What the animal kingdom can teach us about relationships – All about the Bees


It should come as no surprise when I say that some research out there has come to false conclusions about monogamy in the animal kingdom. 

Poly people talking to mono people will often hear phrases like ‘It’s not natural. You don’t find that in the animal world.’ One example that people are quick to cite is swans, how they mate for life, effectively marrying.Well ladies and gentlemen (and those of us who fall in between), I have some good news.

A 2013 study ‘A critical examination of popular assumptions about the benefits and outcomes of monogamous relationships‘ examines and dispels various Mono-myths about the animal kingdom. 

Swans and voles for instance may well pair off, evidence shows that they are not sexually exclusive to their life mate.

The researchers found many mono centric beliefs; people thought monogamy improved sexuality, prevents the spread of S.T.D.’s, improved the quality of the relationship (increase trust, reduce jealousy) and provided family benefits (especially concerning raising children). 

There isn’t much research comparing sex between mono people and Poly people, but with more sexual partners, there is obviously the possibility of more varied types of sex.

Secondly, while again there is little research into it, what little data I could find suggested that Poly circles rely more on protection than abstaining and that std rates are lower than with monogamous people by a small degree.

As for the thought that poly is worse for children, the research actually shows the opposite, with the researchers saying “It appears that monogamy and consensual non-monogamy provide similar outcomes for children in these types of families. Monogamy and polyamory both rated fairly equal regarding children.”

As for satisfaction levels, mono and poly relationships are pretty equal with the notable exception of jealousy, which had a noticeable decrease in poly people.

So whilst monocentric assumptions have been challenged in the animal kingdom, I would like to pose the question: what can we learn about relationships from the animal kingdom?

I was thinking lately about honey bees. 

When a virgin queen flies to a site where thousands of male honey bees may be waiting, she mates with several males in flight. A type of non monogamy, to be sure, though I am wary of espousing any type of relationship which ends up with one gender dying each time…

An interesting fact that I have found about honey bees is that a hive can be moved up to three feet from it’s original site and the bees will still be able to find it, but more than this and the bees won’t be able to find their way home.

This is called the three mile rule:

If you need to move the hive more than three feet, then it needs to be moved more than three miles away, left for three weeks and then moved to it’s new location.

By moving three miles, the bees will not attempt to find their way to the old site but will relocate to the new one. After three weeks, the original bees will have died and been replaced by a new workforce, so when the hive is returned to the vicinity of the old site, there will be very few bees who can remember it and normal relocation can take place.

What if this is the answer to a struggling relationship: What if you need to go far away from the proverbial original site? Most of us stray within the three foot area, but what if we went further? Could we find our way back, not to the original starting point, but just to the left a little? Just enough difference to save the relationship; to extend that love?

I suppose that this is the same thinking which causes people to cheat, to run away from their life and burn the bridges they cross, but in the poly scene at least, we have this option: go away, evolve a little as people and then return to the original relationship, but in a new place.

Anyway, I would like to throw a thank you out to you readers out there. It’s your support which is making all this possible, both the ‘Keep up the good work’ kind and the Patreon kind. Seriously, the five months that Hetaera has been a thing have been really tumultuous and it’s all of you who have kept me determined to make this a priority.

Stay kinky, stay sexy.


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