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Many men will also refuse to entertain the idea, because the relationships are difficult to manage both socially and economically (Shostak, 1981, p. 152). Even though most !Kung enter monogamous marriages, extramarital affairs are not uncommon. There are rules set in place with a person’s lover if theydo indeed have one. It is important to always put one’s spouse first in order to avoid angry accusations and jealousy (Shostak, 1981, p. 239). Sometimes marriages end when feelings between a lover become too strong, and other times it is because the woman becomes pregnant when her husband is away. Although stories of such adventures seem to be plentiful, “actual extramarital sexual encounters seem to be infrequent” (Shostak, 1981, p. 239). In America, extramarital affairs are frowned upon, and for the most part anything besides monogamy is condemned. However, within the LBGT community open relationships are much more common. There are many variations to an open relationship, but one of the most common relationship styles is a primary relationship where both partners are allowed to sleep with anyone as long as the other partner agrees. This is similar to the !Kung lifestyle in that there is hope in maintaining the fundamental relationship with lovers on the side. The main difference is that partners feel no need to hide their lovers from one another. Partners are not always around when the other feels like having sex, so there is a decrease in tension from partners feeling that their sexual needs are not being met. Like the !Kung, jealousy can arise in this type of arrangement; however, normally both partners have developed relationship skills that allow them to talk about their jealousy without any substantial problems arising. The advantages seem to be limited to polygynous relationships. The only inherent advantage that lovers provide is that they fulfill people’s sexual desires. In the case of co-wives there are a multitude of advantages. The husband can bear more children, and more food can be readily gathered. There is also an
advantage among the wives. They can split chores amongst themselves, and if needed can split the duties of child care. It is obvious that polygynous relationships are not vital to the !Kung’s way of life, because only 5 percent partake in this style of marriage. It is equally obvious that lovers are not pertinent to the !Kung’s survival, because not individuals partake in obtaining partners outside of their marriage. Althoughsexual partners may not be a pertinent piece of !Kung culture, some things such as medicinal healing are extremely important. The !Kung’s practices of healing come from their perspective of why a person has fallen ill. They believe that spirits and shoot humans “with invisible arrows carrying disease, death, and misfortune” (Shostak, 1981, p. 259). It is he task of !Kung healers to mediate with the spirits and remove the arrow. The healing force that the !Kung call upon is called n/um. Normally in order to awaken the dormant healing powers the trance dance is performed.