Polygamist? You’re making the pool kinda shallow

If you’re a polygamist (or the feminine polyandrist), you might have to prepare yourself for fewer children from a single wife or less fertile men.

Recent research in the US has found that the polygamy practiced among Mormon men during the 19th century had a strange effect: the overall number of children the women each had was less. That is, the more sister-wives a Mormon woman had, the fewer children she would produce for the husband.

The research shows that for every woman the man added to his household, the number of children every wife would produce decreased by about one child. This is phenomenon that was also seen in fruit flies, strangely enough.

But what is most obvious about the research was that it found that decreasing the strength of sexual selection for one man meant that the strength of sexual selection for other men would increase. In other words, if a man has fewer women, more women would be available for other men. This is really advantageous to our species, because of the greater diversity of reproductive possibilities.

So why do men dream about this type of relationship?

I like to think that it’s because of the sex – what man doesn’t love sex – and the idea of being pleased all the time. But I also think that it links to the media and the way men are portrayed as needing to “sow their oats”. They are made to believe that they need to have sex, and a lot of it. But maybe it really boils down to whether they’re truly happy in their relationship? If they’re lacking something, do they look for it elsewhere rather than ask their wife for it?

What do you think?


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