Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This article was originally published in the Bath University student paper 'Impact'

Sex in the future

Human sexuality is a biological drive as well as a cultural phenomenon, the future will see advances in both. It is likely that there will be more same-sex relations as boundaries of gender blur. We are experiencing the first waves of the androgynous look in couture fashion as well as the urban metrosexual male, and as long as there is no total religious takeover of our culture, it is likely that more people will have gay sex without necessarily identifying as gay.

Non-reproductive sex seems to always have been a part of the human sexual repertoire and the entertainment industry knows how to take advantage of this. Whenever a new technology arrives you can be sure that if it can be adapted to sexual uses. Painting, photography, film, and even pottery have been utilised in pornography, while the VCR and the camcorder gave us cheap porn.

Tomorrow's workplace will be your home, giving you less opportunities to flirt with co-workers in person. Internet pornography and cybersex will be the alternatives. New sex toys enabling something called multimedia masturbation as well as research developments in areas of virtual reality and holographic imaging all leave little to the imagination. Perhaps you want to know exactly how your partner feels during orgasm. Well, biotechnology will be there to assist, leaving nowhere for those orgasm fakers to hide.

Psychotropic drugs have of course been used for millennia in the form of aphrodisiacs. But given that the world's population is ageing and many of us will live to be 100, there should be big money to be made in the field of eroto-gerontology - Viagra being the first step in this direction. Synthetic oxytocin, the so-called "bonding chemical", has already been produced, possibly paving the way for the ultimate relationship quick-fix.

However, all this technicising of sex begs many questions. Will it lead to an even more socially inept society? Will it force us to redefine infidelity? Will we still appreciate sex as something sacred, or will it just be fun and games? What do you think?

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