Romance and relationships are funny things, aren't they?
Not a day goes by without one of Lady Luck's friends letting her know about a quirk/a problem they have with regard to these matters. Some let me know of medical problems. Others prefer to disclose items of a more personal nature.
I thought I'd share a couple of these thoughts with you (anonymised, of course) & see what you made of it. Mr Rhythmic was certainly intrigued. Whether he wanted to subscribe to either theory is a different matter.
The first matter of intrigue is related to smell. Smell of the bodily kind, though thankfully of not of an unpleasant nature. I suppose 'scent' would be the best term for natural body odour (i.e. post-washing self and clothes). My little sister smells chocolate-y & the excess quantities of cocoa butter she's rubbed into her babysoft skin may well have have had something to do with it. According to Wikipedia, what I define as a 'scent' would be pheromonal - 'a chemical or set of chemicals produced by a living organism that transmits a message to other members of the same species'.
The theory goes that the female member of the human species sends out scented signals circa ovulation, to indicate availability for breeding. The male of the species is believed to undergo a frenzy termed 'estrus' at the same time - in common speak, we'd term it 'the horn'.
Either way, the availability of contraception means that we can fornicate for fun. This my friends, is where the 'smell theory' comes in - where certain friends of mine find it impossible to indulge in such frivolity unless mutual satisfaction with each other's 'scents' is present. If one partner is not satisfied (and all common causes of low libido are excluded), then 'mating' doesn't take place. I have tried my level best to suggest all sorts of libidinous measures where the partner isn't entirely repulsive to look at/spend time with - but none of these work (possessing me to think the 'scent' seeking is 'intrinsic') & my friends find their satisfaction solo/elsewhere. I myself have subscribed to the theory on occasion - my last relationship was spent avoiding the other party thanks to his natural smell (amongst other things) being a turn-off.
The other theory I've spent time exploring is polyamory. Defined as 'the practice or lifestyle of being open to having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved', poly is a practice that has been around since time began. I'm in agreement with most exponents that it's not a polite word for swinging - the emphasis is on emotional commitment as opposed to 'sex'. It's similar to what a Muslim with four wives would practice in this country (where polygamy is illegal), where he'd have one legal wife and three girlfriends treated in a similar way. I believe Tibetan women practice the same thing - except they call it polyandry. Pretty useful where expensive childcare and a dual-income 'entitlement-driven society' come into play ;)
The terms primary (or primary relationship(s)) and secondary (or secondary relationship(s)) are often used as a means to indicate a hierarchy of different relationships in a person's life. Thus a woman with a husband and another partner might refer to the husband as her "primary". (Of course, this is in addition to any other terms a person might use, such as "lover", "casual date", "friend", "other half", and so on.)
The term tertiary can refer to ongoing casual relationships, though it is much less commonly used.
Famous polyamorists include Amelia Earhart and Edith Nesbit. Whilst my friends who practice these fun and games aren't half as famous, their viewpoint regarding the societal standard for one man to have partner is one I agree with.
It's pointless to moralise using standards set when life-expectancy was half that we have now. By the time one had gotten sick of their spouse in the modern world, one's 18th Century counterpart would be six foot under. Or burnt in an urn, depending on preference. Childcare and property-rights were different in the days before contraception and female mass employment - marriage was invented to ensure women and children were provided for.
It's entirely natural to be attracted to two/twenty people over a lifetime. So why chastise people who choose to follow the scent in the context of honesty and trust? Puritanism & believing oneself to be more 'civilised' by not subscribing to the multi-lover theory is offensive to the natural order. Why not live and let live?