Biology 101

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Crimes to the Third Degree.

I’m not sure that understanding Biology 101 makes it any easier emotionally. Or if maybe we’re just all damned but keep trying to pretend humans are something other than animals.

Flying By Night novelIn putting together the first Spilled Candy newsletter I’ve put out in quite some time, I invested the extra effort in acquiring some articles related, at least on the periphery, to various books we’ve published. One article author had several short articles that interested me, and one unrelated article that served as a reminder of science and human sexuality.

It was nothing I haven’t read before, but the author had a great sense of humor that made her words memorable. She reminded the reader that men who cheat, ogle, flirt, and screw a rock if it sits still long enough are just doing what males in the animal kingdom do naturally. Women, she argued, have but 12 chances a year to get pregnant and then spend the next 9 months preparing to duplicate themselves in a major investment of their time. Men, on the other hand, she said, have buckets of semen to be spread everywhere possible in an effort to impregnate anything they can and duplicate themselves wherever and as often as possible.

While reading, I had a flash of a strip club—the women on stage, shaved chimps displaying their swollen red genitals to the hooting masses of male chimps in the pit below. Oh, yeah. The animal kingdom at its finest.

The author alleged, too, that women think men are making a commitment by sticking around when, really, they’re just biologically attuned and don’t know when the human female might ovulate so they hang around just in case they get it right.

Which brings me to another question I’ve heard raised that I never considered much when I was younger and more idealistic about long-term relationships. Is it realistic to expect two people to be faithful to each other for life? Or even for a decade without straying sexually? For a couple of years? Months?

And if the answer is yes, are we setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure, for resentment and forced partings over ego or shattered hearts?

And if the answer is no, then how do you deal with it emotionally? Do you agree to the terms of your marriage/partnership and decide it will be open to the n’th degree or that you agree on any additional sexual partners brought in for a limited time? Do you share the experience? “Oh, good honey, you’re home—guess what I brought you? I’ll just have a glass of wine and watch, but I’ll be expecting a generous foot rub from you when you’re all done.” Or do you put it the same category as “yeah, sure, you watch sports on TV for the evening while I go shopping”? Can you accept that emotionally?

The heart definitely has its own mind, too, in regard to faithfulness, but is that biological or conditioned by society?

I have no idea, and no one to discuss it with who isn’t appalled that I’m even raising the question.