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European Marriage, Which Focus On Love & Sex & Property…Marriages The World Over Among People of Color, Marriage is A About Family &…To Include Polyandry 

Himalays, Lama

Himalays, Lama

The Nyinban Tibet

The Nyinba of Tibet

The Maasai recognize both polygamy and polyandry

The Maasai recognize both polygamy and polyandry

Anthropologist have found 53 societies that still recognize polyandry; most often found in Nepal, Tibet, and India.  It’s found world wide but most often in egalitarian societies.  These marriages are not about ‘sex’ but usually are in response to environmental conditions, for instance, where there aren’t many women…a woman will marry all the brothers.  She’ll sleep with each by the month so as to know to whom the belongs.  Interestingly, divorce is scarce where there’s polyandry.

In Asia, it allows families in areas of scarce farmable land to hold agricultural estates together. The marriage of all brothers in a family to the same wife allows plots of family-owned land to remain intact and undivided.”

In other cultures, it appears that a man may arrange a second husband (again, frequently his brother) for his wife because he knows that, when he must be absent, the second husband will protect his wife — and thus his interests. And if she gets impregnated while Husband #1 is gone, it will be by someone of whom he has approved in advance. Anthropologists have recorded this kind of situation among certain cultures among the Inuit (the people formerly called Eskimos).

Then there’s the “father effect” among the Bari people of Venezuela. The Bari have a system for recognizing two living men as both being fathers of a single child.  The Bari people think children with two fathers are significantly more likely to survive to age 15 than children with only one — hence the term “father effect.”

Two fathers? As odd as it can sound to those of us who know of human development as the one-egg-meets-one-sperm story, some cultures maintain the idea that fetuses develop in the womb as the result of multiple contributions of semen over the course of a pregnancy.  Two men can be socially recognized as legitimate fathers of a single child.