Seven Science Fiction Ideas about Relationships and Sex

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by KilljoyKlown, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,493
    The following Big Think article is very interesting. I do think things will change if human lifespans get much longer. But what do you all think?

    Your Marriage of the Future: Seven Science Fiction Ideas about Relationships and Sex that Might Come True

    I’m not a big science fiction reader, but I admire how the genre has just enough of a toehold in reality that it feels plausibly weird. It stakes out the space of the uncanny: familiar, but disorienting.

    Here are marital sci fi ideas that seem like they might come true. I’m choosing things that we already have marital “prototypes” for today, albeit in some cases on the edgy frontiers of that strange world known as Planet Relationship.

    SERIAL MARRIAGE BY DESIGN

    What if you lived for 300 years? Would “’til death do us part” still apply? In John Wyndham’s Trouble with Lichen, Diana is a smart, sexy scientist who’s isolated the secret to living hundreds of years (plot spoiler: it’s moss). “How is marriage going to mesh with the new order,” a character asks her. “Fixed term marriages, with options, as in leases, perhaps?” Or maybe “companionship” appeal, rather than sex appeal, would become the primary consideration if we extended marriage from 50 to 250 years?

    Marital term limits already have been proposed in some countries, and serial monogamy is a common marital practice, since many Americans marry, divorce, and re-marry. Maybe the practice will shift from normal to ideal in the 21st century. Forever’s only getting longer. Fifty is already the “new 30.”



    OPEN NON-MONOGAMY

    One of the most popular sci fi relationship ideas is non-monogamy. Samuel Delany’s protagonist in Dhalgren is in a polyamorous relationship, and Robert Rimmer’s Harrad Experiment (1966) explores open marriage. Sci fi writer Robert Heinlein was a noted advocate of sexual liberation and free love.

    Ethical non-monogamy’s already here. An estimated five percent of marriages today are “open,” and that may well be an under-count.

    REPRODUCTION BELONGS IN THE LAB, NOT MARRIAGE

    Sperm banks, egg donors, birth control and surrogate motherhood have already shattered the ironclad marital premise of “biology as destiny” and the bond between marriage, sex and reproduction. Medical technologies can replicate an in utero environment to keep extremely premature babies alive.

    Sci fi imagines that the marriage of the future will have a more tenuous link to “breeding.”

    In addition to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga series explores a world of “uterine replicators” and genetic engineering where reproduction belongs in the lab. Relationships and marriage aren’t tethered even vestigially to reproduction, and so they spin off in many different directions and forms, from all-male monastic societies to promiscuous ones.

    SEXUAL POLYMORPHISM

    American marriage politics are consumed by the opposition between homosexual and heterosexual unions. But what if sex was just an act, not an identity, or an opposition of two main types? Relationships of the future might obliterate the very idea of a fixed sexual orientation.

    Heinlein has fun with sexual polymorphism. His characters have sex a la carte, in a variety of ways and with a lot—a lot—of different partners of both sexes. These characters aren’t really “oriented” in one particular direction at all.

    So much for the “ISO” abbreviations in the personal ads.

    SAME PLANET/DIFFERENT WORLDS

    From Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland on, a popular (feminist) sci fi idea is a sex-segregated world without men, or marriage.

    In Sheri Tepper’s The Gate to Women’s Country, women all live together in a gated community, with eunuch sell-outs around as servants, and hold annual festivals where a few men are invited in to mate with them. James Tiptree, the pen name of a female bisexual , imagined a female-only society after men had been killed off by disease (“Houston, Houston, Do You Read?”). Men are comedic fodder for the women, who reproduce through cloning. One (woman’s) utopia is another (man’s) dystopia. I guess.

    A lot’s been written in the last decade about the superfluity and the “end” of men. It seems unlikely that we’d ever actually live in sex-segregated worlds, but it’s already true that women don’t need men to support themselves or find an identity. What sci fi presents as a fait accompli is just a subtle drift today—a drift into our own “Mars/Venus” worlds and destinies, and a feeling that women might do just as well without men or marriage.

    MANY MOMS AND DADS

    Jo Walton’s Lifelode –called a “domestic fantasy”—describes a quiet farming community, where characters are polyamorous and families are intentionally formed with several adults and children from different relationships.

    The ideal today is still the married nuclear family, with two parents and children, even though this isn’t the statistical norm at all.

    The marriage futurist might predict normatively blended, non-nuclear families, where children are raised with different adults from various relationships. Blended families are already common, and the children of divorced parents often find themselves in relationships with other adults as their parents start dating again.

    LOVE ACROSS THE CARBON DIVIDE

    Bladerunner envisions desire between android and human, and androids designed for human pleasure; Strange Days features a SQUID device that lets people experience fully the sexual violence or pleasures that others have already had; the Matrix gives us virtual experience almost indistinguishable from the real.

    Sex and desire are more commingled with technology than ever today. In online and social media, we can have mental affairs and simulate experiences. Relationships of the future will probably have more virtual, cyber-desire infiltration—avatars, simulators, memory data chips, robots, and Wii-like games that take us on “sex trips,” perhaps, without the trouble of leaving our chairs. Anything’s possible.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,416
    Yep.
    I dunno why you people are so hung up about genitalia. Love the one you're with.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Yes, but not to actually be the ones to impregnate them.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,714
    Don't forget aliens who have different noses and ears than we do - but apparently have compatible genitalia and are so amazingly close in genome that we can breed with them.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,416
    Um...you're forgetting the forehead ridges:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    Did Star Trek ever explain that we were all descended from common ancestors-the only possible way that would have worked?
     
  8. Ripley Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,411
    Psychic sex is interesting. Has it ever been portrayed?
     
  9. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,416
    You're into this and on a science forum...mmmkay...duly noted...
     
  10. Ripley Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,411
    No, I meant that it was an interesting idea—it gives a whole new meaning to extrasensory perception. And I think we sort of tap into it with the initial sexual attraction—when there's a raw and tantalizing excitement exchanged across a room.
     
  11. Bells Staff Member

    Messages:
    22,053
    Great..

    Now post a link please..
     
  12. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,493
    You mean women don't think they are aliens? How amusing!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  13. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,493
  14. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,493
    Well I have heard the most important sex organ is the brain. Could be we still have a lot to look forward to.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  15. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,493
    Panspermia
     
  16. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,416
    Oh, I think panspermia's possible, but we'd all have had to descend from a near common ancestor in the star trek universe.
     
  17. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,493
    I think panspermia is an interesting theory, but not really sure I buy it. First how does that suspended or dormant life get into space and drift into a position to start life on a new planet. It would have to stay viable for billions of years and then get very lucky. I think it's far more likely that life forms on its own whenever conditions are right and once evolution kicks in the successful general shapes will be repeated in (close enough for government work) to be similar in shape but still alien.
     
  18. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,416
    Dormant bacteria inside asteroid material... Possible. Maybe.

    I've read the first of these books:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilith's_Brood

     
  19. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    23,049
    hey chimkin, i was watching Anthony Bourdain the other day and he was doing a show on somewhere where they have FIVE different genders including one which is supposed to be balanced between the 2 extremes perfectly (apparently these tend to be hermaphrodites), they stick knives into there throats to prove that they are possessed by the spirits of there ancestors, want to try?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Edit to add: BTW My gay friend is VERY hung up on genitalia, surprisely so actually. He is completely grossed out by the thought of the female body and female sex, its quite odd actually. That being said he is also scared of the idea of gay sex even though he IS gay so *shrug*. We took him to a gay club (a very very tame one) and his comment was "oh no those are GAY!!! I cant go in there there gay people". He enjoyed himself in the end but it took a lot of prodding to get him through the door even with my partner and I with him

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  20. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,714
    Contracts? And they say romance is dead!



    Maybe that's where the disease that wipes out men comes from?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!




    Pretty sure that's on the increase anyway.

    Couldn't we equally as easily do the opposite? Set up farms of women to harvest their eggs like we do with chickens? That way we can get some peace and quiet!
     
  21. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,493
    Anti-Flag

    If life spans ever reach 300, I wonder how long men and women could continue having children and how would that affect the relationships they might have?

    SERIAL MARRIAGE BY DESIGN might be called Serial Family By Design. Can you imagine a new family about every 20 years with a different partner. All your kids would be a weird tangle of half brothers and sisters. I see a genealogist nightmare in the making here.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  22. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,784
    Thanks for posting this, KilljoyKlown. It's very interesting. I’ve never thought about the relationship aspect, but I did read this article on how it could affect our legal system.

    I also found the Medawar Theory intriguing. When multicellular organisms are produced, genetic activators guide the cells through gene regulation. However, when we reproduce and pass on our genetic information, we can only pass down a genetic manual that contains instructions for regulation of gene expression up to the point of our reproductive age. After this, we have no instructions and we begin to age.

    He had the idea of achieving longevity through selection. You know, by telling all the short-lived teenagers that they can’t reproduce, and allowing only genetic super-centenarians to get it on. Good luck with that, eh?

    It has been awhile since I’ve watched this video, where Michio Haku asked people if they would drink an elixir, i.e., the fountain of youth. Would the majority of us want longevity? If so, how long would we want to live? Would life seem less precious? Could our perception of time itself change? Would boredom cause risk taking behaviors to rise? Many centenarians when asked, say that they have lived long enough, but is this only because they feel the pain associated with aging?

    This too, sounded promising.

    Experiments that hint of longer lives

    http://kenyonlab.ucsf.edu/html/lab_overview.html
     
  23. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,493
    Nice post on this subject. Living longer does pose some interesting problems. One of which is having children. We are having world population problems now, how much worse can it get if we all started living to over 100 let alone 300 or longer?
     

Share This Page