Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bob Y.'s comment on my post on "Sex at Dawn"

Below I'm showing Bob Y's comment on my post on "Sex at Dawn", because I can't get it to go into the comment box. I'll comment on his comment as soon as possible.

Dear Peter,
I read your blog while taking a break from a major task/chore. You have certainly put a great deal of effort and thought into it. And that sti9mulates serious thinking on the part of the readers. I think, however, that sexuality particularly in the modern context is a much more complex and bewildering subject. Let me share my impressions albeit it is from the perspective of male-female interactions.
Culture: this is perhaps one of the most important variables in defining sexuality. In many societies in Asia and the Mediterranean, sexuality can occur in two different contexts. One is directly linked with marriage, family, and social stability. That sexuality is monogamous and is directed towards having children. At the same time, and socially acceptable, there is sexuality that exists outside of the marriage and is cemented by emotion, personal feelings, and a broader freedom in selection of mates. And it may turn out to yield a true companionship, but does not have to lead to children.
Modernity and change. There are major trends that affect how sexuality is expressed. Among others:
Urbanization: your thesis is grounded on the ideas of an agricultural society. However, UN statistics indicate that this year, more than 51% of the world's population will be urban and that this will increase rapidly beyond that. Besides that, multimedia technology now has introduced rural communities to the values of an urban society. So increasingly, the definitions of sexuality will be increasingly that which exists in the cities.
Science: we have done well in expanding the frontiers of reproductive medicine. For one, we can now routinely make use of contraception to avoid having children, i.e., self-standing yuppie couples. Alternatively, you can have children without necessarily having a relationship or even intercourse - in vitro fertilization, surrogate parenthood. So sexuality can be detached from the bearing of children.
Workplace: the explosive growth of women in the skilled and professional workplace. This allows women to be financially independent which can lead to the choice of being single mothers. Again we see the separation of a sexual relationship from having children. But perhaps what I find most interesting is the development of workplace relationships where a man and a woman will spend most of their time and a great deal of their emotional and intellectual energies in shared efforts to the degree that they have more in common with each other than with their formal partners. This can occur even in the absence of a sexual affair which makes it interesting that it can be seen as sexuality without sex.
So changes in sexuality are likely to accelerate driven by the forces sketched above. Yes, Peter, sex and sexuality are a complicated business.
Best, Bob

1 comment:

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