Jana Hocking on proof women are meant to have multiple partners

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Guys, I don’t know about monogamy. Have we been hoodwinked? Seriously.

As someone who has been single for a fair chunk of my 30s, I’ve got to witness many things in my friends’ relationships, family relationships and my relationships.

Close friends who are kind, considerate people with good heads on their shoulders have been caught up in affairs, or at the very least flirted with the idea. And we’re not talking sleazy dudes having a midlife crisis, but everyday people, nurses, teachers, plenty of office workers.

And before I get a flood of angry messages from people saying ‘affairs ruin family’ let me state for the record: I KNOW! I’ve lived it. But that only firms my resolve more. When people are risking stable family lives for a connection, however brief, with someone else it makes me wonder if we are genetically wired to stay with just one person.

We’re brought up believing that monogamy is the morally correct way to live our lives but are we designed for it?

This sounds a little random but stick with me … I was recently invited to go into a penguin enclosure at a local zoo and saw these hilariously cute creatures up close. The zookeeper was telling us some facts about their mating habits and it was pretty fascinating. He revealed that while most penguin species are monogamous (one male breeds with one female during a mating season), research has shown that some females may have up to three partners in one season (floozies!) and some males may have one or two partners.

Mate selection is up to the female, and it is the females that compete for the males. Not so different to the current state of dating, if we’re being honest.

Yes, even in the animal kingdom monogamy isn’t guaranteed. In fact, among mammals, just 9 per cent of species are monogamous and among primates, just 29 per cent are.

And to further prove my point biologist, and evolutionary psychologist David P. Barash asks in his book Out of Eden if monogamy doesn’t come naturally to humans – why does society insist on it? He found that monogamy is losing ground to instincts with much deeper roots in human history.

You see, we weren’t always monogamous. No, no. That concept has only been around for the last 1000 years. Before that, primates were solitary and preferred to live in isolation only coming together to mate.

To be fair, I think many of us still live like primates, only coming out of our Netflix binge sessions to occasionally flirt and throw a leg over. Joking. Kind of.

As someone who is afraid of commitment and yet definitely wants a relationship, I’ve recently been thinking that perhaps an open relationship at the start could be a great bridging tool to close the gap from single to taken.

It takes away the pressure so many of us feel of being trapped in a relationship. With open communication from the very beginning perhaps it could be the secret to taking that scary first step. And a heck load cheaper than a year’s worth of therapy.

And honestly, nine times out of 10 if we know we at least have the option of throwing our net wider in the dating pool, we probably won’t want to. I believe it will most likely lead to a closed relationship once we get comfy with the idea of a partnership.

Plus, it takes away the horrid, sneaky, guilt-inducing aspect of monogamy.

I think it’s normal to want to explore outside your relationship but trust me the grass is not greener my friends. This also assures me that opening a relationship isn’t necessarily a threat to your current relationship. Anyone who has been in a stable long-term relationship will quickly realise what a cesspit the current dating scene is.

Sure, many people who shacked up before dating apps may feel like they are missing out on a romping good time. But once they’ve been ghosted, or catfished they will realise they’ve actually missed out on nothing. So here’s a modern idea; let them.

I am beginning to believe that an open relationship is key to a better relationship. Not holding each other back. Giving each other freedom and being completely open and honest about it. It’s certainly a thought …

Jana Hocking is a columnist and collector of kind-of-boyfriends | @jana_hocking

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