Polygamy and the Pointless Stigma

Sister Wives, the TLC program that exhibits one of humanity's age-old practices as a taboo anomaly in which the boldest watch. Uh huh.

Polygamy and the Pointless Stigma

Polygamy, what everyone's afraid of being legalized once homosexuality is legalized, huh? Yet polygamy is more naturally and culturally accepted than homosexuality, and put down more so as well.

There's many reasons for polygamy's place in human civilization:

  1. Family Support: if a man's brother were to die, he was to take his sister-in-law as his wife along with his own, so that she would not reduce to poverty in a rigid patriarchy. While sleeping with your sibling's spouse/spouse's sibling is legal incest today, it was absolutely normal back then. I don't agree with this, but it worked.
  2. Hope of Repopulation: During the Mormon exodus to Utah, many of the men died out. This left the Latter-Day Saints no other choice than to take two, or even three, wives in order to thwart the possibility of the Prophecy's Inheritors from demolishing.
  3. Love: simple as that. You don't always have to love someone in a sexual sense. Love can be between a man and two women; the love between the sister-wives in Sister Wives mirrors a woman's love for both her husband and her sister-wife that allows them to express their love, while the other wife simultaneously loves her sister-wife enough for her to do the same with their husband. When a group loves each other, true love wouldn't forfeit anyone.

So what's everyone's scare over polygamy? There does stand the proposition of a man having so many wives that his grandchildren will begin to inbreed. Although that's what we get in the Old Testament, with King David's 17 wives and dozens of mistresses, this case was rare and usually only reserved for royalty, who could afford to maintain harems. And yes, an incestuous rape resulted from one of King David's sons from one woman coming onto his daughter from another woman (2 Sam. 13). Needless to say, not good.

It was the Islamic tradition that ruled out these crazy harems, moderating polygamy to no more than 4 wives, reducing the likelihood of inbreeding and confusion of heirs. Before that, Jesus had attested that marriage is between "one man and one woman." Polygamy strangely still holds here. Notice how in a bigamy, Wife #1 will claim to be married to Husband, but she will not claim to be married to Wife #2. It's not a cluster, but more so a system, as to where the man is central to the system, like the Sun in the Milky Way system. Anyway, at any rate, sister-wives are not married. They are simply called sister-wives because they are co-wives, just like the Bitanic was the sister ship to the Titanic, how K-Mart is a sister business to Sears, etc.

Hopefully this clears a bit up regarding the "strange phenomenon" of polygamy. Although virtually gone in Western culture, it is still practiced all over the world, amongst indigenous groups of such places as Samoa, Africa, and a few Native American tribes. Religions of Islam, indigenous religions, and even some sects of Christianity still hold polygamy as a practice.

So many insist that homosexual marriage rights will not lead to polygamy rights. Honestly, I hope they do. If gays have a right to love, should not families such as TLC's Sister Wives?


Most Helpful Guy

  • Polygamy is a mark of a society that never prospered, and only a fool would want it to become accepted in the USA.

    Consider polygamous arabia. Do you think it is coincidence, that in a polygamous society, many young men are willing to die for the promise of limitless sex?

    Consider what has been well documented among the polygamous mormons--that young men must constantly be kicked out of the community to maintain such a dramatically skewed sex ratio, as married, established men in their 40's are literally in direct sexual competition with college students for female attention.

    Polygamy has existed heavily in the Middle East and Africa, and both continents are wastelands compared to Europe and North America.

    It is a culture that openly declares that many men will have no chance of ever finding a wife/gf and having a family. It openly and boldly shuts out a huge percent of men from that.

    In practical terms, who do you think will build a nation or fight it's wars, when a huge percent of men will literally have no chance of finding a woman? Go look up "fragging" during the Vietnam War. The US Army records 209 incidents of American officers being fragged by their own men.

    When a huge percent of a people are flat shut out of the possibility of ever having a woman or children, they have no reason to help the society in any way. Who will you tax? Who will fight the wars? Women?

    • That's why up to 4 wives had been established. They continue to have children, i. e. daughters, etc. When there's a cap on how many wives one can have, it greatly reduces chances of men depriving women from each other. I don't know if he's bringing on a 5th wife, but 4 was traditionally set to be the limit.

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    • As for the take owner if you think there should no stigma attached to it, then why stop at 4? Why can't everyone do what they want. How is it different between putting a legal barrier at or at 4? From a moral point of view. If you put in the barrier at 4 to limit to normal effects of polygamy why not put it in at 1 to avoid them completely?

      As you know from my post. I do agree with everything he said, I'm just wondering because you're not being very consistent here.
      I think what maybe didn't become quite clear, if it doesn't go without saying, is that marriage is traditionally the reason men do anything. The reason they get an education, work hard, buy a house... . It is the big drive behind most great inventions, because ultimately marriage is a gateway to society. You're not only excluding a large percentage of men from marriage you're excluding a large percentage from society

    • @take owner, let me put the concerns of myself and @Izzy2102 in a way you can understand. Elliot Rodgers was likely mentally off, but he had no understanding of women, couldn't get one, and was mentally screwed up, so he killed people.

      Multiply him by 50,000. Imagine gangs of Elliot Rodgers taking to professional, well thought out crime. Thousands of men will be forced to involuntary celibacy, because of simply biology--women would far rather be wife 4# to a rich lawyer than wife 1# to a beta. Think of mass shootings where 10 well armed killers not only murder dozens of innocent people, but inflict heavy police casualties. Imagine bank robberies carried out by college educated, skilled, intelligent men. That's just to start. China has a similar problem caused by killing off women, and they have mass stabbings. Literally, gangs of suicidal men go into mobs and start stabbing people. Look to India's gang rapes. Do you want that?

Most Helpful Girl

  • Polygamy doesn't work on a large scale! It IS that easy.

    Women are far more likely to be willing to share a partner than men are. Men don't usually do that. So what you'll most often is one rich, powerful man with several wives.
    And every wife he has more than one leaves one man without a partner. And history has shown that that is a guarantee for disaster. That's something men don't deal well with and it leads violence and chaos.

    As a species we eventually moved on from polygamy, because in a larger group (and we are a sociable species) it's just better. It's the smart thing to do.
    Most guys here will envision themselves as having more than one wife and think it's awesome, but that's not reality. In reality, more likely than not you'll be left alone.
    So trust me guys we're doing you a huge favor by being monogamous

    • I think on a large scale, this is absolutely true. Religious communities that allow polygamy tend to jump at excuses to cast out young men to keep a gender imbalance. It doesn't work.

      Note as well that in the west, we -have- serial polygamy by rich men. They tend to go through multiple wives, while the wives are less likely to remarry.

      Interestingly the 'hook up' world is closer to polygamy, and I do wonder as it grows what societal ramifications will be.

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    • @Izzy2102
      I think it would require a cultural shift in acceptance. I don't doubt for a second many poor women would do it, but most men won't marry a pretty third world woman now, so being able to marry 3 of them wouldn't change much. People want to be wanted. Most people want to date (vs fwb/hookup) monogamously, so I don't see why they'd want to ditch monogamy at the wedding.

      But it could change , with time, if people move directly from hookups to group marriage.

    • @kheserthorpe "but most men won't marry a pretty third world woman now" you think? Because I think there has been a shift of men (often old ) who seek wives in poor Asian countries, such as Thailand or the Philippines and it's only getting worse

      There'd have to be a shift in cultural acceptance but I think that would happen quite quickly (like a decade or so). I think it's fair to say we're all opportunists and ya in a world where monogamy is the norm, dating one person exclusively is the best deal. In a world where it isn't, that's far more complex.

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What Guys Said 26

  • Polygamy might be a handy tool in a society full of widows and orphans. However, in a settled civilization, it leads to hordes of young single men who cannot settle down, and cannot find wives because the affluent older patriarchs in the society hoard them. These young single men become violent and crime prone.

    In any human society there are approximately the same number of men and women. Under monogamy, which limits each man to one wife, everyone gets a fair chance to marry. When powerful and successful men are allowed to take more than one wife, however, as they are in a polygamous society, this creates a pool of unsuccessful men at the bottom of society who are constantly in conflict with the system.

    Much is made of the current warring between radical Islam vs. the Western World (and radical Islam vs. the Eastern World, come to think of it). What is the source of that fighting? Polygamy!

    The history of Islam has been one continuous story of rebel groups off in the desert and deciding that the religion being practiced by the authorities and their harems back in the cities is not the “true Islam.” They come crashing back upon the palaces, overthrowing the leaders (no Ottoman Sultan ever died of natural causes) and establishing a new regime that is just like the old one, where powerful are allowed to take multiple wives.

    The Prophet Muhammad had a novel solution to this problem. Go and conquer neighboring societies and requisition their women. If you die in the process, the reward will be even greater – 72 virgins waiting for you in heaven! “Jihad” has been a clever and effective way of redirecting the hostilities of the “bachelor herd” that polygamy inevitably produces.

    "The Suicide Bachelors Of Polygamous Islam":



    • " These young single men become violent and crime prone."
      Possible: Europe had a similar thing during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Not a lack of women, but 2nd, 3d. and 4th. sons of nobility ('cadets' ) who started becoming warlords because the inheritances would go to the 1st born males. Of course, this created havoc. The solution the Europeans found was to send them on Crusades against Muslims. After the Crusade period they were sent to other continents, to colonize these.

    • I agree with everything you said. Most guys just think polygamy is awesome because they see themselves having a foursome every night, not spending it alone.

      And I do agree about the middle east. I say it all the time. Polygamy is a big part of the mess you have there

  • While I share @Izzy2102 's concerns from a cultural standpoint, from a legal standpoint I'm gently in favor.

    note that it's already quite legal for a man to have 3 homes, each co-owned with a separate woman, and have children with each.

    Interestingly we have huge marriage laws and divorce laws which basically exist to protect women in the case of divorce. Yet the de-facto second and third wives get nothing.

    Really, what we have is a scenario where first wives don't want to share their husband's assets with younger women.

    As for the stigma? The issue isn't progressive open minded people in love.

    The -problem- with polygamy on a small scale is that it is principally practiced in small religious sects where they marry off teenage girls to elders in the community, and tell them if they don't do it they'll burn in hell forever. It's hard to view this as a truly free consensual decision.

    I'm not sure polygamy laws are the right way to deal with it, however. She could be the elder's first wife, it's not really any better.

    • But why would we legalize something that is not good for us as a society? Laws aren't just theory they also have to be good and effective in reality.

    • @Izzy2102 because a lot of people don't believe laws should be used to shape society, rather laws should be used to provide a platform on which to build society. That people should be free, even if the decisions they make may not be the ones that maximize their happiness.

      In any case, I don't think legalizing it would radically change society, though who knows. The question is whether it would become culturally acceptable. That's the big one.

    • It's not about their own good though, it's about everyone's good. Any country that implements a law that is clearly destructive to it's structure is insane.
      Well laws don't shape society. Society shapes laws and this we have this law because that is what we found works best over hundreds of years.

      I think it would change quite drastically. Not in a year or two, but make that 10. It open the door to completely new things. And it would require a complete do over of our current law, because the law we have makes the assumption of two person marriages.
      A lot of people make comparisons to muslim countries, but muslim countries that are polygamous are often not free. Not the way we were. Marriage is still often arranged, domestic violence isn't a thing, dating doesn't exist and free speech is not implemented. It's not a good comparison to a country where people are free to do as they please

  • With the rise of women's rights, what woman will stand for it?

    I don't really think its men that are against the idea...

    • she talked about polygamy in general.
      Sure most women would not agree BUT
      most men would not agree being one of her 4, right?

    • @Janett21

      There is such a thing as swingers, which typically lacks an enduring polyamorous relationship like the author speaks about but if you see those kinds of things happening today that will be the community they will happen in.

      My thought on this is taboo probably plays little to no role at all for the lack of the practice. I think it has more to do with a lack of willing participants. Not that I blame them for not wanting to do that, haha.

    • I don't judge people too who desire polygamy, but If a guy told me to be one of his 5 wifes, I would feel so insulted haha

  • If a man marries with 5 women then the remaining 4 men will die bachelor.

  • It would be a dream come true for me to get even one wife. I would be happy to stop there. I can't relate to this discussion at all. Sorry.

  • I don't know why something like this is glorified. I think shows like that are garbage myself. It tells women that it's okay to settle for a "legal player" and that it is unrealistic to expect someone to remain faithful and loyal to you, and only you. If you watch those shows, there is constant turmoil as the tool in sisterwives already has too many irons in the fire as it seems he has bitten off more than he can chew. Let's also make mention of the fact that many of those women in show like that are broken. Sorry. They are. They have settled for some shelf space to share their "man" with others and that's not working so well. I do think that the guy in sisterwives is a total nozzle.

  • Whether you are male or female (or some kind of weird sex-orientation from Tumblr), you should be able to have a relation the way you want, if you are a rich women and want to have 5 dudes in your home, go ahead, the same for dudes, polygamy is one of the worst and senseless taboos I've ever seen and it is directly related to religion (oh the irony).

    I don't see myself in a polygamist relationship, nor I'm a "death to the government" nut, but this is one of those things the state shouldn't even CARE about.

  • I don't know if polygamous marriages are really my cup of tea, i'm certainly not against open relationships with a bisexual woman. :P

    But people try to act like the social standards of today are somehow intrinsically moral based on scriptures that described a contradictory way of life. I think LDS is a load of crap but even back in the day with like abraham and isaac and whatnot, friggin everyone back then was doing it. So its stupid to think christianity forbids it, and the law is just based on what people happen to practice now. You tell me a higher authority that says otherwise, and you got yourself a monogamous dude.

  • I have realised that opinions are for the sake of it since they don't put anything concrete on the table as a remedy which is why I will say polygamy is here to stay and eventually re-emerge. It is all a cycle, gay people in ancient times come modern colonisation, say in Africa, were never chastised but per the misinterpretation of the Bible and human madness, Africans have been left with the need to discriminate against gay people against Western policy. Same goes for polygamy, but just that in the West and modern society polygamy has faced fate of misinterpretations. I believe in cultures where polygamy is still legal and traditional the numbers don't stack up to a quarter of a population.
    So people have always felt to do it but never really chased it as systematic thing for many reasons. Some people have done it if the woman was a widow, for food production, wealth, scarcity of men in rural areas, sexual endeavours but that number is quite low too, respect, etc. I think the point that has to be made nowadays is that people have to be allowed, given that option just as much as gay people have it or heterosexuals. People are people right unless we think otherwise.

  • I 'm not against polygamy but there should be some rules. Muslims have a few:
    -It's limited to four wives
    -The first wife has to approve of the subsequent wives.
    -The man may only do it if he treats them all equally, in ALL domains.
    -Any wife can easily get a divorce.
    (Of course that's theory: most Muslims won't have four wives because they cannot afford them and approval can be forced. Satisfying four women can be above the man's possibilities.

    • In the US , all the second households with 'babymamas' are close to polygamy.

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    • Yes but only if the guy was unmarried. If he was married to another woman, she'd get child support but definitely not alimony.

      It's strange to think that if she was the only woman, she'd deserve money, but since there are two, she doesn't.

    • "In the US , all the second households with 'babymamas' are close to polygamy."--Exactly! And look at how violent and crime prone that subculture is...

  • If God had intended for one man to have four wives each, then our species would have one male for every four females; a given pregnancy would only have a 20% chance of producing a boy, otherwise 75% of men would be forced to remain bachelors. Since the reality of the matter is that the sexes have 1:1 ratio, marriages should be the same way.

    • Also, if you're okay with polygamy, then you ought to be okay with cheating.

  • My friend Jesus (he is 50) told me he has 3 woman, his wife, who raised nurtured his children and who he cares for more than anything in the world, his mistress, which he only uses for sexual conquest and desire, and his lover a woman who loves him and expects nothing in return

  • I can think of some arguments against it:

    • THIS. People do not understand how repressive polygamy really is, even in the tamer Mormon heretic version. Even mainstream Mormonism rejects polygamy.

  • I'd just like to point out that you virtually never hear of one woman with multiple husbands.

    • They are rare but don't really work because men are possessive and things end badly lol

  • The thought of having severla spouses/gfs/lovers appealed to me when i was younger (God knows why). But as of rn, i desire only one SO so long as she loves and cares for me as much as several wives could lol. But i honestly would rather have one wife and think of her as an equal. It just wouldn't feel right to hav more than one wite (even if they were ok with it). It was an interesting take though, i enjoyed it :)

  • Why polygamy is illegal for consenting adults makes no sense. Why it is not practiced/accepted is another story for individuals to decide.

  • An adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion, should be free to marry any and all consenting adults. Support full marriage equality.

  • I agree with everything you said. If homosexual relationships can be accepted by society so should this. I feel as though I could love two women the same and I'd want them to have love for each other as well

  • religion...

    no other reason than this...

    but people need to stop saying "humans are naturally polygamous"... erm... is there any real evidence of this?

    • yes read books, easy - free google books under anthropology, history, genetics, politics - kings, queens, layman, thieves, murderers, fornicators, priests, farmers all participated in this tradition till this day, things like polygamy don't just surface in latest times like an iPhone. Even that too it's a product of humans just like polygamy

    • Doesn't mean it's our natural state.

  • Polygamy and incestual marriages should be legal in the U. S.

    If it's between consenting adult humans, there is no basis for it being illegal.

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What Girls Said 8

  • i want to marry several men

    • Go for it.

    • Honey, please take a number... others are in line in front of you...

  • Ehh no thank you.
    Everybody can live polygamous if he wants to, but being only with one person we love.. this shows that we can control our urges and that we are more then our sexual instincts!

    I dont need polygamy.. I need love.. and I want to share my love with 1 person and not divide it to three.

  • I guess if you want to have sister wives, you should be able to have it. I just don't want it for myself.

    I think the fear here is, as soon as it's legal, men will want to bring home more wives and the first wife has no say in it and must endure it. How many first wives of the Islamic world do you know who got divorced because they didn't want to share their husbands?

    • But here cultures are different so it is likely that if one of the wives wants to jump ship - that had be no issue. It has happened many times.

    • @Tormentarian
      The issue would be if you were a housewife, how to provide for yourself and your children. I'm not sure if the husband still has to pay alimony if he has a second family to take care of. And also in finding a next husband who would want you and only you when polygamy is allowed.
      I know people who have second and third wives or mistresses the wife knows of. The wives aren't happy, but they're staying because divorce is unheard of/marriage is for life. They and the other wives are not 'friends' and 'sisters'. They hate each other's guts.

  • Meh, I don't care if other people want to do that. It's just not the way I personally would choose to live my life.

  • Not my cup of tea, but if we are okay with gay marriage and polyamorous relationships, logic says polygamy should be fine, too. You can't accept one without the other if you're claiming to allow all people to love who they want to love in the way they want to love.

  • I wouldn't live like that, but who actually gives a crap how many wives this guy has. As long as they're all happy.

  • hahahaha say hello to Mike Bisgrove for me

  • Still not my cup of tea.