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Can a Woman Have more than one Husband?

Updated on June 30, 2016

This can quickly come off as an outrageous question especially from a man’s point of view. But before you judge, let’s explore some facts.

One of mankind’s biggest achievements of this century is the concept of gender equality, and woman emancipation. Women and men are no longer just equal in the eyes of God, but also in the eyes of common law that governs society today. This in essence means that what a man can do, so can a woman. (Except of course child birth and related activities)

Secondly, the idea isn’t as alien as you might think. Polyandry; the term used to summarize the act of a woman having more than one husband has been around since ancient history. According to Raymond Hames, a professor of anthropology and Katherine starkweather, both of the University of Nebraska; there are more documented anthropologic accounts of polyandrous unions than have previously been known in the classic polyandrous Tibetan region.

With the above eye opening facts in mind, we can attempt to discuss the matter without undue prejudice, and as objectively as possible.

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Would there be harmony in a home with one wife and several husbands?

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But why can’t a woman have multiple husbands?

Many communities around the world accept polygamy. Men are allowed to marry more than one wife as long as they have the ability to satisfy their needs. So why is it so unacceptable for the same to be true for women? This question has always silently lingered around since the emerging and acceptance of gender equality but has never been satisfactorily addressed. Even religion seems to simply brush it off as immoral. Could it be because we are actually living in a man’s world?

It is no secret that quite often, some women engage in sexual relationships with more than one man at the same time. In fact society has found names for such women, labeling them as sluts and so forth. Despite the stigma, the practice goes on anyway and many times without any of the men ever suspecting. This in my opinion means that women actually have what it takes to handle more than one man. (At least sexually) So why should we keep sweeping the subject under the carpet and pretend that it does not exist?

Some problems associated with polyandry are discussed below;

  1. There is a big predicament that can result from a woman having several husbands. In the event that she gets pregnant, it would almost be impossible for her to identify the true father of the child. This would deny the child his natural right of knowing who his biological father is. Even the father would want to know if he actually fathered the child for purposes of lineage and continuity.

But now with the development of DNA technology, this shouldn’t be a hindrance any more. A woman can sleep with several men, get pregnant, and there after accurately determine who the real father of the child is, with a simple DNA test. This actually happens in real life. Women are actually much more sexual than most men would want to believe. If you can’t satisfy her, she will get it from elsewhere with or without your knowledge. That’s nature. Rather than wishing it away, why can’t we simply accept it?

2. The question and ultimately the second predicament is; who would be the head of the family in a situation where one woman has multiple husbands.

In order to deal with this, it is important to understand what the roles of the head of the family are. These include providing basic needs such as food shelter and clothing for the family. He/she also provides security as well as ensuring cohesion in the home. There is no doubt that women around the world provide these for their families on a daily basis, regardless of whether they are single mothers or not. They are therefore fully capable of heading the family. But even then, providing for the family shouldn’t always be a burden for the family head alone. Other able bodied members of the family can contribute to the well-being of the home.

Women work hard and often make able leaders. The question is how well can they administer a home that has children and several husbands? Can the husbands accept to be under the able leadership of their wife? Should the first husband take the leadership role? Will there be harmony in this home? This is open to discussion.

As preposterous as it might sound, I believe the subject of polyandry is worth discussing rather than deliberately keeping a blind eye. Whether we like it or not, it’s here with us disguised as infidelity. We can at least start with those communities that accept polygamy. We live in a society that accepts same sex marriage. What is so impossible about a woman marrying more than one man, if they feel like they can handle?

(And while I was at this one, a crazy idea crossed my mind. Would it be fine for a man to marry a woman and a man at the same time? After all it’s a free world. Hmmmm!)

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    • profile image

      Norine Williams 9 months ago

      If Muslim women believe The Creator is the Father of Abraham, Issac and Jacob and that He manifested Himself in the flesh in the "Glory" of the Son; Jesus Christ, who died for our salvation (Acts 20:28), then they must "obey" the Bible which applies to ALL no matter where from (II Kings 17:29-41)!

      Matthew 24:14 says "And THIS GOSPEL of the kingdom shall be preached in ALL the world for a witness unto ALL nations; and then shall the end come!"


    • ian 12am profile image

      ian 12am 9 months ago

      Am sure God completely understood exactly when he said when he used 'husband' and not husbands. But unless we can get everyone to be a Christian, this approach may not solve the real issues present in society. Remember not everyone is a Christian or subscribes to the Bible, yet we all live in the same world. What should moslem women say for example?!

    • profile image

      Norine Williams 9 months ago

      I pray that you currently live under "The New Covenant" of GRACE and TRUTH and know that the Law (Old Covenant) which included 'polygamy' was fulfilled "After the Cross!"

      Concerning "polygamy in the Bible," under the New Covenant I Corinthians 7:2 says "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication (premarital sex or sex between two consentual adults), let every man have HIS OWN wife, and let every woman have HER OWN husband." Did this Scripture say "husbands or wives?" I think GOD had a pretty good grasp of the English language, don't you? II Timothy 3:16 says "ALL Scripture is inspired of God..." and since He "inspired" men to write It, I believe!

      Ephesians 5:31-32 "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they 'TWO' (Not three or any other number) shall be ONE flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."

      Christ=Holy; the Church=Holy!


    • ian 12am profile image

      ian 12am 9 months ago

      Norin Williams thanks for the comment. If you decide to approach marriage with a biblical approach then the discussion may change. But even then, there are multiple accounts of polygamy in the Bible right from the time of Abraham, to king Solomon and so on. It is therefore not so far fetched.

      However which ever way you choose to approach the subject, polygamy is a in society today. If it's OK for men to have multiple wives, then why not allow the same for women?

    • profile image

      Norine Williams 9 months ago

      This HUB goes against EVERYTHING in Scripture pertaining to 'Marriage' in the sight of GOD!

      GOD established 'Marriage' in Genesis BEFORE Adam and Eve sinned! Genesis 2:24 says "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall CLEAVE unto his wife, and they shall become ONE flesh." Now where does "another man" fit in or "another woman" for that matter; according to Scripture? Look's like "three's a crowd," according to GOD; right?

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 16 months ago

      I agree mature men don't cheer about men who sleep with many beautiful women. However just because they're not vocal about doesn't necessarily mean there are lots of men who wouldn't mind switching places with someone like Derek Jeter, John Mayer, or back in another era Warren Beatty.

      In the U.S. there has always been a link between being "successful" and attracting "beautiful women". As you noted this normally just a (phase).

      Yes a lot of encounters are done in secrecy but for example a public person who attends many functions or is photographed in PDA scenarios is seen.

      Should a guy have a personal friend who seems to be dating lots of beautiful women he doesn't feel threatened by him. Even if he doesn't "admire" him he doesn't (look down on him). Where as women put down other women.

    • ian 12am profile image

      ian 12am 16 months ago

      Interesting Coment. I agree with you in many aspects except for the comment about how men admire promiscuous men.

      Most mature men don't admire men who sleep with multiple women. It's just that for some reason it's more acceptable than if a woman does it.

      That's why even the Bible seems to depict it as prestigious in the story of King Solomon. It's not common to find fully grown men cheering each other on for promiscuity. In fact many times those who indulge in multiple sex encounters do so in secrecy.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 16 months ago

      The main thing that would stop women from having multiple husbands is men by nature have no desire to share women they (care) about.

      "It is no secret that quite often, some women engage in sexual relationships with more than one man at the same time. In fact society has found names for such women, labeling them as sluts and so forth."

      The truth is men also have been called "dogs" and "no good cheater" and such for sleeping with multiple women.

      The primary difference is most men don't care what (women) think!

      Women on the other hand do seem to care what (men) think about them.

      Another difference is while men may admire other men who have sex with lots of beautiful women... Women feel threatened by women who dress provocatively or are known for having sex with lots of men.

      They don't want such women around their man nor do they want men in general to expect them to behave like those women. Oftentimes (women) are the first ones to label such women as sluts and whores to shame them. How would the world be if women admired women who slept around just like many men admire men who do so? That's another discussion.

      A lot of polygamy can be traced back to religion and primitive man where he who has the "gold" or "power" makes the rules and is entitled to live excessively.

      It's been said that King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

      Can you imagine how a woman with 700 husbands and 300 boy toys would be viewed? Neither gender wants to have that "vision".

      Another factor is "women" are considered to be more valuable than men when it comes to sexuality. A woman's virginity was always been considered more "precious" than a man's virginity in our society.

      In most places where polygamy is practiced the man is the "head of the household" and general breadwinner/provider. The women are essentially one step above the children as being "dependents".

      Traditions and historical power structures are to erase which would make difficult for many women to want to financially support a group of men. Another issue would be pregnancy. While men can continue to work and provide for their family throughout the entire pregnancy there are instances where some women are force to reside in bed or told to curtail their lifestyles. The men would have to wait for DNA tests to determine whose blood child it is.

      Having said all of that if polygamy is legal it should not discriminate in the type of marriage based upon gender of the head of household. If three men want to share one wife they should be able to do so.

      I imagine the woman would get approval from the men to add a new husband just as it is done vice versa in a lot polygamous communities that have "sister wives".