A popular notion in sexual selection is that females are polyandrous and their offspring are commonly sired by more than a single male. We now have large-scale evidence from natural populations to be able to verify this assumption. Although we concur that polyandry is a generally common and ubiquitous phenomenon, we emphasise that it remains variable. In particular, the persistence of single paternity, both within and between populations, requires more careful consideration. We also explore an intriguing relation of polyandry with latitude. Several recent large-scale analyses of the relations between key population fitness variables, such as heterozygosity, effective population size (Ne), and inbreeding coefficients, make it possible to examine the global effects of polyandry on population fitness for the first time.