Polygamy

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Polygamy exists in three specific forms: polygyny - where a man has multiple simultaneous wives;[2] polyandry - where a woman has multiple simultaneous husbands; or group marriage - where the family unit consists of multiple husbands and multiple wives. Historically, all three practices have been found, but polygyny is by far the most common.[3] Confusion arises when the broad term "polygamy" is used when a specific form of polygamy is being referred to. Additionally, different countries may or may not include all forms in their Polygamy laws.

Polyandry

Polyandry is a practice where a woman has more than one husband at the same time. Fraternal polyandry was traditionally practised among nomadic Tibetans in Nepal, parts of China and part of northern India, in which two or more brothers are married to the same wife, with her having equal sexual access to them. Polyandry is believed to be more likely in societies with scarce environmental resources, as it is believed to limit human population growth and enhance child survival.[4] It is a rare form of marriage that exists not only among poor families, but also the elite.[5]

Group marriage

Group marriage is a marriage where the family unit consists of more than one man and more than one woman, any of whom share parental responsibility for any children arising from the marriage.[citation needed] Group marriage is a form of non-monogamy and polyamory.

Another possibility, which has been conceived in fiction (notably in Robert Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress), is a line marriage, where a deceased or departing spouse in the group is continually replaced by another so that family property never becomes dispersed through inheritance.

Patterns of occurrence worldwide

Afghanistan
Algeria
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Brunei
Burkina Faso
Cameroon
Chad
CAR
Comoros
Congo
Djibouti
Egypt
Ethiopia
Gabon
The Gambia
India1
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Jordan
Kuwait
Libya
Malaysia

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