Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Monogamy & Your Genes

Proceedings of the National Association of Science has reported that genetics may contribute to man's ability to be monogamous.

Men who possessed a gene variant in AVPR1A, which regulates the hormone Vasopressin, experienced less bonding and more discord in long-term relationships. Incidentally, this is the the first time that science has shown a direct link between a man's genes and monogamy. For more on this interesting research, read here

Understanding neurobiological tendencies can help us make sense of things in our life. But don't forget to include your unique personal history when looking at behavior. So much contributes to our psychological makeup!


Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I can imagine a lot of guys will be happy to hear this so they'll have a scientific explanation of why they cheat on their wives.

Do you have any research on that topic? I've been meaning to do a post on it based on a discussion at Amazon.com that has about 140 replies from men and women that reveals the majority of men cheat. I have no idea if that's accurate or not.

jenji said...

I'm glad that you included that individuals should look at more than their genetic predispositions, as looking inward can be easily overlooked whilst in the midst of selfish behavior.

I realize there are many people who cheat, each with their own logical and/or illogical reasons for doing so. Therefore I try to make a concerted effort to avoid judgment, however I'm always floored by the politicians who cheat and think that the media will not catch up with their indiscretions. I mean, I get it: ego, but honestly, John Edwards in particular has some major balls to think he could run for the most powerful seat in the world and get away with infidelity.

I mean, really John? The media reports on the flavor mint that is left upon your pillow at night, but they won't dare find out about your mistress? I mean, really? Wow, talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Interesting research, Deb.

be well,

traci said...

Does this mean there is a gene that governs too much clinginess and stalking behaviors too? Will there be a vaccine soon? I may need it to save my marriage.

princessdominique said...

Interesting. Now you know they will all be using this as an excuse. How do you break the behavior, though.

Jade said...

Ahhh life and all its idiosyncrasies. Its like a giant jig saw puzzle except for the fact that many humans smash in pieces that don't fit and are the wrong color but some how make it work for their "puzzle".

alan said...

So if 40% are born with the gene, and another 40% cheat because peer pressure makes them think they're supposed to, that puts Barbara's numbers in the ball park...

Scary indeed!


OHN said...

"Hey honey, please get a AVPR1A variant test and lets sign a pre-nup". :)

therapydoc said...

Great minds think SO alike.

Ian Lidster said...

There was a time back in my first marriage when I wasn't resolutely faithful. I somehow felt it was my right to not be. Then, that changed and I resolved to never go in that direction again. Not to suggest I've never been tempted, because that would be a lie, but I have never acted on the impulse, nor would I.
Yesterday I had lunch with a dear female friend of many years duration, and there was a time when she tempted me sorely. She still looks wonderflly hot. Now I can joke about it with her, but will not go in that direction. So, if the gene is within me, then I somehow have managed to thwart it. Or, maybe it's because I found the right person.

Deb said...

Dear Barbara,
For some, it will be an excuse to use. For others, it might help explain tendencies and to work on them so it doesn't damage a loving relationship. I don't have any specific data, but I bet there's tons to resource.

I thought the Edwards thing was stunning too. Genetics helps to influence us, but it does not determine everything. If a tendency is known, we can work to help augment it. That is the hope, imo, for this research.

Dear Traci,
I imagine there is!

There are many men who are baffled by their roving eye so this might help them understand and work on their tendencies. The worst thing would be to use this data as an excuse. I'm with you on that!

Dear Jade,
There are some prominent families whose infidelities made headlines over the years. One could say that maybe there was a genetic piece to the family lineage. But with knowledge comes power. Maybe there could be a litmus test developed for potential suitors?

Dear Alan,
This research interested me because I work often with men who are troubled by their inability to commit. This could help explain, not excuse, the behavior and may point to other interventions as a result.

A good idea!

Genetics and behavior need to be considered in our overall well being. Not an excuse, but as a tool for understanding

Dear Ian,
Attraction is a good thing, and to be able to joke and be casual with it is even better. I'd like to think that men who have this genetic tendency can work with it. Data like this can help explain behavior. Some women think they are not enough, or that something is wrong with them. Along a similar line, a man may feel "she is not the one" when really she may be but the genetic pull leads him astray. Considering the genetic leaning could offer a different point of view. Evolutionarily speaking, there were reasons the male species was not prone to monogamy. And there are many who continue to believe this genetic imprint today. But for those who want to tame the beast, it ain't a bad thing to know if you have this allele lurking about.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I'm wondering if there's anything similar or equivalent in females. I know its not as common, but some females (me for example) have never been able to commit to one person. I assume its psychological, not physiological. I've read a lot about it and been in therapy but it hasn't helped much.

Big Brother said...

Good post, but despite our genes we have a brain to decide the right thing to do, so for me to blame my genes is just a cop out. The cost of ceding to temptation is way too high, on yourself and others around you.

CrackerLilo said...

I've met some men with that gene variant! Dated one, too! Of course, I wasn't monogamous at the time, either--like attracted like, I guess. And it's the weirdest thing, because I can't imagine doing that again, ever. Can't wait for the female studies.

Maybe some honesty will result from this, finally. That would be such a great place to start.

~Deb said...

I remember once hearing that a man is supposed to "spread his seed", which makes his primal instincts ready for polygamy to some degree. But then again, what's the female excuse??? Overly hormonal probably, right? hehe!

I would share my personal experience regarding this topic, however my wedding may be called off due to it.

*crosses eyes*

Angel Chasse said...

hey ;)
I have seen this on the local news. I think it is great to have all of the facts, I just hope that it doesn't become an excuse for anyone. It's truly fascinating to me the work that has been completed thus far on mapping the human genome!!
Thanks for the post, have a great weekend!

spynster57 said...

You mean it's genes and not jeans? Who knew!

Teresa Lynne said...

I believe a lot of who we are comes from genetics. We all may have our own personalities, but biological plays a big part in how we turn out.

However, to blame others for our dishonesty within our relationships is bogus baloney.

Another reason for people to blame others for their mistakes.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hmm, I heard about this on T.V. These aren't hard facts yet, right? One more excuse for men to fool around. Was the study done on women too? Does the same go for women? I wounder why most of the studies are done on men. Sexism?

jumpinginpuddles said...

its along the same lines as look in the mirror and according to new genetic research we marry someoen who is meant to look like our parents. not sure about whats written is it genetic or researchers ideas of saying its genetic to make excuses for behaviour. Hmmmmmmmm

Deb said...

Hey Barbara,
More research tends to be done on men - and yes it IS rather sexist. I think there are similar issues with women as well.

Big Brother,
Yes, it would be prudent to know your genetic tendencies so you can work on offsetting or enhancing them.

Interesting how our life history can change.

Nothing will spoil your special day!

I find genetics so interesting. It helps to explain certain behavioral tendencies.


Yeah, I share your worry that this finding will be used as an excuse. I hope that it can highlight behavior to be worked on!!

Yup, research on females lacks the kind of numbers as do men. Phooey on that.

Dear JIP,
More and more we are learning that who we ARE is a mix of nature and nurture. So many things come into play in making who we uniquely are. I think it is important to look at it all and then try to better ourselves therein.

phd in yogurtry said...

I propose we add this bit of genetic testing to the required pre-nuptial blood tests!