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What is sex all about? Is gay sex natural?


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One point of view is that sex is about reproduction, or, to put it another way, making babies. According to this view, anything sexual that isn't about making babies is bad, especially if it means sex outside an "official" relationship. Of course, if you happen to be gay, this view makes you "abnormal". Unfortunately, Darwin's theory of natural selection and the survival of the fittest has been used to support this view. It has been used to define some sexual activities or contacts as OK and others as not OK, i.e. "unnatural".


However, seeing sex as a reproductive event which gets subverted by us for its pleasure-giving aspects can severely limit our views of what sex is all about. For example, take John Doe and his wife. They have two children, have been married for 50 years, and make love regularly each week - say Friday night. After 50 years they will have mated over 2,500 times, and produced two children, thus mating 1,250 times per offspring produced. Does that sound efficient?



Maybe, then, sex isn't just about making babies. Actually, if you look at how often we make love to create babies versus how often we make love to make love, it seems to be mostly about cementing human relationships. Regular sex may allow a couple to stay together to successfully rear their children: this makes sense from a social-biological point of view. 


This would also explain why homosexuality is common in humans and other species. Between a homosexual couple, sex is also a way to cement and improve a relationship which will, biologically, improve the chances of survival and access to resources for both partners. Same-sex relationships and cooperation can therefore achieve the same as heterosexual-sex relationships and cooperation: increasing the chances of the partners' surviving and leading a successful life. And of course from a modern psychological point of view, a relationship can improve the chances of being happy and feeling secure with a partner.


I also believe that it's important for those of us who would describe ourselves as heterosexual to appreciate the role of sex in our relationships. It is a core ingredient in our intimate relationship and us such hugely important. Good sex matters, not only because it feels good, but also because it will increase the stability of our relationship.


Letting go of the idea that "sex is about making babies" allows us to open up our viewpoint of what sex is. Sex isn't just about penetration, preferably in the missionary position, and orgasm. Actually, one can have a fantastic sex life without ever doing it that way (a fact which a lot of gay couples could attest to). So, why not branch out? Explore what you feel comfortable with, what you enjoy, and what your partner enjoys. Sex can be something creative that brings two people (let's stick with the couple stereotype at least for now) together in a unique way. Sex at its best isn't about using another person either. It's about meeting another as an equal partner and delighting in each other's energies. So, however you describe your sexual orientation, feel comfortable with it, respect other people who describe themselves differently, and, above all, have fun!


I have taken parts of an article by Joan Roughgarden titled "The in-crowd" published in the New Scientist, 17th of January 2004 to write this piece.


Further reading on homosexuality and biology:

Bruce Bagemihl: Biological Exuberance : Animal homosexuality and natural diversity.

Joan Roughgarden: Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, gender and sexuality in nature and people




All material copyright, 2006 Sex And Relationships

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