Surviving Polyandry

the cast of Survivor: Caramoan

My polyandrous wedding party.

I’ve written before about polyamory, in this post, Polyamory: Married and Dating and also about polygamy, in this post, The Pros and Cons of Polygamy and Turkey Leftovers, so I’m sure you realized it was only a matter of time before I wrote about polyandry.  So here it is, my post on polyandry.

According to an article that appeared in this month’s the Atlantic, the practice of polyandry may not be as unusual as (mostly male, mostly sexist) anthropologists have led us to believe.  The magazine article references a paper published last June in the scientific journal Human Nature, “A Survey of Non-Classical Polyandry” in which the researchers, Katherine Stark and Randall Hames, broadened the definition of polyandry.

In general, we define polyandrous unions as a bond of one woman to more than one man in which the woman has relatively restricted sexual rights toward the men, and the men toward the woman, as well as economic responsibilities toward each other and toward any children that may result from the union.

So instead of looking around for a woman living in a hut with a gaggle harem of men servicing her day and night, Stark and Hames (doesn’t that sound like a cop show?  Only instead of chasing bad guys, they’d take notes and publish articles.  Must See TV!) examined the relationships that existed in the community, rather than only looking at who was humping who.

As I’m sitting here considering polyandry, I realize I don’t know what to do with the one husband I’ve got, so I usually just sit him down in front of the television and say, “Stay.”  (Ah, who am I kidding?  He learned to do that all on his own).  I can’t imagine how you might occupy two (or more).  I suppose in tribal societies, there’s lots of work that needs to be done, because you’d need someone to thatch your hut, and carry water from the river, and I’m not doing any of that.  I might sweep the top dirt layer out of the hut each day.  And I’d cook.  I like to cook, though if one of my cannibal husbands brought home some hapless Western tourist who got caught in his net, I’d put my hands on my hips, roll my eyes at him and say, “Again?”

You didn’t think this post could get any more offensive, but it did just then, didn’t it?

But what would I do with additional husbands in the industrial society of suburban Philadelphia?  Our roof doesn’t need to be repaired too often, and water comes straight into the house by magic a series of complicated pipes and pumps (I think).  My gaggle harem of husbands would all be standing around, looking for something to do.

Shhhh!  Storage Wars is on!

Sure, we could be having sex but a Storage Wars marathon is on.

Husband #1: We could have sex.

Husband #2: Yes!  That sounds like a good idea.

Me: No no no.  We had sex last night.

Husband #3: No, that was with me.

Me:  Are you sure?  I thought I did it with the brown haired one last night.

Husband #1: No, it wasn’t me.

Husband #3: It was me.  She wasn’t paying attention.

Me: Downton Abbey was coming on!

Husband #3: I know.  I always pick the nights I know her shows are on.  That way I don’t have to work too hard at it.

Husband #2: Oh really?  She watches Survivor, too, though she won’t admit it.

Me: I do not watch Survivor.

The Husbands exchange knowing glances.

Husband #1: Can we stay focused, please?  I still haven’t had sex!

Husband #2: Neither have I!

Me: Neither one of you is having sex, because I’m not in the mood.

Husband #2: Of course you aren’t.  Survivor is about to start.

Me: This has nothing to do with Survivor! (looking around the room)  Who lost the remote?

You can catch the premiere of Survivor: Caramoan next Wednesday, February 13 at 8/7c on CBS.

Royalty free stock photos including some images in this post can be found at  The image of the cast of Survivor: Caramoan can be found at the CBS Survivor media page.  


21 thoughts on “Surviving Polyandry

    • Karen says:

      Oh, boy, I’d like to say that I’m honest, faithful and true to my husband because I believe in monogamy and fidelity and honoring our wedding vows, etc., etc., but the truth is, the idea of having to deal with more than one man in my life absolutely exhausts me.

      And I’m not talking about the sex part, which I like to believe I could handle. At least, I’d like to give it a try. 😉


    • Karen says:

      You know, I couldn’t even manage dating more than one guy at a time. The one time I tried this, thankfully, they were both named John, otherwise I’m sure I could not have pulled it off at all (as it was, I only managed it for a few weeks).


    • Karen says:

      You’re not trying hard enough. 😉

      I believe the bit where I’m suggesting indigenous people want to boil Westerners in great big kettles pushes the boundaries of good, um, “taste”.


  1. Elyse says:

    I just followed you over here from my blog (Lord knows how you made it there!). This post gave me the opportunity to use my new word of the day: polylemma — meaning having multiple dilemmas. In this case, you have a polylemma in trying to figure out whether to tell all the men off simultaneously and watch Downton Abbey or have trouble walking tomorrow. Life is so full of polylemmas.


    • Karen says:

      Life is full of polylemmas. Thanks for adding to my vocabulary. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of the English language, along comes another word you don’t know . . . 😉

      I found you from over at The Green Study, I believe! She linked to the authors who won her contest, and I was checking out blogs (instead of working) and I came across yours and like what I saw 🙂


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