The Man Who Was once wrote:
The basic problem with the Sex at Dawn thesis is that I just don’t see how it gets around two problems. First, men who get more than their share of sex and who exclude other men will pass on more of their genes. Second, women who only mate with the top males will get higher quality genes for their offspring which means they are more likely to survive and reproduce. Given those Darwinian incentives I don’t see how polyamoury is anything other than a disguised version of polygamy.
To get around this problem one would have to posit some kind of group selection, but that opens up a whole thorny nest of problems. While I find some of the group selectionist ideas of D.S. Wilson rather intriguing, especially as regards religion, I remain extremely skeptical, as the objections to group selection put forward by George Williams and others are really quite devastating. There would have to be some sort of really strong mechanism for punishing cheaters and equally distributing the sex for it to work and I just haven’t seen any evidence put forward of such a mechanism in our evolutionary past.
I’ve cast a jaundiced eye at the Sex at Dawn thesis in this post. The commenter above is onto something. Polyamory — multiple and simultaneous sexual relationships — means, in practice, a few high value dudes hording all the pussy. Multitudinously and concurrently. Polyamory cheerleaders, like Christopher Ryan, note the shape of our penis heads and go on to weave a happy utopia of free love where all the men and all the women get their rocks off whenever and however they wish, like the bonobos (who, by the way, are territorially squeezed compared to their more prodigiously successful chimp cousins). But he has to ignore female hypergamous mate choice and male jealousy to concoct this vision of a peaceful hedonist paradise.
The reality would be considerably darker; women would still want to bang the alpha, leaving the beta male out in the cold, clawing and scratching for rode-worn scraps, but now shackled with the obligation to help provide for kids that are likely not his own. What then happens is a complete breakdown in male investment in women and families. Men spend their working hours battling it out in vast, unproductive “Who’s the Sexiest?” competitions for privileged access to a veritable harem of vaj. If you think this is a recipe for creating and sustaining an advanced modern society filled with creature comforts, I have a grass hut somewhere in the Congo to sell you.
How, in a polyamorous society, are you going to arrange things so that women dispense their pussy equitably among high and low status men? As noted by the commenter, this would require some major group selection modulated behavior to be workable; a woman would fuck for the survival of the tribe, instead of the survival of her offspring. That would be awfully magnanimous of her! It’s like arranging a society where men are happy to boff fat, old and ugly chicks with equal attention to romantic detail that they give the hot young babes.
If anything, a culturally endorsed polyamorous dating market that virtually guaranteed a steady provider payout for disloyal, promiscuous women and their bastard spawn would help resolve the female tension for male commitment and good male genes in favor of the latter. Betas would be sexually shunned even more than they are now. LJBFing and undignified platonic beta orbiting would reach epic proportions. This blog would be classified as treason against the state and an incitement to rebellion and be shut down.
A happy hippie free love egalitarian commune it would not be. Widespread polyamorous practice where childrearing is done by the village and all men, uncertain of paternity, contribute resources to the well-being of the single moms and their unholy bastard squirtage, will not convince women to equally distribute their sexual favors among the men. Just the opposite; it would liberate women to single-mindedly pursue the few alphas in their purview, knowing full well that a beta blood-latticed safety net exists to protect them from destitution. In other words, socially-sanctioned and state-supported polyamory lets women have their cake and eat it, too. The only trade-off is that they will have to share scarce high value lovers with other women. Yet as any tour of a college campus will demonstrate, most women in their prime would prefer to share an alpha stud than extract commitment from a beta schlub. Until the wall looms, that is. Heh.
But why speculate? We now have evidence of what happened to polyamorous early human ancestors in the distant past — they went extinct.
The team found that the fossil finger ratios of Neanderthals, and early members of the human species, were lower than most living humans, which suggests that they had been exposed to high levels of prenatal androgens. This indicates that early humans were likely to be more competitive and promiscuous than people today. […]
Emma Nelson, from the University of Liverpool’s School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, explains: “It is believed that prenatal androgens affect the genes responsible for the development of fingers, toes and the reproductive system. We have recently shown that promiscuous primate species have low index to ring finger ratios, while monogamous species have high ratios. We used this information to estimate the social behaviour of extinct apes and hominins. Although the fossil record is limited for this period, and more fossils are needed to confirm our findings, this method could prove to be an exciting new way of understanding how our social behaviour has evolved.”
Until we can reengineer hypergamy out of women’s hindbrains, advocacy for unconstrained polyamory in all but the most backward societies is DOA.
So what does nonviolent, consensual polyamory look like in modern real life when it’s purposefully tried? (No, it’s not SWPL. Even in that hothouse culture the chicks swarm to the top hipsters.) Think aging beta boomers milking their last ounce of testosterone by swapping barren hag wives. It’s best summed up in the following Chateau maxim:
Maxim #109: Consensual polyamory is a contrived hookup service for undesirable sexual market rejects.