A leading biologist explains why.
Monogamous marriage by its very conditions . . . forces the two contracting parties into an intimacy that is too persistent and unmitigated; they are in contact at too many points and too steadily.
By and by all the mystery of the relation is gone and they stand in the unsexed position of brother and sister.
. . . A husband begins by kissing a pretty girl his wife; it is pleasant to have her so handy and so willing.
He ends by making Machiavellian efforts to avoid kissing the every day sharer of his meals books bath-towels pocketbook relatives – ambitions secrets malaises and business: a proceeding about as romantic as having his boots blacked.
The thing is too horribly dismal for words.
Not all the native sentimentalism of man can overcome the distaste and boredom that get into it.
Not all the histrionic capacity of woman can attach any appearance of gusto and spontaneity to it.
[O]nce the adventurous descends to the habitual it takes on an offensive and degrading character.
The intimate approach to give genuine joy must be a concession – a feat of persuasion – a victory; once it loses that character it loses everything.
Such a destructive conversion is effected by the average monogamous marriage.
It breaks down all mystery and reserve – for how can mystery and reserve survive the use of the same hot water bag and a joint concern about butter and egg bills?
What remains at least on the husband’s side is esteem—the feeling one has for an amiable aunt.
And confidence—the emotion evoked by a lawyer – a dentist or a fortune-teller.
And habit—the thing which makes it possible to eat the same breakfast every day and to windup one’s watch regularly and to earn a living.