Human Sexuality. Some Thoughts.

Well in the wake of Weinstein human sexuality is a bit of a thorny subject that appears to be in a state of flux. But I thought it was worth putting in a few pennyworth of random thoughts.

a. I think human sexual behaviour is naturally more similar to that of Bonobos than that of other Chimps or Gorillas. Bonobos use sex to reduce aggression, as rewards and as normal social interaction. When Bonobos encounter another group of Bonobos they are more likely to indulge in a huge orgy than fight. Bonobos do not have a dominant alpha male leading the pack and claiming sexual rights.

b. Sex is complex. It is not just about reproduction; it is about pair bonding, reward, social interaction, power, pleasure, status, novelty and even revenge too.

c. Nobody should underestimate the intense force of sexual urges – particularly in young men. Properly controlled it can be a great motivator and intense drive towards achieving in many fields. Uncontrolled it can, as we all too often see, result in rape, sexual abuse or even murder.

d. Our society is sexually repressed. Our normal sexual interaction is highly restricted. This is one of the results of what we call civilisation. If we behaved naturally, like Bonobos, we would be having sex all over the place all the time. But it is obvious that we are not living naturally in small tribes where this type of casual interaction would be possible. In large groups it wouldn’t work. I remember, when I was young, seeing film of a ‘lost tribe’ (probably wanted to stay lost) in South America. The hunters came back and the women ran out to greet them and they were having sex where they met. They lived in open setting and sex was not seen as anything out of the ordinary, no more than eating. Children climbed over couples while they were making love. There were no hang-ups. I’m not sure this would work on the trains and busses.

e. Sexual repression probably results in strange behaviours – fetishes, obsessions, stalking, sadomasochism, abuse, rape …………..

f. Sexual fidelity is not a natural condition for humans. The biological imperative is for variation – hence different fathers for children.

g. Pair bonding is very powerful but not long lasting. Sexual attraction results in changes in brain chemistry that we call falling in love. This bonding enables couples to work together to bring up young children. The chemistry usually lasts around seven years – by which time the children are grown.

h. Nearly a third of babies in a stable marriage have a different father to the one they think they have.

I. Sexual strategy is different for males and females. Females can mother relatively few children. They are consequently generally very selective in choosing mates, look for males to settle with who will provide support, are very attracted to successful males but are also highly attracted to wild males who are risk taking and dangerous. Their ideal is probably settling with a high-status male who will cater for her children while having a series of affairs with a number of bad boys. Males can father a large number of children so tend to be less selective (though status plays a big role in their selection – high status males are more attractive so have to be seen with high status females). They too would ideally raise children with one woman while fathering other children here, there and everywhere. Roughly it breaks down to variety for both, quality for females and quantity for males.

j. Females are more sexual than males. They have more powerful orgasms and are capable of more orgasms than males. Uninhibited sex would create problems for males. They couldn’t keep up. Is this the cause of the macho male image, misogyny and repression of females? Is this why we have abominations such as FGM, women being dressed in burqas and hijabs and locked away behind walls, male aggression to women and patriarchal domination?

k. In summary – it seems to me that the problems with our sexuality result from our grouping into large numbers and the social mores this creates. This is reinforced by religion and social customs. This results in many sexually frustrated people, raised aggression and abnormal sexuality.

4 thoughts on “Human Sexuality. Some Thoughts.

  1. Fascinating, Opher. I just knew we were on to something back in the 60s when many were promoting free sex. I agree that we live in a sexually repressed society and it is one of the things that I deplore about Christianity that has cultivated the notion that sex is dirty, etc. Insanity!

  2. Have you read Sex At Dawn? It basically talks about our attempt to rewrite human sexuality with the change to an agricultural society. Some of the evidence used is in alignment with a couple of your observations.

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