Jenna Witzleben

Female-Seeking-Options

This blog contains reading reflections, experiments, and project details for my current thesis (my first extracurricular thesis) on alternative relationship structures. For the next few months I will be investigating alternatives to our society's current standard: heterosexual, monogamous, long term relationships, with children. This in part comes out of the research of my last thesis "Finding the Wild", as it has been theorized that early humans were actually polyamorous. It is also a personal exploration, as I am re-considering my own goals and ideas around what types relationships I want to engage in.

Sex at Dawn (Parts II and III)

Part II and Part III of this book mainly serve to provide examples of communities that thrive/thrived with polyamorous relationship structures, and to poke holes in larger arguments about human nature and evolution in regards to war and violence as well as love and relationships. 

For example, the authors cite the Mosuo, a matrilineal society in which girls, starting at the age of thirteen, can invite different lovers into their babahuago (flower room). Conceived children are raised with the help of the girl's brothers and the rest of the community. Here, jealousy is considered aggressive and to be an "intrusion upon the sacred autonomy of another person...". The authors argue, that in these types of matriarchal societies, because women have "autonomy and authority", and are free of shame and persecution, they tend be be much more confident, relaxed, and open to sexual encounters. 

Masuo Coming of Age Ceremony (source: http://www.chinadream.no/her-own-room.html)

Masuo Coming of Age Ceremony (source: http://www.chinadream.no/her-own-room.html)

The authors also discuss how marriage is defined in very different ways among different groups of people. One such example is of the !Kung San of Botswana, where girls "marry" several times before settling down into a long-term relationship. This starts to touch on something I found missing in the discussion of the Mosuo and other polyamorous societies. The authors discuss the benefits of non-monogamous relationships and sexual flings. But what about the emotional side of these relationships? Is it not also part of human nature to want someone you can confide in and share your thoughts and feelings with? This emotional connection is a huge benefit of long-term relationships in my mind. How does deeper emotional connection manifest in a society like the Mosuo?

Jenna Witzleben