tagReviews & EssaysThe Future of Sex (and Gender)

The Future of Sex (and Gender)

byCal Y. Pygia©

What is sex likely to be like in the future?

Some science fiction authors have offered a few predictions, some of them tongue-in-cheek, others sincere. Cloning may replace sexual reproduction; sex may become entirely casual rather than committed; privacy may become largely unavailable; families may no longer exist as such; everyone may become sexually available to everyone else (Aldous Huxley, Brave New World). Sexual taboos may become things of the past (Grant Allen, The British Barbarians). Privacy may be granted at the discretion of the state and by appointment only, for brief periods, for sexual relations between men and women, the former of whom will be identified by a consonant followed by a number and the latter of whom will be designated by a number preceded by a vowel (Yevgeny Zamyatin, We). People may reside in utopian communes wherein they are free to enjoy free love (H. G. Wells, In the Days of the Comet). Temporary marriages of convenience and companionship may be tolerated, although privacy may prove elusive (John Gloag, Tomorrow's Yesterday). Sex in the future may even involve relations between humans and aliens (Philip Jose Farer, The Lovers).

Regardless of what sex may be like in the future, writers who write about sex in the future usually also satirize what sex is like here and now. The predictions, after all, are imaginative extrapolations from current affairs, literal and figurative, and interpretations of the directions in which present trends may lead in the not-too-distant future. If an alien is too alien, a human may have sex with it without realizing that he or she has had sex with it! Maybe microscopic extraterrestrial, ravishes a woman (or, for that matter, a man), its atomic ejaculation causing its human victim to experience an orgasm that is more like a cold than a moment of ecstasy. The moral of such a story might be that sex is much less significant than we tend to make it.

Whether for the sake of satire or not, literature that deals with futuristic sex often draws implications about society, politics, sex, and gender, suggesting, frequently, that moral codes, or mores, and taboos are but social constructs that serve the needs of the state and that are subject to change or even negation when such change or negation is necessary, useful, or convenient to the community, the nation, or the planet at large. If, in the past, heterosexual sex within the context of marriage to sustain and promote the nuclear family was the ideal and the norm, sexual promiscuity without the need for marriage may become the standard when the importance of the family to society declines or disappears. Conversely, in the unlikely event that interest in sex, on the part of men or women or both, declines or disappears, perhaps clothing would be outlawed, even in Sarah Palin's Alaska, and the use of sex stimulants of all kinds would be promoted or required so that the world's population can be sustained. Who knows? Maybe even birth control and abortion would be outlawed as "barbaric."

Falling to sleep for a long, long time; time travel; visits by time-twisting alien space travelers; and other devices have long been used to bridge the chronological gap between present and future. Other means of accomplishing this feat include dreams, films that show the future, and prophecies or predictions regarding future events. However future becomes present, the formula for writing about futuristic sex remains pretty much the same: (1) show how sex has changed, (2) explain why sex has changed, and (3) show the consequences and the implications that result from the change.

I offered one take on the future of sex in my own short story, "A Stitch in Time Saves Nine." I also suggest a possibility in "A Matter of Pheromones." In the first, a couple is allowed an extension of their lifetimes when the female agrees to have her vagina permanently sutured shut so that she cannot become pregnant and contribute further offspring to the planet's burgeoning, out-of-control population. In the latter, a serum is invented that causes homosexuals to turn pink and lavender whenever, attracted by a member of their own sex, they emit pheromones, making their identification (and assassination) easy for the homophobes who hunt them. The list of Lit erotica's "Sci Fi & Fantasy Stories" indicates the many, many takes on the future of sex that other writers have taken in their tales: alien abduction, cyber sex, the use of supernatural or superhuman sex powers, human-robot and human-cyborg sex, virtual sex, and many, many others.

Maybe you yourself have some ideas of your own concerning the future of sex. If so, maybe you will write an erotic science fiction or fantasy story that explores what it means to be a man or a woman (or both) in a futuristic world, how men and women have change d (physically, emotionally, and otherwise), which sex rules and why, whether there is a third sex to complement the traditional two (and, if so, whether this third sex is comprised of transsexuals, hermaphrodites, or some other sort of sexual hybrid). Maybe uterine, penile, or rectal implants have been added to the treasury of medical miracles (or malpractices), alongside facelifts and face transplants, prosthetic breasts and breast implants, prosthetic penises and penile implants, tummy tucks, and the surgical enhancement of milady (or gentleman's) buttocks. If people can swap bodies, they could live as one sex for six months and as the other for the rest of the year. What if the sexes remain the same, but their gender roles (and the notions associated with such) are reversed? Perhaps an adult will be free to engage in any sort of sex with any other adult at any time and in any place and sex crimes will be discontinued as archaic and barbaric.

The possibilities are endless, indeed, but the future represents an infinite stage upon which to cast our thoughts and enact our prognostications, and writing about the future of sex can be as fun as it is imaginative.

Who knows? It may also turn out to be true!

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byCal Y. Pygia© 0 comments/ 8600 views/ 1 favorites

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