Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Thoughts: Wine, Women and Song

Have you ever blamed being over-served as an excuse to cheat on your lady love? Sorry guys, that excuse doesn't hold water (or wine) anymore. Two wine economists (who knew those existed and what an awesome job!) noticed that societies which embraced multiple wives, polygyny, do not consume alcohol. Two notable examples of this in today's world are parts of the Muslim world and parts of the Mormon church.

Pondering over a glass or two of wine, these economists pondered two questions: "is this ad hoc observation representative of a true phenomenon? Does a real (positive) correlation between monogamy and alcohol consumption exist?" I recommend you read this study, "Women or Wine? Monogamy and Alcohol" as it is fascinating. The bottom line is summed up nicely by Mara Squicciarini, one of the co-authors: “We were surprised to find that there is a trade-off between alcohol consumption and the number of sex partners that men tended to keep at any one time." Notable points in this paper:
  • Apparently there is a ton of data on "frequency of drunkeness" - data that goes back centuries.
  • Greek and Roman Empires were the only societies who consumed alcohol in that point in history. They were also the only societies who embraced 'formal monogamy.'
  • Alcohol consumption did not alter the number of sexual partners a woman had. Slut shaming strikes again!
  • The Catholic Church may have its issues, but the Church was critical at spreading viticulture around Europe. They were also helpful at spreading breweries around the world too. Servicey!
  • The Industrial Revolution appears to be the tipping point for both alcohol consumption and monogamy.
  • Lord Krishna was said to have 16,108 wives and King Solomon had 700 wives and about 300 concubines -- all without Ok Cupid.
So when you open up that bottle of bubbly with your loved one this evening, you may want to ponder: do we drink because we are monogamous, or are we monogamous because we drink? 

Originally published at

1 comment:

  1. This is brilliant. I never really thought about a potential correlation before. Huh. And wine economists? I WANT that job! On the subject of monogamy, I wouldn't mind too much if there were a few of me around the house. You know. One to clean, one to parent, one to do the deeds I'm too pooped for. Maybe not. idk.