6 Evolutionary Reasons for the Rise of Friends With Benefits


Factors that made monogamy less desirable ...

Just as we saw the evolution of bigger beaks in Galápagos finches so they could break seeds for eating, we're seeing an evolution in how humans engage in relationships. Monogamy, unfortunately, isn’t natural for primates and mammals. When Natalie Portman's character in the upcoming movie, "No Strings Attached," said, "I think monogamy goes against basic biology," she was, unfortunately, correct.

We want to believe that monogamy is natural. We want to believe that passion easily lasts a lifetime. The truth is, we’re mammals. Only 3% of mammals are naturally monogamous. For us humans, that means some of us are going to be more prone than others toward monogamy -- based on our DNA, our personality, and a variety of different factors. We’re just now researching what it really means for people, and how to tell who's more likely to stay with one partner. (To help our doctors' research, click here to take this confidential survey.) About half of marriages end in divorce. Approximately 50% of people are having affairs, 20% of marriages are sexless.


Have a Question About Monogamy? Ask Dr. Marianne Brandon, certified sexual therapist and author of Monogamy: The Untold Story. Dr. Brandon will be answering questions live on Thursday, January 20th at 3:30 pm EST/ 12:30 pm PST. You need to be a registered genConnect member to be invited to the party. The event takes place here.


A growing number of couples are shifting away from monogamy and opting for a Friends With Benefits arrangement - a casual hookup with a friend or acquaintance. This trend didn't happen overnight. Several cultural and biological developments that occurred over time have impacted our sex

1. We’re living longer. When most people died in their 40s or 50s – and your marriage wasn’t so good, you figured it was not going to be much longer anyway. As opposed to, my God, now I’m going to live to 80, 90, 100! Is this what it’s going to be for the rest of my life?
2. Historically, monogamy was encouraged for political reasons and religious reasons. It really helped organize our culture. It helped us create families and structures that were great for every member of the family. It really helped us progress. We have grown so much from that very basic standpoint of connecting that way. How Our Culture Hurts Our Sex Life
3. We no longer need the support of a partner. It used to be that you had to be married to have kids. It used to be, you had to be married to have security. Financial security, home security, and family security. Now that’s just not necessary anymore. You can have babies without being married. You can have a family without being married. A man can have a baby without a wife or girlfriend. Both partners in a relationship can work, so security-wise, you’re not depending on one or the other for finances. So culturally, things have changed quite a bit.

Next: Three more cultural factors causing a shift from monogamy...

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