Psychology of Gender Differences

Cassia Brown, Heather Digby

April 23, 2001

 

 

Sex in the Future, by Robin Baker

 

Summary of Chapter 9

 

 

            Chapter nine of the book “Sex in the Future” discusses the problems raised by continuing advancements in reproductive and sexual technology as the late 21st century approaches. The chapter begins with a fictional story concerning an affluent family of the year 2075. The family consists of male and female live-in partners, and their 4 children. Two of the children are the female’s, one the clone Mimi; the other Michael, a commissioned baby using sperm from the GMB. The male also has two children, Harry and Hazel. None of the children are ‘mutual’, that is children of both the adults.

            The possible problems of such a family are discussed. The male live-in partner wants to have a mutual baby with the woman, but she refuses. She states that the reason they arranged things like they are, is so that there will be no jealousy or problems with the children since they are totally one or the other of the adults. Once a mutual child is created then the other children believe that that child gets favoritism.

            The female live-in partner also discusses her sex life with a male sexual partner. In this passage it is shown how new relationships will develop that will not include procreation as a goal, and that will exist without the problems of fidelity and infidelity that are felt now. Because reproduction will be totally separated from sex, sex can then become an enjoyable activity without all of the associated ancient urges complicating people’s lives.

            In a previous chapter, around the year 2035, the distinctions of the roles of sex partner, gamete partner, and live-in partner had begun to disintegrate. The traditional nuclear family had begun to fall apart at the end of the 20th century, and by 2035 in the more affluent classes the nuclear family will be totally gone. How to define the roles of parents when every child in a household has a different father, or a different mother? Who is the mother of a clone, born to a surrogate? Who is the grandmother?

            The story begins with the female calling to her clone daughter, Mimi, and trying to get her and the other children off to school. The male live-in partner is trying to finish his breakfast, but is drawn into the activity of getting the children on their way. Eventually, the two adults have a conversation where the male seems to want to pursue a normal monogamous relationship, but the female resists.

            We soon learn that the female will have lunch with one of her sex partners that day. In the conversation between the two sex partners we further learn that affluent middle class adults in 2075 will have multiple sex partners; will live with partners with whom they may have sexual relationships with or not; will have children as couples through conventional sex, but far more often by cloning, commissioning births of babies, and wholesale manipulation of the reproductive process to yield the children people think they want. Any notion that children must be raised in a family with two committed adults will be considered an antique or irrelevant notion.

            Single parents will raise single children, who will enter into a sea of ‘cousins’, most of whom will have been raised by single women, and sometimes by single men. The population will stabilize at roughly 11 billion in the year 2200, as technology and cultural change result in the replacement births equal deaths and the world is saved from over population! People will have lives full of sex without love and love without sex. People will clone themselves and their own children, who will then be their own grandchildren’s cloned grandchildren. But at least there will be only 11 billion of these bastardized automatons.

 

 

 

 

 

OUTLINE

 

I)                   Reproduction in the Future

 

A)    Mother and Son

1.      Choosing genetics of future children based on genes and egg availability

2.      Parent can either be a single father or mother

3.      Can engineer children’s sex

 

B)     Tradition or Technology?

1.      Fear of reproductive technology

a.       Lose the “old “ways” of doing things

b.      Unemotional and tailor-made

2.      Eugenics

a.       Ability to genetically create children

b.      Ability to detach self from creating children

c.       Separation of reproduction and emotional connection

d.      Intercourse without responsibilities

3.      Historical sex

a.       Misconceptions for hundreds of years about reproduction without sex

b.      Thought Mom contributed flesh and Dad contributed brains and bones

4.      Natural Selection

a.       Humans seek sex for more than just reproductive value

b.      In the future, sex can be recreational and reproductive

 

II)                 Eugenics

A)    Created by Francis Galton (1883)

1.      Theory that proposed the breeding of a superior race

B)     Nazi Germany

2.      Hitler tried to implement this theory during the Holocaust, hoping to create his “pure race”

3.      Not only used in Germany-many eugenic clinics in America

4.      Ability to choose genes of egg/sperm donor to alter/create perfect children

5.      Ability to reject/ accept genes due to genetic pattern

6.      Jewish Orthodox community that practices genetic testing to prevent the spread of Tay-Sachs disease

 

C)    Human Genome Project

1.      Trying to “map” human DNA in order to determine and encode information

2.      As of now, 7.7% of human DNA decoded

3.      Find disease genes in hopes of one day being able to rid human DNA of disease

 

D)    Gene Therapy

1.       Replacement or repair of genetic impurities

2.      Somatic gene therapy

a.       Hard to do when human is fully developed

b.      Insert retroviruses will possibly be disabled

c.       Easier to perform on fetus or undeveloped cells

3.      Ability to base genetic reproduction on the knowledge that genetic disorders may be removed

E)     Ratios and Selection

1.      Determine sex characteristics based on desire

2.      Socially, higher-status people in general have a larger percentage of sons

3.      Lower class people have traditionally had more daughters

4.      Ability to tag chromosomes

a.       X chromosome, because they are bigger, hold more dye

b.      Able to separate X from Y

c.       Immunize against all chromosomes

d.      Keep balance of sexes

5.      GMB

a.       Incest would be avoided

b.  One reproductive center for all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                    Chapter 9

 

I)                   Commissioning A Family, Infidelity, and the World’s Population

 

            A) A Couple of Single Parents

1.      Story of Future Family

Female Live-in Partner and Male Live-in Partner

a.       Female’s children-Mimi and Michael

b.      Male’s children-Harry and Hazel

2.      Female has sexual partner who is not live-in

3.      Male has sexual partner who is not live-in

 

II) Pedigrees and Families-Forty Years from Now

 

            A) What are the new Family Parental Relationships?

                        1.Formerly Father, Mother, Grandparents, Step Parents

                        2.Now Gamete Partners,  Live-in Partners, Sexual Partners

            B) What are the new Family Child Relationships?

                        1.Formerly son or daughter, half son or daughter, step child

                        2.Now Clone, Commissioned Baby, Gamete Baby

C) As a result of these changes the connection between the sex partner, gamete partner, and live-in partner has dissociated completely.

 

III) Living Together

 

            A) No need other than financial for adults to live together

1.Affluent parents could afford to create and raise their children by themselves.

a.       They can choose to procreate by cloning, commissioning, or by sexual intercourse

2.Less affluent people will still be forced by economics to co-habitate.

a.       Because of the changes in society more of these families will be blended families with step and half children

b.      This blending results in greater chances for violence and abuse.

1.      The step children and half children are looked upon by the step parent as less than their own children.

2.      Parents, especially males, are more likely to attack or violate step children.

3.The continuation of single parenthood, blended, and nuclear  families in the lower socio-economic levels will perpetuate some behaviors from the past, and the need for continuing family planning.

a.       Conception via intercourse results in the continuing need for abortions, and contraception.

 

IV The Commissioning Parent: Head of the Family

 

A) There are several options open to the middle class to make babies.

1.A woman or man can commission a child by paying for gametes from anybody else on the BB system.

2. They can commission someone else’s gametes for a one time conception.

3.A woman can commission a clone for herself.

4. A man can commission a clone, but must arrange for a surrogate mother to deliver the baby.

 

            B) The major change will be in financial arrangements

1.The child tax would be unfair if it did not take into account who was creating the children.

a.       Before a child is created both gamete donors need to agree who will be financially responsible.

b.      Unilateral cases the single parent would be 100% responsible.

c.       The commissioning parent will always be responsible unless another arrangement is made.

d.      Children created through intercourse would have the responsibility split fifty-fifty.

 

V World Population in the Balance

 

A) Currently the population of the earth is predicted to stabilize at 11 billion in the year 2200.

1.Replacement level of 2 children for each woman will be achieved by 2100.

2.Critical Factor is how many children each person will opt to raise.

a. If each single person raises one child, and each couple raises two children then the population will remain stable.

b. If single people begin to raise more than one child then the world population will soar.

c. The likely result is that women would choose to have 2 children, 1 male and 1 female if infant mortality was low and economics not a factor.

1.Men would mostly choose not to have children because of their ancient urge for itinerant sex and lack of parental responsibility.

2.Men would compete to have their sperm used by women for reproduction.

a.       And perhaps accept financial responsibility for their children

3) The world’s population prospects will be very finely balanced.

a.       Government intervention in population control has a bad history.

b.      Ancient urges, together with infant mortality rates, market forces, and the wider environment should predispose women to raise an average of just less than 2 children, and men to raise an average of just more than zero, keeping the population stable.

 

V) Infidelity-Redefinition or Oblivion?

 

            A) Single Parents will begin to view the concepts associated with long term relationships differently.

1.The concepts of fidelity, infidelity, and promiscuity will become irrelevant.

2.Infidelity by the end of the 20th century lost its original meaning tied to marriage

a. But the meaning of fidelity in relationships still has its original strength and relevance

b. People are born with ancient urges that are influenced by infidelity.

1.Men want to make sure that the female will have only their child.

2.Women want to preserve their practical survival.

3.Both men and women are fearful of sexually transmitted diseases.

4.These feelings are transmitted to the person in the form of hurt and betrayal when infidelity is committed.

3.Paternity testing, child tax, the BB plan, and medical control of infectious diseases will mean that acts of infidelity will not carry their ancient risks.

b.      But still ancient emotions will not disappear overnight.

c.       What will cause the greatest pain?

1.      When your sexual partner has intercourse with somebody else?

2.      When a genetic parent of one of your children commissions a new child with another person’s gametes?

3.      When a third party commissions your live-in partner or sexual partners gametes, and they agree to the commission?

a.       Logically, The second option should be the only one that causes pain.

b. Because the genetic parent could be responsible for the support of the new child, lowering your possible income.

 

4..Emotionally, all three options could still cause pain.

a. Infidelity may become a lower class phenomenon.

b. Reproductive Incest will become a problem

1.      As people all become at most cousins of each other it will be harder to know who is sexually partnering with whom.