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In the poly-amorous society of the 21st century most people have a hearty sexual appetite and a thirst for sexual exploration; seemingly more and more couples have an ‘open marriage’ policy, visit swingers bars, or simply invite a third party into the bedroom. Contrary to a long tradition of monogamy and fidelity strictly enforced by the Church, today more than a few relationships consist of at least one partner who has a ‘wandering eye’. And by ‘wandering eye’ I mean a tendency to…knock boots…with every girl/boy who is not their significant other without any real hesitation.
Not since the ancient Greeks has having multiple lovers been so #trendy. We have moved away from hundreds of years where adultery resulted in serious shaming (Hester Prynne) to an era where polyamory is glorified on television (Bachelor Sean). Infidelity and polygamy have become an almost expected and accepted part of some relationships. This sort of moral shift leaves one wondering, what caused this Royal change in the social norm?
In the 1530’s, high upon a noble steed and dressed like a perfect picture of 16th century fashion, sat Henry the Eighth: the bro who not only made being a ginger socially acceptable, but set very high standards as the original womanizer.
Naturally, with a title as illustrious as the King of England, it should come as no surprise that there were hoards of maidens lined up almost literally outside Henry’s door hoping they would be given their piece of English pie. When the infamous Anne Boleyn, the object of more than a few famous gazes (cc: Sir Thomas Wyatt, re: Whoso List to Hunt) arrived at court licking her lips. Henry Tudor, like any red-blooded male, could not suppress his carnal urges. Motivated by his urge to devour Anne, Henry demanded a divorce from his old and decrepit wife Catherine of Aragon – regardless of how totally pissed Spain and the Pope got.
In order to satisfy his polygamous desires, Henry eventually broke with the Catholic Church and created his own religion (seating himself at the head of the table) simply to acquire the younger, much hotter, and slightly manipulative Boleyn. Anyone familiar with the Tudor family history (or having gazed upon at least one scene with Jonathon Rhys Meyers in tight pants on The Tudors) knows that Anne was just the first notch on Henry’s (eventually quite large) belt. Not only did Mistress Boleyn wind up with her head served on a silver platter, Henry selected his third course – Jane Seymour – while still married to his second wife. And it didn’t end there; Henry went through three other wives before he eventually passed away from obesity and syphilis.
While I am not condemning Henry for his polygamous ways (I too would’ve ditched old Catherine for Anne…have you seen their portraits?), I believe the prominence of polyamory in today’s society would be significantly less had Henry Tudor not brought six different women home for dinner.
By Lauren H