We must begin this conversation with a history lesson. The natural social structure for a human being is tribe. And it is tribe that offers humans their most essential needs. It offers them a sense of safety, stability, belonging, attention, love, togetherness, protection, inclusion, contribution, presence, feeling wanted and needed and valued, participation, the formation of identity, comfort, closeness, a sense of certainty, growth, self-esteem, support for their most basic needs, such as food, water and shelter and physical affection. It offers them connection and support for their achievements, pleasure, knowledge and more. As a group species, people cannot survive and do not thrive without the sense that they are part of a tribe where people fend for each other. This is the root of security for a physical human. We lived in a tribal way for the vast majority of our history.
But when we switched from a foraging lifestyle to an agrarian lifestyle and property ownership became the most important thing, the structure of society changed. Tribe began to be systematically dissolved. As a result of these changes, paternity certainty became important within human society and the only way you could guarantee paternity certainty, was if you controlled human sexuality. Especially female sexuality. Ever increasingly, the fundamental structure of society was no longer tribe, it became the nuclear family, the foundation of which was a man’s claim over his property, which included his wife and children. Yes, women became property. In some parts of the world, they are still considered property of the men in their lives. But you must understand that they were regarded as such in the world until so recently, it should make your head spin. Just to give you a feeling for what I mean, it took until the year 1900 before every state in the US had passed a law that married women could keep their own wages and own their own property. But don’t think it changed then. In 1971, a woman could not get a credit card in her own name – it wasn’t until 1974 that a law forced credit card companies to issue cards to women without their husband’s signature. Some of your eading this may have already been born before then. It wasn't until 1973 that women could serve on juries in all 50 states. Women couldn’t decide not to have sex if their husband wanted to – spousal rape wasn’t criminalized in all 50 states until 1993. I’m going to say that again...1993. Issues like reproductive freedom and a woman's right to decide when and whether to have children were only just beginning to be openly discussed in the 1960s. In 1957, the FDA approved of the birth control pill but not for contraception, only for "severe menstrual distress." As people, we may think we have evolved beyond this, but we have not. The roots of this thinking are still embedded in our psyches, even if only in our subconscious mind.
But going back, when we made this massive shift regarding the lifestyle of our species and therefore our values, the way society was governed needed to be changed. To see the way that the governing of society changed, you must look back to the governing bodies at that time and since that time… Religions and monarchs and later governments. You must look at the indoctrination and systems of control (including punishment and reward) that they began to use to govern the people.
Humans could no longer go directly for their actual need, which is tribe. They were now indoctrinated into the idea that the only way to go for tribe (or rather all the needs that used to be satisfied by having tribe) was to get married to one person and to have children together. And suddenly, security and sexuality were undeniably forever linked. This was actually made worse when the idea of marriage ceased to be a purely strategic one, based on practicalities, and instead, became a romantic affair. Remember that the idea that marriage should be based on love is very new. But this made it so that security was not only based on sexuality, it was also based on someone falling romantically in love with us.
So, to sum this up, over the course of history, we have come to believe that a sense of security in the world, which is dependent on social and relationship security, is dependent upon us finding one person who feels romantically and sexually attracted to us and whom will grant us sexual fidelity, so that we can be sure that we will not lose that security. And THAT is now how we believe we will be able to guarantee all the things we most desperately need… a sense of safety, stability, self-esteem, belonging, attention, love, togetherness, protection, inclusion, contribution, presence, feeling wanted and needed and valued, participation, comfort, a sense of certainty, support for our most basic needs, such as food, water and shelter and physical affection. Support for our achievements, pleasure, and so much more.
Why are so many people miserable you ask? Because we are basing our sense of security on something that humans were never any good at, because it was never a natural trait of our species… sexual fidelity. Even though it’s there, you don’t even need to look at the science behind that one. Just look at the world you live in today. If something is natural for a person, they don’t have to put so much effort into controlling themselves into doing it. And most of all, governing bodies don’t have to put so much effort into indoctrinating people and controlling people into doing it.
On top of this, we are miserable because we are basing our security off of our romantic and sexual attractiveness and off of whether someone is romantically and sexually attracted to us. And just like that, sex becomes a means to an end… to the point where people have lost touch with the actual role that sexuality naturally plays in their lives. There is something much more high stakes wrapped up in it… our security in life. People don’t even know their own natural sexuality because of this. And this is a factor regarding why people are so sex obsessed. And also, why they are so obsessed with being sexually attractive. Sex now carries an un-natural kind of charge. If you don’t believe me, ponder this: If you truly belonged to and with a group of people… a tribe, and all of your needs were met. Meaning you had belonging, you had protection, you had safety, you had stability, you had attention, you had love, you had togetherness, you were included, you were valued for your contribution, you were wanted and needed, you had comfort and a sense of certainty. You had support for our most basic needs such as food, water and shelter and physical affection. You had support for our achievements. And you had people to enjoy the world with, and it wasn’t going to just go away… what role would sexuality and eros play in your life then? While you are pondering this, see if you can recognize how unfathomable it is for you that you can have security any other way. See if you can feel your core belief that anything else, other than a sole primary partner wanting to bond with you exclusively, because of their sexual and romantic attraction towards you, is not secure.
Another reason we are so miserable is that when we switched from our security being about Tribe to our security being about a sole, primary partner, we failed to realize that one person cannot reliably provide all those needs that tribe offered to us. And that if there were any relationship ruptures of any kind with that one person, or if that person became ill or died, suddenly, we lost all our security in life. Most of us live our lives in red-zone level insecurity because of this. We are under-resourced and many of us are chronically anxious in our relationships and in the world. We become desperate and furious with our partner when he or she can’t reliably provide all of these tribal needs for us. And we may try to supplement these needs we would get from tribe with things like friends or trying to stay close with our parents and siblings or by joining religious groups or by trying to find a sense of community somewhere. But in today’s world, this patch-up job we are trying to do is not working so well. In fact, it’s becoming worse and worse in an era where marriage and the nuclear family is less and less able to survive. And the more separated we become from one another due to all kinds of different modern factors. And the saddest part is, it’s been so long since people lived in the actual social structure that is in fact natural to them and that is in fact the very thing that they are missing, they don’t even know what it is that they are missing. They just feel like crap in life.
The bottom line is, people need to return to tribe. Not shadow tribe, conscious tribe! That is what people actually need. And people need to return to getting their worldly security from tribe, rather than from one person bonding to them because of the romantic and sexual attraction they feel towards them. Of course, we are much less controllable this way. So, there will be a great many governing bodies that will be against this. But what we have been doing and what we continue to do, has been and is a recipe for disaster.
Here's the thing… We need to all simultaneously wake up to this. We need to wake each other up to this and set each other free from these thousands of years’ worth of indoctrination. Why? Because this one, is a self-fulfilling loop. Here is why… If I believe that anything else, other than a sole primary partner wanting to bond with me exclusively, because of their sexual and romantic attraction towards me, is not secure, having THAT specific relationship will be my #1 priority. My commitment will be to that over the other people in my life. Over tribe. And remember that we live in a world that is currently VERY competitive regarding resources and this includes people. People feel they will get their needs met through exclusivity, rather than inclusivity. And so immediately, in order to get genuine security, they must either establish a romantic, sexual pair bond with me, or they have no actual security with me. Or they must establish their security by establishing a romantic, sexual pair bond with someone else.
When any one of us is in this pattern, we reinforce this pattern in everyone around us. We prove that security can only come in this way. We feed into it, keeping the current societal structure that doesn’t work in place. We make it so that the only hope that someone has at gaining security, is to establish a romantic, sexual pair bond. Which again, is an inherently unstable and un-natural structure for us.
And before you polyamorous people think you’re off the hook on this one, you should be aware that the vast majority of polyamorous people have simply figured out that the way to gain an improved sense of security, is to establish romantic, sexual bonds with multiple people, thus decreasing the odds that you ever have to fend for yourself and increasing your odds that those needs you would get from tribe are reliably met. Polyamorous people are still indoctrinated with this belief. Sexuality and security are still linked for the vast majority of them too. If you don’t believe me, and you consider yourself to be polyamorous, imagine that something happens to make it so that you are not perceived as sexually and romantically attractive to others or to make it so that you can’t have sex. Notice whether your sense of security goes away when you imagine this. Notice the sense of aloneness and pressure creeping in.
What you are really wanting is tribe. To re-establish a genuine sense of security in that tribe, all of us are going to have to separate sexuality from a sense of security in our relationships and from a sense of security in our life. And from there, we are going to have to go directly for tribe, and make that our genuine commitment, letting sexuality and eros naturally express from there; rather than making sexuality and eros the anchor of our security and remaining obsessed with finding someone or even multiple people to romantically and sexually pair bond with.