Let’s think about sex the way we think about emergent technology. As soon as newer models and processes arrive, the older ones become antiquated, obsolete. In some ways, progress isn’t always in everyone’s best interest, and there are hidden costs to innovation that some rarely see. But at its core, technological evolution is always aimed toward making the human experience more efficient and compelling.
I’m a bit of a Luddite, I must admit, but I marvel at how communication technology has so quickly changed the landscape of our behavior. We’re not androids yet, though, so saying no one ever calls anymore or speaks face to face is too generalizing. Simply, there are now so many choices by which we can express ourselves.
Expression through technological advances can be analogous to how we treat sexual behavior. Think about cheating, for instance. It’s an obsolete mode of behavior. Two people, without the cultural language necessary for open communication about desires and whatnot, fall victim to one or both individuals going to the inefficient lengths of creating a secret and hiding it. I don’t view cheating as a glitch in this scenario, however; it’s a response to not having the right tools.
In relationships now there is new programming, new communication technology to be utilized. There’s a whole lot more data on the matter, an entire Internet-worth actually, all of it an easy search away, and mobile software that helps manage all the information. Plus, there are so many more applications of sexuality now recognized – or in the process of recognition – that account for a wider range of wants.
So, in essence, cheating is an antiquated bit of relationship and sexual technology. For a long time, it was one of few options for having another partner, of expressing oneself outside the monogamy or marriage program. Imagine if all the other programming languages were fully integrated into the wide cultural mainframe – I’m stretching a bit with metaphors, bear with me – there would be no need for cheating to pop up anywhere.
This is not to say that monogamy is obsolete as well. If you look at the majority of the animal kingdom, and ask the question of how often monogamy legitimately works, it’s actually a transgressive kink, in the Darwinian sense. Only, it’s programmed into the mainstream as the norm, making cheating – the frequent subroutine in mismanaged monogamy – seemingly terrible. Monogamy, polyamory, open relationships, swinging, all of these models are workable, so long as new vocabularies and methods, emerging as part of the growing research into sexuality and relationships, are applied before committing to the program in question.
Think about it this way. Two people, now equipped with advancements in sexual communication and technology, decide they want to enter a relationship. Instead of confining themselves to unspoken, implied monogamy, these two individuals can now admit the amount of carnal input and output required based on their understanding of genetics (the wonders of evolution!). Knowing their natural appetites, these two can now decide what constitutes cheating, whether other people should be included in the arrangement, or even whether sex toys should be added into the mix. Sex toy technology is incredibly advanced now, and buying a shelf full of toys may satisfy urges that would otherwise manifest as cheating. In essence, progress in communicative and tool technology has allowed these two to cull from a wider range of programming options. Cheating’s been edited out, and every relationship model’s been subjected to the same, equalizing self-examination.
Of course, none of this is an exact science. Emotions are a whole other monster. But, like any other behavior, emotional responses can be managed, and accounted for. Knowing what we know now, and having the inventive tools created by innovative sex toy companies, it’s pretty clear that cheating is an obsolete response, and can be dealt with accordingly.