2013-09-11

Sex


Sex [1] is a biological specialization. The human species requires two sexes for procreation. The two sexes are physiologically different; one's got a womb the other doesn't (excluding, for simplicity's sake, the exceptions). You need one of each to make a new one.
It stands to reason that sex specialization is not limited to physiological attributes but applies to behavioral as well. Now, what behaviors are a result of sex is a divisive topic, but it seems reasonable that a female would crave and derive pleasure from physical contact with her child since she has to (generally speaking) nurse it.
We tend to attribute behaviors that favor procreation and the survival of offspring to sex or "genetic programming". We often go so far as to say that procreation is our "prime objective".
That doesn't explain nature's inclination to use incentives (courting, physical intimacy, sex(!) tend to be pleasurable), but let's save that for another day.
Humans are capable of thinking and making decisions based on the conclusions. We sometimes view these abilities as a gift are afforded us by nature, as apposed to procreation which is an imperative.
The notion that we exist to reproduce (and do thinking as a hobby) is an idea that is used to justify any number of other ideas that seem reasonably relevant to successful procreation.
But there seem to always have been those who did it the other way around.
As humans we pride ourselves on our curiosity and drive to explore and learn and think. Historically, these have been choices afforded only those with means; the rich guys with time left over after hunting and harvesting and eating and, well, procreating.
Now, most of us have a bit of time left over.
So many more of us don't have to kill boars and bear an abundance of children to ensure survival. We have roads and health care and houses and seemingly endless food supplies that make the behaviors we attribute to sex less meaningful. Survival both for the individual and for our species is ensured by our improved circumstances. Circumstances that we ourselves created for that very purpose.
If the "primary objective" has been met, might not our hobby be promoted in its place? Arguable, exploration, learning and thinking, are also biologically driven given that so many of us want to do it. That means that one biological incentive could supersede another under certain conditions.
What does that mean for behaviors relating to the specialization of sex?
Does reproduction become a choice rather than an imperative and does that mean that behaviors we consider immutable are in fact conditional?
In our attempts to make sense of the world and ourselves we look to procreation to explain most everything we do. We have concocted an elaborate set of rules that make up gender roles, and we attribute these to sex specialization.
But, what happens to our gender roles if sex specialization is conditional? What happens to us? Who do we become if we are no longer defined by procreation?

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