Marriage is a puzzle. Why does it exist at all?
Humans are a peculiar species, because it takes so long for our children to reach sexual maturity. This is because of the size of our brains. The overall development of human children is slowed in order for our brains, which are not only big but highly sophisticated, to grow and for us to learn enough to survive. And why do we need to learn? Because human society is massively complex and navigating it takes great skill and knowledge.
Even animals with similar omnivorous diets to ours like chimps, our near relatives, mature much more quickly. And the issue is not one of body mass; a bovine will grow to adulthood, five times the mass of a human, in 30 months. We are special in this regard.
The long time that human children are dependent produces a conundrum for males. On the one hand, the replication of our genes is well served by impregnating as many fertile females as we can. This is in line with behaviours readily observed in other species. On the other hand,
siring many children is of no use to us, in reproductive terms, unless they reach sexual maturity themselves.
Many species deal with this by producing vast numbers of young, most of which are expected not to survive to adulthood; but as long as enough to secure the future of the line do, then all is well. Humans use another strategy, common amongst higher mammals: protect the young until they are old enough to manage for themselves.
The problem of extended childhood
There is a problem with this in human terms, because in the first place, as we have seen, it takes so long for human children to develop. At any point during their childhood, they could perish, and all our effort was for nothing. In the second, human females normally carry only one child at a time. In other mammals, where the female might bear many pups, the loss of one or two does not render the whole undertaking invalid. Yet in the case of humans, it usually would.
These two things come together to create an impetus on human males called ‘parental investment’. Essentially, the idea here is that the male sticks around to protect his children until they reach sexual maturity. This is where another clever adaptation comes in. Unlike most animals, human females are sexually receptive all the time, even at times when they can’t conceive, like at certain points of their menstrual cycle or when they are pregnant. This willingness to have sex has two functions: the first is to encourage the male to stay with the female by reinforcing the bond of sexual love between them. But the other is to ensure that the woman falls repeatedly pregnant, thus resetting the clock to zero, if you like. The man is encouraged to remain with the woman and to protect her and her children, because he is regularly fathering more children. Each one represents a furthering of his genes and a renewal of his parental investment.
Pair-bonding: the precursor to marriage
This is what human pair-boding is all about, but it is important to realise that this mechanism is blind. It will operate in circumstances wherein reproduction is not involved at all. This accounts, at least in part, for male homosexuality. In this, males form bonds with other males. There is no reproductive advantage, nor is there a parental investment, at least directly; but the pair-bonding mechanism is the same.
Leaving that aside for now, let’s look again at the pair-bond between men and women, as it was evolved. In this, women are the hub around which the family rotates. They are the disciplinarians, the nurturers and the carers. The male role is to provide and protect. This gives us the basis of clan and tribal society and we can see examples of it everywhere, outside the West. (See my articles on Balante.)
However, these collective societies present another conundrum: de facto, they contain many women. Remember that underlying his need for parental investment, in order to see his children survive and thrive, a man has another sexual imperative — to impregnate as many fertile women as he can. This is a powerful stimulus but one, which, if left unchecked, will cause break-up of the family system — a system which is essential to human success.
Marriage: the extension
The consequence is that the basic pair-bond is extended and given sanction by the group. But note, it is the group of women who do this, not the men. It is done by limiting the access of males to fertile women. This counters men’s natural desire to impregnate many women by ensuring that only one be available to him and more, that once he has made his selection, by having sex with her, he is socially bound to stay with her.
Essentially, this turns sex into a commodity which can be exchanged for fidelity. If individual women have complete control over access to sex, then they can be sure that men will always keep coming back to them and perform their parental duties of protection and provision, in return for which they will be rewarded with sex. Thus the male’s two desires — to have as much sex as possible and to ensure that his children make it to adulthood — can both be satisfied, while at the same time the woman’s need to have her children protected and provided for can be fulfilled.
(This system, by the way, is how a man, even in these traditional societies, knows his own children — his partner is socially constrained from promiscuity.)
Sex is a commodity
A commodity implies a market. This is a basic function of humanity. We have been trading commodities throughout our existence. Once you make sex a commodity — by making its provision conditional on the supply of reward — you make it a part of the marketplace. But there is a problem: women want a monopoly on the provision of sex, and not just women, but the organised social structure of women.
But for this to work, sex must only be available through sanction by the gynocracy. It’s simply not going to work if men, returning to the village, can have sex with any woman who takes their eye; this will lead immediately to sexual competition amongst males which, in other animals, causes physical injury and loss of life. Humans live collectively, in hives dedicated to protecting mothers and children. Aggressive male behaviour must be kept out of this space, because men are big and strong and can be lethally violent.
This means that women have to control the domestic space, which in traditional societies they do, and that masculine behaviours like fighting and trying to have sex as much as possible must be kept outside that space. Marriage achieves this by binding each man to a woman, who is able to withdraw his sexual privileges if he does not behave — and since all the other women are also so bound, if this happens he’s going without.
The consequences of this can be seen today. It is always women who are most critical of prostitution, for example. They might claim that this is ‘to protect women from exploitation’, but this is a flat lie. Prostitution totally disrupts the bonding structure that the traditional family and its extensions are based on. Women have to abide by the gynocracy’s collective will as much as men do and failure to comply will lead to being ostracised and demeaned, not by men, but by other women. They may even be forced to leave the protection of the family enclave and this, lest we forget, still happens today, where a girl falling pregnant outwith marriage might be thrown out of her home.
The gynocracy has no interest in individuals, unless they have risen to the higher ranks of the matriarchies that it supports; and even then its interest is passing. It is only interested in what we might call the ‘women’s collective’. Since male society, which we might call the patriarchy, is quintessentially individualistic, we can see that the matriarchy, which is just the hierarchical society of women, must be utterly opposed to it. It follows that masculinity promotes individualism while femininity promotes collectivism.
Marriage and access to sex
The gynocracy and matriarchies are not the same thing, because matriarchies, by definition, exclude men. However, to control society, the gynocracy must include men and, once again, its currency is access to sex. By controlling access to sex via marriage, the gynocracy subverts men to its will. One way that this can be seen in action is by ‘sex shaming’. In this, men are pilloried for behaviours that the gynocracy considers to undermine its control over access to sex. This proceeds from perfectly legitimate positions, like preventing rape, to completely innocent ones like extra-marital affairs or the use of prostitutes.
Rape breaks gynocratic control of society in the most brutal manner imaginable, by simply taking sex through violence. Men as much as women are horrified by it. But what about a man placing his hand in the small of a woman’s back as he guides her to a seat. Is this really a sexual advance? Of course not, but as the gynocracy establishes control over masculine behaviour, this will be shamed. What about a man putting his arm round his female partner in a social situation? Today, this is ‘cock-blocking’. This proposes that the inverse of reality is happening and that, far from it being a protective gesture designed to make the women feel more secure, it is a signal of male ‘possession’ of her. Or, the legitimate purchase of a commodity, legal to consume, from someone willing to sell it?
This is all that prostitution is; sex was made into a commodity by women but the gynocracy wants a monopoly over the provision of it. Once, burning at the stake, hanging, flogging and transportation were the punishments for prostitutes and ‘fornicators’; today the punishment is public shaming and the blatant attempt to ruin careers. These punishments are meted out for one thing alone: daring to have sex outwith the sanction of the gynocracy.
The origin of marriage as an instrument of social control
So, to return to our original question, how did marriage come about? Well, in its simplest form, marriage is the tethering of a man to a woman by the collective gynocratic will of the group. Clearly the individual forms and ceremonies differ between cultures, but the essential purpose is to sanction sex between a couple while at the same time preventing either partner from having sex with any other.
We don’t know when this became formalised but since nearly all traditional societies follow the monogamous pattern seen above, it seems likely that it is ancient; in fact it probably appeared at the same time as communal living in related groups did. Group infighting over women would have been dangerous and counterproductive and by ensuring the provision of sanctioned access to sex, the gynocracy could protect itself.
We know from traditional tribal societies that the above is the case and when we look at early human settlements we see more evidence. Catal Hoyuk in Anatolia, for example, is a fascinating settlement in which the individual homes are underground cells accessed from above via a ladder. It is quite clear that these were the centres of families and thus, of women.
Marriage in Mesopotamia
Our first record of marriage as a formal ceremony comes from Sumer, in ancient Mesopotamia, where ‘hierogamy’; or the ‘Great Rite’; was performed. This was a ceremonial occasion in which the High Priestess of the patron deity of the city was married to the King. It was public and many sources indicate that the marriage was sexually consummated there an then in view of witnesses. These were not the general public but the lower ranking priestesses; people in those cultures did not suffer from the Anglo-Saxon prudishness of modern historians.
Many feminists believe that the Great Rite was a means by which women were symbolically enslaved, as property, to men and, indeed, I was once persuaded by this. But there is no evidence to even suggest such an arrangement until the early second millennium and we have record of the Great Rite at least a thousand years before that. Far more likely, it was a ritual that tied the military and industrial strength of men to hearth and home, protection of and provision for family. In this view the early cities, usually thought of as ‘goddess cities’ were a gynocratic extension of the village and then of settlements like Catal Hoyuk. Indeed there is no evidence at all to suggest that non-sedentary societies understood the concept of property at all — so how on earth could a woman be turned into it? No, the commodity was sex and since women were in control of it, they were in control of men and so of the society.
This is why, in the Sumerian epic ‘Inanna and the Huluppu Tree’, the god-man Gilgamesh is seduced, by Inanna, into making her a chair and a bed from the tree and driving away the demons that resided in it — he was obliged to provide for and to protect her. And yet Inanna was a mighty goddess who had spurned the most powerful demons that her uncle, Enki, could throw at her! She was no weakling, nor was she a chattel — the story is about male surrender of individuality.
Similarly, in the myth of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the latter, a wild-man who has angered Gilgamesh by showing the wild animals where his traps were laid, is seduced by the beautiful priestess Shamhat and led back, tamed, to the city. There is no taking of women as property here; there is the surrender of male freedom and individuality for the collective good and the bait — or the reward, if you prefer — is sex. (This story is one of the precursors to the Garden of Eden Biblical myth.)
Getting married to get sex
This is something that every young man of my generation knew: the way to get sex was to get married — but doing so meant the putting aside of freedom. No more nights out with the boys, no more rock and roll bands…Soon the poor schmuck would be washing out baby clothes and pushing a pram down the High Street. Very little different, after 5000 years or so. The sexual revolution of the 1960s, before HIV appeared, was like a fragrant tropical breeze; now we could have sex without commitment. And many profited.
This, however, we can now see to have been the calm before the storm. Fifty years later, crowds of blue-rinsed harpies, the first of whom arrived in that same time of sexual liberation, condemn all men and all things masculine, and shame them for their desire for sex. The slightest indication of sexual desire is today a matter of public disdain; women are free to accuse men of the most heinous of acts from behind the veil of legally-upheld secrecy, their identities secret even when their accusations are proven false, while those they accuse are destroyed by the court of ‘public opinion’. Masculinity itself is described as ‘toxic’ and the only acceptable ‘men’ are emasculated, effeminate pooves.
Marriage was invented by women, not men
Marriage was invented by women to ensure the stability of society by binding each man’s wealth-creating and protective power to one woman’s reproductive power — enslaving strength to sex. And for thousands of years and still today, outside the West, human society has been immensely successful on the model that it set up. But today, marriage is waning in popularity in the West. Why would that be? Because on the back of the New Puritanism of rabid feminism, the State has replaced men as the providers and protectors. Women who fall pregnant simply approach the all-forgiving State and they know that men’s taxes will pay for them.
Of course, this was beginning in Inanna’s great city of Uruk, but there men were still respected. They were heroes and warriors and on the backs of their exploits — and their very lives — did the fortunes of everyone, men and women, prosper or fail.
Marriage to the Nanny State: the ultimate end of the Great Rite
There is no further need for the quaint anachronism of marriage, or even, for that matter, of men, in the almost-fully emasculated West, today. It is one of those delightful truisms that the State is known by a feminine epithet — the Nanny. The State and the gynocracy are now synonymous, at least in the West and while some hope is still held out by Eastern Europe and other parts of the world where the religion of feminism is held at bay by older cults, the battle for many European nations is lost. Sweden, for example, once a beacon, has already fallen.
Welcome to the Brave New World; the revolution comes around again and where Communism failed, the gynocracy might just succeed, unless we wake up. How many hundreds of millions will it, too, have to starve or execute before we do?.
Also published on Medium.