Meet the Panelists (01:05)
"Screw the Fairytale" author Helen Croydon, UCL anthropologist Kit Opie, and psychologist Susan Quilliam will debate whether humans need relationships to live a fulfilling life.
The Pitch: Helen Croydon (04:51)
Croydon argues that humans grow up as individuals and then are expected to choose a partner in their early 20s. She supports love, but says it is a transient form of fulfillment—as any other passion. Many relationships fail.
The Pitch: Susan Quilliam (02:43)
Quilliam points to our biological need for relationships. However, definitions of relationships and fulfillment have changed. She calls for a new "vocational" model to determine whether one thrives in partnerships or as an individual.
The Pitch: Kit Opie (04:05)
Opie explains that our large brain is responsible for monogamy's evolution. He argues that monogamy is a biological necessity, supported by bonding hormones vasopressin and oxytocin. Homosexuality occurs among primates and mammals. Opie finds fulfillment in reproduction.
Theme 1: Does Love Complete Us? (10:31)
Croydon sees basing fulfillment on someone else as diluting identity and inner confidence. Quilliam discusses recent ideas that marriage involves individuals working together, but not depending completely on each other. Opie says love hormones are evolution's best option for reproduction.
Theme 2: Is Monogamy Outdated? (04:46)
A relationship counselor, Quilliam believes humans want someone to rely on, even when unfaithful. Croydon says our desire for both early romance and long-term relationships is unrealistic. Younger generations are more independent and transient, and rely less on relationships.
Serial Monogamy (04:32)
Croydon and Opie agree that humans may be best suited to a series of long-term relationships; marriage is a looser concept among hunter-gatherers. Family life was traditionally an insurance policy for old age. Quilliam identifies five major relationships in modern society.
Theme 3: What would Alternatives to Monogamy Look Like? (05:54)
Quilliam argues that having increased relationship options does not make people happier. Croydon discusses open relationship models and the importance of honesty when having multiple sexual partners.
Anthropological Perspective on Monogamy Alternatives (03:44)
Opie says monogamy is a protection against infanticide among primates. Children in households without their biological father present are more likely to experiences abuse. He urges fathers to maintain relationships with children, even when divorced.
Credits: A Fairytale Romance: Do We Need Relationships to Thrive? (00:25)
Credits: A Fairytale Romance: Do We Need Relationships to Thrive?
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