Polyandry strengthens families for Tibetans

Polyandry, to share a wife with other men, is unthinkable for most men in western countries. For tibetan families this form of polygamy is an old and working tradition. Tibetans who live like this claim that polygamy is better than monogamy: “Polygamy,” says Dongqing, “is simply the better marriage. So much stronger, so much more intense”, as Angela Köckritz, Beijing correspondent for the german weekly newspaper ZEIT, reports in the edition of march 27th 2013 under the heading “Man, man, man and a woman” (Onlinedate 07.04.2013 – 17:43 h).

Marriage form of polyandry fits tibetan lifestyle

For the Tibetans, whom Köckritz has met, this form of marriage fits their lifestyle. They don´t only share their wife with their brothers, but share households and run their businesses together. The latter often means that one or more of the brothers spends a lot of time traveling or with the cattle on the pastures. And whereas many western families are accustomed to and burdened by long absences of the working partner, in these tibetan families at least one of the husbands will always be with the wife. Tibetans are also of the opinion that this way of life strengthens the cohesion of the family.

For the woman, according to Köckritz, this form of marriage also holds benefits. The housework and childcare are spread over many shoulders. And in case one of the men should die, she still has the other men. Recent developments brought on by the influence of Han Chinese that gradually make some Tibetans switch to monogamy are seen as a threat by Tibetans who live according to the old customs. Just like some people in western countries see polygamy and polyamory as a threat to their old customs.

Forms of marriage are not “natural”, but rather a result of cultural circumstances

Especially proponents of monogamy when arguing against polygamy often claim that monogamy is inbuilt into human nature. The article about these Tibetans, as many other articles and books, shows once more that this is not the case. Marriage forms rather seem to be a result of the circumstances and the culture we live in. Growing up in a society that looks at monogamy as  a normal way to live, you will probably also think like that. The same is true for polygamy if you grow up in a polygamous society. So if we had a society that allows for monogamy and polygamy soon most people would think that both are normal.

Change of attitudes about sexuality and marriage is possible

If you find that difficult to believe, remember how attitudes about homosexuality and same-sex marriages have changed and are still changing in western societies. Just look at current changes about same-sex marriage in the USA.  Or think forty years back, when homosexuality was illegal in my homecountry Germany. Even long after the laws were changed it was still regarded by many as bad and a threat to society. By now most people in Germany have gotten used to homosexuality and are in favor of same-sex marriage. This is partly due to finding that gay people are all around them and are very nice people, good friends and colleagues. The other part of this change of attitude is a result of learning about findings of science teaching us why people are gay and that they are no threat to our society.

Keeping that in mind, look at polygamy again and it may not seem so unthinkable anymore that monogamy and polygamy in all it´s many forms could coexist in a western society.


Notice: This article is translated and some contents might have been added or left out to better meet the needs of an international audience from an original article on one of my german websites Viktor-Leberecht.de or Polygamie-ist-gut-fuer-sie.de (engl:Polygamy is good for you). How i do my translations. Last updated: March 6, 2017 at 20:12 pm © Viktor Leberecht All rights reserved. Please feel free to share my content on Social-Sharing-Services. What do you think? Leave a comment here. For your convenience you may either use the integrated comment system of wordpress in the first comment field, or if you prefer you may post with your Google+ account in the second comment field. You may also send me a question through the contact form or the FAQ.


About Viktor Leberecht 95 Articles
Viktor Leberecht is my pseudonym for my work as a free lance author. I work to ensure that the freedom to freely choose the form of marriage and family is recognised as a human right and that the voluntarily and knowingly entered-into polygamy is legalized as a form of marriage. You can find information about this on my website www.viktor-leberecht.com and my theses on polygamy and monogamy and much information can be found under the menu section polygamy. I am from Berlin in germany and viktor-leberecht.com is the english version of viktor-leberecht.de.

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  1. Polyandrie: wie Polygamie funktionieren kann (ZEIT, 27.03.2013)

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