Monogamy and Alcohol

New research shows that "across the world the main social groups which practice polygyny do not consume alcohol" and, conversely, "a positive correlation between monogamy and alcohol consumption (and especially between monogamy and drunkenness) across societies."

Ron Bailey points to new economic research noting that “across the world the main social groups which practice polygyny do not consume alcohol” and, conversely, “a positive correlation between monogamy and alcohol consumption (and especially between monogamy and drunkenness) across societies.”

Not wishing to crash my computer, I’m reluctant to click through to the PDF of the study in question. Presumably, however, the only way humans can stand to be with the same partner day after day, year after year, is to get drunk.

I’m open to other explanations.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    There was a paper that found publication of scientific papers inversely correlated with beer consumption. Presumably a reduction in initiative in both cases.

  2. sam says:

    I won’t go into the details, but I’ve always maintained that if my bladder capacity was one cubic centimeter larger or smaller, I wouldn’t have met the woman I’ve been married to for over 30 years…

  3. ALP says:

    I would say, that with the, ” Me, I want it all now generation”, that after the initial lust attraction wears off, this might be true. Alcohol is really a depressant, so it would may help someone
    cope better with a relationship that is not perfect and completely satisfying in ones perception.

    Of course, I don’t believe any relationship between two people can be perfect at all times. Lets’ face it. You really don’t get to know another, with all their faults, until you live with them for a long time. I believe it’s a matter of patience, and learning to except the little shortcomings in your partner. It takes time and maturity on both partners for the survival of a relationship long term.

    Of course not all relationships will survive long term. But I believe a lot of people would do better if they weren’t too lazy or selfish to work at it.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    I haven’t found alcohol necessary to maintain a monogamous relationship. But I’ve found it helps me to refrain from killing my kids. One just hit the teen years, the other is coming up fast, so it’ll be regular trips to Costco for the big giant bottles of whiskey for the next few years.

  5. James Joyner says:

    Sadly, Costco doesn’t sell liquor, only wine and beer, in these parts. The Commonwealth of Virginia has maintained a monopoly on spirits.

  6. CJ says:

    My explanation is that (a) civilized people brew beer, and (b) civilized people are monogamous.

  7. If I have as much as one beer per quarter, it means I’m binging. My wife doesn’t consume even that much. So how do you account for this?

  8. What it means is that faced with the choice for an evening’s pleasure of either multiple wives or getting drunk getting drunk wins every time.

  9. McGehee says:

    I’d bet alcohol consumption is more widespread than polygamy among societies at least in part because civilized societies use money — which lets people see that getting drunk is cheaper.

  10. Hucbald says:

    Indeed. My drinking was reduced significantly by divorce.

  11. Kathy Kinsley says:

    @Donald Sensing – there’s always an exception to every rule. Congratulations. You’re it!

    (And belated congrats on the anniversary as well.)

  12. […] . . just stay drunk. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Get An Ugly Girl To Marry You…Mermaids – If […]

  13. Paul A'Barge says:

    So, first you say

    Presumably, however, the only way humans can stand to be with the same partner day after day, year after year, is to get drunk.

    and then you say

    I’m open to other explanations.

    No, you’re not open. You’re a closed minded little man without a shred of insight. And you blog displays that.

  14. deagle says:

    Love the conflict… heh. Seems that this is either true (follow comments) or this is an exaggeration (follow adverse comments)…

    So it is left up to the reader… Well, seems too obvious to me, but what do I know…heh…

  15. Porkov says:

    This is an hypothesis. It requires testing. I recently retired and am available for some double-blind action.

  16. Wacky Hermit says:

    An alternative explanation– though I don’t have any data with which to argue its validity or non-validity– is that a larger proportion of polygynists in our country belong to religious sects that broke off from the LDS church (“Mormons”), with a smaller proportion of the polygynists being Muslims who emigrated from countries where polygyny was allowed.

  17. RebeccaH says:

    Monogamy works in the western world because I, your first wife, have the loyalty of your eldest children, and if I say I’ll kill you for taking another wife, they’ll provide me with an alibi.

  18. memomachine says:

    Hmmmm.

    @ Porkov

    Congratulations! In this double-blind test you’ll have to be married and drink nothing stronger than water.

    I am also participating and, amazingly enough, I’m to remain single and drink single malt scotch for the rest of my life. I wonder if it’s tax deductible now?

  19. Greg says:

    If the only way some of you can stand the sight of your spouse is through beer goggles, I pity you. Even more, I pity your spouse.