Thursday, July 31, 2014

SEXXX: A Story of Sequential Hermaphrodites and Boning in the Garden of Eden

It's safe to say that when it comes to reproduction, its a mess of confusing terms and convoluted actions. Needless to say, it's extremely complicated. BUT! And there is always a but, that depends on who you ask. Growing up in a conservative Christian home for 20 years gave me strange ideas about sex and the sexes. Deconverting and shedding my conservative views on sex has given me new ideas and questions about sex and the sexes, some of which I want to explore here.

For the most part we humans take for granted our unique state in which we have two distinct sexes. I'm not entirely interested in the biological reasoning's of why this is for the purpose of this post but more of a Biblical understanding. What I mean is when we look across all life here on earth we have a plethora of examples of different kinds of reproduction. So why would God choose sexual reproduction for humans? Why are we born either male or female?  This is also a convoluted story.

Without going into an in depth analysis on Biblical reasoning, I will give the shortened version. God created man and saw that he was alone so he created woman and there you have it, or is it? This explanation is taken from Genesis 2 which is the second version of creation. But if we take a look at Genesis 1:27, it says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." It's hard not to ignore the obvious discrepancy here and I will get back to it but let me make my main point. I know this short hand version doesn't do the whole story much justice but if you take away the extraneous bits, it really does boil down to the fact that God created us this way, as two distinct sexes. But once we start adding the extraneous bits back we start to see a deeply confusing picture, one awash in supernatural twaddle.

Two things stand out to me as the most important points for the purposes of this post. The first is that they were unaware of their nakedness but aware of their sexuality. The second is that childbirth only became painful after they ate of the tree as a punishment. What this tells me is that they were not androgynous humans. They were capable of having sex. By now I hope you are beginning to see what a mess the Biblical version of the creation of the sexes is presenting. It creates more questions than it gives answers. But going over the theological explanations with a fine tooth comb isn't my goal here. My goal here is to show you how 2500 year old goat herders explained sex and the sexes.

Now that we have a simplified version of Biblical reproduction out of the way, I want to go back to my question of why. Answer? There is no real explanation as to why God chose what he chose for us humans. He just did. Feels deeply unsatisfying huh? Well let's push further because there is more to the story.

Remember when I said growing up I had some odd views on sex and the sexes and I attributed this to growing up in a conservative Christian church? Well I think, at least for me, I have figured out part of that puzzle. It always seemed too simple. God created man and woman and that's it. God created sex and that's it. I think this is problem. Simplicity.

When I tell people the movie Finding Nemo got it wrong, they always looked confused and invariable give out a, "huh?" What I mean is that Nemo's dad is a Clown Fish and clown fish are sequential hermaphrodites. What this means is that clown fish can change their sex. These fish are specifically protandrous hermaphrodites which is a fancy way of saying male to female. All clown fish are born male. They can change their sex for a variety of reasons but can never change back to male. You can see why this surprises people. It's not what we are used to. It's complicated and involves things we as humans never have to go through. It's the opposite of simple.

But let's also look at this in the way of asking why didn't God choose this for humans? Why aren't humans sequential hermaphrodites? Why don't humans utilize asexual reproduction? Why don't males give birth like the seahorse?

Before I give my answer I want to look at one last aspect of reproduction that doesn't have to do with reproduction but attraction. Like reproduction, sexual attraction isn't simple. Contrary to what Christians want us to believe, sexuality is a hot mess. When I was inside the church bubble I pretty much loathed gay people. Straight up hated em. Being gay was a choice and homosexuality didn't exist. Funny enough it wasn't until I found out that homosexuality is rampant in the animal kingdom that I started looking at it differently. At first I was incredulous to the idea but it makes complete sense from a biological standpoint. If we look at the Biblical understanding we see male, female, sex and babies. Simplicity. But we know that the biological world is far from simple. Homosexual couples "can't" reproduce and the Biblical understanding is all about reproduction. But sexuality and sexual attraction isn't always about reproduction. More often than not its about love and pleasure, aka, feelings. The Biblical understanding is to suppress our biological urges into a simple God approved formula. But the reality of our nature is far more complex and convoluted.

It should come to no surprise that the Bible and Christianity have got sex, reproduction and sexuality all wrong. Our nature makes so much more sense from a secular point of view and this is why Christians are losing the culture war. They are clinging to outdated understandings of our world instead of bracing who we truly are. So why did God make us the way we are? The fact is, no one knows. Christians can only pretend to know. But once we take an objective look at the bigger picture their reasoning's collapse under scrutiny. 

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