Disadvantages of Polygamy 

Disadvantages of Polygamy

The demerits of polygamy included the following;

  • It led to unnecessary competition among women that created hatred and disorganized the man so much.
  • It was too expensive and disturbing to manage more than one home by the man and this hindered family investment and savings.
  • It was characterized by abandoning of the children by one of the parents and this led to untold suffering of the children.
  • Some women became unfaith full to their husbands because of the prolonged sexual starvation they experienced.
  • It increased chances of contracting sexually transmitted disease especially syphilis and Gonorrhea which sometimes cause death to those involved.
  • Polygamy influenced many women to involve themselves in witchcraft as a way of trying to win the Man’s Love.
  • It increased cases of child battering especially when the man divorced and married other Women.
  • It was characterized with a lot of Chaos in form of quarrels, fights and blames among women thus leading to insecurity.
  • Women were considered less human and men tried to mistreat the women by beating them since they had many of them.
  • When a polygamous man died, he left behind a large number of dependents that bothered the relatives and the society at large.
  • It was against god’s original plan for marriage since and created one man and one woman thus monogamy was the ideal type of marriage by God.
  • Polygamy made the man over worked sexually and reduced him to a mere robot and a sexual machine to satisfy the wives sexually.
  • Decision making became difficult on the side of the family head. This was because of too many wives who might fail to agree on particular issues.
  • Women lived in fear of expecting the husband to bring in a new wife thus leading to division of love between the wives.
  1. Discuss the merits and demerits of Polygamous marriage in Traditional Africa. (25 marks) Approach:

The question wants the advantages and disadvantages of Polygamy in African Traditional society.

  • Why is the practice of polygamy dying out in the modern society?


The question calls for the disadvantages of polygamy.

Sexual Intercourse in Traditional Africa
  • Sex refers to the state of being either male or female. Or 
  • Sex refers to the union between male and the female reproductive organs to form a zygote.
African Understanding of Sex
  • Sex was supposed to be between people of the opposite sex i.e. between man and woman.
  • Sex was supposed to take place between adults and in most African societies, adults were people who had gone through initiations.
  • Sexual intercourse was meant to take place in marriage relations i.e. sex before marriage especially by girls was punishable.
  • In addition traditional African cultures valued virginity among the girls. They expected them break their virginity only in marriage.
  • Sex was important for hospitality e.g. among the Bahima of western Uganda where a visitor would be allowed to sleep with some one’s or daughter or sister as an expression of hospitality.
  • Women were expected to satisfy their husband sexually and for this they to give for any time the man demanded.
  • Sex intercourse was secret and that is why all people were expected to respect sex and conduct it deep in the night to ensure that children noticed nothing.
  • It was a private game supposed to be played when other people were not aware or seeing.
  • Sex abuse was highly punishable, people were expected to enjoy sexual intercourse in the right and acceptable ways e.g. among the Bakiga of western Uganda a pregnant girl before marriage would be thrown in a water fall by a brother.
  • In traditional Africa, men shared women sexually e.g. among the Banyankole, a woman belonged to the clan and brother shared women at own leisure.
  • Sex was played for companionship and company when men were disappointed; women were expected to provide them with sexual pleasure for recovery.
  • Sex was important for ritual e.g. during last funeral rites and dancing of twins among the Baganda, cleansing a new house among the Banyankole and Batoro of western Uganda.
  • Sex was a gate to life as it was important for pro-creation and expansion of the clan.
Importance of Sexual Intercourse
  • Sex provided satisfaction to the two parties that is to say the man and the woman.
  • Sex provided enjoyment and pleasure to Africans without shame or guilt.
  • Sex provided comfort and companionship to African i.e. sex was used to comfort the partners who had problems in marriages.
  • Sex helped to contain sexual immorality in society for example adultery, prostitution etc.
  • Sex was used for hospitality purposes e.g. among the Bahima of western Uganda a visitor was offered a wife or sister or daughter or the host to give company to the visitor.
  • Sex helped in stabilizing marriages i.e. it was used to settle conflicts among married partners as the sex intercourse would restore love for one another. Besides reducing stress and tension among the partners.
  • Sex helped in the production of children for the expansion of the clan and sources of labour to the family.
  • Sex was used for reconciliation purposes i.e. when a woman was divorced the process of re-union involved having sexual intercourse.
  • Sexual intercourse was used to gauge the ability and manhood of the man.
  • Sex was used to establish the healthy and fertility of the partners involved.
  • Sexual intercourse boasted intimacy and love between husband and wife.
  • Sexual intercourse was a bond of unity between man and woman and families in society.

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