Several years ago, when I was still teaching Freshman English at a local university, I wrote a post about the coming death of sex. I reported that I’d held a class discussion on the subject, and more or less polled my students. On the basis of that discussion, I concluded that sex was dying. There were a great many disagreeing comments on the post, some quite emphatic. That was around 2010 or so. At the time, the legitimizing of homosexuality had become a popular crusade. The acceptance of women as aggressors had long since become a norm.
I had to keep the discussion impersonal, of course, though it was fairly easy to recognize that the students’ input was at least as much formed on experience as on observation. Slowly, the unfocused and confused discontent emerged–primarily from young men. (I found that part not only noteworthy but important. A few years later, it would result in my second novel, The Lion’s Heart.)
Now we have LGBTQ, and possibly XYZ (I can’t keep up). There is currently an initiative to legalize incest, which shouldn’t really be surprising when we consider that without reproduction in sex, there’s no real impediment. There’s also an initiative to accept sex with children, since it’s proven that children do experience sexual urges. “Two consenting adults” is to be reduced to “two consenting persons”; however, the polyamorous group, et al, would probably resent the limitation implied in “two”.
Sexuality has become chaotic. If we think of something as unthinkable now, we are sure to learn that it isn’t only thinkable, but doable. There is no romance, only strong sexual attraction—perhaps to one’s dog. I believe there was some article in a major magazine that supported the idea. Perhaps that’s next. Diversity has become perversity, and everyone knows that diversity is a good—so there we are.
I remember a bemused comment from one of my male students: “Actually, it’s kinda boring.” And I’m reminded of a bit C.S. Lewis wrote on the topic. He said that sex is a natural urge in humans as in any other animal, or in any other species in nature, for that matter. But, he said, there’s something wrong with our appetite when we require a curtain to be slowly raised on a naked steak in order to feel hunger.
How did this happen? The pill. Just as Humanae Vitae said. In our hysteria to protect nature (rather stupidly called “the environment”), we forget that we are part of nature. Calling nature “the environment” makes us perceive ourselves as separate from it. We are not. A few years ago, I read an article worrying about the increasing infertility of freshwater fish. Turns out that when the hormones in chemical birth control are excreted, they’re not filtered by water treatment plants, and that runs into rivers, ponds, streams, lakes. It’s the same water we’re drinking also. Where do we think that bottled water comes from? (Could that be connected to the loss of gender?) Now it seems it may be in groundwater as well. The bright red male cardinal has developed female brown wings. I see them at my birdfeeder. Ornithologists are seeking the cause; someone has suggested they check the groundwater for hormonal chemicals. If it’s there, it would mean … in the rain now, too.
Procreation is inborn in us because we’re part of nature. By very definition, we’re not part of our environment, but that’s the illusion offered us by the universal use of that term. We do perhaps irreparable damage to ourselves by denying our nature; further, and perhaps worse, we damage nature as well. We are part of nature and we are procreative beings.
If artificial birth control ceased immediately, it would take several generations to repair the damage we’ve already done to ourselves. It may not even be possible to repair the damage we’ve done to the rest of nature. It might also take generations to repair interest in common, ordinary one-male-and-one-female sex. But that would take a very large dose of humility.