Trad on polygamy

Keysar Trad argues for polygamy here. He goes on and on: the secret mistress shouldn’t be stigmatised, lots of people cheat on their partners anyway, and so on. Then, the abrupt double standard:

Islam also does not permit polyandry, a form of relationship in which a wife takes more than one husband. There are many reasons for this. Some are medical, some relate to paternity. Others pertain to the sexual proclivities of the different genders. The sex therapist Bettina Arndt, promoting her book Sex Diaries, outlined the merits of women saying “yes” more often to sex with their husbands. If Arndt’s research is reflective of a greater portion of the population, a monogamous relationship leads to reduced interest in sex among women and a perpetual state of conjugal frustration among men.

If men in monogamous relations are not satiated, by its very nature polyandry creates an overwhelming burden for a woman in long-term relationships.

Medical reasons why women should only marry one man? Yes, this is a very impressive argument. Even more frivolous is the reliance on Arndt’s “research” – impressive enough as anecdotes (really, I think she’s entirely discredited by her advice for women to agree to sex they don’t want), but hardly the most extensive study of sexual desires of the sexes. But put that aside, to notice Trad’s startling inconsistency. Trad says faithfulness in relationships is rare, which is a good argument against monogamy. Then, because women don’t really want much sex, they shouldn’t be allowed to choose to have multiple husbands. This is not only inconsistent (who does Trad thinks is having all the sex with the unfaithful men? Does he think it is only men who cheat in relationships?). It assumes that rights should not be awarded on an individual basis of choice. Suppose there are 3 women in Australia who have large sexual appetites, and would be “satiated”, in Trad’s terms, only by multiple husbands. Why should this not be permitted, simply because other women are less desirous of sex? If the men don’t think they’re getting enough sex, they could a) not get married in the first place or b) get a divorce if they’re unsatisfied or c) get an additional wife to compensate. Why not? A man with 3 wives, and each of the 3 wives with a few or more husbands. This kind of arrangement would mean a massive restructuring of society. Of course, under non-sexist multiple marriage partner laws, people could still choose monogamy. What Trad, however, is arguing for, is institutionalised sexism, where men have rights that women do not.


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