Una, Dos, Tres… Cuernudo? Sabe Quien!

by Keyla Cedano

Polygamy is an interesting practice; by definition, being a polygamist refers to having more than one mate, or more specifically being married to multiple persons. Although the practice is rejected by mainstream society, there are those who prefer to have a team of companions. The culprits are usually identified as Middle Easterners, Mormons, Africans, and /or Asians. Hmmm… How about us Latinos? Well, I found that there are no laws accepting Polygamy, and it is frowned upon by most religions in Latin American nations. However, the practice is embraced by a select few.

With this mind, I thought about the issue of faithfulness. Although in my opinion faithfulness and polygamy are two separate verbs, there are those who feel you cannot do or be both, or as an acquaintance put it: “oh-hell-to-the-no fool!” Now I have two issues wondering about in my life-size cerebrito: What is the Latino Community’s attitude towards polygamy, and is a polygamist automatically a cuernud@?

Aside from religious inclination—although polygamy may seem to “work” for certain individuals—the practice is for selfish cop-outs. There will always be at least one person cheated out of a truly committed partner. As if that wasn’t enough, the inevitable competition that potentially arises from the multiple partners is a catalyst for resentment due to flourish beautifully into disaster. As for faithfulness, I don’t think a polygamist is a cheater for one simple reason: Those involved in the affair are consenting individuals who are very much aware of the flock that surrounds their “loves.”

Talk to me BL, what are thoughts on the matter? Do you have any reservations toward Polygamy? Would this be “better” than an unfaithful partner? What do you think are some reasons why Latin@s would reject or accept such a practice?


To learn more about Keyla,
visit the About Us section
at https://beinglatino.wordpress.com/about/.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


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6 Responses to “Una, Dos, Tres… Cuernudo? Sabe Quien!”

  1. My ex had an aunt who was the “second wife.” Each woman knew about the other one. The kids grew up knowing they were half-siblings and when the husband died, all the kids inherited equally. It worked for them. Me? I’m voting for “Oh hell to the no!”

  2. even though this is not what you are talking about, in many latinamerica countries divorce didn’t (or don’t) exist – resulting in people who separated either have to live together without getting married, or the ones who left the country married in their new country (still separated from their spouse but still married in their home countries because of the church not granting them the divorce)

  3. Historically, polygyny has been accepted or even preferred in three/fourths of pre-industrial traditional societies, though it was most commonly practiced by the royalty or elite and seldom by the commoners or lower classes. Again, polygamy literally means “multiple spouses,” and the most common form is polygyny, where a man has many wives. Less common, but found in some societies with extreme environment such as Tibet, is polyandry, where a woman has many husbands.

    First, it’s important to note that polygamy (specifically polygny) and not monogamy, is the norm in human society, some 75% of the known human societies have approved of and practiced polygny for millennia. It is not widely known that polygamous marriages are common practice and are traditionally and legally permitted in the majority of the world’s cultures. While I do believe that monogamy is indeed a very valid choice for some people at some times, I also believe that society requires other time-tested and historically legitimate options or alternatives to marriage and family life. No system is perfect, or necessarily right for everyone; but in a free and open society, one should have freedom of choice. The same “freedom of choice” for which we have entered wars in which our parents, brothers and children have died, and what a free and open society is all about.

    The ultimate goal of any marriage tradition should be to support relationships based on love, commitment, growth, honesty, and accepting personal responsibility. The alarming current divorce rate and the ever-increasing number of single-parent families are indicators of how badly we need more effective models for relating, building and sustaining families. Polygamy provides more people and a better chance of meeting diverse needs of sustainability. I believe that polygamy can be used as a powerful social empowerment tool by even the smallest of social groups, one, which can have significant effects within just a few generations. Some of the less discussed or noticed practical aspects of polygamy are the benefits it is often said to provide for women as well as the significant controls which it is believed to it place on men.

    In a society whith very rigidly defined gender roles and where women are traditionally expected to do most of the work on the land and household, women and the whole family generally and logically benefit from polygyny. It has been said that in Botswana, women have an interesting twist on the old saying “a woman’s work is never done.” They apparently say; “without co-wives, a woman’s work is never done.” To these women having other co-wives to help meet, not just some of their husband’s demands, but to share in child-rearing other domestic tasks, logically provides them more freedom than women in monogamous unions. Polygny is very well suited to a modern society in which women work. Working women already contract out childcare services, a second, stay at home wife, would keep those resources and responsibility within the family.

    Most Often Mentioned Benefits For Women:

    • automatic constantly available childcare.

    • gives women more effective choice to have a career without devaluing the role of homemaker.

    • being able to marry men who are already married means that women can marry men who have already proved themselves as husbands, fathers and providers, therefore minimizing their risks.

    • being able to marry the men who attract most women means they don’t have to settle just for what’s left after other women have the best pickings or best eligible males.

    • having the option that a husband may remarry without the necessity for divorce provides emotional and possibly financial security to women and their children.

    • polygamy removes the pressure on a husband to commit adultery, and removes damaging deceit from a marriage.

    • emotional support and understanding that is not available in a typical monogamous relationship. polygamy provides a method where a woman can have one or several close and intimate female friends for life as well as a husband.

    • polygamy provides a potential for at least up to three incomes, reducing state dependence and the fear of unemployment.

    Most Often Mentioned Controls Placed On Men

    If a man wants to have another sexual partner in a traditional polygamous system, then he has to meet his responsibilities – support any children produced from all his marriages without priority being given to those from a ’legal’ relationship.

    Polygamy reduces the number of women who are available. Currently, with more women available than men, women are ’cheapened.’ With less women available their ’value’ increases. In other words, polygamy makes men have to try harder and do better with women if they are to win them in competition with other men.

    One of the main benefits of polygyny is that it provides a means through which the natural inclinations of the human males may be expressed within the bounds of a structured “marriage” and where the rights of the women, the children and the husband are protected. For example, a woman needn’t worry about losing her husband and any associated resources because if her husband is attracted by another woman enough to desire to have children with her.

    The Woman to Man Ratio

    Throughout most of the world, the female population seems to be greater than the male population. It is said that in New York alone there are five (5) million females more than there are men. In the USA there are apparently 7.8 million females more than men. In New York alone, about one third of the male population is apparently homosexual/gay, and it is said that here are more than 25 million homosexual/gay males in the USA. It is said that in Britain there are more than four (4) million more females than males, and five (5) million more females than males in Germany. Just to name a few examples.

    Disenfranchised Minorities

    In the USA there are different ethnicities and different disenfranchised minorities, such as African-Americas or Latinos for example. On any given day one of every three African-America males between the ages of 18 and 35 is incarcerated. One of every African-American males are in the military. Therefore the number of available African-American woman is by far exceeding the number of available African-American men. The men are either imprisoned or in the military. It is said that in some areas, for every eligible African-American man, there are up to eight unmarried woman in that community.

    it’s just natural…

    It is most natural for a person, especially for a man, to have or desire to have more than one mate or sexual partner simultaneously. Humans seem to possess an innate ability to be “in love” with or at least sexually attracted to more than one person simultaneously. Denying and/or repressing this “inner drive” has constantly caused people to lie, cheat and abandon otherwise good relationships.

    Polygamy is rooted far deeper in human history and is accepted in far more cultures today than is same-sex “marriage.” Western society has tended to accept monogamy (one partner of each sex) as the norm, but considerable societies in this world allow polygyny today. Polygamy is actually the norm. The practice of polygyny is the most widespread, and although often confined to the wealthier and/or most powerful members of society, it indeed serves many practical functions. The United Nations actually allows employees to divide their benefits among multiple wives, as long as they come from a country where polygamy is practiced legally. Polygynous people also traditionally find the practice of monogamy quite strange and peculiar.

    The Western tradition of monogamy is actually based on Greek and Roman law, it is not even actually intrinsic to Chriatianity, which is the foundation of Western society and its morals. But while in Greek and Roman times, a man was only allowed to marry one wife; he was allowed to have as many concubines as he wished and could get. Therefore the foundation of the concept of monogamy as socially imposed today is a myth. It didn’t really exist then and it doesn’t exist now. Surveys done of married males in North America and Europe show that the vast majority, have had extramarital affairs, therefore committing adultery.

    The United States has a very ethno centric and narrow view of marriage. This society will allow marriage to any number of partners, but only as long as it is to only one at a time. It is illegal to have multiple “wives” in the United States, and has been since president Grant signed a law under pressure to limit the growth of the Mormon Church. However, it’s perfectly legal to have a non-legal mistress/paramour/consort in most states. Cohabitation alone does not constitute polygamy, and the burden is on the state to show that the cohabitants are living as husband and wives. Most states, other than Utah, are reluctant to pursue this, as long as only one husband and wife are legally married.

    The Taboo of Polygamy

    The subject of polygamy is generally considered taboo, politically incorrect and even “machista.” Few men and even less women dare speak openly about it for fear of being labeled or even confronted for it. Somehow, in modern Western society, the idea of polygamy is generally considered immoral and even criminal. And while Western society claims to champion a woman’s right to choose, like the right to choose abortion, or the right to have or not have children, the right to choose multiple sexual partners, etc…, the very same society forbids a woman from choosing to willingly and consciously enter a polygamous marriage. Thus, in this society, a woman can choose to sleep around with a married man, but she cannot choose to marry a married man. A man can generally and is actually socially encouraged to have as many girlfriends or sexual partners as he can or chooses to, but he is condemned as a criminal if he wishes to dignify more than one in marriage. While the image of the player/pimp is glorified by this society, a man is criminalized if he marries more than one woman. It is legal and socially accepted for a woman to have a “babydaddy,” but it is a crime for her to have a co-wife.

    When a man dares to express his natural inclination to or belief in polygyny and his genuine need for multiple marriages, he is usually challenged and very often questioned about his opinion on the opposite practice of polyandry, or one woman having many husbands. My personal answer to that is; “whatever works for you.” But although I respect everyone’s individual right to choose what it’s best for them, I personally do not believe that polyandry is within the general physical or psychological nature of either man or woman. And I don’t only have legitimate reasons to believe that, I also have the right to.

    If two men have one wife and she gets pregnant, there is first the question of paternity (who is the biological father?), which even in an age of available genetic testing technology would be most unsettling. If one husband impregnates the wife, then both are disenfranchised from sexual activity for about a year or more. Even if an agreement was made as to which husband would impregnate the wife first, there is no way of telling how long the process would take. And there’s also the matter of the woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. Therefore even if there is an agreement to a schedule, sexual disenfranchising becomes unavoidable. However, I do believe that polygyny is within a man and a woman’s physical and mental nature. If a man has two wives and one becomes pregnant, there is doubt about biological paternity. And there is less chance of the man being disenfranchised by one wife becoming pregnant.

    Marriage & Procreation

    The word marriage may be taken to denote the action, contract, formality, or ceremony by which the conjugal union is formed or the union itself as an enduring condition. Marriage developed because most ancient societies needed a secure environment for the perpetuation of the species, a system of rules to handle the granting of property rights, and the protection of bloodlines. The institution of marriage addressed these needs. “In a great many civilizations, at least until present era, marriages were arranged in the interests of kinship networks, not at the whim of lovers” (Adrian Brune) Marriage in the old days did not exist as a single male and female bond. So even back then “marriage,” was seen mainly as adding members to a community, or helping in the well being of others, and not at all about love.

    Procreation, the goal nature wants to achieve with the physical union of men and women, is the basic factor and the only reason which historically transformed co-habitation into marriage, and raised it from mere carnal relation to a durable social union. The reality of the sexual relation between a man and women is most obviously established by human, or even animal, nature itself. In the animal world, it is seen that two specimend join together to produce and raise offspring by providing shelter food and protection. In doing this it is often necessary that the male and female cooperate with each other; usually the male provides the protection, and the females provides the shelter and food, also seen as nurture, and which is essential in the life cycle. In the animal world, the male and female sometimes split after the offspring is ready to be on its own, but in higher animals the male and female usually stay together for at least some time, and humans, engage in the practice of marriage. In relation to the animal world, it is quite possible to say that humans are not much different, humans just give a name to this process called matrimony or marriage.

    My Options…

    The conventional monogamous marriage has proven to be a failed system, which has cost immense suffering and disaster. For all of these and many more reasons, in my very own personal opinion, monogamy is practically impossible in today’s society. If you ask me, marriage as we have come to know and generally accept it, is simply outdated and impractical. Therefore, the only available practical solutions for me are (1) having no marriage(s) whatsoever, (2) one monogamous marriage, which in my opinion is practically doomed by the high possibility of extra-marital attractions and divorce, or (3) a regulated, honest and completely open polygamous (polygynous) marriage, in which I may care for all of my loving wives fairly, and support my family in possible every way. It is the third option, which makes the most sense to me. Personally, I believe that rather than marrying one woman and very possibly (almost certainly) being attracted to other women and possibly cheating, impregnating other women (which may lead to abortions), or even having to pay child support for illegitimate children, any of which would possibly make me, my wife and all of my children quite unhappy, every man should have the legitimate option to legally marry multiple wives/partners. And every woman should also have the right to marry multiple partners of her choice.

    For a more detailed blog on this topic: http://www.myspace.com/tatobrujo

  4. Wait! Who benefits from this Duh.. the guy does can the woman have more then 1 hubby I say if he can do it why cant we. just a thought

  5. Polygamy means plural marriage, and also includes the marriage of one woman to multiple husbands. If that is the choice or necessity of all the parties involved, why shouldn’t they have the right do practice it?

    polygamy ..po*lyg”a*my.., n. [Gr. ?; cf. F. polygamie.] 1. The having of a plurality of wives or husbands at the same time; usually, the marriage of a man to more than one woman, or the practice of having several wives, at the same time.

    Technically, Webster’s Dictionary defines this practice correctly as “polygyny.” Historically, polygamy has most commonly been practiced as polygyny (one man having more than one wife), less common as polyandry (one woman having more than one husband), or, even less commonly as “polygamy” (one person having many wives and many husbands at the same time). Like monogamy, the term is often applied regardless of legal recognition. Polygamy thus may exist in three specific forms, including polygyny (one man having multiple wives), polyandry (one woman having multiple husbands), or group marriage (some combination of polygyny and polyandry). Historically, all three practices have been found, but polygyny is by far the most common. It is this form of “plural marriage” that I am personally most (yet not exclusively) interested in and facinated with.

    Polygyny ..Po*lyg”y*ny.., n. [Poly- + Gr. ? woman, wife.] The state or practice of having several wives at the same time; marriage to several wives.

    Polygyny is described as when a man is either married to or involved in sexual relationships with a number of different females at one time. This is the most common form of polygamy. Polygyny is practiced in a traditional sense in many Middle East and African cultures and countries even today, including South Africa and most of Southern and Central Africa.

    Other Forms of Polygamy

    polyandry ..pol..y*an”dry.., n. [Poly- + Gr. ?, ?, man, male: cf. F. polyandrie.] The possession by a woman of more than one husband at the same time.

    Polyandry is a very rare form of marriage that exists not only among poor families, but also within the elite. Polyandry is a breeding practice where a woman has more than one male sexual partner simultaneously. Fraternal polyandry was traditionally practiced among nomadic Tibetans including Nepal and parts of China, where it meant that two or more brothers share the same wife, with her having equal sexual access to them. Polyandry is believed to be more likely in societies with scarce environmental resources, as it is believed to limit human population growth and enhance child survival. A woman can only have so many children in her lifetime, no matter how many husbands she has. On the other hand, a child with many “fathers”, all of whom provide resources, is more likely to survive. In contrast, the number of children would be increased if polygyny was practiced, and a man had more than one wife. These wives could be simultaneously pregnant.

    “Polygamy” Group marriage

    Group marriage, or circle marriage, may exist in a number of forms, such as where more than one man and more than one woman form a single family unit, and all members of the marriage share parental responsibility for any children arising from the marriage. Another possible arrangement not generally thought to exist in reality, but does at least occurr in science fiction (in Robert Heinlein’s “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress”), is the long-lived line marriage, in which deceased or departing spouses in the group are continually replaced by others, so that family property never becomes dispersed through inheritance.


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