Sexual Reproduction: Observations

Posted on 16th March 2005 by Ryan Somma in Ionian Enchantment

Millions of participants and still not an Olympic Event.” – Condom Advertisement

Paul Reuben (aka. Pee Wee Herman), severely damaged his career because of it. Former President Bill Clinton risked everything for it. Numerous religious leaders have gone down in the flames of social scorn in the pursuit of it. Sexual Gratification is an incredibly powerful motivator, causing people to risk everything.

This makes perfect sense, as the Survival of the Fittest principle means that the animals more highly motivated to reproduce will do so. The sexual urgency in our genes was set there by our horney ancestors, and we owe them, the genes and our ancestors, our gratitude, for without them we would not be here, but I am over simplifying.

Sexual Reproduction was one of the most important evolutionary developments in the Earth’s history. Asexual reproduction is simply cloning, where a species generates exact replicas of itself, rarely changing except through occasional mutations. Having emerged in algae, the system of reproduction requiring two parents’ contribution of genes spawned a world of diversity crucial to Evolutionary advancement.

Biologically, Homo Sapiens two sexes are surprisingly similar. Both males and females can achieve orgasms. The biological mechanics of the arousal and climax are very similar physiologically. Muscle contractions, the redirection of blood flow, and areas of increased sensitivity are very similar in men and women. The sexual organs of our two sexes are almost simply the inverse of one another.

With such similarities, we cannot define male and female along the mechanics of their genitalia, but instead they are divided along the kind of gametes, cells for sexual reproduction, they carry. In males these are sperm, small and numerous cells with a mobility that allows them to seek out female gametes. In females, the gamete is the egg, fewer and larger cells produced in an environment capable of supplying nutrition to a developing embryo.


Homo Sapien’s Kinky Sexual Practices

Compared to other species of animals across the globe, Human Beings are rather unique sexually, but our unusual sexual behaviors have provided us a plethora of advantages evolutionarily. Without its kinkiness, our species would not have the strong genes and egalitarian social structures so crucial to our success.

The Minister’s Position

The positioning of the female clitoris, which is the focus of the female orgasm, favors face-to-face copulation. Human Beings are one of the few species to make love face to face. There is something wonderful about the implications of this fact. Coupled with each sex’s potential for orgasm, the sexual act becomes a cooperative effort, not to produce offspring, but to produce mutual pleasure.

In modern cultures, our advanced cognitive capabilities lend a great deal of variety to our sexual behaviors. Experimentation with situations, positions, and inventions all produce a wide range of sensations and experiences to our sexual lexicons. A great deal of difference exists between different cultures of human beings in our world. While the equipment is the same, how individuals choose to use it varies widely.

Reduced Dimorphism

Compared to other species, there is very little difference the male and female halves of homo sapiens. Unlike other mammals, or reptiles, or insects, neither the male nor female of homo sapiens possesses a significantly larger stature. This important characteristic provides for the intelligence our species possess. With larger females come larger pelvises for successfully delivering larger-brained babies.

Perhaps it is the influence of our Neocortex complicating things, but human beings tend to seek equals for our lifetime monogamous relationships, intellectually, financially, or physically. If one sex were to dominate our species, it would alter the other, through breeding, in such a way as to generate greater differences between the sexes.

Miscegenation

Here I am using this term to apply to cross-cultural interbreeding, not simply skin-color differences. Homo Sapiens inbreed with terrible results. Down Syndrome and Hemophilia are just some of the genetic flaws that propagate and can eventually exterminate a family line when fresh genes are not sought.

Throughout history there are examples of different tribes, family lines, and other groups of people negotiating unions with one another. Royalty and high societies, where courtships are negotiated along very complex lines, provide just one example of how cultures, often unconsciously, pursue genetic diversity.


Battle of the Sexes

It began when one member of a sexually reproducing species mutated to produce a larger number of smaller gametes than the others, sperm. This was the first male, and it propagated quickly and successfully. Females emerged in response to this mutation, producing fewer and larger, but potentially more successful gametes, eggs.

The males of a species are the exploitive half of it, evolved to produce as many gametes as possible and impregnate as many females with them as they can. The females are the more altruistic half of the species, having responded to male promiscuity with larger eggs and greater child-rearing capabilities. The terms “exploitive” and “altruistic” here are not meant to connote good and bad qualities, but are merely characterizations of two evolutionary adaptations.

Various sexually reproducing species have found different states of equilibrium between male and female contributions to the production of offspring. Gorillas and elephant seals have evolved into an environment where very few males, only the most dominant, are allowed to copulate. They herd females into harems and pass on their dominant genes. Male peacocks and birds of paradise must engage in elaborate displays to attract a female, a behavior that also attracts predators.

While, for land animals, it is more commonly the female of the species who is left to care for the offspring, many species have evolved courtship behaviors that require the males to provide as well. In ocean life, where eggs may be fertilized outside of the female’s body, males exhibit more altruistic behavior to their offspring and females are the more exploitive.


Which Human Sex has the advantage?

All types of intra-gender relations found in other species exist to various degrees within the human race. Relationship dynamics include long courtship rituals or casual sexual encounters. Readers are probably familiar with examples of male and female desertion, male and female promiscuity, or male and female monogamy.

Each sex engages in different behaviors to attract the other. Today members of both sexes flock to Universities, not only merely better careers, but because the College experience greatly increase one’s chances of finding a mate. At the same time, career-minded individuals are less likely to produce offspring. Sex may be the motivator for finding a mate, but whether it is for reproduction remains in question.

In the past, the fact that women engaged in greater “preening” behavior, such as make-up, shaving body hair, and tanning, was considered evidence that men were the dominant species; but the Neocortex complicates things, as men formerly needed to achieve greater financial and social stability in order to attract a mate. Which sex went to the greater effort for sex? The one who shaved its legs or the one who worked into a career and material wealth?

The rise of women’s equality and its resultant professional, career-minded female class has prompted the emergence of a new men’s culture, the “Metrosexual.” Men who wax or trim their body-hair, show concern for their home decor, fine dinning, and read men’s magazines like “GQ” comprise this trend. The relatively easy transition of traditional gender roles in our species in response to the emergence of career-focused females demonstrates the dynamic nature of intra-gender relations in our culture.

Culturally, physically, and in countless other ways human beings are incredibly complex in regards to our mating rituals. Our hypothalamuses are still subject to stimulation on an instinctual level due to pheromones or visual cues being given off by the opposite sex; however, we are also attracted to a wide variety of other characteristics in potential mates. Once again, our neocortex overrides our instinctual cravings. What one person finds attractive in a mate may be completely different from another’s perceptions.

Ultimately, it is dangerous to make any broad, sweeping assertions about either sex. Men and women may have differences, but these differences do not apply completely across either set. There are always exceptions, often many exceptions to each characterization. Accepting the complexity of sexual attraction and socialization is more productive than seeking a reductionist categorization that does not exist.


Evolutionary Implications of Penis Length

We can discern many behavioral patterns of a species from the size of the male’s genitalia. Of the primates, chimpanzees have the largest penis size in proportion to their overall stature. This adaptation is a result of promiscuity in the females of the species generating an environment where a larger phallus increases the male’s chances of reproducing. Gorilla males have smaller genitalia in proportion to their body-size. This is because alpha-males of the species hoard females into harems where they are prohibited from promiscuity. Sexual dimorphism in Gorillas is also far greater than in chimpanzees, coinciding with the Gorilla male’s subjugation of the females.

In other words, being an overly dominant male will result in smaller and penis sizes in successive generations. We must also consider reversing the cause and effect and consider that having a small penis results in excessively dominant behavior in males. In other words, overly dominant behavior in males serves as a survival mechanism for the small penis gene.

The penis length of human males falls between the proportion of the other primates, smaller than chimpanzees and larger than gorillas. Taking bodyweight proportioning out of the comparison, human males have the largest penises of all primates (Hooray!).

Human Beings are closer to chimpanzees in our reduced sexual dimorphism. This is the result of our communal nature. Males cohabitate with other males in a community where females hold equal stature. Female promiscuity exists to a degree, and is tempered with male dedication to helping with the raising of offspring.

Our ancestors formed family units and tribes, where males and females each provided for the whole. Females were not herded into harems, but given a much more equal status in the tribe. The stability of our social hierarchy allowed for the emergence of grandparents, members of the family too old to produce children, but contributing to the care taking of grandchildren, and helping to ensure the success of their genes.


Responsibility to the Orgasm

Don’t forget the clitoris stupid!” – Matt Groenig

Where does the female orgasm originate? Sigmund Freud believed that female orgasm originated from two areas, the clitoris and the vaginal canal. His belief was that the clitoral orgasm was immature in origin and that women should cognitively move the origin of their climaxes to the vaginal canal.

Much is made of the fabled “g-spot” in women. Search for this often ellusive love button on the internet and you will find many different explanation of what it is exactly. The area is named after Dr. Ernest Grafenburg who first committed his observation of it to publication, but his observation is taken out of context. In fact, Grafenburg was arguing that there is no single point of erotic stimulation in women, and that any point on a woman’s body can give her sexual pleasure.

The G-Spot provides a convenient excuse to place responsibility for the female climax entirely on the woman. It is not the males sexual ineptitude preventing his partner’s climax, according to this reasoning, but something wrong with the female’s vaginal canal. This is why focusing on the g-spot is an unhealthy sexual dysfunction.

We must keep in mind that the pleasure resulting from copulation is a cooperative effort. Both the male and female must communicate their needs to one another and adjust their techniques according to what pleases their partner.

A relaxed environment is difficult to achieve in sexual relations, where a feeling of urgency often overwhelms us. It is important in this situation to remember our power as a cognitively directed species and not allow raging hormones to control us. Like anything else in life, approach the sex act thoughtfully, with deliberation and foresight. Savor the anticipation of climax. The climax itself lasts scant seconds, the anticipation can last a lifetime.

Always remember the largest erogenous zone in the human body: the mind.


Why Sex?

Sexual reproduction requires two members of the same species, often of the opposite sex, to meet and exchange DNA. One of the big questions in evolutionary studies is why sexual is the reproductive mode of choice in the animal kingdom. Even plants, with the success of flowering species, use this method, which seems clumsy, inefficient, and subject to chance compared to asexual methods.

Sexual reproduction places additional survival challenges on a species. Flowering plants must either rely on wind to carry their pollen to other plants of the same species or rely on insects to accomplish this task more directly. The chances of deep-sea angler fish finding a mate are so remote in the ocean’s vastness, that when it does occur, the male physically attaches to the female, sharing her blood flow and providing sperm to ensure perpetual reproduction.

Even if, through a chain of chance, sexual reproduction managed to come this far, then we are left with the question of why an asexual variant of a species did not emerge. A female capable of self-fertilization should have an advantage in a species of sexually reproducing members. The asexual gene would quickly overtake the less efficient sexual, and a population of clones would result.

Sexual Reproduction, therefore, must provide some significant advantage to a species, and here are some possibilities for why that may be:

Variety and Accelerated Evolution

In sexual reproduction, two members of a species each contribute an equal, often random, share of genes. Asexual reproduction works like a Xerox machine, running off exact copies of the organism. Each member of an asexual species is a gene “package,” carrying all the same genes the other members carry.

Mutation is the key to a species becoming more adapted to its environment. Asexually reproducing species mutate at a much slower pace than sexually and are therefore not as equipped to adapt to environmental changes. An environmental change that kills one member of an asexual species will kill them all.

Sexual reproduction produces constant variations. In a sense, we are each a mutation of our parents, sharing their genetics, but in different combinations. A species that continually produces variant combinations of genes will not suffer extinction from a parasite, virus, or bacteria capable of exploiting one specific gene.

Natural Selection occurs closer to the gene-level in sexually reproducing species. Each member of the species carries a variety of genetic traits and each time two members reproduce they generate offspring with a mix of the two individual’s genes. When natural selection occurs, those members with the best gene combinations are able to survive.

Rising to Meet the Challenge

So with variety and accelerated evolution improving the adaptability of a species, it may be possible that the additional challenges sexual reproduction pose to a species also help to improve it in other ways. A sexual species must not only compete with other species for resources such as food and territory, but it must also compete intraspecies for mates. This additional dimension of natural selection could work to force a species to improve beyond species lacking such environmental pressure.

Whatever the reason, the fact is that sexual reproduction is the mode of choice on planet Earth. Eventually a scientist will develop a plausible theory for why this is and other scientists will do the math to support it. Until then, we will continue to hypothesize.

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