What is the Definition of Monogamy: Understanding the Practice

Monogamy is a term that has been used for centuries to describe a form of relationship in which one person is committed to another. The concept of monogamy has evolved over time, with different cultures and societies having their own definitions and expectations of what it means to be monogamous. While monogamy is typically associated with romantic relationships, it can also apply to other types of relationships, such as business partnerships or friendships.

History of Monogamy

The history of monogamy is a complex and nuanced one, with varying definitions and practices across cultures and time periods. In ancient Greek and Roman societies, for example, monogamy was not the norm; men often had multiple wives or mistresses, while women were expected to be faithful to their husbands. In contrast, many traditional societies in Africa and Asia practiced polygamy, where one man had multiple wives.

Christianity and Monogamy

Christianity has played a significant role in shaping the Western understanding of monogamy. In the Bible, monogamy is presented as the ideal form of marriage, with God creating Eve to be Adam’s companion and equal. Throughout history, the Christian church has strongly advocated for monogamy and denounced polygamous relationships. Today, the vast majority of Christians believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Types of Monogamy

Not all monogamous relationships are the same. There are different types of monogamy, each with its own set of expectations and standards:

  • Serial monogamy: This is when a person has multiple long-term, monogamous relationships over their lifetime. They are faithful to their partner for the duration of each relationship, but once it ends, they may enter into another monogamous relationship with someone else.
  • Emotional monogamy: Emotional monogamy is when a person is romantically and emotionally committed to one person. They may still have close friendships or business relationships with others, but they reserve their deepest emotional connection for their partner.
  • Sexual monogamy: This is when a person is sexually faithful to one partner. They may have close emotional relationships with others, but they restrict sexual activity to their partner.
  • True monogamy: This is when a person is both emotionally and sexually faithful to one partner, and they do not engage in romantic or sexual relationships with anyone else.

Why Do People Choose Monogamy?

There are several reasons why people may choose to be monogamous:

  • Love and emotional connection: Many people who choose to be monogamous do so because they want to share a deep emotional connection and sense of intimacy with one person. They believe that monogamy allows them to foster a deeper, more meaningful relationship with their partner.
  • Religious or moral beliefs: For some people, monogamy is a moral or religious choice. They believe that fidelity to one person is a virtue, and that being unfaithful goes against their values or religious teachings.
  • Practical considerations: Monogamy can also be a practical choice for some people. They may prefer to focus their time and energy on one relationship rather than dividing it among multiple partners. This can be especially true for busy professionals or those with children.

Challenges of Monogamy

While monogamy can offer many benefits, it can also be challenging. Some of the common challenges of monogamy include:

  • Temptation: Even people who are deeply committed to monogamy can feel attracted to others. Resisting temptation and remaining faithful can be difficult, especially in the face of social and cultural pressures that may promote infidelity.
  • Lack of excitement: Some people find that the long-term commitment of monogamy can lead to boredom or a lack of excitement. They may feel like they’re missing out on exciting experiences or new romantic connections.
  • Jealousy: Monogamous relationships require a high degree of trust and emotional security. When one partner feels jealous or insecure, it can put a strain on the relationship and make it difficult to maintain fidelity.


Monogamy is a complex and multifaceted concept that has been shaped by centuries of social, cultural, and religious influence. While there are different types of monogamy and different reasons why people choose it, one thing remains constant: monogamy requires a high degree of commitment, trust, and emotional connection between partners.

Common Questions about Monogamy: Answered

  • What does it mean to be monogamous? Being monogamous means committing to one partner either emotionally or sexually for an extended period or for life.
  • What is the difference between monogamy and polyamory? Monogamy is the practice of having one romantic or sexual partner at a time, while polyamory is the practice of having multiple romantic or sexual partners at once while all parties involved are aware of the other relationships.
  • Is monogamy natural? There is no one definitive answer to this question. Some people believe that humans are naturally monogamous, while others believe that humans are naturally polygamous. What is clear, however, is that monogamy has been a part of human societies throughout history, and that it continues to be a prevalent relationship model today.
  • What are the benefits of monogamy? Monogamy can offer many benefits, including a deeper emotional connection, greater stability, and higher levels of trust and security in a relationship.
  • Can monogamy be successful? Yes, many monogamous relationships are successful, lasting, and fulfilling. However, like any relationship, monogamous relationships require effort, commitment, and mutual respect in order to be successful.


  • https://www.bustle.com/p/why-do-we-value-monogamy-heres-the-reason-monogamy-means-so-much-according-to-experts-2481560
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/monogamy-advantages
  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201601/why-is-monogamy-so-hard-achieving-fidelity-101

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