Over the years, various futurists have been predicting what the future of sex will be like.
From virtual porn and human augmentation to remote hookups (where people, at a distance, bring each other to orgasm via haptic technologies),
the future of sex will be more digital, more synthetic, less organic, less messy.
But while the future will no doubt bring with it major technological changes,
we should also consider that some of the biggest changes in the future will involve new ideas.
There will be new ideas about procreation. Since 1978, more than eight million babies have been born through IVF.
That number is set to drastically rise the more ubiquitous and affordable the technologies become.
Birth control and contraception have also helped separate sex and procreation in our cultural imagination.
If Greely’s predictions about PGD are right, then at some point within the next four decades, there will be a sea change when it comes to how babies are born.
PGD will become “easy” (accessible and affordable) thanks to developments in genetics and stem cell research.
“A couple who wants children will visit a clinic – he will leave a sperm sample; she will leave a skin sample.
A week or two later, the prospective parents will receive information on 100 embryos created from their cells, telling them what the embryos’ genomes predict about their future…
Then they will select which embryos to move into the womb for possible pregnancy and birth.”
People might bristle at the thought of “designer babies,” but when we remember that most people who have babies select each other based on traits,
knowing full well that such traits will likely be passed onto their offspring,
it gets harder to draw a line between the technologies that Greely writes about and run-of-the-mill reproduction-via-sex.
There will be new ideas about monogamy and commitment.
Having one sexual partner for one’s entire adult life seems like a more easily achieved prospect when life expectancy is lower.
But life expectancy for humans has been on the rise.
From 1960 to 2017, the average increased by 20 years. By 2040, estimates claim life expectancy will be up more than four years.
That’s a conservative number to some futurists. Steven Austad, for instance, believes the first human to live to 150 years old was born before 2001.
How realistic is it to require someone to limit his- or herself to the same one sex partner for 130 years?
But we needn’t look that far ahead. Even now, divorce and remarriage rates continue to climb.
According to a 2013 Pew survey, four in 10 American marriages involve the remarriage of at least one of the couple.
Perhaps, with longer life expectancies, “till death do us part” will simply cease to be our aim.