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Philippe Brenot

Inventing the Couple

If you’re having problems with your live-in partner, you shouldn’t be overly worried. According to Philippe Brenot, human beings were originally polygamous and the couple is not a natural structure.

Yet if marriage in its traditional form has failed today, this does not mean we should give up living with a partner. In order to function, society needs structures. But it must also be able to adapt the existing forms to our times and to individual modes of thought. Our society must thus re-examine the types of union that are best adapted to our present life-style. Once two people have formed a couple, they must learn to preserve it, helping it evolve and constantly reinventing it so that it does not wither and die.

Philippe Brenot, an anthropologist and psychiatrist, is the director of studies on sexology at the University of Paris-V-René Descartes. He is the author of the recently published Le Sexe et l’Amour.