SUNDAY, MAR 22, 2015 12:00 PM EDT
Who knew evolution could be so orgasmic?
In terms of evolution, sex is the bottom line. No sex, no reproduction; no future genes, no evolution. Period.
Normally any species that has food, space, health, and peace tends to have lots and lots of sex, and the population expands accordingly, often quite fast. Antibiotic- resistant bacteria spread, lilies take over ponds, and rabbits overwhelm. It’s normal and natural, in times of plenty, to have a lot of Boogie Nights. Beating the odds of natural selection requires that your specific gene code survive, thrive, and spread. So the notion that significant numbers of successful subgroups of a powerful and dominant species may choose not to have kids at all is truly unusual. . . .
There are some very weird customs and habits out there in the animal world, but even within the context of really unusual behaviors, such as mating plugs that glue a squirrel’s vagina closed, Indian stick insects that copulate for ten weeks straight, a honeybee’s exploding testicles, fig wasps that decapitate their lovers, no species, except humans, systematically practices birth control, abstinence, or childlessness when surrounded by abundance. That is truly unusual and kinky.
Widespread birth control, which allows us to decide when we have children, and how many, seriously bends Darwin’s rules of evolution toward our wishes. So too does domestication/ urbanization. Not that you’d want to really chat about this with your kids, or parents for that matter, but think back to when you were sixteen. Perhaps you might have had just a little curiosity about, interest in, and, dare we say it, obsession with sex? Likely you indulged some of that curiosity, desire, and the occasional fantasy? Contrast this with today’s Japanese teenage sex habits.
According to the Japan Family Planning Association, 59 percent of women aged sixteen to nineteen have no interest in sex. Perhaps far more shocking is that reportedly 36 percent of teen guys, those growing packets of acne and testosterone, have no interest in sex either. This is not a new phenomenon; in part, it’s why the Japanese population is collapsing at such a rapid rate. The demographics are already so unbalanced that each month the police arrest more elderly shoplifters than teenage ones. By 2060, the Japanese population will likely be one- third of what it is today. (And speaking of strange imbalances, within the Japanese porn industry there are more than 10,000 female actresses and fewer than 100 males, leading one overworked male star to argue that his kind are now rarer than Bengal tigers.)