Throughout history, women have been thought to be promiscuous if they had multiple sexual partners. The same, however, has not been said about men. In fact, it is thought to be normal male behaviour to seek out pleasure. Women, on the other hand, need to be monogamous because this is what nature intended them to be. Right?
This is simply untrue. The concept of monogamy in itself is man-made. Scientifically speaking there is actually proof that women should have multiple partners and should be having lots of sex. So, what made them change? What pushed women away from acting out on their sexual desires? And what makes society criticise those who do?
In this book summary readers will discover:
- Women cheat just as much as men do
- The physical evidence is clear that women were not meant to be monogamous
- Women are more sexually fluid than men
- Our closest non-human relatives give us vital information
- Monogamy equals property – how women were forced into monogamy
Key lesson one: Women cheat just as much as men do
Contrary to popular belief, women cheat just as much as men do in relationships. But why is it implied that men would be more inclined to cheat? More importantly, why is infidelity so much more scandalous when it is the woman who cheats? The simple fact is that society believes that women are naturally monogamous. They need to be in a relationship, have kids and care for their family. This could not be further from the truth.
If we had to think about it carefully, if monogamy is what women want, their sex drives should remain the same or potentially rise when they have a partner. Several studies have shown that women actually lose interest in sex when in a relationship for more than a year. This leads us to another common misconception – that women cheat because they are seeking an emotional connection after being in a relationship for some time and, not sex. Surveys have shown that the rate at which men cheat is almost the same as women.
The dating website, Ashley Madison, also provides evidence that the reason for cheating is sexual desire. The website is specifically for people who are married or in relationships but are seeking sexual partners. This was confirmed during interviews with the women using the site conducted by a sociologist. These women were not seeking romance or new partners, they already had that in their current relationships.
This is contrary to what most people think. Even Charles Darwin and gynaecologist, William Acton thought that women were not sexual. Those women with high sex drives were deemed abnormal which once again, is simply, untrue.
Key lesson two: The physical evidence is clear that women were not meant to be monogamous
A woman’s body is clearly designed for sexual pleasure. The clitoris alone has over eight thousand nerve endings – and that’s just at its tip. This makes it far more sensitive than a penis which has almost half of that. Women can also have multiple orgasms within a short time period but, it takes women a lot longer to climax than men. On average men take 8-10 minutes to climax. In contrast, women take up to 20 minutes. It is because of this time difference that it is suggested that women seek out multiple partners.
The cervix of women provides evidence against monogamy as well. It is capable of filtering out sperm with poor morphology and motility ensuring that only the strongest sperm pass through. Why else would this be necessary if women had only one sexual partner?
The male body also provides evidence and funnily enough, it’s got to do with size. Before we get to humans, first consider male gorillas. Compared to their size, they have relatively small testicles. The suggested reason for this is that male gorillas have a harem of females and do not have to compete with other males meaning that they do not need to produce a lot of sperm. In contrast, male chimps and bonobos have larger testicles because the females of their species are very promiscuous and their sperm needs to compete with others. So, which of the former do you think human males have more in common with? That’s right, human males have larger testicles and thus produce more sperm to compete with other males. Furthermore, men release a spermicide as well to kill off any rival sperm that may arrive after them.
This physical evidence from both sexes suggests that monogamy was never what nature intended.
Key lesson three: Women are more sexually fluid than men
Professor of psychology and gender studies, Dr. Lisa Diamond conducted a 20-year study with a group of women. She found that a woman’s sexual orientation did not restrict who they were attracted to. This meant that straight women in the study found themselves attracted to other women with some even acting on their attractions.
This was further proven by Dr Meredith Chivers who found that women could be aroused whilst watching porn featuring heterosexual couples and homosexual couples. It did not matter if it was male and female, female and female or male and male couplings. Men, on the other hand, were strongly aroused by heterosexual and lesbian couples. This suggests that women are more sexually fluid.
It doesn’t only occur in research studies either. Genevieve LeJeune launched Skirt Club in 2014 to give women a chance to openly explore their sexuality. Skirt Club is now so popular that it has events in 12 major cities worldwide. Traditionally as well, in some countries like Lesotho and Suriname, heterosexual married women have female friends who are sexual partners.
So, all studies indicate that women are more sexually fluid and are naturally inclined to have more than one mate.
Key lesson four: Our closest non-human relatives give us vital information
To further reinforce the physical and scientific evidence, we just have to observe our closest non-human relatives. Dr. Kim Wallen, a psychologist and neuroendocrinologist observed rhesus macaque monkeys and found that females were highly sexual and craved variety.
When caged together, the male monkeys initiated sex and the females seemed to passively oblige. This originally was proof that females were not as interested in sex as males. However, this changed when the females were placed in larger enclosures with different males. The female monkeys then began to roam around and initiated sex with males. This enthusiasm for sex lessened after being in the enclosure for a few years and mating with the same males. But, this changed when new males were introduced into the enclosure getting the females all excited all over again.
Bonobos are even more closely related to us than the macaques, sharing 99 per cent of their DNA with humans. Bonobos are even more promiscuous than macaques and that goes for both sexes. They are known to mate many times a day with multiple partners and they don’t seem to care if their partners are of the same sex or not.
These observations of primates only further imply that we were never meant to be monogamous.
Key lesson five: Monogamy equals property – how women were forced into monogamy
It is well known that monogamy is a man-made concept but where did it begin? Well, it all started when humans first made the swap from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agriculture. Anthropologists believe that hunter-gatherers originally lived in loose communities, collectively raising children and having sex with multiple partners as they moved around. However, when they started farming their own food, things changed. More specifically, when the plough was introduced. Why the plough? Well, it required strength to pull a plough and this brought about gender roles. Men ploughed the fields whilst the women stayed at home to look after the kids. Women were thought to be less valuable than men because they no longer contributed to food production.
Once farming was fully in place, land and water became valuable. With value came the concept of property and inheritance. And with inheritance came the risk of leaving property to illegitimate children if a woman had been unfaithful. This is where the idea of monogamy has its roots. Men were afraid that if women were unfaithful, there was a chance that their property would go to another man’s child. That is why women were shamed and punished for being unfaithful.
Historically, women have been punished more than men for being adulterous. In ancient Greece, women were shamed by being made to stand in public for days in a see-through tunic or forced to walk through the streets with their lover. As much as punishments like this do not exist today, women still lose a whole lot more than men if they commit adultery. Women who cheat are more likely to get divorced than men who cheat and contrary to popular belief, divorced women are three times more likely to fall into poverty than men are.
Worse yet, if you are not married and choose to express your sexuality, there are other consequences. Women are often disrespected and treated as if they are wild. This, unfortunately, has been experienced more by African American women who have been hyper-sexualized by the media and society. They are even targeted on online dating sites by white males who unapologetically think that they are up for sex.
So, between society and history, women, and men, have been coerced into thinking that monogamy is what we should strive for. Anything else would be frowned up and tarnish your reputation which could have serious repercussions in this day and age. But the concept that monogamy for women is natural is quite simply, untrue.
The key takeaway from Untrue is:
The belief that women do not have sexual desires and crave monogamy is not natural. Looking at scientific, historic, biological and anthropological evidence it can clearly be seen that women were not meant to be monogamous. Over the years the idea of promiscuity has led to women being shamed and held in low regard and this should stop because if nature did not intend for humans to be monogamous, why should women be unfairly persecuted for acting out on their sexual desires.
How can I implement the lessons learned in Untrue:
Try to break the cycle of shaming women for having and acting on their sexual desires. This book provides evidence as to why it is not wrong for women to have sexual desires. Empower women to not feel embarrassed or ashamed of this and educate others about why
they should refrain from judging others based on false stereotypes.