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Difference Between Monogamy and Polygamy

Primary Difference

Social standards have been there for a very long time and abiding by them has been a duty of every human being. But there are some instances where people tend to go above the limits and cross the norms since they are of the view that human beings are free to do what they want and any individual has the right to be the way they are. There are many arguments and counter arguments about this but two terms which have always brought some debate forward are monogamy and polygamy. The difference between them is obvious which will be discussed in this topic. Defining the two terms will give a perfect idea of what they are. Monogamy is the type of activity where a human being is allowed to have just one partner throughout their life. In social and sexual terms, they can mate with one person throughout their life and this has been a norm for a very long time. Polygamy, on the other hand, is different because it is the act in which people are allowed to have more than one partners and there is no limit on the number of partners they can keep, this again is for both social and sexual activity. This is more common in the European countries and America where people are of the view that an individual does not have any obligation to spend their life with one person and like old times, they are free to mate with anyone they deem desirable. This can be further simplified in a way that if a person marries once in their lifetime they will be termed as monogamous while a person who marries more than one time is termed as polygamous. The best example of this is Hinduism where it is a must for a male or female to marry just once in their lifetime and spend their life with them until death. In the past when husbands used to die women were burnt just because they could not marry anyone else. Similarly, in Islam men are allowed to get married four times in order to support a woman who does not have any partner or her partner has passed away.

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Comparison Table

MonogamyPolygamy
DefinitionThe state in which one person is allowed to marry just one person in their lifetime.This is a state in which one person is allowed to marry more than one time depending on the circumstances.
StatusAllowedAllowed
Phenomenontermed as a natural phenomenon in case of sexual activitiestermed as a natural phenomenon in terms of marriage
ExampleHinduism is strictly monogamous where a person is allowed to marry just onceIslam is polygamous where a person can marry as many as four times.

Definition of Monogamy

This is the state in which one person is allowed to marry just one person in their lifetime and in the case of other beings, only mates with one other being in order to engage in sexual activity. This is considered a natural phenomenon in which a person wants to spend their life with one other person because of affection and love but there are many cases when this statement might not hold true. The best example is Hinduism where a male and female can marry only once in their lifetime.

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Definition of Polygamy

This is a state in which one person is allowed to marry more than one time depending on the circumstances, or as in the western world, they can engage in sexual activities with more than one person depending on the desire. This is mostly considered as an abnormal feature in some circles but may not be always true. For example, Islam is in favor of polygamy so that if a woman does not have any partner, a male can marry her to support. But in other case, women do not have the right to marry someone else. This case is different in European culture where both sexes are allowed to marry as many times.

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Differences in a Nutshell

  1. Monogamy is the type of system is which one person ends up marrying just one other person in their life while polygamy is the type of system where people are allowed to marry more than one person.
  2. Hinduism is strictly monogamous where a person is allowed to marry just once while Islam is polygamous where a person can marry as many as four times.
  3. In sexual terms, if a being mates with just one partner throughout their life they are called monogamous while if they have multiple mates, they are termed as polygamous.
  4. Monogamy is termed as a natural phenomenon in terms of sexual activity while polygamy is considered normal in terms of marriage.

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Conclusion

Language can be a difficult subject even though it looks similar. The reason being, there are many words in it which are similar to each other in meaning but very different if you look at the context in which they are spoken. All in all, the article has explained the terms and the differences and made it easier for them to be understood.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss