A silly question usually deserves a silly answer – but Today Show guest psychiatrist Gail Saltz, wasn't going to give anchor Amy Robach one. In the wake of multiple celebrity breakups, the most recent being Courtney Cox and David Arquette, a five-minute segment asking the question, “Is Monogamy Natural?” turned out not to be the train wreck it promised.
“Is Monogamy Realistic?” “Is there a point, though where it's a good idea to reevaluate whether or not you want to be monogamous?” These questions set the tone for a segment full of wishy-washy, do-whatever-you-feel answers, but Saltz fired back with sound judgment on the human instinct for lifetime partnerships.
“We're looking around at couples like Courtney Cox and saying 'Hey if everybody's doing it, then what's the big deal?” Saltz noted. “And that sort of desensitizes us to the idea that we can attain monogamy, but it is not a choice …We are hard wired to attach to somebody, to bond with somebody from a very young age. But to stay only with that one person, that's probably a choice.”
The segment then took an unpredictable turn, in which both Robach and Saltz in part, blamed the media for fostering the idea that monogamy is unrealistic.
“And it's interesting because obviously we just mentioned the celebrity breakups but we also have a couple polygamist shows on now,” said Robach. “Monogamy is certainly a hot topic, or lack thereof.” Saltz responded by agreeing that the media plants the seeds in viewer's heads that monogamy is unattainable.
“Yes, yes, it's being questioned because frankly everything now, right is up for grabs. Look what's on TV, look around, we're all questioning, 'Do I have to follow the rules? And I think, you know, we're seeing a lot of in the news rule-breaking, so we're kind of consumed with this concept right now and monogamy has been an accepted rule but now we're questioning, 'Do I really have to?'”
The Culture and Media Institute highlighted the focus on polygamy specifically in the TLC show “Sister Wives.” Again, the Today Show focused on the lack of monogamy in an interview with star Kody Brown and his four wives. Thanks in part to softball questions from host, Meredith Vieira, they were given free reign to promote their lifestyle.
However, Saltz ended the interview with some encouraging words about the benefits of monogamy. “And there's a lot to be gained by monogamy, a life partner who shares with you that life history and your family, if you decide to have one, in an uninterrupted way.”