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Wednesday 08 April 2009

Proclamations of the Red Queen

6th April 2009

My Love is Alien: Sex in the 22nd-23rd Century?

Posted by: Craig Young

If humanity survives global warming to the point where interstellar flight and contact with sentient aliens occurs, our descendants may have to fight a whole new set of taboos.

cyberpeter.jpgTo qualify Captain Jack Harkness’ opening phrase in Torchwood, not everything will change overnight. I think another SF series, Babylon 5, portrayed the potential problem the best, when it showed a couple of male human resistance fighters checking into a Martian hotel as a same-sex married couple. The reception were absolutely marvellous and booked them into the honeymoon suite, suggesting that in B5’s 23rd Century, same-sex marriage has been thoroughly normalised. However, the same couldn’t be said for the propaganda arm of Earth’s totalitarian government when it cast a less than flattering portrait of resistance leader Captain John Sheridan and his lover, alien Minbari ambassador Delenn.

They were implied to be perverted xenophile lovers, out to sabotage humanity’s genetic purity through genetic admixture. I think B5 probably got it right- in the future, xenophiles (who love and sexually desire aliens) will conflict with xenophobes (anti-alien racists who also hate the thought of human/alien sex).

It’s probably inevitable that when humanity’s first contact with alien species occurs, and there’s some hint of mutual sexual attraction between them, this polarisation will happen. On the one hand, religious institutions, human ‘purity’ and supremacy groups, and opportunist political parties will try to introduce bans on xenopregnancy, xenosexuality, interstellar emigration, and other hallmarks of future interstellar liberalism, while xenophile academics, interstellar explorers, diplomatic personnel, traders and everyday citizens will fight for greater alien-human social equality and pluralism.

“Religious institutions?” Well, yes. Don’t forget, the Vatican invented spurious ‘natural law’ reasons why sex reassignment surgery and transsexuality were ‘wrong’ after almost five decades of silence about the issue. I wouldn’t put it past their ideological descendants to come up with something similar, which would especially be the case if humans and aliens found each other mutually desirable, had sex and started relationships or families.

What would such hypothetical religious xenophobia look like? Extrapolating, I’d guess that they’ll probably try to tweak laws and social stigma related to bestiality, and broaden its scope to include alien species that aren’t descended from simianoid ancestors like our own. Never mind that anti-zoophilia legislation is motivated by concern for the welfare of Terran non-human animals who aren’t a dominant planetary species.

Why do I say this? Look at the archaic mishmash that is the medieval category of ’sodomy,’ which slops together non-procreative heterosexual sex, gay sex, incest and zoophilia. One suspects that several centuries from now, any equally predatory xenophobe groups might well resort to something similar to what I’ve outlined here.

Granted, the aforementioned luscious 51st Century studmuffin has an eye that wanders across both genders and untold numbers of alien species. However, I suspect that the character in question is probably avoiding hard questions like how humanity learnt to embrace (and intertwine) with alien species insofar as Ianto and Gwen are concerned. Why? Well, will it get worse before it gets better? And if so, how bad will it get?

Tags: Politics · Religion

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