3 Scientific Reasons Monogamous Relationships Don't Work Out

Are we forcing something that shouldn't be?

couple kissing in sunset Falcona / Shutterstock

There are many romantic things about monogamy. According to the dictionary, the monogamous definition is having only one mate, spouse, or sexual partner at one time.

To many people, monogamy means having a support system in your spouse or partner, someone you can rely on and spend time with; it means you can share your love with each other only, and that doing so is enough in your relationship.

Monogamy is largely what we see in movies and on TV, and what the institution of marriage was built on. Conventional marriages mean a husband and wife take a vow to be faithful, there for one another "in sickness and in health," and speak to the potential of their union.


And yes, having one person who knows you inside and out for the rest of your life is a beautiful thought! You may even think of sitting next to one another in rocking chairs on the porch when you're in your 90s, reminiscing about all the wonderful years you spent together.

Relying on only one person makes life a lot simpler — in some ways, that is.

But is monogamy natural?

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Well, according to science, a monogamous relationship might not be that normal after all — and these three reasons are to blame.

3 Scientific Reasons Monogamous Relationships Don't Work Out

1. Men and women lose interest in sex over time.

For ladies, the lovin' usually goes out the door. You may try to spice things up with lingerie or new moves in the bedroom, but science shows women aren't designed for long-term desire.

Research has found that women tend to go from having passionate love to compassionate love over time, meaning the relationship turns into more of a platonic friendship. And that's not something you want in a romantic relationship; save that platonic love for your Saturday girl's night out.

According to a Psychology Today article, men's sex drives suffer in monogamous relationships, too.


"Human beings are clearly evolved for sex lives featuring multiple simultaneous sexual relationships," wrote Christopher Ryan, Ph.D.

Known as the Coolidge Effect, "men, especially, are designed by evolution to be attracted to sexual novelty and to gradually lose sexual attraction to the same partner in the absence of such novelty."

One reason is that conflict in the relationship tends to hinder sex. However, when a man finds a new partner, sexual excitement returns.

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2. Monogamy kills women's best years of sex.

You've probably heard before, but men hit their sexual peak in their 20s, whereas women typically don't reach it until their 30s and 40s.


Furthermore, science has found that women who are in relationships throughout these prime years report low sexual desire when, in reality, these are the years they should be having the best sex of their lives!

3. We naturally want to cheat.

According to the National Science Foundation, only three to five percent of mammals are monogamous. How's that for a harsh slap in the face? Reality can suck sometimes.

Studies have found that sexual monogamy also relies on hormones and receptors that the brain releases. Humans' receptors vary from person-to-person, resulting in some people leaning more towards polyamory than others.


So, if your partner has cheated, he might just not be cut out for monogamy. But don't worry — he probably still loves you.

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Nicole Weaver is a love and entertainment writer. Find her on Twitter for more.