Most of you probably know what traditional polygamy is — where one man has many wives. This custom is practiced all over the world, including in the US.
But have you ever heard of one woman taking multiple husbands?
The relatively rare and ancient practice of several men sharing one wife is called polyandry. This marriage system evolved as a practical way to control the population and a family’s property. Like many other pre-birth control cultures, people in various parts of India have been practicing polyandry for centuries.
With a limited amount of farming land and a lot of sons, people in these societies often found a girl who was approximately the age of all of the brothers and she was married off to them. They would all live in the same house and work on the same land. And since one woman could only bear so many children, each man would get the opportunity to become a father. Five brothers with a wife each could easily produce dozens of children. But polyandrous families seldom had more than six or seven children.
One woman in India, 22-year-old Rajo Verma, just so happens to currently live in a one-room shack with five husbands. She cleans, cooks and takes care of her child while her men are busy working.
Each night, the housewife sleeps with a different brother on a set schedule. “Initially it felt a bit awkward,” Rajo told The Sun. “But I don’t favor one over the other.”
The first brother to make her his bride, has insisted that he is not jealous of the rest of his brothers sleeping with his wife. “We all have sex with her but I’m not jealous. We’re one big happy family,” Guddu said.
Four years ago, the couple were wedded in an arranged Hindu marriage and he remains her only formal spouse. The custom in their village was to take all of her husband’s brothers as his equal. Bajju, Sant Ram, Gopal and Dinesh all take turns sleeping with Guddu’s spouse and treat her as if she was all their own.
“I consider her my wife and sleep with her like my brothers,” the eldest brother explained.
Although their shack does not have any beds, they sleep on a floor covered in blankets. According to Rajo, her mother was also married to three brothers. So when she got hitched, she knew what she was in for and has no complaints.
“I get a lot more attention and love than most wives,” she said.
The woman also has no idea which man is the biological father of her toddler son.