Sex — where is it going? 5 years, 50 years, 500 years.

Gender and politics in the 22nd century

Take politics for example — politics and sex have been inextricably linked throughout human history. Whether it’s sex trafficking in the earliest known form of slavery (such as Sumer in Mesopotamia, which dates back as far as 3500 BC), or Henry VIII shutting down the brothels in London in 1513, sex has shaped the world as we know it. In her book, City of Sin: London and its vices, author Catherine Arnold points out how London itself was practically built on sex! In the words from the book’s blurb: “ From the bath houses and brothels of Roman Londinium, to the stews and Molly houses of the 17th and 18th centuries, London has always traded in the currency of sex. Whether pornographic publishers on Fleet Street, or fancy courtesans parading in Haymarket, its streets have long been witness to colourful sexual behaviour.”

Sex and technology: blurring the lines

Sex and technology are rapidly approaching each other. We’ve even coined the term, ‘digisexuality’. What distinguishes ‘digisexuals’ as a sexual identity is that they find their connection to their technology to be very close to those sorts of connections that we would make with human partners. We’re all first wave digisexuals of a sort, in that most of us are using technology, e.g. Skype, WhatsApp, Tinder etc. in our dating or relationship lives. However, there is a rising number of people who are preferring robots, A.I. and virtual or remote experiences over human intimacy. It is easy to turn our nose up against something we don’t relate to, but every non-binary sexual identity that exists today from homosexual to bisexual, to pansexual and asexual has suffered initially from the stigma.

VR will become a part of our daily lives

Face-time not face-to-face time

The age-old way of meeting partners organically, face-to-face, seems to be at an end for younger generations, who now rely on dating apps. Instead of calling they message and text, before even meeting up. Does this make sex more transactional?

Seduction in a virtual world

Some have even lamented the lack of what is often called ‘the chase’ — a slow release of dopamine that is more often as not associated with competing, winning and losing — gamification, if you like, of our Darwinian evolutionary drive. This drive is historically male, but transgender in a modern context.

Consent in a virtual world

Technology like hook-up apps does not mean consent is more easily established. Although all parties involved are able to say yes or no long before being in the physical presence of the other person, it is every person’s right (and the law) to be able to say no at the very last second, without fear of recrimination, on equal terms, and with a clear head. However, the hook-up app has created situations where people take more risks. They have also amplified predatory behaviour and people not being who they say they are, which continues to lead to some horrifying situations which the law and policing are still trying to catch up on. And while the adoption of these kind of platforms increases exponentially, so do the risks, and the need to educate ourselves on the dangers.

Where will it all end up?

There is definitely movement to more open-mindedness and more acceptance of sex and what it means to people and to wider society. But at the same time technology has created new consensus, which requires delineation and definition. Perhaps we are witnessing a ‘pendulum’ effect, where after a short period of liberalness future generations may swing the other way. I’m not suggesting that we will return to pre-Victorian eras of excess, but our children’s children may be a lot more conformist and restrained, by choice. Perhaps we will see the rise of a puritan culture in the metaverse. One thing is certain — everything changes.

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Chris Bicourt

Chris Bicourt

Long walks in the park, swimming, photography, writing stories and spending time with family. https://creativepool.com/chris-bicourt/