Given that sexual reproduction requires two completely autonomous entities it is understandable that Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ concept would lead to complex mating rituals. But the facts extracted from a 1994 report on Sex in America found that more than 25% of males and females only have sex a couple of times a year - if at all.
The Kinsey reports found that the average frequency in ‘normal’ relationships is a couple of times a week which also belies its obsessive potential. At the deep end the Mongolian Khan Dynasty seems to have been more active with their all conquering ‘reward system’ being responsible for perhaps 16 million descendants. Then there’s the occasional person where things are short-wired leading to ‘persistent genital arousal disorder’ (PGAD), which is no fun for either man or woman.
The physicality of sexual response is heightened in the fit and young, but age and experience add a more creative dimension to desire, one which is open to the development of particular tastes and with their development, the potential for obsessions. At this point in a person’s life the progressive individual may decide to change direction away from a personal focus, towards sharing and social development where the reward pathway is lit up by compassionate endeavours.
The continued pursuit of ownership and accumulation after the ‘mid-life crisis’ is sometimes associated with a fear of mortality and can lead to the seeking out of younger partners with whom sensual pleasure is controlled within the framework established in prior years.
In the extreme, a more complex fear of change can combine with repressed desires to the point where they explode in socially unacceptable and personally bewildering actions. Last year the UK’s Home Secretary announced an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and this year Australia commenced a Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
Sexual desire is a base instinct that has always been there; it cannot be denied or suppressed. It is sometimes good, sometimes better, sometimes not so good, but in the end it’s always the same by comparison with the higher and higher levels of achievement and euphoria that are the brain’s potential.
Sexual desire is a powerful force and requires a moral awareness of its appropriateness. Shaming a child for ‘playing with themselves’ cannot be good for their future appreciation of sexual relationships, while its opposite in overt permissiveness has a negative affect on the intuitive forward thinking processes associated with the pineal gland, and its most probable that hypersexuality has led to colloquial speech phrases such as ‘dick head’ and ‘wanker’.
‘… children need to be taught about sex, relationships and pornography at school – something he [Martin Daubney]however uncomfortably, believes needs to be done at an early stage in order to keep them safe and help them understand that porn isn’t real sex – it’s fake.’
If we are surrounded by a sexually flagrant society then those with a strong libido will tend to exercise it in a physical and open manner, whereas the same person within a culture of sexual reserve will tend to be more secretive in expressing desire. Both permissive and repressive cultures have, through time, had their down sides but it would seem that suppression creates more neurotic behaviour than does a broad acceptance of ‘normal’ deviations.
From the Deuteronomy code of the 1st millennium BC through the various codes of Judaism, Islamic law, Buddhism, Hinduism and many others, attitudes towards what you can and cannot do have greatly differed. Back in the 4th Century, Saint Augustine reinforced the Christian belief in original sin: ‘After reportedly leading a wanton and lascivious lifestyle, Augustine left his mistress and children and totally reversed himself by vowing to be celibate. Thereafter he saw the "flesh" as wicked, flawed and sinful.’
The Victorian period of the 19th Century saw the industrial revolution in full swing with an expanding English population, improved living standards and a drive for social advancement. A strict social code of conduct was the social norm and this included values of sexual restraint; sex was something not to be talked about publically or privately with anyone, except your doctor. Meanwhile, night-time on the streets brought the contradiction of widespread prostitution and the industries of sexual gratification. Due to the influence of the British Empire around the world many of these Victorian attitudes became widespread.
Fortunately things have improved since and most cultures now have some form ofcommunal sex education aimed at contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. None-the-less the source of sexual instruction for most people still comes from friends and media sources which bear with them: commercial stereotyping, distorted images, family imprints, religious overtones and legal ramifications.
Each country, each culture within a country and each family within a culture have their own understandings of sexual morality which in turn are coloured by each parent’s attitude and experience; so the business of sex education becomes quite messy. Try openly talking with your kids about homosexuality when it’s still illegal in 50 countries and punishable by death in eight; even though: ‘3% and 4% of the world’ s adult male population, and 1.5% and 2% of the world’s female population, are living exclusively as homosexuals.’
The goal of succeeding in a competitive market place is favoured by a pleasant appearance, good conversational skills and a polite manner; throw in a little irrational sexual allure and if you’re successful, people’s ownership of your product will equate to symbols of desirability. Flash cars, houses, holidays, clothes, toothpastes and brand labels all use sexual desirability, with the most desirable commodity being the money that enables their purchase.
Entertainments sensationalise sensuality, from‘50 Shades of Grey’, to blockbuster movies to soft-core porn to internet pornography, and the majority of these paint women with the Venusian lure of attraction and men with the Martian trait of ownership, and in general this tendency has a negative effect on women.
‘Take that female insecurity, warp and magnify it in the internet Hall of Mirrors, add a longing to be “fit” and popular, then stir into an ubiquitous porn culture and you have a hellish recipe for sad, abused girls.’
In times of hardship when communities are being built, or when tough times fall, people pull together, social gatherings are infused with heart and relationships often fall into place via social contacts more personal and complex than dating agency formulas. By contrast where progress in economic growth has built its facades of material pleasures, inequalities and sexual diversions often proliferate.
In days gone by, the moralizing that went with sex surrounded paternity uncertainty and the consequent parental investment in one’s own progeny. But we are no longer tribal communities, we need a new morality, and yet the nature of sexual relationship in the 21st Century seems to be getting more and more confused and misunderstood. ‘...how can our species evolve its moral responsibilities at a rate equal to its capacity to do lasting damage to its increasingly frayed ethical and social fabric?’
The mechanics of sexual reproduction began in single cell organisms 1,200 million years ago. To put that into perspective consider that:
· the Animal Kingdom appeared 590 mya;
· Primates 75 mya;
· Apes 25 mya;
· Humans 2.5 mya;
· Modern Man 200,000 years ago.
In amongst these bewildering timeframes the first brain appeared in Flatworms around 550 mya. The brain’s primary function is the centralized control over the other organs of the body, and since sexual reproduction preceded the brain, it’s only natural that much of the brain’s activity evolved around matters of interrelationship.
Archaeological evidence suggests that our ancestors have selected partners ever since they migrated out of Africa. So it’s a fair assumption that sexual morality has developed around genetic ownership – you raise your own and pass on your skills and possessions, while at the same time enhancing social cohesion and the competitive advantage of your tribe.
The looser knit societies of the modern day have developed out of rural migrations into ‘big smokes’ where daily relationships are more impersonal and the need for socially responsible behaviour is controlled by laws rather than community conscience. This social vacuum can encourage an abuse of power in sexual gratification, but on a more positive note the big smoke is a more pliable space for the acceptance of divergent sexual relationships that could be frowned upon in rural communities.
Laws are created by the people through democratic processes that elect governments to represent our concerns. Regrettably the governing bodies of modern society have developed a partiality for commercial interests whose morality is measured in profit margins. Sex has become a vehicle used to sensationalize and sell products for consumption, as are the targets of sexual desire in a world where ‘life’ has evolved around the concept of personal glory. Or as the famous neoliberal economist Milton Friedman once said: ‘...tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed?’
It’s time that humanity's evolving brain moved beyond primal instincts and forged a new morality, one that recognises the profound side of sex as a celebration of togetherness involving understanding and compromise along with a respect for socially responsible behaviour.
Judicial law, religious commands and cultural mannerisms cannot wholly capture the nature of something as personal and profound as our sexual nature, which is something that only we can direct; and in that direction the final consideration should be our compassionate understanding of our partner’s feelings, followed by a celebration of the passions ignited.
‘In a wide variety of cultures, men and women look for the same top four qualities in choosing a mate: mutual attraction and love, dependable character, emotional stability and maturity, and a pleasing disposition.’
‘Remember how in that communion only,
beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold
not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal
man may.’ - Plato, Symposium (360 BC)
The Power of Sex