Thursday, 17 August 2017

Sex and Relationships in 2027

Sex in the future!
Last month, Teen Vogue actually did an article on BDSM! And there are all these surveys about the younger generation's laid-back attitude to sex and sexuallity.

So what's it going to be like in the Anglophone 1st world in ten years time?

I think wildly liberal, but not a 70s style Brave New World shagfest, nor a rolling Bonobo pansexual bonkathon.

Here's why.... (please note this is a prediction, not a manifesto!)

One the one hand, technology pushes the erotic envelope. Medicine's attack on consequences removes the fear. Porn erodes qualms. The wired up world provides opportunities and, through mobile communications, makes people physically safe. We're only one click away from cheap toys and gadgets to fulfil our fantasies. And, with ignorance and fear in retreat, people are starting to be OK with the whole rainbow of sexualities and identities.

On the other hand, a culture of sexual autonomy makes people less rather than more sexually available to others: people increasingly no longer feel they have to do things they don't feel like.

Since sex is an intimate act, it will continue to create vulnerablity. In the absence of cultural scripts telling people to go out and get laid, or to date, many of them will choose not to let down their guard except selectively. So though we'll see more promiscuity done more openly, it's never going to be like the fantasy version of the 1970s Sexual Revolution because only a few people really want to routinely sleep around.

A range of relationship styles will become unremarkable, especially poly, but monogamy isn't going to go away. Since each style generates its own challenges, no one style will be acknowledged best. People and fashion will move between them over time. However, as long as people still have jobs, relationships will tend to drift towards something resembling monogamy as the lazy option.

Similarly, sex remains visceral rather than cerebral. The new generation seemed to have picked up the values without the passionate politics. So though they won't be transphobic or homophobic, and though more of them will be openly pan/bi or "flexible" (or whatever it will be called), for most people, your "actual genitals right now" will still matter. (On the plus side, we can guess that sex changes will get easier and that the genitals you once had won't matter.)

Finally, given that something like 50% of women can't usually get off on penetration, I predict there will be less penis-in-vagina sex than right now.

What about kink?

Kink in general will go mainstream... it already is, to an extent. There won't be a BDSM club on every corner because sex will still be private for most people. However, kink will be a part of the standard bedroom repertoire.

Given most people aren't particularly good at role playing, it will be instrumental kink, with bondage for teasing and denying, and sadism and masochism experienced in the raw without the layer of simulation modern kink culture wraps around its "play". And some kinks based on transgressing race and gender will simply fade away. For example, by 2027, sissification won't make much sense to anybody under 50.

Chastity devices won't be mainstream outside the bedroom, unless somebody nails the problem of security - expect something like the FitBit for cocks. They most certainly will be mainstream in the bedroom. Their primary use will be vanilla: to string out the male plateau phase. However, they will also creep into dating and courtship wherever one partner wishes to delay sexual intercourse.  (I talked about all this here.)

This leads us to the knotty problem of power exchange in asymmetric relationships.

I suspect these will still be taboo. That Teen Vogue article sought advice from a pro-domme, not an established FLR or MLR couple. It emphasised BDSM as play and performance.

Yes, consensual vanilla asymmetric relationships naturally arise in the wild, and yes it's healthy to be able to acknowledge and eroticise the dynamic, not least because it lets you negotiate it. However, ongoing power exchange will feel like a violation of the prevailing egalitarian culture.

So, a submissive may one day think nothing of discussing a flogging with their adventurous friends, but they'll have to keep it a secret that the reason they were flogged was because they didn't do their chores...

There are two ways I can see F/m asymmetric relationships becoming acceptable in the mainstream:

First, asymmetric relationships without BDSM protocol trappings might become widely visible and acceptable in the Lesbian and Gay communities, where gender roles and feminism can't muddy the waters.  If our gay friends can casually talk about  a partner being their "boss", then so can we straight couples.

Second, perhaps there will be a Political Femdom movement along the lines of Political Lesbianism. It won't be called that, and it won't be overtly kinky. It will be touted as a way of subverting patriarchy at root. It might even do that. It will certainly square the circle for a lot of straight couples.

Unfortunately, all this will benefit FLR/Femdom pairings more than it will MLR/Maledom ones. We're going to need another two generations of non-sexist culture before MLR doesn't push the wrong buttons. Unless... just perhaps loudly embracing MLR as a consensual kink might just be seen as a way to subvert old-style patriarchal marriage.

As I said, this is a prediction, not a manifesto. I don't think this world will be perfect, make everybody happy, or even respect everybody's rights. However, it will be better than the erotic environment I grew up on, and better than what goes on today.

Your turn. What do you think things will be like?


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