Associated Press photo
A teary-eyed South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (top) and a teary-eyed Jimmy Swaggart. These wingnuts are assbites, to be sure, but could it be that monogamy is a tall order for most men — and that it isn’t their fault?
As much as I love to see the downfall of any Repugnican hypocrite (that’s pretty much redundant, Repugnican hypocrite…), I can’t say that I have been relishing (much) the latest Repugnican infidelity scandal, that of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.
The biggest problem that I have with Sanford, whom I know of only because he jumped upon the “Obama’s economic stimulus plan = (gasp!) socialism!” bandwagon, is that he didn’t decide to remain in Argentina with his mistress.
But seriously, to me the larger question — seriously — is whether or not the human male, straight or gay, is meant to be monogamous.
My understanding of primatology, or at least of mammalogy, is that it’s biologically advantageous, and thus more or less innate, for a testosterone-driven male to spread his seed, so to speak, as widely as possible, while it is the estrogren-driven female who desires the stability of monogamy, since she is the primary caretaker of the offspring, if for no other reason than that it is the female who lactates.
(Yes, with non-heterosexual and transgendered individuals things can be different, but most gay men I know seem to be at least as sexually adventurous as are straight males. What gay and straight men do have in common is testosterone, and even though gay men cannot reproduce, of course, as Harvey Milk is quoted [accurately or not] as having said in the film “Milk,” we sure keep trying!)
Why do we human beings think that we are exempt from biology? Many if not most Americans will even argue that humans aren’t animals, they’re humans, although any biologist or zoologist will tell you that yes, of course humans are animals as they define the term “animal.”
So while I’m perfectly ready and willing to condemn Sanford for having raked Bill Clinton over the coals for Clinton’s infidelity when Sanford was a U.S. representative, I don’t know that I’m ready to condemn Sanford for his own infidelity when I surmise that monogamy is not natural to many if not most human males.
If monogamy were innate, why, then, does it fail so often?
Monogamy, I surmise, is a societal creation, not a biological reality for many if not most human males (and perhaps not for many human females, either), and to shame and condemn anyone for something that is biological, for something that is innate — like homosexuality — is potentially to make someone feel awful about himself or herself about something that is beyond his or her control.
So yes, let’s criticize the Repugnicans for their idiocy and their hypocrisy and for their frequently treasonous behavior, but we need to examine this monogamy thing more closely before we condemn any male who finds monogamy to be challenging if not impossible.
My boyfriend, of course, wholly disagrees with me on this…
P.S. An Associated Press piece titled “Analysis: Why Do Politicians Cheat?” — credited to all-female writers — typically wholly overlooks the biological aspects of infidelity/non-monogamy.
My guess is that most people take social conventions as givens, as reality, and don’t even question them. A great number of people are too afraid (and/or lazy), I think, to reconsider, much more to actively challenge, the worldview that they’ve been spoon-fed, including the societal belief that a man should be happy with one mate until death does him part, and that if this doesn’t work for him, then he is defective and/or sinful.