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10th Jan 2020

A new study has found women should always have an extra husband handy – and it makes total sense

Trine Jensen-Burke

extra husband

A back-up plan, if you will.

If you have ever watched any of those polygamy TV shows where they show one many juggling life with several wives and thought it all looked a bit stressful, you need to think again, says a new study.

Or rather, never mind the man with the multiple wives, what would make sense, says science, is a woman having a couple (or more) husbands on the go at any given time – as a very clever back-up plan in case one drops dead (or, you know, leaves you hight and dry).

Yep, it’s true. A new study confirms that a woman could stand to benefit from having more than one husband in case one gets sick or hurt.

The study, called “Unpacking mating success and testing Bateman’s principles in a human population,” was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Bateman’s Principle generally says that since men make millions of sperm while women make comparatively few eggs, women are the limiting factor in reproduction and are much more important to an offspring’s success than men. Thus, men should be competing for women if they want to have successful children.

OK, so Bateman was specifically talking about animals when he made his principle, but the recent study looked at its application on humans by analyzing the marriages and offspring of the Pimbwe people in a remote village in East Africa. The Pimbwe are mostly hunter-gatherers, and as such, they can often find themselves in times of scarcity and hardship. They’re also far less inclined to monogamy as other societies.

About 2,000 participants were studied over the course of two decades, then researchers compared male marriages, female marriages, and surviving offspring. “We found that both men and women had more children the more years they were married (not surprisingly),” lead author Monique Borgerhoff Mulde told Theravive in an interview.

“However, when we looked at the number of different individuals a person married over their lifetime the pattern diverged. While men with multiple spouses had a lower rate of producing children than men with fewer spouses, women with multiple spouses had a larger number of surviving children over their lifetime than women with fewer spouses.”

To summarize, Mulder theorized that having more than one husband could be beneficial for a woman as it provided her with a spare source of income if one husband gets sick, and also a larger family to call upon in times of hardship.

I mean; you could, of course, be more financially independent on your own, and as for a larger family, sure that’s where our friends come in handy. But we get it – having an extra husband can be a real bonus. Especially if they all take on the dishes and the laundry too.