marketplace because it is not how natural selection meant us to be. We were sold a lie that promiscuity was empowering, and we have come up against the constraints of an evolved psychology that tells us to lock down a man and have a baby. As a result, women are single, childless and unhappy. The solution? Variations on abandoning contraception, practising abstinence, embracing marriage and prioritising traditional family structures. The illiberalism of “there are no differences between men and women” is met with the illiberalism of “these differences are insurmountable”.

The evolutionary logic behind human behavioural sex differences, first theorised by the evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers in 1972, goes like this: because men can hypothetically father as many children as women they could sleep with, whereas women are limited in the maximum number of children they can have, men have evolved to be promiscuous, competing among themselves for a limited number of women. It also led men to become jealous, and in some instances violent, to avoid being cuckolded.

Women, by contrast, who are at risk of being left holding a demanding and vulnerable baby, have evolved to be picky and to prefer monogamy. This package of behaviours is sometimes called “sociosexuality” (high = promiscuous, low = chaste), and is borne out by our experience that men tend to desire more sexual partners and seek out casual sex to a greater degree than women.

But then we get to the question of the size of this difference — and in a debate about the sexual revolution, size matters. Is the disparity really that big? Is it even biological? Or does it vary between cultures?

In The Case Against the Sexual Revolution and Feminism Against Progress, Louise Perry and Mary Harrington both lean on Trivers’s theory, with Perry citing research that shows large sex differences in sociosexuality across 48 countries. The study, carried out in 2005 by a psychologist at Bradley University in Illinois, asked university students how many sexual partners they had had in the last year, how many of these were one-night stands, and whether they thought sex without love was acceptable, among other things. Putting aside that the sex lives of students are wholly unrepresentative of the general population and are unlikely to reflect how older individuals approach sex, and, in the words of the author of the research himself, that to extrapolate from this data to populations as a whole “would be inappropriate”, the research also showed that the sociosexuality gap varied a lot between these same 48 modern states, narrowing considerably in more gender-equal countries. If you keep in mind that men tend to overstate their promiscuity while women tend to understate theirs, then these differences are likely to get significantly smaller. They will still exist, but presenting them as entirely biologically caused, universally large and culturally invariable is a misleading first step in a logic that is defeatist about social change. If we were to look a little wider, outside of our rich and industrialised countries, we would find that the story of male and female sexuality gets a lot more complicated.

Consider the following statement: “I don’t like it when her boyfriend is here in the morning when I come back from being away.” This line might seem plucked from a conversation about sexual jealousy in a polyamorous chatroom, but in fact it comes from a Himba man, a semi-nomadic pastoralist group from Northwest Namibia.

With an estimated population of 50,000, the Himba still “marry”, in the sense that there are socially recognised unions between two or more individuals. There is also widespread acceptance of infidelity for men and women, leading to the highest rate of extra-marital children ever recorded, with 48% of all children fathered by someone other than the husband. It’s no secret when this happens, and parents tend to know with high accuracy whose child is whose. Moreover, Himba men place great value on being good fathers, even when they suspect the child is not biologically theirs. Jealousy still exists, as the above quote demonstrates, as does violence, and there is a degree of informal concealment around these affairs: to reduce the risk of run-ins, husbands are expected not to come home if they are out after dark, while lovers should leave before they hear the roosters crowing.

The Himba are an extreme example, but stories of relationship fluidity and female promiscuity crop up again and again in the anthropological record. As Paul Riesman has observed, among the Fulani of West Africa, a man knows that a woman has lovers and that “if he is away, whether on a trip
 or out looking for women himself, ineluctably his wife will have visitors and that it depends on her wishes alone whether she will go into the bush with them or not”. Meanwhile, many lowland indigenous populations of South America believe in partible paternity, whereby multiple men “contribute” semen to the gestation of a child, leading to most children having several fathers. In the Maqu region of Tibet, trial marriage is practised, where men and women live together before formal marriage, and prior to this cohabitation, may have multiple sexual partners. For the Mosuo and Zhaba farmers of China, husband and wife don’t ever cohabit, instead practising a “walking” marriage in which husbands visit at night, and help raise their sisters’ children during the day. In many traditional hunter-gatherer societies, the environment in which we have spent most of our evolutionary history, there is little stopping lovers from wandering into the forest together.

These examples are not meant to disprove the “naturalness” of long-term monogamous relationships, nor are they “better” ways of being. Many of them are also evidence of the essential existence of “pair bonding” in human relationships, where most individuals do form long-term monogamous relationships. But what they are meant to disprove is a notion of women as inherently chaste and of men as inherently promiscuous. If the elaborate cultural constraints and shame we usually put on women’s sexual behaviour are proof of anything, it is that, without them, women will, and often do, engage in promiscuous behaviour. If the predominance of pair-bonding in humans is proof of anything, it is that men will, and often do, stick around to raise the kids.

But are these examples, interesting as they are, relevant to those of us who departed down a different cultural route a long time ago? Well, is Tibetan “trial marriage” so different from a young couple living together but deciding to part ways? Is a Himba father investing in children he knows are not his, so different from the love and care that many receive from stepparents? Is Donald Trump marrying three times, albeit consecutively, so different from a rich polygamous pastoralist having three wives? We may no longer legally allow polygamous marriage, but the evolutionary nuts and bolts of having a man rich enough that he is able to support multiple wives and children is the same whether it is Trump or a Kipsigi man. We may not require that a man raises a stepchild under his own name like the Himba, but we would still expect him to treat them with kindness and care. There are, of course, still differences, but they are differences of degree, not kind, and much like the gaps in sociosexuality, they are often considered to be larger than they are.

So, what are the commonalities among the environments in which we find the Himba, the Maqu, the Mosuo, the Fulani, one of the 53 South American societies with partible paternity beliefs, or indeed our own society, where sexual behaviour is more relaxed, where women are freer, and where children are still raised to become happy and healthy adults? Often, women live close to their extended family members, who can help her raise her children and come to her defence if mistreated. Women inherit, and they also control some means of wealth generation. Most crucially, women are less dependent on their husband.

It is in these situations where research has shown that male jealousy is lower, as men are less concerned with becoming a “cuck” whose resources are unwittingly going to non-biological children, since wealth is instead passed through women. As Perry and Harrington note, this does weaken marriage bonds, because both men and women are able to walk away more easily. But compare this with societies where men control all the wealth, or where women make a lesser contribution to the economy, and male jealousy becomes high, the sexual culture less permissive, and strict controls emerge over women’s behaviour as paternity once again becomes an issue. Socially imposed monogamous marriage did not emerge in the West because it was better for society (though it might well be), as Perry states. It emerged to protect the wealth of a man being inherited by a non-biological son. Virginity and chasteness became highly valued, and women traded their promiscuity in exchange for their sons to be the sole heirs of a man’s estate, for they had no estate of their own.

Despite this, many “feminists” today propose solutions that would return women to once again being highly reliant on husbands. “Get married and do your best to stay married” is Perry’s parting advice. Harrington tells us to reject the contraceptive pill. Both propose that women wait to have sex, possibly until after marriage. “There was a wisdom to the traditional model in which the father was primarily responsible for earning money while the mother was primarily responsible for caring for children at home,” Perry states. All of these solutions are aimed at controlling the two male evolutionary strategies that Perry describes — cad and dad — as by being chaste you force men to make themselves marriageable. Yet, she denies women the same multitude of sexual strategies, instead reducing the female evolutionary story to a battlefield of male-on-male competition where our only active role is one of containing male promiscuity.

But can any of this tell us how to live? I’m not convinced. Natural selection doesn’t care much for your long-term happiness and doesn’t provide us with the means to build a moral and sexual ethics. The dissatisfaction individuals express about our contemporary sexual culture is more complicated and individualised than the sweeping conclusions provided by evolutionary theory. We should acknowledge that weakening monogamy leaves some women vulnerable, particularly if they cannot replace support from husbands with family or the state; just as we should also acknowledge that reinstating a forceful emphasis on monogamous marriage with sexual divisions of labour would limit women’s freedom. What we should not do, however, is use evolutionary theory to make superficially convincing narratives of gender stereotypes, which are a distraction, and do a disservice to the multitude of ways that humans can and have evolved to live.


Olympia Campbell has a PhD in evolutionary anthropology from UCL.

OLKCampbell

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Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
9 months ago

“In 2021, more babies â€“ 51% – were born to unmarried mothers in England and Wales than to those in a marriage or civil partnership for the first time since records began in 1845″ – University of Manchester, Aug 25th, 2022.
The Himba, at 48% aren’t I’m afraid the highest ever recorded. They aren’t even close.
KidsData.org tells us that for 2016, 64.8% of babies born to African AmericanBlack women in California were born to unmarried mothers. Incredibly this is 4.9% lower than the US average for that year for the same racial demographic. (Hispanics in both cases are just above 50%). Goodness knows what the numbers are for the communities with the highest “sociosexuality”.
It took me 5 minutes to find the above data. People decry a lowered level of trust in experts, but it’s hardly surprising if would-be experts can’t be bothered to get basic facts right, and then make entirely incorrect claims as a result.
Anyway, if the Himba have a society where socio-economic outcomes for kids are the same regardless of the marital status of their parents, good for them. The problem in modern societies is that evidence appears to show that the socio-economics outcomes for those born outside of wedlock are worse than those born and raised in a two-parent family. So if it’s ethics you’re seeking, then rather than obsessing about what various other writers have said, assuming it’s children you’re thinking about, maybe the answer lies in what is in their best interests, not your own.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Unmarried doesn’t mean that they are born to single mothers though. Out of that 49% (UK example) most children will still be born to two parents in a monogamous relationship, therefore the writers points are perfectly valid.
I agree the examples used by the writer probably wouldn’t lead to the best outcomes for children in western society, however she never made that point to begin with, it’s something you’ve shoehorned into your reply, answering a question that wasn’t asked

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Can you document that?

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Except non-marital relationships are much more unstable and will likely create a single-parent household in short order.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

With one partner or the other already having an eye to the exit and greener pastures

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I used to visit youth prison and it transpires that about 96% of the inmates had no relationship with a father.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

It takes a village.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

To ruin the family.
When the War on Poverty was begun in the US and monthly welfare check began being cut (roughly $22 trillion since), black males became superfluous and departed family life. Children without fathers turned to crime and drugs and filled the prisons in the decades to come.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

What does that have to do with a village? A village is a supportive community like a Kibbutz. The idea being that no children are abandoned. You managed to turn what I said around to fit your agenda.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Some physically tough sons after puberty do not accept discipline from Fathers easily; and they are even less likely to accept discipline from a man who is not the Father /Grandfather/Uncle.
If a large tough son wants to leave the house it is unlikely that the Mother has the physical strength to stop him. The Comments by sons are likely to be ” You cannot stop me ” also ” Your not my Father “. If two sons are fighting post puberty it is unlikely that they Mother will be able to separate them.
If a Father does not teach their son to respect the Mother they are unlikely to to respect other women. If a Mother dotes on a son after puberty they will tend to expect the same doting behaving from their girlfriends and wives. How many women complain that men do not do enough housework or show them respect?
Women are in the right to complain about the bad and disrespectful behaviour from men. It is the responsibility of the Father to bring up sons who are polite, well mannered and respect women. If the Father is dead, then it’s responsibility of nearest male relative.
The advantage of sons leaving school at fourteen years and undertaking apprenticeships is the Master can become a surrogate Father figure.
When it comes to sex the presence of VD needs to be considered. It would appear that the barabrian invasions at the Fall of the Western Roman empire and post Columbus introduce either VD or new strains of VD to which Europeans had not immunity. The painting and drawings of people with VD in the 15 and 16 th centuries are horrific.
History of venereal diseases from antiquity to the renaissance – PubMed (nih.gov)
History of syphilis – Wikipedia
Syphilis speard very quickly in Europe in the 16th century.
What is ignored is that many of the laws on behaviour in The Old Testament are to prevent the transmission of disease between people living closely together and with a lack of water for washing.
90% of Police time is spent with 10% of the population of which 1% probably cause most of the violence.The proportion of large violent men my only increase by 1% from 1% to 2% and the number of violent crimes doubles. There are plenty of law abiding men brought up by single Mothers. However there appears to be a disproportionately high number of criminal men, especially violent ones brought up by single Mothers in urban areas, where there has been no discipline from male relatives. Once several, say three, and especialy five or more, strong violent boys or men act together in criminal activity they can have a massive detrimental impact on an area.
The film Harry Brown depicts extremely well an area run by criminal gangs.
Harry Brown – Official Trailer HD – YouTube

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

And your point is?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

And your point is?

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No, to cast light on yours.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Today’s modern kibbutzniks, then, often have to get their sustenance from either the courts, or state relief agencies.
The resulting squalor is there for all to see.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

What? The Kibbutz are in Israel.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

What? The Kibbutz are in Israel.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Today, many sons do not accept discipline from the Father, less so from a Step Father and even less from other males in the village. For the last 60 years left wing middle class, especially teachers have been criticising respect for elders and displine. This has been a criticism of many parents of West Indian and West African background of the lack of discipline in schools.
If we look at areas which were deprived but had stable populations in the 1920s and 1930s, the Non Conformist , heavy industry, Chapel and Sunday School attending,boxing, rugby and cricket playing; the parents would accept their children being disciplined by other adults. In many areas ,Police sergeants used give young men a belting instead of an arrest as this would prevent them having a criminal record which would greatly reduce their employability. This has not been impossible since the mid 1950s.
Now many single Mother do not accept their sons being disciplined by other males. In fact they do not accept they do anything wrong at all.
If an adult male took a teenager to the parents for discplining after undertaking a criminal act they, they would be arrested for asault. The attitudes of most people in rough areas and the way the Police and Lawyers implement the Law, makes it very risky for an adult male to make a civilian arrest.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

This is all way off topic.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The Village you talked about existed in the valleys of Wales in the 1920s and 1930s and countryside , not London when Billy Hill organised criminal underworld.
Since the 1960s The Left Wing Middle Class have mocked discpline, respect for elders, Christianity, good manners, etc . It was Christian preachers who founded the labour Party, Keir Hardie, Ernest Bevin, James Callaghan, etc .
The Left Wing Middle Class changed welfare , pre 1960s council homes were for honest hardworking families. Post 1960s it became based upon need so unskilled and educated young women became pregnant to obtain a council home.
Contact sports and cadet forces were banned by most left wing councils post mid 1970s. The left wing middle class banned being able to give a cheeky teenager a clip around the ears by an adult. Mothers brought men into the homes who rowed and sometimes were violent to sons who then roamed the streets, joined gangs often for protection and undertook criminal activity.
A very astute African American woman said many sons went onto the streets because they did not like to hear the sound of the Mother making love to a man not his Father.
When sons were arrested for criminal activity Mothers denied they had done anything. In the 1920s and 1930s when the valley was the village, the sons went to work at fourteen and then boxed, played rugby in winter, cricket in summer and attended Chapel and Sunday School. The Left extended the school leaving age which has not improved standards as some boys switch off after the age of fourteen. I suggest you study Switzerland where people can leave school at fourteen years of age . There were plenty of fit tough men in the valley or village who would either arrest the criminal sons and take him to the Father or give him a beating there and then, thus avoiding a criminal record. A boy was expected to take his punishment like a man.
The Left Wing Middle Class destroyed the social order needed for The Village in the late 1960s.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The Village you talked about existed in the valleys of Wales in the 1920s and 1930s and countryside , not London when Billy Hill organised criminal underworld.
Since the 1960s The Left Wing Middle Class have mocked discpline, respect for elders, Christianity, good manners, etc . It was Christian preachers who founded the labour Party, Keir Hardie, Ernest Bevin, James Callaghan, etc .
The Left Wing Middle Class changed welfare , pre 1960s council homes were for honest hardworking families. Post 1960s it became based upon need so unskilled and educated young women became pregnant to obtain a council home.
Contact sports and cadet forces were banned by most left wing councils post mid 1970s. The left wing middle class banned being able to give a cheeky teenager a clip around the ears by an adult. Mothers brought men into the homes who rowed and sometimes were violent to sons who then roamed the streets, joined gangs often for protection and undertook criminal activity.
A very astute African American woman said many sons went onto the streets because they did not like to hear the sound of the Mother making love to a man not his Father.
When sons were arrested for criminal activity Mothers denied they had done anything. In the 1920s and 1930s when the valley was the village, the sons went to work at fourteen and then boxed, played rugby in winter, cricket in summer and attended Chapel and Sunday School. The Left extended the school leaving age which has not improved standards as some boys switch off after the age of fourteen. I suggest you study Switzerland where people can leave school at fourteen years of age . There were plenty of fit tough men in the valley or village who would either arrest the criminal sons and take him to the Father or give him a beating there and then, thus avoiding a criminal record. A boy was expected to take his punishment like a man.
The Left Wing Middle Class destroyed the social order needed for The Village in the late 1960s.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

This is all way off topic.

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No. That’s what you – and maybe Clinton too – want it to be.
Most people just see “village” as a place or small group of people living in quite close proximity. “Supportive” is entirely optional.
You want to turn the word around to fit your agenda.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Cant

No I don’t, and I didn’t. You did.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Cant

No I don’t, and I didn’t. You did.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Some physically tough sons after puberty do not accept discipline from Fathers easily; and they are even less likely to accept discipline from a man who is not the Father /Grandfather/Uncle.
If a large tough son wants to leave the house it is unlikely that the Mother has the physical strength to stop him. The Comments by sons are likely to be ” You cannot stop me ” also ” Your not my Father “. If two sons are fighting post puberty it is unlikely that they Mother will be able to separate them.
If a Father does not teach their son to respect the Mother they are unlikely to to respect other women. If a Mother dotes on a son after puberty they will tend to expect the same doting behaving from their girlfriends and wives. How many women complain that men do not do enough housework or show them respect?
Women are in the right to complain about the bad and disrespectful behaviour from men. It is the responsibility of the Father to bring up sons who are polite, well mannered and respect women. If the Father is dead, then it’s responsibility of nearest male relative.
The advantage of sons leaving school at fourteen years and undertaking apprenticeships is the Master can become a surrogate Father figure.
When it comes to sex the presence of VD needs to be considered. It would appear that the barabrian invasions at the Fall of the Western Roman empire and post Columbus introduce either VD or new strains of VD to which Europeans had not immunity. The painting and drawings of people with VD in the 15 and 16 th centuries are horrific.
History of venereal diseases from antiquity to the renaissance – PubMed (nih.gov)
History of syphilis – Wikipedia
Syphilis speard very quickly in Europe in the 16th century.
What is ignored is that many of the laws on behaviour in The Old Testament are to prevent the transmission of disease between people living closely together and with a lack of water for washing.
90% of Police time is spent with 10% of the population of which 1% probably cause most of the violence.The proportion of large violent men my only increase by 1% from 1% to 2% and the number of violent crimes doubles. There are plenty of law abiding men brought up by single Mothers. However there appears to be a disproportionately high number of criminal men, especially violent ones brought up by single Mothers in urban areas, where there has been no discipline from male relatives. Once several, say three, and especialy five or more, strong violent boys or men act together in criminal activity they can have a massive detrimental impact on an area.
The film Harry Brown depicts extremely well an area run by criminal gangs.
Harry Brown – Official Trailer HD – YouTube

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No, to cast light on yours.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Today’s modern kibbutzniks, then, often have to get their sustenance from either the courts, or state relief agencies.
The resulting squalor is there for all to see.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Today, many sons do not accept discipline from the Father, less so from a Step Father and even less from other males in the village. For the last 60 years left wing middle class, especially teachers have been criticising respect for elders and displine. This has been a criticism of many parents of West Indian and West African background of the lack of discipline in schools.
If we look at areas which were deprived but had stable populations in the 1920s and 1930s, the Non Conformist , heavy industry, Chapel and Sunday School attending,boxing, rugby and cricket playing; the parents would accept their children being disciplined by other adults. In many areas ,Police sergeants used give young men a belting instead of an arrest as this would prevent them having a criminal record which would greatly reduce their employability. This has not been impossible since the mid 1950s.
Now many single Mother do not accept their sons being disciplined by other males. In fact they do not accept they do anything wrong at all.
If an adult male took a teenager to the parents for discplining after undertaking a criminal act they, they would be arrested for asault. The attitudes of most people in rough areas and the way the Police and Lawyers implement the Law, makes it very risky for an adult male to make a civilian arrest.

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No. That’s what you – and maybe Clinton too – want it to be.
Most people just see “village” as a place or small group of people living in quite close proximity. “Supportive” is entirely optional.
You want to turn the word around to fit your agenda.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

What does that have to do with a village? A village is a supportive community like a Kibbutz. The idea being that no children are abandoned. You managed to turn what I said around to fit your agenda.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

To ruin the family.
When the War on Poverty was begun in the US and monthly welfare check began being cut (roughly $22 trillion since), black males became superfluous and departed family life. Children without fathers turned to crime and drugs and filled the prisons in the decades to come.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

It takes a village.

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I just read an article which said hostility between parents is a greater predictor of problems even if marriage is involved. That parents, even if divorced who are calm and civil to each other provide better outcomes than married parents who are in constant conflict. And when the standard is marriage only that’s the case.
Furthermore since the commentator above seems particularly focused African-American families, there was a study about involved fathers and the childcare provided. African-American fathers did particularly well, even if they’d never been married and did not live with the mothers. White married fathers scored very badly on notions of involvement with their children.

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
9 months ago

there was a study about involved fathers and the childcare provided. African-American fathers did particularly well, even if they’d never been married and did not live with the mothers. White married fathers scored very badly on notions of involvement with their children

Oh well if there was a study, I guess that settles it.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Absolutely. The quality of the relationship between parents is what counts. That and having community.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

When the Father is absent how does the Mother discipline a son post puberty especially if large and strong? Wait till you Father comes home only works when the Father comes home. When the Father is away for months, the son(s) can readily get out of control.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

When the Father is absent how does the Mother discipline a son post puberty especially if large and strong? Wait till you Father comes home only works when the Father comes home. When the Father is away for months, the son(s) can readily get out of control.

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
9 months ago

there was a study about involved fathers and the childcare provided. African-American fathers did particularly well, even if they’d never been married and did not live with the mothers. White married fathers scored very badly on notions of involvement with their children

Oh well if there was a study, I guess that settles it.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Absolutely. The quality of the relationship between parents is what counts. That and having community.

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

So?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

With one partner or the other already having an eye to the exit and greener pastures

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I used to visit youth prison and it transpires that about 96% of the inmates had no relationship with a father.

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I just read an article which said hostility between parents is a greater predictor of problems even if marriage is involved. That parents, even if divorced who are calm and civil to each other provide better outcomes than married parents who are in constant conflict. And when the standard is marriage only that’s the case.
Furthermore since the commentator above seems particularly focused African-American families, there was a study about involved fathers and the childcare provided. African-American fathers did particularly well, even if they’d never been married and did not live with the mothers. White married fathers scored very badly on notions of involvement with their children.

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

So?

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

While I take your point re the use of words, the writer says ‘extra marital’ children, so I think the comparison holds. Also, monogamous only means that you’re not, during the course of the relationship, sleeping with someone else. The point about marriage is that it is (supposed to be) a long-term commitment.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The current position in the UK is that 55% of unmarried parents will have separated by the time their child is 5 and 95% by the time the child is 16. In other words, nearly all single parents will have separated by the end of childhood. Mr B. Bob has a fair point.

John Croteau
John Croteau
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Do you really believe that unmarried mothers are in relationships with men that stick around to raise their biological children?

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
9 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

Yes. Judging (with a generous margin of error) by who is wearing a ring. I know many men and women in commited family relationships, who are not legally married. Many such families are made up of a man, a woman, their kid(s) and other kids from previous relationships. Since the children tend to stay with the “baby mom” these are usually hers. His other children are like half-siblings living in another household, with their mother. No one bats an eye at any of this.
I find the lack of a proper, legal marriage to be a bit baffling. But of course, it’s none of my business.

John Croteau
John Croteau
9 months ago

I lived three years in the Netherlands where civil partnerships were prevalent, not marriage. That is not the case in California or the US in general. (I can’t speak to the UK). Unmarried relationships, even monogamous, are not long term or committed to the well being of children. The State has largely replaced fathers as a primary means of dependence and support.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
9 months ago

But your point is a good one. The current deplorable state of our Western social fabric certainly has not progressed in a positive manner since these practices became the norm, but it is not the only cause. I think this situation is only a symptom of the larger trend towards moving away from the Judeo/Christian tradition. We are moving towards a rudderless world, which leads to chaos, which leads to authoritarianism at some point when the pot boils over.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It’s the Judeo/Christian religion that imposed marriage in the first place because it benefitted patriachy and land ownership, not women. It’s responsible and answerable for centuries of suffering. The Bible is quoted to justify controlling people’s lives, and shaming them if they don’t obey “god’s rules”. This doesn’t just apply to marriage, of course, but that’ bad enough. Catholics have been forced to stay in marriages they’re miserable in and have more children than they can’t afford. How do you think that affects the children?

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Excellent points Clare

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Thanks Elaine!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Thanks Elaine!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It seems to me that most societies have just observed the obvious, that is, that women and children benefit from providers while gestating and for at least a few years while children are small. Who better to pressure into providing (and protecting) than the sperm donor? You can’t count on the Village, or me, to voluntarily take care of another man’s offspring. That’s not religion’s fault. It’s in my and other males’ wiring across many species, and wise societies embrace that as reality. Patriarchal? I guess.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

How do you think that affects the children?

If you follow some of the authors links you’ll find that in some of the non-JC villages you imagine, infanticide is pretty widely practised.

Including, though not limited to, men bumping off the children fathered by another man. Something that happens pretty extensively amongst other primates as well.

lisa gillis
lisa gillis
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Marriage was also invented to make children legit. And bring families together for social economic reasons.also it’s said That marriage is a noble existence that marriage helps society .the religions didn’t do women a service though in many ways trying to subjucate through marriage and church dogma does anyon e really want or buy that bs about adam and eve or that men should lead the family etc.? Obviously not or there wouldn’t be so many fine women Drs,teachers etc.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago
Reply to  lisa gillis

I think most women grow tired of unambitious, easily led men. There’s no respect. Look at Meghan Markle; she has Harold on a lead but you can tell she has zero respect for him. For my own part I could never be with a man who put up with my schidt. When the chips are down and the situation dire women want a knight in shining armor.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
9 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

It’s 2023. We don’t want to be your ‘Knight in shining armour’.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
9 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

It’s 2023. We don’t want to be your ‘Knight in shining armour’.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago
Reply to  lisa gillis

I think most women grow tired of unambitious, easily led men. There’s no respect. Look at Meghan Markle; she has Harold on a lead but you can tell she has zero respect for him. For my own part I could never be with a man who put up with my schidt. When the chips are down and the situation dire women want a knight in shining armor.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No. The institution of marriage was created to protect women from rape and to constrain men from promiscuity. It’s not responsible for suffering any more than any other codified order of society. You are benefiting from the echos of a stable society but it is quickly coming apart. If people are miserable it is of their own making in the unwise choice of a partner. But mostly it’s because they are bored and they have no qualms about blowing up their kids lives chasing after selfish whims. And what do kids get out of divorce? Possible abuse or molestation from the new gf or bf; if a new marriage results they are pushed to the back of the line when the inevitable babies come. They don’t have a refuge from the world because of getting shuffled back and forth from one household to another, that’s if the father cares to stick around and the mother doesn’t whisper poison into their ears. So is you think it’s great today then I have to respectfully but vehemently disagree.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Marriage has existed in many cultures. In European society the idea that a woman and man would live together and bring up children existed prior to Christianity. Christainity codified existing practices. Virginity for women was only important post about 850AD (post Charlemagne) when titles and land were inherited. Where land and titles were not inherited, the woman married the man who got her pregnant. What was important was fertility and the ability to raise children to the age where they could reproduce , about three years post puberty: 14 years for girls and 16 years for boys.
VD entering Europe post 1492 ( Columbus ) changed attitudes to sex.
The Bibles rules are largely to prevent people killing each others and the spread of disease, between people and from animals, in a nomadic society, living in tents, in a desert where there is little privacy and little water.
I would say women have more more freedom, in warrior societies ( Viking, Sparta ), nomadic ( Beduin, Mongol ) and where husbands travel away from home ( Viking, Dutch 16 and 17th centuries ). Renaissance Italy was sexually very free. In Venice, a girl married at the age of 16 years or so and once she had produced an heir and spare could have affairs. Northern Italy up to the time of Casanova of late 18th century would appear to be sexually free whereas Spain was not.
In Minoan Society the portrayal of topless women suggests women had much more freedom.
I would suggest restrictions on female behaviour and sex in general, may be due to where there are concerns about whether there are the resources to support children.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
8 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Syphilis roared through Europe like a wildfire upon Columbus’ return. Says alit about the amount of promiscuity going on then.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago

The Midddle Ages appear to have a relaxed attitude to sex, people marrried when the woman became pregnant. It would appear chastity becomes more important after the arrival of syphilis. The High Renaissance has many paintings of naked bodies. However Luther and then The Counter Reformation from the 1520s onwards also reducesacceptance sexual activity outside of marriage. It may well be several activities occur one after another reducing sexual activity outside of marriage and then it increases again from the late 17th century in Roman Catholic Italy and France but not Protestant NW Europe. Compare Restoration England of the 1660s ( Nell Gwyynne, Charles II )and Puritan England of the 1640s and 1650s also Regency England of 1800-1820s and Victorian England of 1870s to 1901.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago

The Midddle Ages appear to have a relaxed attitude to sex, people marrried when the woman became pregnant. It would appear chastity becomes more important after the arrival of syphilis. The High Renaissance has many paintings of naked bodies. However Luther and then The Counter Reformation from the 1520s onwards also reducesacceptance sexual activity outside of marriage. It may well be several activities occur one after another reducing sexual activity outside of marriage and then it increases again from the late 17th century in Roman Catholic Italy and France but not Protestant NW Europe. Compare Restoration England of the 1660s ( Nell Gwyynne, Charles II )and Puritan England of the 1640s and 1650s also Regency England of 1800-1820s and Victorian England of 1870s to 1901.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
8 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Syphilis roared through Europe like a wildfire upon Columbus’ return. Says alit about the amount of promiscuity going on then.

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Excellent points Clare

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It seems to me that most societies have just observed the obvious, that is, that women and children benefit from providers while gestating and for at least a few years while children are small. Who better to pressure into providing (and protecting) than the sperm donor? You can’t count on the Village, or me, to voluntarily take care of another man’s offspring. That’s not religion’s fault. It’s in my and other males’ wiring across many species, and wise societies embrace that as reality. Patriarchal? I guess.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

How do you think that affects the children?

If you follow some of the authors links you’ll find that in some of the non-JC villages you imagine, infanticide is pretty widely practised.

Including, though not limited to, men bumping off the children fathered by another man. Something that happens pretty extensively amongst other primates as well.

lisa gillis
lisa gillis
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Marriage was also invented to make children legit. And bring families together for social economic reasons.also it’s said That marriage is a noble existence that marriage helps society .the religions didn’t do women a service though in many ways trying to subjucate through marriage and church dogma does anyon e really want or buy that bs about adam and eve or that men should lead the family etc.? Obviously not or there wouldn’t be so many fine women Drs,teachers etc.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No. The institution of marriage was created to protect women from rape and to constrain men from promiscuity. It’s not responsible for suffering any more than any other codified order of society. You are benefiting from the echos of a stable society but it is quickly coming apart. If people are miserable it is of their own making in the unwise choice of a partner. But mostly it’s because they are bored and they have no qualms about blowing up their kids lives chasing after selfish whims. And what do kids get out of divorce? Possible abuse or molestation from the new gf or bf; if a new marriage results they are pushed to the back of the line when the inevitable babies come. They don’t have a refuge from the world because of getting shuffled back and forth from one household to another, that’s if the father cares to stick around and the mother doesn’t whisper poison into their ears. So is you think it’s great today then I have to respectfully but vehemently disagree.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Marriage has existed in many cultures. In European society the idea that a woman and man would live together and bring up children existed prior to Christianity. Christainity codified existing practices. Virginity for women was only important post about 850AD (post Charlemagne) when titles and land were inherited. Where land and titles were not inherited, the woman married the man who got her pregnant. What was important was fertility and the ability to raise children to the age where they could reproduce , about three years post puberty: 14 years for girls and 16 years for boys.
VD entering Europe post 1492 ( Columbus ) changed attitudes to sex.
The Bibles rules are largely to prevent people killing each others and the spread of disease, between people and from animals, in a nomadic society, living in tents, in a desert where there is little privacy and little water.
I would say women have more more freedom, in warrior societies ( Viking, Sparta ), nomadic ( Beduin, Mongol ) and where husbands travel away from home ( Viking, Dutch 16 and 17th centuries ). Renaissance Italy was sexually very free. In Venice, a girl married at the age of 16 years or so and once she had produced an heir and spare could have affairs. Northern Italy up to the time of Casanova of late 18th century would appear to be sexually free whereas Spain was not.
In Minoan Society the portrayal of topless women suggests women had much more freedom.
I would suggest restrictions on female behaviour and sex in general, may be due to where there are concerns about whether there are the resources to support children.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It’s the Judeo/Christian religion that imposed marriage in the first place because it benefitted patriachy and land ownership, not women. It’s responsible and answerable for centuries of suffering. The Bible is quoted to justify controlling people’s lives, and shaming them if they don’t obey “god’s rules”. This doesn’t just apply to marriage, of course, but that’ bad enough. Catholics have been forced to stay in marriages they’re miserable in and have more children than they can’t afford. How do you think that affects the children?

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
9 months ago

I once got talking to a woman who had been with her partner for twenty years. They had three children and a mortgage. She said she didn’t want to get married because she was scared of the commitment……

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Eamonn Toland

What’s your point?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Eamonn Toland

There’s irony there because she obviously was commited and they had a stable relationship.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Eamonn Toland

What’s your point?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Eamonn Toland

There’s irony there because she obviously was commited and they had a stable relationship.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago

This is anecdotal – the evidence is overwhelming that children hugely benefit from their parents having a stable relationship. Yes, I also know heterosexual parents who are not legally committed to each other who have been living together reasonably happily for many years, and some marriages may be contracted cynically or superficially (let’s have a huge wedding in the Maldives….) but the overall correlation is clear. You are much more likely to want to legally (or religiously) cement your relationship and declare it publicly if you are more committed to it.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
9 months ago

I expect your nose is in a lot of business.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
8 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

(And Clare Knight, too.)
Yes. I’m a talkative, friendly guy with a great dog. People tell me things. I don’t ask. To be honest, I’m kinda flattered. And I sometimes hear the most wonderous tales. (You’d be suprised how many people have seen a ghost!)

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
8 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

(And Clare Knight, too.)
Yes. I’m a talkative, friendly guy with a great dog. People tell me things. I don’t ask. To be honest, I’m kinda flattered. And I sometimes hear the most wonderous tales. (You’d be suprised how many people have seen a ghost!)

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Exactly. It’s none of your business.

John Croteau
John Croteau
9 months ago

I lived three years in the Netherlands where civil partnerships were prevalent, not marriage. That is not the case in California or the US in general. (I can’t speak to the UK). Unmarried relationships, even monogamous, are not long term or committed to the well being of children. The State has largely replaced fathers as a primary means of dependence and support.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
9 months ago

But your point is a good one. The current deplorable state of our Western social fabric certainly has not progressed in a positive manner since these practices became the norm, but it is not the only cause. I think this situation is only a symptom of the larger trend towards moving away from the Judeo/Christian tradition. We are moving towards a rudderless world, which leads to chaos, which leads to authoritarianism at some point when the pot boils over.

Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
9 months ago

I once got talking to a woman who had been with her partner for twenty years. They had three children and a mortgage. She said she didn’t want to get married because she was scared of the commitment……

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago

This is anecdotal – the evidence is overwhelming that children hugely benefit from their parents having a stable relationship. Yes, I also know heterosexual parents who are not legally committed to each other who have been living together reasonably happily for many years, and some marriages may be contracted cynically or superficially (let’s have a huge wedding in the Maldives….) but the overall correlation is clear. You are much more likely to want to legally (or religiously) cement your relationship and declare it publicly if you are more committed to it.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
9 months ago

I expect your nose is in a lot of business.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Exactly. It’s none of your business.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
9 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

Yes. Judging (with a generous margin of error) by who is wearing a ring. I know many men and women in commited family relationships, who are not legally married. Many such families are made up of a man, a woman, their kid(s) and other kids from previous relationships. Since the children tend to stay with the “baby mom” these are usually hers. His other children are like half-siblings living in another household, with their mother. No one bats an eye at any of this.
I find the lack of a proper, legal marriage to be a bit baffling. But of course, it’s none of my business.

Kelly Madden
Kelly Madden
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“[M]ost children will still be born to two parents in a monogamous relationship, therefore the writers points are perfectly valid.”
Yeah, “monogamous relationship” carries too much water in this claim.
What qualifies? A relationship of what duration? Anything more committed than a one-night stand? It takes about 20 years to launch a child into the world….

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
9 months ago
Reply to  Kelly Madden

Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce so is it that much of a better indicator?

philip kern
philip kern
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That was a myth invented in the 1970s, based on a projection at a time when divorce rates were rising. They’ve been dropping since then and never approached that level. In 2019, according to the US census bureau, 7.6 of every 1000 resulted in divorce. I cite that statistic only because it is easy to find.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
9 months ago
Reply to  philip kern

42% of marriages end in divorce currently in the UK

Tony Price
Tony Price
9 months ago
Reply to  philip kern

Hold on! Fewer than 1% of marriages in the USA result in divorce – whaaat? Where is this stat?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
9 months ago
Reply to  philip kern

42% of marriages end in divorce currently in the UK

Tony Price
Tony Price
9 months ago
Reply to  philip kern

Hold on! Fewer than 1% of marriages in the USA result in divorce – whaaat? Where is this stat?

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

All that means is that society has failed to teach them how to discern a compatible life partner.

philip kern
philip kern
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That was a myth invented in the 1970s, based on a projection at a time when divorce rates were rising. They’ve been dropping since then and never approached that level. In 2019, according to the US census bureau, 7.6 of every 1000 resulted in divorce. I cite that statistic only because it is easy to find.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

All that means is that society has failed to teach them how to discern a compatible life partner.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
9 months ago
Reply to  Kelly Madden

Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce so is it that much of a better indicator?

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Good point Billy Bob.

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Can you document that?

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Except non-marital relationships are much more unstable and will likely create a single-parent household in short order.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

While I take your point re the use of words, the writer says ‘extra marital’ children, so I think the comparison holds. Also, monogamous only means that you’re not, during the course of the relationship, sleeping with someone else. The point about marriage is that it is (supposed to be) a long-term commitment.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The current position in the UK is that 55% of unmarried parents will have separated by the time their child is 5 and 95% by the time the child is 16. In other words, nearly all single parents will have separated by the end of childhood. Mr B. Bob has a fair point.

John Croteau
John Croteau
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Do you really believe that unmarried mothers are in relationships with men that stick around to raise their biological children?

Kelly Madden
Kelly Madden
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“[M]ost children will still be born to two parents in a monogamous relationship, therefore the writers points are perfectly valid.”
Yeah, “monogamous relationship” carries too much water in this claim.
What qualifies? A relationship of what duration? Anything more committed than a one-night stand? It takes about 20 years to launch a child into the world….

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Good point Billy Bob.

David George
David George
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Yes Seb. ” assuming it’s children you’re thinking about”.
Olympia here doesn’t seem particularly concerned about the children and, as Arthur points out below, the consequences for the children are often disastrous.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
9 months ago
Reply to  David George

The main point she is making is surely that it’s complicated. She is certainly not arguing against monogamy or fidelity in marriage. She is saying that we can’t use evolutionary theory to back up the virtues of a particular ‘traditional’ way of doing things. Which seems fair enough. We shouldn’t need to justify monogamy using science. Like the sex and gender dispute, tradition and culture should be able to stand on their on two feet. It’s the sign of desperation when people run to science to justify their way of life. I’m sure the Himba don’t.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

I agree. Her article seems to put evolution in a very bad light! Hardly ‘survival of the fittest’.

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
9 months ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Perhaps because evolution isn’t about “survival of the fittest” in way you use it. Darwin was a great mind but he was not the first and last word on evolution. It’s moved on a lot since then and a lot since the “evolutionary biologist” she cites tried to shoe horn modern western cultural assumptions into biology. (Not every culture, even our own, had our current male/female view of sexual desire) I will grant the 1972 guy enough slack that bonobos were not as well studied at that point but there was no reason to think that being “picky” meant women chose monogamy. There are plenty of examples in nature of monogamy he could have studied.And those exist in species in which the female does the choosing and so could be considered very picky.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

Darwin said it was the species which respond most quickly to new environmental conditions which had the best chance of survival.
If one loks at civilisation the oldest is the Sumerian at 3500 BC followed by the Egyptian at 3100 BC. Western Europe had barely started farming. What one needs to ask is why Western Europe technology developed after 1453 and Britain after 1660, when it had endured a civil war where 10% of the male population was killed and it was heavily in debt?
I would suggest technological evolution is a good example of evolution.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

Darwin said it was the species which respond most quickly to new environmental conditions which had the best chance of survival.
If one loks at civilisation the oldest is the Sumerian at 3500 BC followed by the Egyptian at 3100 BC. Western Europe had barely started farming. What one needs to ask is why Western Europe technology developed after 1453 and Britain after 1660, when it had endured a civil war where 10% of the male population was killed and it was heavily in debt?
I would suggest technological evolution is a good example of evolution.

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
9 months ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Perhaps because evolution isn’t about “survival of the fittest” in way you use it. Darwin was a great mind but he was not the first and last word on evolution. It’s moved on a lot since then and a lot since the “evolutionary biologist” she cites tried to shoe horn modern western cultural assumptions into biology. (Not every culture, even our own, had our current male/female view of sexual desire) I will grant the 1972 guy enough slack that bonobos were not as well studied at that point but there was no reason to think that being “picky” meant women chose monogamy. There are plenty of examples in nature of monogamy he could have studied.And those exist in species in which the female does the choosing and so could be considered very picky.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Well put!

Ernesto Ko
Ernesto Ko
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

“She is certainly not arguing against monogamy or fidelity in marriage” – essay’s tittle is “Let women be promiscuous”

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

I agree. Her article seems to put evolution in a very bad light! Hardly ‘survival of the fittest’.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Well put!

Ernesto Ko
Ernesto Ko
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

“She is certainly not arguing against monogamy or fidelity in marriage” – essay’s tittle is “Let women be promiscuous”

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
9 months ago
Reply to  David George

The main point she is making is surely that it’s complicated. She is certainly not arguing against monogamy or fidelity in marriage. She is saying that we can’t use evolutionary theory to back up the virtues of a particular ‘traditional’ way of doing things. Which seems fair enough. We shouldn’t need to justify monogamy using science. Like the sex and gender dispute, tradition and culture should be able to stand on their on two feet. It’s the sign of desperation when people run to science to justify their way of life. I’m sure the Himba don’t.

T Bone
T Bone
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

You sir are an Empirical Utilitarian Extremist and your “Malinformation” is a threat to Democracy. Social Science is not the boring process of repeating experiments over and over…it is the Science of trusting politically motivated Social Planning Experts to run statistics through an Equity algorithm and then reinterpret the outcomes in the name of social progress.

Let me guess…you also question Modern Monetary Theory and doubt the wisdom and feasibility of Net Zero by 2030!! To quote some of my favorite Progressive Journalists “You may harbor right wing beliefs.”

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
9 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

God Lord, are you suggesting that there are people who don’t trust our experts? But, experts have degrees and stuff!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago

A degree is no weight in your life but there are plenty of educated idiots around these days.

William Hickey
William Hickey
9 months ago

Experts say studies show.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago

A degree is no weight in your life but there are plenty of educated idiots around these days.

William Hickey
William Hickey
9 months ago

Experts say studies show.

John Holland
John Holland
9 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Yes, dear.
Well done.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

I must be right wing then I suppose.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

You just might be one of those in the “vast, right-wing conspiracy” that one H.R.C. proclaimed, before she called them “a basket of deplorables”.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

You just might be one of those in the “vast, right-wing conspiracy” that one H.R.C. proclaimed, before she called them “a basket of deplorables”.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
9 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

God Lord, are you suggesting that there are people who don’t trust our experts? But, experts have degrees and stuff!

John Holland
John Holland
9 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Yes, dear.
Well done.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

I must be right wing then I suppose.

Ian Burns
Ian Burns
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Don’t be prescriptive or very dogmatic in transcribing evolutionary theory to the perceived advantages of monogamous commitment as an antidote to misery of modern relational dynamics. In.the end I think the writer straw man’s Perry and Harrington accusing them of lacking insight and nuance about the hard won gains of female liberation. I simply don’t see that, which in the end for me makes the whole article rather pointless

John Williams
John Williams
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Parts of this essay remind me of a saying I heard 60 odd years ago,
”In, [insert an English county of your choice], they f..k all the year round and share the babies out at Christmas.”

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago
Reply to  John Williams

Oh that’s what we should do then because it happened somewhere? Exactly.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  John Williams

Norfolk.

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago

Norfuck?

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago

Norfuck?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago
Reply to  John Williams

Oh that’s what we should do then because it happened somewhere? Exactly.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  John Williams

Norfolk.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

But aren’t there more women in England and Wales than Himba in South America?

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Any disadvantage to single parenting in the West is entirely due to economics. these families are financially poorer.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago

Oh no not at all. Men pick up a lot of slack in the household and is a blueprint for girls on what to expect in a mate. They also teach boys how to be good men. This is evident in the natural world as well. The elephant experiment is probably the most well known.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago

Oh no not at all. Men pick up a lot of slack in the household and is a blueprint for girls on what to expect in a mate. They also teach boys how to be good men. This is evident in the natural world as well. The elephant experiment is probably the most well known.

Dhamma Dhatu
Dhamma Dhatu
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Sorry Seb but since I am not a subscriber, I cannot post here, unless I reply to a post, so I have chosen yours.
As expected this article is in contradiction because it concludes with the statement: “Harrington tells us to reject the contraceptive pill” yet most of the article highlights subsistence tribal cultures that do not have the contraceptive pill and whose primary (economic) productive character is collectivism and who primary outcome of sexual activity is reproduction, with the children raised by the tribal group or at least by the extended family. In these tribes, the women are having lots of babies, therefore how is this related to first world women who use the contraceptive pill? Women living in our individualized world cannot be compared to women living in collectivist tribal cultures.
The most beneficial characteristic of promiscuous first world women is a man’s capacity to say “no” to them.

Last edited 9 months ago by Dhamma Dhatu
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Unmarried doesn’t mean that they are born to single mothers though. Out of that 49% (UK example) most children will still be born to two parents in a monogamous relationship, therefore the writers points are perfectly valid.
I agree the examples used by the writer probably wouldn’t lead to the best outcomes for children in western society, however she never made that point to begin with, it’s something you’ve shoehorned into your reply, answering a question that wasn’t asked

David George
David George
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Yes Seb. ” assuming it’s children you’re thinking about”.
Olympia here doesn’t seem particularly concerned about the children and, as Arthur points out below, the consequences for the children are often disastrous.

T Bone
T Bone
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

You sir are an Empirical Utilitarian Extremist and your “Malinformation” is a threat to Democracy. Social Science is not the boring process of repeating experiments over and over…it is the Science of trusting politically motivated Social Planning Experts to run statistics through an Equity algorithm and then reinterpret the outcomes in the name of social progress.

Let me guess…you also question Modern Monetary Theory and doubt the wisdom and feasibility of Net Zero by 2030!! To quote some of my favorite Progressive Journalists “You may harbor right wing beliefs.”

Ian Burns
Ian Burns
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Don’t be prescriptive or very dogmatic in transcribing evolutionary theory to the perceived advantages of monogamous commitment as an antidote to misery of modern relational dynamics. In.the end I think the writer straw man’s Perry and Harrington accusing them of lacking insight and nuance about the hard won gains of female liberation. I simply don’t see that, which in the end for me makes the whole article rather pointless

John Williams
John Williams
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Parts of this essay remind me of a saying I heard 60 odd years ago,
”In, [insert an English county of your choice], they f..k all the year round and share the babies out at Christmas.”

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

But aren’t there more women in England and Wales than Himba in South America?

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Any disadvantage to single parenting in the West is entirely due to economics. these families are financially poorer.

Dhamma Dhatu
Dhamma Dhatu
9 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Sorry Seb but since I am not a subscriber, I cannot post here, unless I reply to a post, so I have chosen yours.
As expected this article is in contradiction because it concludes with the statement: “Harrington tells us to reject the contraceptive pill” yet most of the article highlights subsistence tribal cultures that do not have the contraceptive pill and whose primary (economic) productive character is collectivism and who primary outcome of sexual activity is reproduction, with the children raised by the tribal group or at least by the extended family. In these tribes, the women are having lots of babies, therefore how is this related to first world women who use the contraceptive pill? Women living in our individualized world cannot be compared to women living in collectivist tribal cultures.
The most beneficial characteristic of promiscuous first world women is a man’s capacity to say “no” to them.

Last edited 9 months ago by Dhamma Dhatu
Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
9 months ago

“In 2021, more babies â€“ 51% – were born to unmarried mothers in England and Wales than to those in a marriage or civil partnership for the first time since records began in 1845″ – University of Manchester, Aug 25th, 2022.
The Himba, at 48% aren’t I’m afraid the highest ever recorded. They aren’t even close.
KidsData.org tells us that for 2016, 64.8% of babies born to African AmericanBlack women in California were born to unmarried mothers. Incredibly this is 4.9% lower than the US average for that year for the same racial demographic. (Hispanics in both cases are just above 50%). Goodness knows what the numbers are for the communities with the highest “sociosexuality”.
It took me 5 minutes to find the above data. People decry a lowered level of trust in experts, but it’s hardly surprising if would-be experts can’t be bothered to get basic facts right, and then make entirely incorrect claims as a result.
Anyway, if the Himba have a society where socio-economic outcomes for kids are the same regardless of the marital status of their parents, good for them. The problem in modern societies is that evidence appears to show that the socio-economics outcomes for those born outside of wedlock are worse than those born and raised in a two-parent family. So if it’s ethics you’re seeking, then rather than obsessing about what various other writers have said, assuming it’s children you’re thinking about, maybe the answer lies in what is in their best interests, not your own.

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago

It’s pretty hilarious. All the research shows conclusively that committed, married couples are the happiest people, are the most economically successful, have the most frequent and best sex, and their children have BY FAR the best social, educational and economic outcomes. Yet people still grasp at straws to justify getting themselves some on the side. Sad, so sad. Think with your brain, not your nether regions.

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Indeed but that doesn’t necessarily mean that marriage is necessarily good thing for everyone. It could be that those who marry and choose to remain married have personality traits that give them and optimistic view of life as well as greater control over emotion which causes them to get married and remain so.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago

I had hoped it was a deliberate choice rather than a feeling, thus sleeping around outside of marriage would be unfaithful as well as wounding the other spouses trust.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
9 months ago

Well of course. No one ever said this applies to 100% of the population.

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago

Right, but if it’s good for 80% of the population, it behooves society to enforce that norm. In the past when there were strict norms around marriage and family, lots of people still didn’t marry. There are always exceptions. The fact is that a universal societal norm of monogamous, faithful marriages, that are fairly difficult (not impossible) to get out of, would improve the lives of many, many more people (especially children) than it would hurt.

George Scialabba
George Scialabba
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

“Monogamous marriage is good for 80 percent of the population. Therefore we should make it fairly difficult (not impossible) for the 20 percent who are miserable to get out of their miserable marriages.”

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago

Nice strawman. You assert without evidence that 20% of people are “miserable” in their marriages. Lots of marriages end because one partner is bored, or cheats with a younger/richer/more attractive alternative. Just because you’re not completely happy, you shouldn’t be able to blithely blow up your marriage. You can end a marriage more easily than any other single contract in the world. That’s insane.
The idea of making divorce difficult, but not impossible, is so that the truly miserable put in the effort to get out (it’s worth it for them), and the merely bored or infatuated, suck it up and try to make their marriage better,

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Lots of assumptions generalizations and judgements there, Arthur.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You’re doing the same thing.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You’re doing the same thing.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Lots of assumptions generalizations and judgements there, Arthur.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Exactly! Arthur wants to “enforce” people to marry. Sounds like a good start to a happy relationship!!

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago

Yes sorry. It should be difficult but not impossible. I repeat, not impossible. If you really want out you will do what it takes.

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago

Nice strawman. You assert without evidence that 20% of people are “miserable” in their marriages. Lots of marriages end because one partner is bored, or cheats with a younger/richer/more attractive alternative. Just because you’re not completely happy, you shouldn’t be able to blithely blow up your marriage. You can end a marriage more easily than any other single contract in the world. That’s insane.
The idea of making divorce difficult, but not impossible, is so that the truly miserable put in the effort to get out (it’s worth it for them), and the merely bored or infatuated, suck it up and try to make their marriage better,

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Exactly! Arthur wants to “enforce” people to marry. Sounds like a good start to a happy relationship!!

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago

Yes sorry. It should be difficult but not impossible. I repeat, not impossible. If you really want out you will do what it takes.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

You lost me with the “enforce”.

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Really? Doesn’t society currently enforce the norm of not using racist language? The norm of not cat-calling women on the street? Enforcing norms is a good thing if the norm is good.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Forcing people to get married is a far cry from outlawing racist language.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Forcing people to get married is a far cry from outlawing racist language.

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Really? Doesn’t society currently enforce the norm of not using racist language? The norm of not cat-calling women on the street? Enforcing norms is a good thing if the norm is good.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Absolutely not true.

George Scialabba
George Scialabba
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

“Monogamous marriage is good for 80 percent of the population. Therefore we should make it fairly difficult (not impossible) for the 20 percent who are miserable to get out of their miserable marriages.”

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

You lost me with the “enforce”.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Absolutely not true.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Exactly! There are so many factors at play.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

There are so many different reasons why marriages work or don’t work. It’s impossible to list all the factors.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago

I had hoped it was a deliberate choice rather than a feeling, thus sleeping around outside of marriage would be unfaithful as well as wounding the other spouses trust.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
9 months ago

Well of course. No one ever said this applies to 100% of the population.

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago

Right, but if it’s good for 80% of the population, it behooves society to enforce that norm. In the past when there were strict norms around marriage and family, lots of people still didn’t marry. There are always exceptions. The fact is that a universal societal norm of monogamous, faithful marriages, that are fairly difficult (not impossible) to get out of, would improve the lives of many, many more people (especially children) than it would hurt.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Exactly! There are so many factors at play.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

There are so many different reasons why marriages work or don’t work. It’s impossible to list all the factors.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I think the point in the article is that as it is clearly not always true that committed, married couples are the happiest people etc., (Which I don’t think holds true at all if you compare never married people to married people – i.e. divorced people that are certainly less happy and successful for all sorts of reasons bring down the average of the unmarried dramatically) there are often ways found to deal with unhappy monogamous relationships that are less restrictive than “suck it up”.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jake Prior
Michael Askew
Michael Askew
9 months ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

Of course. Nothing is ALWAYS true of anything about us humans. The question is “What is MOSTLY true?”

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Well what used to be true is vanishing as we become more and more immoral.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

I wouldn’t say that.I suspect It’s more that with so many means of commication we hear about it more.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

I wouldn’t say that.I suspect It’s more that with so many means of commication we hear about it more.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

It may be mostly true, but the point of the article is that, accepting it’s not always true, it’s not unreasonable to think about the best ways to manage the situation when it’s not true, in the knowledge that humans are flawed beings and will probably not just do what’s best for society at significant cost to themselves for the rest of their lives.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Well what used to be true is vanishing as we become more and more immoral.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

It may be mostly true, but the point of the article is that, accepting it’s not always true, it’s not unreasonable to think about the best ways to manage the situation when it’s not true, in the knowledge that humans are flawed beings and will probably not just do what’s best for society at significant cost to themselves for the rest of their lives.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
9 months ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

Of course. Nothing is ALWAYS true of anything about us humans. The question is “What is MOSTLY true?”

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

While being a big fan of marriage from kids and society point of view, I am not sure marriage equates happiness and more for the married couple.

Firstly, those stats are probably clouded by the fact that marriage is an option only for well off men, as practically no women, no matter how much she bleats about “equality”, will marry someone who earns less. Also, marriage has collapsed amongst poorer welfare classes (partly due to the same reason). So, high happiness night be correlated not to marriage, but rather higher wealth and income amongst married couples.

Secondly, speaking for my circle of friends and close colleagues, men are increasingly unhappy with the concept of marriage. Essentially, you exist in a society that vilifies your role while still imposing “male” responsibilities such as chasing money and missing out on family life. Add to that the highly biased family courts, and the typical behaviour of women both during difficult patches in a marriage and while ending it, and it just leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

I strongly believe the institution of marriage is going to see an utter collapse in the next generation. Which is a huge loss from the perspective of kids, but then….while I am happy to fulfil my responsibilities, if I had a son would I really recommend him to do the same? Doubtful.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I have found that marriage does bring emotional sescurity if both honour their commitment. I was an orphan having been sexually abused in an orphanage for nigh on a year. Before marriage I spent a lot of time thinking about women dating and stuff, but marriage gives me an emotional settlement that I didn’t have before. Of course if you are not called to marriage you can still be emotionally secure but I couldn’t until I was.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Sorry to hear about your experience at the orphanage and glad that married life has worked well for you. Yes, marriage does have its very large positives and I would agree with you that it completes you as a person and emotionally.

Personally, don’t regret marrying and becoming a father at all. Point is, though, a lot of the emotional security and fulfilment comes through a) bring a responsible partner and father, which gives you a sense of purpose in life and b) the sense that come what may, and no matter how harshly life treats you, the wife and kids will always be with you and on your side.

Which is why the lax and biased laws on divorce and child custody are so toxic, because they cut off those pillars of marital security and purpose. Harms everybody concerned really, though thankfully many marriages such as yours do hold strong even today.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Sorry to hear about your experience at the orphanage and glad that married life has worked well for you. Yes, marriage does have its very large positives and I would agree with you that it completes you as a person and emotionally.

Personally, don’t regret marrying and becoming a father at all. Point is, though, a lot of the emotional security and fulfilment comes through a) bring a responsible partner and father, which gives you a sense of purpose in life and b) the sense that come what may, and no matter how harshly life treats you, the wife and kids will always be with you and on your side.

Which is why the lax and biased laws on divorce and child custody are so toxic, because they cut off those pillars of marital security and purpose. Harms everybody concerned really, though thankfully many marriages such as yours do hold strong even today.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

“…practically no women, no matter how much she bleats about “equality”, will marry someone who earns less.”
You have apparently never walked through a Walmart in any smaller town in the U.S.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

There is an element of truth to this, as the McDonald’s working wife supporting the unemployed redneck husband is a thing here, but I’m not sure how pervasive it is or how well it translates to the rest of the world, and I’m sure we shouldn’t hold it up as an ideal.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Certainly not an ideal but it’s very pervasive in middle America. That’s why the stats about relationships and marriage are so iffy and middle class.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Many states in America have very different cultures and values. In the midwest couples tend to get married right out of high school and stay married their whole lives. The woman is often a vrigin and will only have one sexual partner her whole life. The family will tend to stay close to the extended family and it becomes a tribe or village. Life revolves around the tribe, as close to the Hima as we get. The east and west coasts of America have entirely different values, not better or worse, just different. The nuclear family is often far away from the original family, and relatives.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Many states in America have very different cultures and values. In the midwest couples tend to get married right out of high school and stay married their whole lives. The woman is often a vrigin and will only have one sexual partner her whole life. The family will tend to stay close to the extended family and it becomes a tribe or village. Life revolves around the tribe, as close to the Hima as we get. The east and west coasts of America have entirely different values, not better or worse, just different. The nuclear family is often far away from the original family, and relatives.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Certainly not an ideal but it’s very pervasive in middle America. That’s why the stats about relationships and marriage are so iffy and middle class.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Well said. It’s a class thing.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Depends on the desirability of both doesn’t it?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

There is an element of truth to this, as the McDonald’s working wife supporting the unemployed redneck husband is a thing here, but I’m not sure how pervasive it is or how well it translates to the rest of the world, and I’m sure we shouldn’t hold it up as an ideal.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Well said. It’s a class thing.

Kat L
Kat L
9 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Depends on the desirability of both doesn’t it?

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

This argument while trotted out a lot doesn’t even make any sense. Only men who are well-off can marry because most women expect men to make more. Even if that was as true as you say, I mean dude, do you think poor and working class women don’t exist? If you work minimum wage a guy who gets paid 20 dollars an hour is more. And so it goes, men can easily find women making less than they are. The problem would be there only for men the very, very poor and well off professional class. But the latter marry the most of all groups.
“The typical behavior of women in rough patches in a marriage and while ending it”–what does this even mean? That all women behave the same way, I mean dude, any man who says that is just a sexist little so and so. I look at my circle of friends as well and I don’t see any of us behaving the same way in quarrels.
And while family court can be very idiosyncratic judge to judge, overall (and especially in the big & liberal states like NY and CA) they are certainly not biased towards either gender–custodial vrs. non-custodial parent is where things sometimes fall down. (Most people arrange some variant of joint and never go to family court)
You talk of your circle of friends and this convincing you that marriage is a bad deal for men but it strikes me that perhaps you and your friends choose badly in mates, that is to say you choose a very specific type of women, no doubt because she looks a certain way, and acts a certain way. We all know the type. Perhaps rather than trash all women and make grand pronouncements about women, you might instead choose women who are individuals, whose character interests you as much as anything.
They don’t send you out chasing the dollar at the expense of family life (though the corporate world might, it is not family friendly). They are looking for a friend, lover and helpmeet not a meal ticket. And while looks and chemistry still matter, they want a man of character most of all.
This is your friendly advice from your online feminist. It is also what you might be told centuries before.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
9 months ago

“you work minimum wage a guy who gets paid 20 dollars an hour is more.”
Part of the problem is that 20 dollar an hour blue collar jobs are much scarcer than a couple of decades back

“The typical behavior of women in rough patches in a marriage and while ending it”–what does this even mean? That all women behave the same way”
To a large extent, or “typically “, yes. For instance, a significant proportion (not all but a lot) use the child as a blackmailing tool to an extent, or expect to get the house even if entirely paid for by the husband.

“while family court can be very idiosyncratic judg….they are certainly not biased towards either gender”
What they are biased towards, is the concept of a stay at home, traditional mother.
So, if a woman doesn’t work, or earns less than the father (most marriages) plus if the woman plays nasty with allegations of “abuse”, that’s it.
The default therefore is that if you are a father, you are just a wallet.

“perhaps you and your friends choose badly in mates, that is to say you choose a very specific type of women”
The first part is obviously correct.
The second part is only partly true – the set I am most familiar with is restricted by social class and education , so all college educated women, usually in professional roles, usually in corporate firms. I can’t speak of other groups, certainly, but I have found behaviour to be pretty consistent within this set.

“They don’t send you out chasing the dollar at the expense of family life….they want a man of character most of all.”
Nice theory. The “very specific” women I know think differently. Though character does matter, pay checks matter more…much, much more so than for men when they look for a partner.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
9 months ago

“you work minimum wage a guy who gets paid 20 dollars an hour is more.”
Part of the problem is that 20 dollar an hour blue collar jobs are much scarcer than a couple of decades back

“The typical behavior of women in rough patches in a marriage and while ending it”–what does this even mean? That all women behave the same way”
To a large extent, or “typically “, yes. For instance, a significant proportion (not all but a lot) use the child as a blackmailing tool to an extent, or expect to get the house even if entirely paid for by the husband.

“while family court can be very idiosyncratic judg….they are certainly not biased towards either gender”
What they are biased towards, is the concept of a stay at home, traditional mother.
So, if a woman doesn’t work, or earns less than the father (most marriages) plus if the woman plays nasty with allegations of “abuse”, that’s it.
The default therefore is that if you are a father, you are just a wallet.

“perhaps you and your friends choose badly in mates, that is to say you choose a very specific type of women”
The first part is obviously correct.
The second part is only partly true – the set I am most familiar with is restricted by social class and education , so all college educated women, usually in professional roles, usually in corporate firms. I can’t speak of other groups, certainly, but I have found behaviour to be pretty consistent within this set.

“They don’t send you out chasing the dollar at the expense of family life….they want a man of character most of all.”
Nice theory. The “very specific” women I know think differently. Though character does matter, pay checks matter more…much, much more so than for men when they look for a partner.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I agree with your first sentence, and I’ll add that change always happens at the margins. The people who aren’t getting married today but would have might well have had unhealthy and dysfunctional marriages, or repeated infidelities, or what have you. Equating marriage and happiness is a bridge too far. I too am worried about a massive collapse in marriage coming from the male side for the reasons you mentioned. It’s broadly agreed in our society today that a woman should earn the same salary as a man for the same job, and that all or at least almost all careers should be open to both biological sexes. If that is true, then why should income be a primary factor for women in dating? The data, as you point out, suggests that while women have gone out into the workplace and are rapidly closing the pay gap, their dating behavior has not kept pace. I suspect, as you do, that the entire institution of marriage as it has existed in western society is going to collapse. What, if anything, replaces it is anybody’s guess at this point. Perhaps we’ll end up resembling the Himba, or something entirely novel.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

It takes a village, and that’s what the Himba have. No child is abandoned.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It’s lovely for them, but they have a unique culture that evolved organically over hundreds or thousands of years. We have the decaying zombified corpse of western civilization, still shambling along as it falls apart while a cadre of meddling overlords and know-it-all intellectuals tries to play Frankenstein on it to make it more ‘fair’ and ‘equitable’. Not gonna lie. I don’t see a way to get from where we are to where they are without a whole lot of chaos, disorder, and destruction in between.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

We never will get back to the village.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

We never will get back to the village.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It’s lovely for them, but they have a unique culture that evolved organically over hundreds or thousands of years. We have the decaying zombified corpse of western civilization, still shambling along as it falls apart while a cadre of meddling overlords and know-it-all intellectuals tries to play Frankenstein on it to make it more ‘fair’ and ‘equitable’. Not gonna lie. I don’t see a way to get from where we are to where they are without a whole lot of chaos, disorder, and destruction in between.