Sexual Fluidity

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This topic contains 24 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  PopeBeanie 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #29499

    Unseen
    Participant

    It seems obvious that there is an evolutionary bias toward sexual relations that can pass along genes, anything else is frivolous in a sense Humans evolved to be sexual WELL outside of their fertile zones. So yeah, you could call it “frivolous” in that sense but it has numerous other benefits than simple procreation. Passing on the genes isn’t enough. Passing on the genes and keeping those children alive until they can do the same is a major part of that game. Having a lesbian guardian aunt who never has a kid can certainly help her nieces and nephews (who has a quarter of her DNA) make it to adulthood. Life-long bonding. Etc

    What you’re describing isn’t frivolous. It’s incidental/accidental. I don’t see evolution selecting for it the only way it can: by passing certain genes along.

    #29500

    Davis
    Participant

     scientifically that such strong social connections in fact enhance survival in some species

    And of course the opposite. Sexual harassment and abuse, an extremely toxic and malicious by-product of human sexual behavior, no doubt does mostly the opposite. May pass on genes but for most cases in human history, in a less than ideal or beneficial way for anybody. It is astounding how little sexuality has been researched so far.

    #29503

    Bill
    Participant

    as crude as that will sound to many people still naturally feeling their strong shoulds and shouldn’ts.

    I’m not so sure that the feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts is necessarily a naturally occurring one – at least not when it comes to sexual pleasure. It seems there are probably very few moral imperatives (such as proscriptions against murder and some other forms of harm) and even those most likely came about as a learned behavior (i.e. I am only dissuaded from killing you insofar as I don’t want to be the victim of retaliation). Even rape and female objectification were not seen as a “natural taboo” even a few hundred years ago.

    If you look at other members of the animal kingdom, there are behaviors in which they freely engage that humans consider offensive only because of taboos that have been put in place primarily due to religion (e.g. polyamory, homosexuality, etc.). Absent those arguments, it’s possible humans wouldn’t have those hangups either.

    #29504

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    @davis, good point. Some of the worst human atrocities, like during and after war, expanded the victor’s gene pool. One study claims that one man in 200 on earth has descended from Genghis Khan.

    While looking for more recent studies, I ran across a couple more interesting ones discovering a significant loss of diversity of Y chromosomes, likely due to patrilineal domination of mate selection. I.e. the diversity of Y chromosomes is reduced in the past 12k years because of fewer men who are fathering more children among more women, especially in newly agricultural societies where ruling men stay put and women are more mobile even between clans. Meanwhile the number of women bearing children did not follow the same reduction as men fathering them, so mitochondrial diversity was not reduced.

    Cultural hitchhiking and competition between patrilineal kin groups explain the post-Neolithic Y-chromosome bottleneck: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04375-6 (Explained in plainer English here: https://www.newsweek.com/y-chromosome-ancient-clans-wars-950587 ).

    Sex-linked genetic diversity originates from persistent sociocultural processes at microgeographic scales: royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsos.190733

    #29505

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator
    I’m not so sure that the feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts is necessarily a naturally occurring one – at least not when it comes to sexual pleasure.
    I think in general, behavior that members of a species conduct between each other has to be more than just a learned behavior, although young members growing up do learn quite a bit of what interactions are acceptable or painful during rough play. Chimps and bonobos naturally act very differently toward members of their own species. I may be wrong in thinking that they’re feeling shoulds and shouldn’ts when they’re follow their species’ specific behavior patterns, but I’d need to see proof that I was wrong before changing my default assumption.

    Absent those arguments, it’s possible humans wouldn’t have those hangups either.

    I kinda agree, but I wouldn’t always call feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts “hangups” just because a lot of those feelings can be overruled as we evolve, culturally. Blatant incidents of human male aggression (or say pedophilia) still happen, so (imo) there are some cases of human behaviors where we would hope or wish that feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts came up more often. I’m not sure I’m making enough sense there, but I’m trying to emphasize that many feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts must come from innate sources, like the feelings most people have when they judge acts of pedophilia.

    #29506

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I’m not so sure that the feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts is necessarily a naturally occurring one – at least not when it comes to sexual pleasure.

    These shoulds and shouldn’ts are called norms: ideal cooperative behaviour.  So, a moral norm is an ideal way to be cooperative, and a sexual norm is a way to be cooperative around sex.  Why do we need these?  Because of competition between primate males to dominate and seclude as many females as possible.  But now we have pair-bonding, mostly monogamous, but sometimes polygamous.  So, it is cooperative not to want to violate somebody else’s pair-bond or another male’s domination of (a) female(s).  That’s the primate/animal kingdom for you.

    These days we can have other norms that specify fairness and doing no harm towards females.

    #29507

    _Robert_
    Participant

    A girlfriend on mine  (mid teens) was devastated when her father finally left her mother for a man. She still loved him, but…..their relationship never recovered, mostly because of how others reacted and the years of lies by her father. Probably to protect his family. Amazing how some people think they can judge others ignorant of the destruction they cause. I would not say he was fluid. I could tell all along.

    #29508

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    ideal cooperative behaviour

    That should be, a behavioral norm is an ideal standard of behaviour.  So, a moral norm is an ideal standard of cooperation itself, such as reciprocity (fairness in exchanges), fairness (ideal distribution of benefit and harm), or helping in response to need.  These are basically, what ethics is defined as.  But sexual norms are ideal ways to be cooperative around sex.  That makes more sense.

    #29509

    Bill
    Participant
    I may be wrong in thinking that they’re feeling shoulds and shouldn’ts when they’re follow their species’ specific behavior patterns, but I’d need to see proof that I was wrong before changing my default assumption.
    But the original comment was about the (arguably) natural feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts with respect to “enhancing their social connections to each other via sexual pleasure” (perhaps I trimmed too much, my apologies). There are certainly species that have no such feelings while still exhibiting what would generally be categorized as “moral behavior”. There are countless animal species that have no aversion toward sexual behavior with multiple members of their species (although I will concede that there are also examples of species where pair-bonding seems to be the norm). Given the numerous examples of both sides of what are otherwise considered “moral creatures”, it seems reasonable to consider the observation by individual species to be a learned behavior.

     

    The same holds with respect to the feelings surrounding homosexuality (or even bisexuality). While, obviously, heterosexual mating is necessary for procreation, it is not strictly required for a member to experience sexual pleasure thus leading to an enhanced social connection. I would contend that any corresponding feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts are not necessarily innate. Indeed, the fluidity of the sexual preference may span the entire spectrum of desires were outside influences not allowed to interfere.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Bill.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Bill.
    #29528

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    I would contend that any corresponding feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts are not necessarily innate.

    [and]

    I’m not so sure that the feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts is necessarily a naturally occurring one

    I don’t think we have any large disagreement here. On looking for flaws in what I wrote, I see where I could have written ideas more concisely or clearly, especially here:

    I’m trying to emphasize that many feelings of shoulds and shouldn’ts must come from innate sources

    I should have said “must come mostly from innate sources”. I never meant that all of it necessarily comes from innate sources. WRT our topic here of sexual fluidity, 1) the largest influence on sexual behavior, at large, is heterosexual in nature; 2) the next largest is (imo) pack-level/social driven by social neuro-circuits, which (just imo) probably felt as a sense of shoulds and shouldn’ts, even if at unconscious levels; 3) primate brains are especially adept at learning which variations of sexual behaviors (and their potential social consequences) are possible; 4) human brains are especially evolved to thoughtfully consider even more possibilities and predictable social consequences (ala “theory of mind” abilities).

    Item 4 up there means much higher variations in behavior (outside of direct genetic influences) became possible. More significant, for humans, culture evolved to increasingly communicate prescriptions and proscriptions of each other’s behaviors, unfortunately largely determined by alpha males with strong feelings about “proper” sexual behavior, which largely tended to be like “Since I’m in charge, I’m deciding for you which sexual behaviors are acceptable!”.

    Also meanwhile, in spite of most sexual behavior mostly being influenced by genetic predispositions, cultural evolution added new learnable and even enforceable sets of behaviors to the old set of  “what most men think are the most natural behavioral rules”, furthermore supposedly defined by God Himself. But we know the God part is bullshit because it was completely made up by alpha males for their own benefit (or assumed benevolence); furthermore, many in-built feelings of right vs wrong (even if they exist in the majority of people) no longer actually matter when we can flourish in health without every one of us adhering strictly to our statistically heterosexual-favoring genetic design.

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