The repression of sexuality and the control of breeding privileges is as much
a human tendency as the expression of sexuality. But why is there so much
repression, even when sexuality is publically displayed in all its variants? Why
are all humans not like Bonobos and enjoy free sex without constraint?In
fantasy, human males would like to be Bonobos if they had the opportunity; but
they compete over females and make rules that constrain sexual opportunity.
Human females tend to be cautious and tend to barter sexual favors to gain
access to desirable males, prestige and money. Females are competitive and want
to control the sexual availability of other females. Both males and females are
monopolists and at the same time are opportunists.
Every primate group has mating rules. Some rules are unspoken and unwritten,
but there are always rules.A reasonable argument can be made that human sexual
prudery is an expression of an innate tendency to compete for sexual privileges.
Just add some exaggerations, distortions, power struggles, rules and cruelty and
you can develop most male behaviors. If you are an anthropologist touring the
planet, you would find a variety of sex rules and divergent notions of what is
normal sexual behavior. The only certainly is that in every group sexual
behavior is molded and constrained by a combination of innate tendencies and
local rules. General rules about sexual behaviors are linked to kinship rules
and involve a hierarchical distribution of rights and privileges within the
local group. Since males compete for females, rules regulate competition and
minimize the disruptive potential for male to male conflict.
The rules must also minimize the damaging effects of female to
female competition for male affiliation, which usually determines female status
and privilege. Among the rules are limitations on the exposure of body parts. In
cold countries, nudity is often considered improper and clothing serves both
utilitarian and modesty functions.
In warmer countries, less clothing is acceptable but genitalia are often
covered.Since males, in particular, are strongly aroused by seeing female
breasts and buttocks, clothing often covers these provocative shapes. A general
acceptance of public nudity signals a liberated sexual attitude.Female nudity on
display is a form of entertainment that pleases men and turns them into generous
patrons.In the later part of the 20th century public nudity in all its forms was
increasingly prevalent on the planet except for a few Islamic states.
DNA has rules about who has sex with whom. Because adverse genetic mutations
concentrate when close relatives mate, it is not a good idea for brothers and
sisters to or parents and offspring to make babies. There is, therefore, a
natural aversion to close sexual encounters within the family.
This natural incest aversion is strengthened by incest taboos, but incest is
common in all societies, nevertheless.DNA's reasons are practical. Gene
diversity is good and unrelated individuals should have sex more often than
related individuals. Bad gene mutations will tend to concentrate in the babies
of related parents, and if these babies survive and reproduce, bad genes will
become more common in the group. Brothers and sisters have a spontaneous
aversion to having sex together (if they live together as children) and group
rules enforce that tendency. There are individuals who fail to regulate sexual
behavior in terms of innate and local rules and they do the wrong things.
Fathers who have sex with their own daughter's appear in every society and every
social class, even though the activity is genetically unwise and generally
taboo. Unrelated stepfathers often attempt to have sex with stepdaughters and
their genes are unrelated so that this has no negative genetic consequences.
Teenagers often hang out in groups with idle time, little parental
supervision and casual sex becomes a popular form of recreation. Young females
appear to be attracted to male groups and some will become promiscuous,
apparently unaware of their need to barter and trade sexual favors. On closer
examination, most females are aware of the barter principle, but from a critical
observer's point of view, may be too generous with sexual favors, offering their
bodies for male attention, group acceptance, liquor, cigarettes and drugs.
Revelations of promiscuous teenage sex practices can alarm or outrage parents,
teachers and other members of the adult community who have adopted a prudish
approach to sexuality. Prudery is reinforced by the dangers associated with
adolescent group activity such as drug use, crime, injury and death from motor
vehicle accidents and fighting.
The idea of "losing my virginity" and "saving myself for marriage" is a
functional aspect of prudery, originating from the marketing of sexual
privileges. A young woman has something of value, which she and her family can
barter or sell. Attached to her sexuality is her ability to produce children for
a single male who selects her, pays for her, and supports her. The value of
virginity is the guarantee that the women is not carrying another man’s child or
a sexually transmitted disease and is capable of discipline over desire. If the
young woman is overly receptive sexually, much of her value is lost.In some
societies, even today, only virgins can marry.The theme of discipline over
desire is expressed in a variety of ways in every culture and is incorporated
into all the prevalent religions. Some religious institutions promote the idea
of virginity as a commodity and attempt to suppress teenage sexuality by
praising “virtue” and threatening dire punishment from a stern God if you do not
protect virginal virtue.
Rules that regulate reproductive access also regulate family structure and
child care. Strict traditions attempt to match couples and then maintain the
marriage contract through the lifetime of the couple. The discipline of family
life in traditional societies is thought to be morally superior to any other
expressions of life. Despite strict rules and dire punishments, premarital sex
and marital infidelity are common in all societies. In free societies, strict
reproductive and family discipline is regarded as oppressive and is associated
with patriarchy, female submission and unhappy children who rebel against overly
strict parental control.
Modern, educated, free humans will not accept unconditional moral authority
nor threats of moral punishments as incentives for discipline over desire. The
idea that you will go to hell for eternity for having premarital sex is
recognized as a ludicrous form of intimidation. Even more “realistic”
educational schemes based on inspiring fear of disease in adolescents tend not
to work. Sexually transmitted diseases are real threats but adolescents are not
adverse to risk and believe that the risk of getting life-threatening HIV
infection and dying of AIDS is low. Selfish DNA says: “I just want more babies”
so that desire is stronger than hesitation or fear. Females have always had the
greater responsibility to regulate sexual activity since they have more to gain
and more to lose by inappropriate liaisons with males. Spontaneous reproductive
discipline is linked to intelligence and health. A smart, health young women is
more likely to be constructively engaged and is more selective of male partners.
She can discern what is in her best interest even if her family is lax in
applying the rules of sexual restraint. A less attractive or less intelligent
female will be more reliant on sexual favors to get what she wants; hence the
association between the "dumb female" and sexual availability
An odd quirk shows up in some males who become self-righteous bigots and act
out the fantasy of being impeccable humans who never have casual sex and never
break rules such as life-long monogamy. We are used to the revelations that
priests diddle little girls, boys and sometimes their mothers in the rectory.
Strident Christian males chastise others for fornication and then engage local
prostitutes in sexual play after delivering hell-raising sermons. There are
interesting discrepancies between stated prudery and what is really going on.
You could argue that overt and aggressive prudery is always a false persona that
attempts to disguise sexual desires and fantasies that are not acceptable under
the rules of prudery.
- The book, I and Thou, focuses on intimate relationships. Innate tendencies are hard at
work when people meet, become lovers and end with arguments and fighting. The
same tendencies determine how family members interact and explain why so many
families are “dysfunctional.” When lovers form an enduring pair bond, they often
become parents and everything changes. Humans seek bonding with others and are
distressed when they become isolated. Humans bond to each other in several ways.
The most enduring bonds are kin-related, based on closely shared genes. The
deepest bonding occurs when mother and infant are together continuously from
birth and mother breast-feeds the infant. Bonds among family members are the
most enduring. Bonds to friends, lovers and spouses are the next most
significant. Bonds to colleagues, neighbors and even strangers that are admired
from a distance are next. Friendships are often temporary bonds, based on the
need to affiliate with others for protection, social status, feeding, sex and
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