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Polyandry, the practice of one woman having two or more husbands
, is found in very few parts of the world. Women have married multiple men simultaneously in Nepal, India and parts of China and Africa. Still, polygamy (the practice of one man having two or more wives) is far, far more common than women having multiple husbands. Keep in mind that in most marriages involving polyandry, the husbands are not allowed to take lovers other than their single wife. Same goes in almost all polygamous marriages.
Still, I often remember reading articles about polyandry because the photos of polyandrous families seem to involve the happiest-looking women I've ever seen.
One time, while reading National Geographic
, I came across an article called "Marriages Across The Globe." We had the usual horrible deals in Pakistan or Jordan where fifteen girls were sold by their families to forty-five-year-old husbands.
One picture of a twelve-year-old bride showed her screaming in terror as her family forced her into a decorated marriage litter where she would be carried off to meet her 32-year-old groom. It was horrible.
The only happy bride was from a photo of a polyandrous marriage ceremony in Kenya. The bride, clearly a woman in her early twenties, smiled a wide grin as she shot a flirtatious glance at her new husband- also in his early twenties- and touched his ceremonial beaded marriage collar. The groom looked at her adoringly. His brother- and the bride's second husband- stood on the bride's other side and looked at her in an equally adoring way. Damn! It was my favorite photo in the entire NatGeo marriage issue.
Polyandry, like polygamy, is technically illegal here in the US. Still, if given the choice, would you prefer a polyandrous marriage over a traditional marriage?