Girls, ever wonder what the world would be like without any men? I know I have. No other males to compete for your charms means more honey babies for me. Wait no that's not right. Because in a world full of women, where men have gone extinct, either I wouldn't be around, or I'd have a vagina! There's always a catch.
I raise the question because researchers at the University of Anglia (wherever that is) have been studying sexual selection and its effects on offspring. Having sex does not at first appear to be in a species' best interests, since males cannot carry children, and a population half of which is male would reproduce only half as much as one of exclusively females - with of course the ability to inseminate their own eggs.
Parthenogenesis, the process whereby an unfertilized egg absorbs a genetically identical sister cell, is rare in vertebrates but can happen when a species becomes endangered, as the smalltooth sawfish, which have been found to reproduce in the wild without sex. The resulting offspring have about half of the genetic diversity of their mothers and often die. Nevertheless, it is possible, and not just in the realm of science fiction. Call it Land of the Clones.
The study, which was published in Nature, involved beetles, some of whom were exclusively paired with a mate, while others were placed in a population where the female/male ratio was close to 10:1, meaning 10 males for each female. Jackpot! The results showed that when males compete for females, and females have the opportunity to choose from among a bevy of prospective suitors, population health improves and the species is less likely to go extinct. The monogamous beetles were extinct after 10 inbreeding generations (inbreeding increases the likelihood of genetic defects), while the population in which competition and selection occurred continued to thrive even after 20 inbreeding generations. So sexual selection maintains genetic variation which is in a species' benefit. And the ability to out-compete rivals and attract partners means you are probably pretty good at other stuff (not the scientist's phraseology - my own) so the battle of the sexes, or among members of one sex for the favor of the other, serves as an effective filter to maintain a population's genetic health.
The movie Children of Men imagines a future in which men can no longer impregnate females. The story follows the last mom-to-be in her race to protect her child from the grasping hands of science and other vested interests. The handsome and rugged Clive Owen is there to assure our happy ending. Maybe the sequel could be the discovery that every woman can impregnate herself. In such a world, where men are obsolete, boys had better run for cover. Cause a gal can be a real bitch, 'specially when your no longer of any use to her!
But for now men are just a necessary evil. And until the species no longer has any use for sexual selection, gals you'll just have to live with us. So here's how. Because with dudes around, marriage too is likely to stay. And one could make an argument that marriage and not men is the burden to be borne.
Before we get to that, if you agree with me and like to get your man-hate on, then unless dudes are just dicks (and we can be, but not always) this says something about you. Specifically about your early relationships with men, above all with your dad. My theory (not studied in the lab, but it nevertheless could be true) is that you can judge a woman's romantic success by two factors: one, whether her parents remained happily married, which would give her a model for successful monogamy; two, whether she had a harmonious relationship with her father, since after all dad is daughter's first love.
Most of my galpals have come from broken homes, which may be why I am no longer with any of them. See, it's not just me! I have been with one or two girls who adored and admired their father and whose father was still married to mum, and these sweeties seemed emotionally more stable to me. So why aren't we together? Okay, maybe it is me!
These days, the divorce rate is close to 50 percent, and the divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher, so you are just as likely to come from a broken home as not, and as me. And your relationship with your father has something to do with his relationship with your mom. If he treated her like shit, even if they stayed married, you'd be right to grow up suspecting the institution that led to your mom's grief. If you come from a broken home, my condolences and commiserations. But if you do choose to sexually select, and the result of your selection becomes your husband, don't do it to your kids. Divorce, that is. Because it really sucks for all parties involved.
The Atlantic Monthly discusses ways to divorce proof your marriage. The factors influencing matrimonial success include time spent dating before the proposal, annual household income, religious attendance, size and cost of the wedding, and whether you go on a honeymoon. In short, to assure your marriage lasts, date for at least 3 years before getting engaged, make more than $125,000 a year as a couple, attend church (or some religious service) regularly, deemphasize wealth (if you're a gal) and looks (if you're a guy) as an incentive to marry, because these traits fade, have a big wedding but make sure it's cheap and take a honeymoon.
If this sounds like too much work, if you're more intuitive than logical, then go ahead and roll the dice, or avoid marriage all together, or wait for the day that dudes disappear. I think a world without sexual reproduction would be a good thing. Sex without the catch. No consequences. And no condoms. Hate those things. Of course the scenario would have to include no STDs. It would probably be a world without jealousy, since jealousy is an emotion built into our survival instinct. If you lose a mate to a rival she may bear his children, in which case your fitness plummets. But in a world where sex is free, she could impregnate herself. Cool.
Wait, there's a catch. Of course there is. A world without sexual production would once again be a world without men, since in such a world the male would be redundant, the penis obsolete. And I so like my pee-pee.
I wonder, is the rise in the lesbian population preparation for such a male-free world? Should I and my jewels be worried? Or is it merely part of the new sexual liberation, one in which said lesbians would be more willing to let a friend who just happened to have a penis and who's really nice by the way, and good with parents, join in on the fun. So much to wonder on, in, around, and my favorite, from behind!