Partible paternity is the belief that children are or can be born from the semen of more than one man. This is generally associated with or the product of traditional ideas that hold that the generation of a child requires the regular influx of semen from one or more men. In line with the view of Aristotle, the woman's "seed" is viewed as completely passive and the man's seed is active, thus the womb is seen to function simply as an incubator. The belief in the possibility of partible paternity is held by a limited number of extant, horticulturalists South American tribes, primarily located in the South American lowlands.
Anthropologists argue that the idea of partible paternity likely originated from a small tribe in South America and propagated throughout South America over time. As the extant tribes that hold to partiple paternity are quite distant from each other and culturally distinct, the belief and the customs surrounding it are likely thousands of years old. The belief in partible paternity is not found anywhere else outside of these South American tribes except in two tribes who live on islands off the coast of New Guinea, the Wogeo (of the eponymous island) and the Lakalai of New Britain. The vast physical distance between these islands and South America suggests convergent cultural evolution is at play here, with belief in partiple paternity seemingly being confined to relatively isolated, pre-industrial, tropical peoples. Other Austronesian/Melanesian cultures believe that continuous intercourse is required for a woman to be pregnant without endorsing partiple paternity.
Partiple paternity can be seen as a form of alloparenting, where several men invest in offspring that is not their own. The belief that multiple men can be the fathers of certain children likely reduces male-male conflicts motivated by sexual jealousy among men in highly sexually promiscuous societies. This tendency may be powerful in more egalitarian societies, particularly in which polygyny is not practiced heavily. Some have asserted that evidence suggests that partiple paternity effectively functions as a form of polyandry in such societies and that a male-biased sex ratio may be one of the causes of the development of such beliefs. Thus, the implication is that partiple paternity results from strong relative female sexual and social bargaining power (seemingly caused by a lack of ancestral wealth among men in societies that practice this custom). It benefits females' reproductive strategy (getting resources from several men and being protected from the consequences of violent male jealousy) more than it does men's (lack of paternity assurance, investing in children who are not direct kin). In this view, partiple paternity can be seen as a form of sexual conflict.
However (some men) seem to benefit from partiple paternity as it allows their bastard children to be taken care of, and wife swapping can act as a form of alliance formation with other men, allowing them greater sexual variety. It is unclear how strong the obvious costs of this mating system are in terms of violent male intrasexual competition and low investment in offspring are among these societies. However, data from societies with similar levels of development and promiscuity suggests they are often high.
Partiple paternity and 'natural' promiscuity[edit | edit source]
The existence of partible paternity, the promiscuity of these South American tribes (relative to Western industrialized nations), and the higher rates of extra-pair paternity (about 15% compared to 1-3% in Industrialized Nations) in such societies is often (deceptively) used to argue that monogamy in humans is unnatural (often argued to be a byproduct of agriculture or any system that allows wealth to be accumulated). It follows this point that humans are (as well as ancestral humans) naturally promiscuous.
This standpoint often naturally coincides with beliefs that men's desire to assure paternity is primarily a product of cultural mores that inculcate this desire in men. The concern of the Abrahamic religions (in particular) with sexual goings-on is frequently a specific focus of such arguments. A natural conclusion of such "constructivist" views is that male jealousy can be socially conditioned out of men once the sociological forces that spur males jealously dissipate.
These constructivist views, often propagated by extreme liberals and sociocultural anthropologists (as opposed to biological anthropologists), are not supported by our observations of these cultures. Firstly, South America was one of the last places on Earth reached by contemporary humans, only having arrived there relatively recently (about 15 000 years ago); thus, even if it were true that these tribes were inherently promiscuous (the real issue is more complex), their environment is not reflective of ancestral humans in general (the idea of extrapolating the often bizarre behaviors of fringe extant tribal societies to human evolution, in general, has also been soundly deconstructed by others, Desmond Morris is a good example).
In fact, it can be argued via comparing the physiology of humans and great apes that humans are a (mostly) monogamous species. The morphology of the human penis and the relative lack of adaptions for sperm competition in humans appears to suggest that monogamy, together with polygyny and small amounts of hidden polyandry, reflects the mating systems of ancestral humans. It is unlikely that polygynandry (promiscuous mating systems with ineffective mate guarding), as found among humans' closest living great ape relatives, chimpanzees, and Bonobos, was common among historical humans. A closer inspection of what actually happens in these cultures is much more in line with the evolution of humans than the drivel spewed out by social constructivists.
Sexual Relations amongst tribes that believe in partible paternity[edit | edit source]
There are a number of tribes amongst the South Americas that belief in partible paternity, however the most famous tribes popularized by sex activists would include the Yanomami, the Bari, the Canela and the Ache. We will describe very specifically what beliefs these tribes have regarding sex as well as the sexual relations between men and women and will include other tribes to be more exhaustive.
Cashinahua[edit | edit source]
The Cashinahua believe in partible paternity and allow for (discreet) infidelity, though it is mostly the men not the women whom seek out and start affairs; most women do not find the brief sexual encounters enjoyable. Affairs by women are mostly motivated by the desire to aquire meat from their lovers and to spite their husbands for having affairs themselves. The Cashinahua forbid sex for a year after birth so that the mothers can properly nurse children, thus this motivates men to have sex with other women during this time period (which in turn causes the women to begin their own affairs to exact revenge on their husbands). Infidelity, on the hand of either spouse can cause drama within a marriage and is tolerated less by men than it is by women. Women are usually virgins when they married (so much for the enlightened sexuality sex activists preach about) and pre-marital sex makes her unnatractive to future mates. Important to note though is that, thought they allow it, acknowledgment of partible paternity almost never occurs. Between 1955-1997, only seven such acknowledgments where observed. When partible paternity is acknowledged, it is only done so after considering the potential gifts the family might recieve from the secondary father.
Curripaco[edit | edit source]
Partible paternity is allowed (oddly a child is only believed to be the result of the father's semen), but the Curripaco have stict rules against either pre-marital or extra-marital sex. Marriages are arranged and neither spouse has a say in what happens. If a women has sex with too many men, there is a great risk that none of the men will care for the child; everybodies child is nobodies child. Sometimes bothers share a wife, but each is intensely jealous and this often causes conflict. If a women becomes pregnant prior to marriage, the pregnancy will be hidden by sending her away to relatives where she will give birth to the child. The child is then killed, or worse, starved to death (at least they're progressive with their abortion laws).
Esa Eja[edit | edit source]
The Esa Eja believe that children are the result of the accumulation of semen and are made up of three groups whom each have a history of warfare and intermarriage between each other. Fish, Meat and Gifts are expected from a man if he has extra-marital sex with a woman. Men do not invest in children whom they believe do not resemble them. In one community approximately 52% of children with secondary fathers were given up for adoption. Men often do not refer to any of their children with secondary fathers as 'their' children. Spouses do become jealous as a result of their partner's infidelity and a significant proportion of men insist on sexually monogamous marriages. Benifits that women recieve are limited to gifts she recieves from her affairs partners; other than that, most affairs by the hands of women serve to undermine their relationships.
Kayapo[edit | edit source]
Partible paternity is considered viable in theory, but it is not implemented often in practise. The Kayapo have both a high divorce rate and a high mortality rate due to conflicts over extra-marital affairs. Women are also brutally raped if they are too prudish by witholding sex from men as well as being too slutty by bragging about their affairs with high status men. How touching. Child marriage also used to be common (though with prohibitions on sex until puberty). Men who don't provide resources and food to the women they have affairs with are considered 'sexual thiefs'.
Kulina[edit | edit source]
The kulina consists of very small populations (sometimes as small as 30 people) which makes it difficult to find marriage partners whom are not blood relatives. The Kulina also believe that men reqquire meat more than women and children and as such the Kulina have a very high mortality rate (about 40%). Despite the fact that the males are closely related due to the small population size, jealousy on the part of the husband is not reduced even if the affair partner of his wife was his brother.
Ye'kwana[edit | edit source]
Semen is believed to be the accumulation of semen but from one man only (ruling out the possibility of partible paternity). The Ye'kwana do not openly discuss sex and females that engage in affairs are likely to be divorced and abandoned.
Piaroa[edit | edit source]
The Piaroa hold the view that once a woman is insemited and succesfully impregnated, there is no need to further contribute semen to ensure the foetus reaches maturation(thus ruling out the possibiltiy of partible paternity). The piaroa have disdain for the excessive indulgance of appetites (whether of the sexual nature or else wise) and infidelity is considered unacceptable. Bastard children without any known father are likely to die either through starvation or infanticide.
Secoya and Siona[edit | edit source]
Partible paternity is considered impossible; only a single man can ever be considered the father. Individual family units are dispersed and relatively isolated from one another, heavily limiting the oppurtinities for extra-marital affairs. Excess sexual indulgance is viewed as having negative effects on the wife, husband and child; parenting supercedes sex as a priority. A strong majority of the Secoya and Siona marry for life and women are virgins at marriages and are sexually shy. Casanovas are frowned upon.
Warao[edit | edit source]
Semen is viewed as both iniating and sustaining pregnancy. Having secondary fathers are viewed as undesirable as it is believed to have negative effects on the children. Fathers frequently reject any child as theirs if there is no resemblence; there is a preadolescent mortality rate of 50%. Men are extremely jealous and only allow extra-marital affairs in extremely limited cases like infertility of the husband (usually with a brother).
Yanomami[edit | edit source]
Foetuses develop by the constant supply of semen to nourish the feotus. Sex is viewed as work; thus too much sex is considered a bad thing. Secondary fathers are usually brothers and are obligated to help with child rearing. Husbands often divorce their wives due to secondary fathers. Seventy percent of women have only a single child co-fathered, twenty six percent have two co-fathered.
Bari[edit | edit source]
Children with a single secondary father are more likely to reach adulthood due to lower foetal wastage at birth (as a result of gifts recieved from affair partners). Women whom had a miscarriage or lost a child during infancy were more likely to subsequently to decide to co-father their next child. Thus affairs by the hands of women are motivated by resources.
Matis[edit | edit source]
The Matis have had a large proportion of their population decimated by epidemics during the 1970's; leaving their population sizes little over 100 people. Due to the low population size, there is also relatively few potential mates. As a result men that do shair their wives are often brothers due to the limited amount of partners (one man even had sex with a dead donkey prior to stealing a wife from a neighbouring village). Uncles have sex with their nieces to 'train' and 'educate' the little girls for marriages (sweet home Alabama). There are some whispers of ceremonial extra-marital sex, however this has yet to be verified. Similiarly to the Warao and many other tribes, excessively promiscuos women are viewed as being at risk for having babies that are abnormally large and are sickly. Men often will attempt to kill a child if he suspects if he is not the father of the baby; in one instance a man through his son into a river over a quarrel with his wife and her lover.
Canela[edit | edit source]
The Canela are a single tribe about 1000 in number; females remain in their birth home and males immigrate out of their birth homes to that of their wives. Couples have to be instructed not to hold any jealousy (essentialy the model that follows cannot exist without social coercion). The first male a woman has sex with automatically becomes her 'husband'; after a series of events, her marriage is finalized with the birth of a child. After some time during her 'marriage' she, along with another girl, is expected to do sex work during a summer festival and has to accept sex from any man that initiates (whether she likes it or not) after which she recieves what is called a maturity belt (it's basically prostitution but without getting paid). After recieving a maturity belt, she has to continue with her sex work in order to motivate men to work; she sometimes recieves gifts but not neccesarily. After becoming pregnant she now has to work as a mother in her maternal household. If a woman has sex with men during pregnancy, these men are viewed as fathers as well, though with fewer responsibilities than that of the husband.
Intersexual conflict between males is essentially dampaned through the sharing of wives and the free sex the recieve during summer festivals. This essentially allows the less attractive men to at least have some sex, some of the time even if the women themselves have no desire to sleep with these men. Funny how the people that celebrate these cultures never quite bring this point up, considering that the summer festival essentially alleviates the inceldom of lower status men. The promsicuity is to be celebrated but the forced communal sex to ensure that every man gets some form of satiation (so that they don't rebel and start an uprising) is never mentioned. Whilst we don't advocate for such practises, it is especially hypocritical that (usually) liberal sex activists with espouse how sex positive these cultures are with (apparently) little to no conflict but also ignore that such cohesion is only achieved by forcing women to have sex with low status men. You might even argue that this is, dare I say, cultural appropriation seeing as they (ignorantly) celebrate these cultures and encourage that we adopt these promiscuous attitudes but downplay the aspect that forces women to sleep with the icky incels. How enlightened. Such a system where promiscuity in females is rampant can only be cohesive if the females are forced to sleep with the lower status males; the only other system that has similiar levels of cohesion would be that of a sexually monogamous one with heavy restrictions on pre-marital and extra-marital sex as well as heavy prohibitions on divorce (though actually superior levels of cohesion considering that that monogamous model has essentially conquered all of the known developed world at this point, though excluding Muslim countries). One cannot in good faith propose promiscuity (like femminists do) but also reject forcing women to have sex with low status men (like the nobody owes you anything argument and the my body my choice argument) and still uphold that this is a social good.
With regards to the enjoyment women recieve from sex within the Canela, there seems to be very little of it. Female orgasm is basically an unknown phenomenon, auto-sexual stimulation is forbidden, sex lasts a matter of seconds and exists only for the gratification of the male, there is no kissing, no fondling of genitals; the man simpy squats and thrusts away. Women thus would only volunteer for the sequential sex during the summer festivals as only after multiple, very brief, sexual encounters might she actually feel something. Women actually prefer sex with their husbands and lovers as more time is taken. Every other year or so, there are instances where a girl will refuse to sleep with any man other than her husband in order to gain her maturity belt at which point the men gang rape her without any concern for wether or not she gets injured during the gang rape; she recieves no gifts from any of the men if this happens as the men are scornful. The Canela seems to, essentially, what a few (limited) Blackpillers describe as the ideal society where women have limited rights and men can gang rape women if the refuse to comply; how ironic then, that we do not find Blackpillers celebrating this culture as the ideal but rather we find liberal sex activists doing so (maybe God has a sense of humour after all). Even the author's of the literature we're citing refuses to call their observations rape and they prefer not to use word like rape when she could of easily avoided it by simply complying. That would be sex negative you see and sex negativity it tantamount to heresy in the United Church of Liberal Sex.
With a final note on the Canela. Though for the pusposes of alleviating the inceldom they are superior than a system that has promiscuous females that are not obligated to, at least some of the time, have sex with the low status males, a sexually monogamous system with prohibition on both extra-marital and pre-marital sex and with limited divorced stands out as superior to both; wether this be in the increased acess to sex lower status males recieve with a wife (a single summer festival's worth of sex is hardly comparable to the amount of sex a man recieves within the confines of a marriage) or the benifits the society recieves via social cohesion (as jealousy would be greatly reduced as the wives of men don't sleep with other men). Indeed the high status men of the Canela can string together a large amount of lovers if he wishes whereas low status men are often rejected and are limited to summer festival sex.
Mehinaku[edit | edit source]
The Mehinaku bear many similiaraties with the Canela and like the Canela the husbands and wives are sexually jealous. Men are constantly frustrasted and will exchange gifts with a women and even her lover (if she has one) in order to have sex with her. Like the Canela, sex is brief and mostly for male gratification; orgasm almost never occurs. Like the Matis and Warao, promiscuity in women is viewed as having negative effects on the foetus and thus, despite the availabilty of many women, men still find it difficult to find affair partners. Should a pregnancy result from such promiscuity, the children are often buried alive. The abscence of privacy, social taboos, intermale competition and difficulty in finding a willing female partner ensures that sexual encounters amongst the Mehinaku are very low. The Mehinaku belief that they their primogenitors orginally lived in an oppressive matriarchy (something contemporary men can emphathise with) and that the men have usurped the power from the women. If women are not accepting of male rule and show insubordination, the males often resort to gang rape or at least rape to display her inferiority. Women live in constant fear of the men and often report nightmares regarding it. In fact, the Mehinaku don't even possess different words for consensual sex and rape (though Gang rape has a different word).
Ache[edit | edit source]
Like the Bari, one Primary father and one Secondary father is associated with greater survival rate, however once there is more than one Secondary father, survival rates begin to drop precipitiously as, once again, every man's child is no man's child. Though men deny that they are jealous of their wives extra-marital affairs, they later will beat their wives for their infidelity and women will often lie about how many secondary fathers there actually are. Fatherless children are four times more likely to die before the age of two than if the father was alive; if the father was alive but the parents divorced, then the child is three times more likely to die. When a divorced or widowed mother remarries, the odds of her children being murdered by her new husband rise dramatically. Orphans are often buried alive as that is considered better than starving to death; even mothers themselves will kill their own children if they believe its odds of survival are low.
Discussion[edit | edit source]
As we can see, these South American cultures are not anything close to the conflict free, promiscuity loving peoples that sex activists distort them out to be. In almost every single instance of recognizable partible paternity within a tribe, husbands are jealous (and if they aren't they have to be socially coerced not to be and must be incentivised to look the other way with sex with other women) and will often beat or even divorce their wives. Husbands do not invest in children that don't resemble them and will sometimes attempt to kill children that don't. Sex is very brief and women do not prefer to have sex with strangers and sex with either their husbands or long time lovers are preferable. Even within the South American cultures we find that the most promiscuous have the highest divorce rates and mortality rates whilst the most sexually monogamous tribes the Secoya and Siona (who's sexual ideals mirror Victorian ideals so closely as to render them almost indistinguishable) have the most stable marriages where infidelity is almost non-existant due to limited interactions with members outside one's family and were most of its members marry for life. Despite these comparisons, can anyone really claim that the partible paternity belief and the resultant promiscuity is ideal and is something Western Nations should adopt? Even within these cultures women do not cheat to have a jolly good time; infidelity is strategic in order to gain more resources (or in the case of the Canela, Maturity belts) and if a woman becomes too ambitious she risks losing everything and will often kill any resulting children. Hardly a utopian ideal. The idea that men are not concerned about paternity in these cultures is similiarly unfounded for reasons stated above. These South American tribes in fact confirm, not put into question, that paternity concerns are a biological inclination and that men have to in fact be coerced not to care rather than be coerced to care; that women in general do not prefer a promiscuous mating strategy and that when such a strategy is pursued it is almost always about resource aquisition and that when the lower status men in a society become sexually frustrated and are denied sexual access (like in the Canela and Mehinaku) they will often resort to rape in order to gain access.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Kesinger, K. M. (2002). The Dilemmas of Co-Paternity in Cashinahua Society in: Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America
- Valentine, P. (2002). Fathers that Never Exist: Exclusion of the Role of Shared Father among the Curripaco of the Northwest Amazon in Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America.
- Peluso, D. M., and Boster, J. S. (2002). Partible Parentage and Social Networks among the Ese Eja, in Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America.
- Lea, V. (2002). Multiple Paternity among the Mebengokre (Kayapo, Je) of Central Brazil, in Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America.
- Pollock, D. (2002). Partible Paternity and Multiple Paternity among the Kulina, in Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America.
- Rodriguez, A. M., and Monterrey, N. S. (2002). A Comparative Analysis of Paternity among the Piaroa and the Ye’kwana of the Guayana Region of Venezuela, in Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America.
- Vickers, W. T. (2002). Sexual Theory, Behavior, and Paternity among the Siona and Secoya Indians of Eastern Ecuador, in Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America.
- Heinen, H. D., and Wilbert, W. (2002). Paternal Uncertainty and Ritual Kinship among the Warao, in Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America.
- Ales, C. (2002). A Story of Unspontaneous Generation: Yanomami Male Co-Procreation and the Theory of Substances, in Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America.
- Beckerman, S., et al. (2002). The Bari Partible Paternity Project, Phase One, in Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America.
- Erikson, P. (2002). Several Fathers in One’s Cap: Polyandrous Conception among the Panoan Matis (Amazonas, Brazi), in Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America.