Bye Bye Sex?
Genetic. Engineering. If we look at the worlds of the novel and film we have recently discussed, then that is the inevitable, unavoidable, amazing future we are headed toward. To those of you not up to speed on the concept, it is a fairly simple and attractive idea. Basically, in a distant or close future, children can be conceived through in vitro fertilization, and prior to birth their genes can be manipulated. At the surface level, this can be seen as an exciting idea and a way of possibly eradicating disease. On another surface level (the more superficial one), the process of engineering can be used to pick and choose the qualities you want in your future pride and joy: blonde hair, hazel eyes, 6 feet 2 inches etc. Clearly this process has a lot to add to society and it is clear why it is attractive to pursue. We can add a lot of healthy, gorgeous people to society which I feel most people won’t think at as a bad thing. But is there something that might be lost in the translation of genetic engineering? It is up to speculation, but I believe there is one specific activity that could potentially be lost to the advancement of genetic engineering: SEX.
Sex is one of the most basic, primal activities that humans seek to partake in. Now lets jump into the 21st century and realize sex has transcended its pure, primal use as a method of reproduction. However, sexual awakening accounted for, does this mean the human race could convert sex into a solely recreational activity? Because in a world of fascist genetic engineering this would be what sex would become, a past time of sorts. If you take the world of the film Gattaca as an example, the people of that world almost solely conceive through in vitro fertilization. The sperm no longer needs to meet the egg in the womb because it can be done in a laboratory. Thus, the primal and inherent feeling to fill carnal needs is removed; we no longer need to have sex to reproduce so we no longer HAVE to have sex.
Now there are reasons for sex to persist in a culture where reproduction takes place outside of the womb, the most obvious of these being pleasure. However, looking at pleasure alone is a weak argument to believe that sex will necessarily have to remain a part of society. In fact many pleasurable activities are frowned upon and not used in the mainstream of society. For example, illegal drug use provides the same pleasure-specific focus that sex would have in the genetically engineered future, but it is illegal and thought of as harmful due to its addictive tendencies. Couldn’t sex without reproduction follow the same path? As well sex could potentially become a taboo for its pleasure-centric standing in culture, much the same as masturbation.
Once again this is purely speculative. Mr. Aldous Huxley and his fine writings seem to have a school of thought much different than mine. He and others believe that humans will merrily continue to have sex (more sex maybe). However it is always interesting to look at the potential losses that are faced in a situation of great gain.