Dear Homo sapiens,
Douglas Adams, my authorial hero, said, “The thing about evolution is, if it hasn’t turned your brain inside out, you haven’t properly understood it.”
Right on. I find it thrilling – I literally feel a physical thrill – when I consider what we are as a species, particularly what we are sexually. At the sex retreat I led a this winter, I actually cried, like the girly nerdy freak I am, while talking about the wonder that is the evolution of life on Earth. Embryology, man. Embry-fucking-ology.
My point is this:
Boiled down to our essence, we’re monkeys (in fact we’re apes, but monkey is a better word; monkey monkey monkey). We’re savannah dwelling, omnivorous large primates, generally polygynous, and predictably sexually dimorphic based on our size, social structure, and habitat. We also happen to have brains the size of planets and the ability to walk upright, which leads to cephalopelvic disproportion (little narrow hips to walk upright + big giant skull for big giant brain = most dangerous childbirth on earth), which leads to utterly dependent offspring, which leads to powerful attachment mechanisms and the necessity of multiple adult caregivers, which leads….
And we’re off to the races.
So here we are. Almost none of the sex we have is reproductive, yet we’ve managed to populate the planet beyond its capacity to sustain us. We use sex to every end – as a commodity, as a weapon, as a status marker, as plain old recreation. In everything that makes us most human – our economy, our wars, our art, our language, our complex relationships and social systems – sex plays a role.
Perhaps most remarkably, we fuck with gender, power, and sex in ways no other species can – not even bonobos have silicone dildos or leather collared ball gags. No other species has even considered the possibility of cock and ball torture, schoolgirl role play, vibrators, or even lingerie.
All the ingenuity of millions of years of natural and sexual selection have led to a world where we can quite literally change our bodies from male to female and female to male. We can prevent conception with a pill. We can broadcast images of live sex instantly around the globe.
Basically what I want to say here is just holy shit man. Is all.
“Emily, if you could be any animal, what animal would you be?” I’d be a human, any day of the week.
Why, then, with all this genius, all this creativity and innovation, can we not stop using sex as a weapon of war, when we have so many other weapons? Why can’t we let women’s sexuality belong to the women in whose bodies it resides, rather than treating it as a commodity in the public domain? Why can’t we even just let two people who love each other get fucking married, without worrying about how their genitals might fit together?
What, in short, the fuck is wrong with us?
I know some of the answers to these questions – I know that sex will never be separate from politics because, evolutionarily, who controls sex controls nothing less than the genetic destiny of the species. I know that we’re made less of reason than of rage, that “mine” is as much a part of our makeup as “ours.” I know the morals of “purity” and “hierarchy” are as deep in our genetics as are justice and caring for those in need. I know.
But I’ve been writing the blog for a few months now and it’s made me think a lot about what really I want, and what I really want is for us to spend just a little more time thinking about how to make the world a place where sex is a vehicle of peace and justice.
We’re the coolest monkeys in the history of the world. Surely we can get this right eventually.
Love and kisses,