Just to set the record straight: I don't have a problem with monogamy. I don't think people in open relationships are more "evolved" than those in closed ones. I don't think open relationships are always honest and closed ones are always deceitful.
I believe in choice and acceptance.
I say this because it seems as if people who read my work think that I don't believe in monogamy. But it's not real monogamy that I have a problem with. The issue for me is that an overwhelming majority of people give lip service to the idea, but I'm not convinced that the people who claim to adhere to it actually do.
Regardless of the kind of relationship you have, dishonesty is bad. I think we can all agree on that.
People can be dishonest. And people do cheat. It is unfortunate that there are no hard statistics about adultery. Surveys and studies rely on people telling the truth and, obviously, cheating is something people lie about. I understand that anecdotal evidence is not scientific proof. But it is hard to ignore the signs I see all around me.
The Internet: Ashleymadison.com is a website devoted to helping married people find other married people with whom to cheat. "Life is short. Have an affair" is their tagline. They have over 2 million members, and they've earned millions. That's one website. Marriedbutplaying.com. Marriedsecrets.com. Marriedflirtation.com. Somebody must be out there cheating.
The Media: From magazines to television to books, the media is brimming with stories about political sexual scandals, stories about how to know if your partner is cheating and tips for keeping the sex in your relationship steamy. And not just once in awhile. Check out the magazine section at your local bookstore or the top stories on huffingtonpost.com. Somebody must be out there reading this stuff.
The Buzz: There is no shortage of tales of adultery being shared. From blogs to neighborhood parties to conversations overheard on airplanes, people are talking about their affairs, their partners' affairs and their friends' and families' affairs. Ask a roomful of people and you'll get a room full of answers. Somebody must be out there doing things that have got the neighbors talking.
The Science: Human beings are not a monogamous species. But don't just trust me on that. Head to the experts. Dr. David Barash explains, "We are not naturally monogamous." It doesn't get any more clear than that. Read his piece, "The Myth of Monogamy" or his book by the same title that he wrote with Judith Eve Lipton. Even the animals we have long thought were monogamous—swans, for example—aren't. Somebody must be out there providing fodder for the researchers.
All of that aside, in the end, it's not a matter of natural or unnatural, right or wrong, evolved or not so evolved, smart or dumb, provable or unable to be proved. The question remains: is it workable?