Many studies point out that marriage is associated with better health, for both males and females, compared to living alone. Children born into families with both parents present are shown to develop more preferably than those living with single parents. Humans need to belong to a family for material and moral support and in order to share feelings, views, rights, and duties. The traditional marriage--one wife, one husband--however, has shown its backward and obsolete aspects. Many other forms of marriage, such as polygamy and group marriage have been practiced but the results have not been very significant.
This article indicates the need to separate men and women, and at the same time, separate sex out of the family. It proposes a new family model called the non-sex based family (NSBF). Since the new family form will help to eliminate the patriarchy within a family and to improve human's society structure, the study is therefore entitled "Postpatriarchy."
The article is structured as follows: The second section claims that the traditional family model is an irrational and corrupt institution. In more detail, it points out that including a sexual function in marriage is wrongful, and both sexes can fulfill all other three family functions: sharing, support, and lineage. It particularly emphasizes the fundamental differences between the sexes and the disadvantages of women in typical families. By opposing this form of family, it concurrently criticizes all other cohabiting forms, where men and women live together and sexual activities exist in their union. The third section proposes a new alternative model of family and describes the evolution of marriage and family according to sexual contexts. It also outlines a post-patriarchal society where the new family form presents. The last section shows the prominence of the new model in comparison with other existent family structures, providing answers for foreseen critics and suggesting ideas for future research.
2. Irrationality of Traditional Families
A traditional family in this study is described as the cohabitation of a man and a woman engaging in sexual activities, which may or may not involve children. It is also called a monogamous family. This inquiry is not trying to delve into any legal aspect, so the concept of "marriage" here also includes non-marital cohabitation. This study focuses on this kind of family, as it is among the most popular kinds of families in the world at present. The functions of the family are classified into four main groups: (i) Sex: the family is the realm where sexual activities take place; (ii) Sharing: life partners share their views, feelings, rights and duties in the family with each other; (ii) Support: the life partner is the physical and mental source of support and takes care of the other in times of illness or old age; (iv) Lineage: family is the place to rear children, extend life, and give inheritance to offspring. (It is noted that reproduction is not linked with the lineage function but rather the sexual function, for it is a product of sexual activities).
An ideal family in this study is presupposed to be a permanent and solid structure in order to protect its members from life's difficulties, help them implement their long term plans, and rear offspring. Some people may argue that serial marriage is quite stimulating, as living with different partners throughout one's life may entertain you with fresh and new feelings. As to my opinion, an unanticipated separation will create psychological trauma for those engaging in cohabitation, especially women. Even marriage ending like a short or medium-term contract (e.g., from one to five years) can have serious impacts on long-term investment plans for material and immaterial capital, as well as being a detriment to children. Therefore, this article considers the notion: the longer-term and better-structured the family is, the better.
2.1 Irrationality of Sex in Family
In this part I will point out the relatively unimportant role that sex plays in marriage. Moreover, with its dangerous and inferior nature, the existence of sex in marriage can be destructive.
The sexual morality of a traditional family specifies that sexual activities are not to appear outside of the family. However, such morality has not gained support from many schools of philosophy. A conventional argument of non-monogamous advocates is that persons who are monogamous usually "either have low 'sex drive' or are exerting superhuman control over their sexual desires" (Overall 1998, 14). Liberals generally promote a "non-interference to individuals as long as their actions are based on freedom of choice and don't harm others directly and significantly, unless consent to be harmed is given" (Holbrook 2007, 8). Romantics claim, nevertheless, that sexual consent is not enough as sex should be tied to love. It is easily seen that sex based on mutual consent or love is not limited to within the family and it is not necessary to be faithful to one single partner. Yet, those who most strongly oppose sex in the family are likely the radical feminists. Catharine MacKinnon states that "sexuality is a social construct of male power: defined by men, forced on women, and constitutive in the meaning of gender" (MacKinnon 1989, 316). Some others like Charlene Muehlenhard and Jennifer Schrag are not as radical as McKinnon, however, they regard sexual intercourse in a traditional American family as coercion, from which they, without restraint, deny the positive role of sex in the marriage (Primoratz 2001, 211).
As for me, consent is necessary but not sufficient. Let's take an example of a woman who grows up in a special family or is a supporter of a particular religion or comes from a particular culture. In her childhood, she was taught to pleasingly submit herself to any requirements of men. When she grows up, she is easily involved with sex that is not worth participating in, according to viewpoint of most Western women. This case should not be considered "ignorance" as per the definition of David Archard, author of the book Sexual consent, because we have known that many people do not change their points of view throughout their lives, including those on sex, whether or not they are re-educated in a non-native country (Archard 1997, 2). (For example, many female immigrants do not change their views on outfits despite having lived in America for years, though not to imply that the American view on outfits is more appropriate). In this case, I will opine that the woman is "perceptually handicapped" because of her prior education and there is no chance for recovery. Similar to mental disability, her consent is worthless. Furthermore, I find myself giving the nod for the views of radical feminists--men's dominance in every social area (economy, politic, culture, military, science, etc) causes most sexual acts, including traditional sex in marriage, to be coerced. More or less, the perception disability of women is a popular phenomenon across this world, making the majority of sexual consent among people with heterosexual orientation meaningless.
Traditional marriage, like almost all prevalent forms of family from the group-marriage time until now, is based on the one hypothesis that sex is indispensable. That is why I refer to such a form of family as a sex-based family. The goal I set out to achieve here is to assess the role of sex in marriage. Is sex so important that it must exist in the family?
Sex in marriage, according to Hegel, is an expression of not only physical but also spiritual bond between the spouses. These relationships create the most important product of marriage--children (Halper 2001, 832). Alan Goldman suggests that sexual activities create a physical connection between two individuals involved and hence a pleasure which this contact generates. He also admits sex as a means to present love and tenderness, two important factors of a sustainable marriage, which causes benefits to their children. Nevertheless, Goldman insists on a distinction between sex and love in order to avoid a confusion that sexual desire is mistaken for love. He refutes Thomas Nagel's and Robert Solomon's views that sex is a means of "interpersonal communication" because "that one can communicate various feelings during sex acts does not make these acts merely or primarily a means of communicating" (Nagel 1969; Solomon 1974; Goldman 1977, 268, 273).
Both Nagel and Solomon do not include sex in the context of marriage. And Goldman, who seeks to separate sex from love, must imply sex does not necessarily appear only in family. I could be of the same mind as Hegel, Goldman, Nagel, Solomon and many others that sexual activities take place for the purpose of physical and spiritual bonds, interpersonal communication, pleasure, love, reproduction and so on. This means under a qualitative perspective, the value of sex diverges in marriage. But such a view makes it difficult to assess the importance of sex in the family. In this article I suggest examining the importance of sex under quantitative perspectives.
A measure that has become popular in the press as well as in the literature on social sciences is the number of sexual participations in a year (or week) and the duration of each. Statistics show that the average number of occasions of sexual intercourse in the world is 106 times per year--equivalent to twice a week. Total time spent on foreplay and intercourse is nearly 40 minutes per encounter, both in Canada and the US (Link and Copeland 2000, 1). Suppose the average time one spends for family life is 13 hours daily, namely 5460 minutes per week. Compared to the time used for sex, 80 minutes per week, it is found that sex plays no significant role, contrary to conventional belief that sex is an important feature of marriage. One may argue that physical intimacy between a man and a woman requires not only sexual intercourse, but also touching, hugging, kissing, holding hands etc. However, the latter activities happen also among same-sex people, and bring them some similar feelings. In this study, sexual activities imply sexual intercourse and thus the time consumed by these kinds of activities are relatively small compared to the total time one lives in the traditional family. Assessing value of a kind of human behavior or performance simply by its time consumption has been mentioned in philosophical literature. In her book Justice, Gender, and the Family Susan Okin indicates that a lack of justice in family is reflected in the difference in time spent on housework between husband and wife (Okin 1991, Chap. 7). Some people may debate that the evaluation of sex's role in the family should consider both qualitative and quantitative aspects. This article is not aimed to eliminate sex from personal life or to force everybody to abstain from sex, but to propose a new form of family, in which sex is taken out. Some other people may question that sex within the family is completely different from that outside family, and that eliminating sex from the family is like losing the bond with your spouse (including physical and spiritual bonds), as well as a source of interpersonal communication, pleasure, love, reproduction, harmony and so on. Let's take an example: in many Asian countries before the 20th century, three-generation families used to be a social norm. Nowadays, elderly parents living separately from newly-married young couple has become popular. Compared to previous generations, married couples nowadays no longer benefit from such close family bonds, material and immaterial support, and childcare from their parents. But in return, they benefit from privacy and independence in decision making. Thus, losing some forms of family connection is not necessarily a bad thing. Still, sex is simply a way, but not the only way, to achieve the goals of the marriage. Some people may argue that a family is not a "family" without sex. These people should review cases in which, for example, one of the spouses is innately morbid or sick from an accident, making them unable to perform real sexually activities from the beginning of or during marriage; homosexuals who get married to partners of the opposite sex; those who are blood-related living together without sexual relations. Such cases are still considered family. An institution is called a "family" whenever a group of people are living together sharing material and spiritual values and significantly sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the others. In short, I want to confirm that considering its quantitative aspects, sex accounts for a relatively small role in marriage, and does not necessarily stay within the family.
I would like to add more reasons for which sex in traditional marriage is irrational and even destructive. Since the average sexual demand of men is more frequent than that of women, to have proper consent, in most cases, men are required to restrain their sexual needs or women are required to overserve. This causes oppressiveness. In my opinion, fidelity (in the sense of ability to control, having sex with only one person in a certain period) is not innate to human instinct. Those who are subjected to similar education can have different levels of fidelity, as fidelity depends partially on education but mostly on the chemical and physical structure of each person. The traditional family typically requires fidelity toward only one single partner during marriage, which is strict and unreasonable since such a request demands the highest level of fidelity in people. In addition, the expectation of sexual harmony in a long marriage is merely an illusion. The common characteristics of a woman that men are attracted to are physical attractiveness and youth, which fade away over time. This makes it easy for men to gradually lose their love, and as a result, their sexual arousal starts straying toward other people rather than the spouse. Once the fidelity and love cannot be maintained, sex becomes destructive. In addition, sexual activities in a family can cause bouts of domestic violence, in which the culprits are usually said to men. All of these arguments are designed to show that sex is a factor that ruins marriage.
Next I will discuss the moral stature of sex. Sex is praised, poeticized, and exaggerated in order to seduce marital partners to serve each other's demand. However, regardless of many efforts to speak for the nature of sexual intercourse, to discuss its details it is still not considered of refined activities. Sexual hospitality is not considered an official action rite in modern societies. Prostitution, though already accepted to be an official job in many countries, is not recognized as a respectable job. Let's see Mathew Altman interpreting Kant's views: "When someone has sex, then, he succumbs to an animal impulse, allows himself to be used as things or beasts are used, and uses his partner merely as a means to his own pleasure" (Altman 2010: 312). Although sex is defined as a basic instinct, a man paying his court to a woman by portraying desperate sexual need is perceived to have more "beast" than "man", and can even be fined for that behavior. During conversation, sexual activity is closely connected to unseemly expressions. MacKinnon treats "feminine sexuality" as a "fuckee" which drives the very "sexual shame" among women (Cornell 1991: 2248). Still, sexual intercourse is discouraged to show to small children because of its low standard of decency. It has been posited that showing intercourse among people (including homosexual or heterosexual activities) is unhygienic and therefore will disappear in the future.
In short, this section supports the views of radical feminists, considering most sexual activities in traditional families as coercion, and suggests an evaluation of the role of sex in the family by time spent consuming sexual activities. It particularly highlights the necessity to separate sex out of the family due to its less important, inferior, and treacherous nature.
2.2 Three Functions of Family and Gender Stereotype
In this part, I will discuss gender roles in the implementation of family functions: sharing, support and lineage.
I temporarily admit here that men and woman can share views, feelings, and rights, but people of the same sex can as well, and at times in a better way. I will come back for the discussion in the subsection of "the fundamental difference between men and women." The matter to be discussed here is sharing of family duties and child rearing. Can both men and women take charge of such duties?
Conventional arguments for gender differential roles usually appeal in Christian and natural bases. The traditional stance argues that sex-based stereotypes and gender differentiated labor are not "oppression but the fulfillment of women's nature, and necessary for family and social cohesion." Thus, women's freedom and gender equality should be framed under these restrictions (Blackstone 1975: 243). Margaret Somerville claims that marriage has a history of a thousand years of "institutionalized, natural parenthood and its corresponding rights and duties" (Woodcock 2009: 869, 870). John Finnis judges the one wife, one husband marriage structure as a base for procreation without the support of a third person, and thus, it is a necessary structure to form a sustainable family for children (Finnis 1997: 10).
However, there are many successful objections to these arguments. The first to be mentioned is the comments in support of same sex family, although they only indirectly criticize gender stereotype. Jim Vernon interprets Hegel's views to protect same sex marriage, which generally overshadows different roles between men and women: "there is no ethical requirement that these couples represent both sexes" and "since sexual division plays no role in determining the marital relationship, marriage cannot be divided rigidly into sex roles" (Vernon 2009: 83). That same-sex or heterosexual marriage is ethically equivalent implies that gender differentiated roles are not necessary. These arguments for same-sex family promotion also refute Finnis's views. Altman believes that Kant's opinions on marriage provide us the tools to morally promote gender equality: Marital morality cannot be based on religious view or what is "natural" (Altman 2010: 310). Gender stereotypes in marriage are also opposed by libertarians and feminists. Scott Woodcock treats Somevill's appeal for tradition as irrational, because parenthood and procreative issues of prior conception of marriage may be a precise target for a modern amendment. Woodcock provides several deviations from standard marriage (e.g. marriage of people beyond their fertile ages and of infertile couples) in order to justify that procreation is not an inherent function of marriage (Woodcock 2009: 870, 871). Contemporary liberal feminists require minimizing or eliminating the difference in gender roles in order to promote gender equality and freedom in households. Both spouses share equally the family chores and childcare duties, sharing the role of "breadwinner," and having the same opportunities in developing their careers (Ferguson: 2007).
As to my observation, single adolescents, irrespective of male or female, could undertake almost all their tasks in the family. (A visual example could be found in the dormitory). The jobs requiring professional skills or strength, e.g. in-home furniture repair, could be outsourced. It is unreasonable to think that they will lose these skills after engaging in marriage. In addition, the difference between children raised in unisexual or multi-sexual environments is not as worrying as the difference between those subject to varied economic conditions, educational background, and capacities of one's parents. Even in traditional families, the difference between the number and sex of the children (family with all sons, family with all daughters, family with one child and family with many children, etc.) and the birth spacing among children can lead to large differences in child development. Hence, proponents of the division of labor by gender should become obsolete.
Now I will discuss material and moral supports. In one-income families, the wife usually takes up housework (unpaid work) along with child care duties, while her husband works for money. In case of illness and old age, the husband becomes the only financial support while the wife offers "services." However, as shown above, men can also be responsible for family duties and women can take part in the labor market if necessary. This means both of the two are in charge of providing material support. In two-income families, the average wage of the husband is often higher than that of the wife. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that material support is the husband's duty. Moral support can imply either sex offering such to the other. So, material and moral support in a family does not depend on gender.
In brief, both sexes can undertake all work in the household, childrearing responsibility, and give support to each other with regard to physical and mental materials in case of illness and old age. The sharing of views, feelings, and rights can also be done by anyone, no matter what gender they belong. (I will discuss this point in detail in the next subsection). The division of housework by gender would create inequality in the family and adversely affect the education of future generations, as many feminists previously stated.
2.3 Why Men and Women Should Not Live Together
2.3.1 The Fundamental Difference between Men and Women
The desire to emphasize the differences between sexes has long existed, maybe since the advent of philosophy. There are two prominent stances: (i) women are deformed versions of men (ii) women and men are fundamentally different.
History has seen many famous thinkers advocate views of the inferiority of women. Montesquieu and Rousseau emphasize women's physical weakness while Comte supposes that the "intrinsic weakness of her reason" leads to their subordination to men. Schopenhauer on the other hand concurs with Aristotle's opinion that women's inferiority is in both body and mind. Some others such as Jerome and St. Aquinas appealed to religious views to assert the superiority of men. Even recent philosophers such as Jose Ortega and William James presuppose a wife's subordination and husband's domination in most marriages, and a "representative American" considering a wife dependent (Bell 1989: 140-148).
The acknowledgment of weakness in women as mentioned above originates mainly from the disproportionate success of men in many social areas in their time, along with the law's favorable treatment of males. Many feminists and liberalists in history, as well as those contemporary, consider gender differences as basic but disagree with the view of women's subordination as their destiny. The liberals claim that any sexual difference preventing women from being responsible for certain tasks require special treatment and women should be equal to men in all social, economic, political, and legal aspects (Blackstone 1975: 244). Mill and Condorcet deny the superiority of men with the argument that except for a very small number of outstanding men, men and women are equal (Bell 1989: 142).
Some traditional and contemporary feminists insist, however, that sexual differences should be ignored in most social contexts with the exception of those involved in reproduction. The assumption here is that the physiological differences between the sexes do not drive any significant differences in nonphysical aspects (e.g. sensitivity, reasoning, moral deliberation). Since the sexual distinction is common in most social institutions and the disadvantages of women in many social domains are well known, the mainstream of feminist thought considers a non-sexist society to be the ultimate goal for women's freedom. In contrast, according to Alison Jaggar, there is a fact that sexual differences exist not only in reproductive organs but as well in nonphysical aspects. Instead, feminists can use women's physical weakness and their reproductive ability as grounds for requesting special treatment of females in order to counterbalance their gender inequality (Jaggar 1974: 276-288).
This article favors Hegel's opinion on "opposing natures" of the two sexes: "the difference between men and women is like that between animals and plants" (Okin 1996: 33). The women's physical weakness and the nonphysical distinctions between the sexes are obvious but cannot be grounds for the superiority of men. The current focus is more on the nonphysical disparities, as some people are convinced that the attraction of partners does not only include sexual need but also incorporates considering the harmony of souls, hobbies, and characteristics. The following paragraph indicates that these nonphysical differences between the sexes are fundamental and their harmony is fallacious or at least is not as good as that among same sex people.
A substantial body of philosophical literature acknowledges the sexual differences in mind, (e.g. Rousseau (Okin 1996: 34)). The psychological and cognitive differences between the sexes, according to Nancy Chodorow, are rooted in their contrasting infanthood development (Bordo 1988: 621). Graciela Hierro insists that "male-female inequality is not the product of a biological difference but of psychological, social and political differences" (Hierro 1994: 175). Neuroethics' studies also admit the sexual distinctions "in brain anatomy, chemistry, and function, and involving cognitive domains such as emotion, memory, and learning" (Chalfn et al. 2008: 1). The basis of the difference in characteristics between the sexes is also well documented.
As to my opinion, these distinctions in mind also lead to inevitable differences in many features of male and female communication (in word selection, topic, number of topics, ways to change topics, and purpose of conversation). The so-called harmony of nonphysical perspectives between men and women should be understood as partly sharing and suffering, different from similar sharing among same-sex people. This means those of the same sex can fulfill the sharing function of family better than those of opposite sex. Men and women are different species. That they live together under the same roof means that male and female species are put into the same proverbial cage. In this place, the huge difference is restrained by the power of men's physicality and made up by sexual intercourse. This dynamic can lead to domestic violence (physical, psychological, and sexual), in which the culprits are typically said to be the men.
2.3.2 Disadvantages of Women in Traditional Family
Currently, men still have an overwhelming advantage in the family and marriage. In the majority of countries in the world men have rights to propose marriage or ask for cohabitation with women. Radical feminists consider family a political institution where women are oppressed. Many of them are convinced, with Marx, that the only way to liberate women is to abolish the capitalist system at the same time as class system (Blackstone 1975: 244). As to Iris Young, a stable marriage contemporarily means a women's dependence on men and their suffering from inequality and various kinds of male supremacy, both in the domestic and public sphere (Young 1995, 545).
I concur with Okin's opinion that the traditional family is unjust and is a cause of women's vulnerability to "dependency, exploitation, and abuse". It is also a less preferable institution in term of the first school in which to educate future citizens about justice and fairness (Okin 1994; Kymlicka 1991: 82). As long as men and women live under a same roof, gender inequality and domestic violence cannot be eliminated because of men's physical strength and women's altruistic nature. Men get married because family life brings more profitable things to them. Although women are thought to be passive in marriage, people still think that women need a family more than men do. Men try to hide intention and console themselves that women also benefit from the marriage.
Thus, it could be said that the traditional family model creates an overwhelming advantage for men both pre and within marriage. The difference between the sexes is so fundamental, and the disadvantages of women are so severe, that it is better to separate them into different spaces.
2.4 Restriction of Traditional Families
Linking the subsections 1 and 2, one can recognize that only the sexual function strictly leads to the participation of both sexes. The activities driven from this function, however, consume relatively little time as previously shown. This is the reason this article states that "men and women require only sexual activities from each other, which are considered the less time-consuming activities during their lives." Traditional families require life partners to combine all of the four functions (sex, sharing, support and lineage), in which sex is the inferior and treacherous one as described.
Taking the analyses above into consideration, it is shown that the traditional family is an irrational and corrupt institution due to of the forced combination of two different species (men and women), the inclusion of sex (a small contributor but devastator of marriage), the large gender inequality, as well as the strict integration of many functions of the family. These facts also explain the fragility of marriage in the western world today. Family should be a permanent and solid structure in order to protect its members from life's storms, helping them implement their long term plans and rear offspring. That's why I support the solution to separate men and women, and at the same time, separate sex out of the family.
There is a large body of literature exploring ways to satisfy sexual need within marriage, but very few mention how to separate sex out of the family, as to my knowledge. Sex is not a good base to keep the family stable. This study aims to find another base for the family. Details of this plan will be discussed in the next section.
3. A New Model of Family--Non Sex Based Family
In the book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Engel speculates that a monogamous family (one wife, one husband) stems from a pairing family, in which the husband has an official wife among many wives. Concurrently he is also her official husband among many other husbands. The reason for a transition of the pairing family to monogamy is that in order to be sure of the wife's fidelity, and thus the paternity of children, "she is delivered unconditionally into the power of the husband." Engel believes that the monogamous family model is created by a patrilineal inheritance rule. Matriarchy ended and made room for patriarchy because of the victory of male over female (Engel 1884, chap. 2 (III), 1, 10; chap. 2 (IV), 1).
This article proposes the idea that almost all prevalent family models which were formed between the group-marriage period and now are sex-based family models. In the previous sections, I have shown that men and women are two different species. They only require sexual activities from each other, which are considered to be the less time-consuming activities during their lives. They do not need to live together in a house. The traditional sex-based family model is no longer suitable to the contemporary technological social contexts. The need for gender equality, the need of sexual freedom, the development of techniques to support autoeroticism, of medical methods to support safe sex, birth control, as well as that of technologies of assisted reproduction (artificial insemination, cloning) all facilitate a new family model. Moreover, that the development of tools and supporting methods for sexual activity is increasing reflects the idea that reciprocal dependence between the two sexes is becoming gradually lessened. Therefore, it is possible to separate men and women, as well as family functions (sex, sharing, support, and lineage), so that individuals could satisfy them in a flexible way.
As argued previously, sex is not a good base for forming a family. This study aims to find another base for the family: the blood relationship or sworn relationship among same-sex people who have a compatibility of souls, hobbies, characteristics and interests, and have heterosexual orientation (and among different-sex people should they have homosexual orientation). An example of this kind of family could be blood brothers (or cousins, uncle and nephew, blood sisters, aunt and niece, grandfather and grandson, grandmother and granddaughter, etc.) or, among non-blood relationship people, i.e. individuals engaging in a sworn relationship (sworn brothers, sworn sisters, sworn uncle and sworn nephew, sworn aunt and sworn niece etc.) with or without their offspring. This kind of family is referred to as non-sex based family (NSBF), since sexual activities will be take place outside the family. This model will consist of two adults in each family, though a larger number of adults could also be feasible. I believe that the number of families consisting of two adults will make up the majority of NSBFs because it is a reasonable number of family members for sharing feelings, rights and duties, benefits, and also getting through all family decisions. Same sex people (if they are heterosexual) are proposed to live together so that there will be no sexual activities in the family. This kind of physiological need will be offered by external channels. Blood relationships are chosen because of their sustainable nature. The children can be their biological children or adopted children.
Figure I illustrates the evolution of marriage and families over time. Sexual activities will happen outside the families. Society is required to develop institutions to offer different kinds of these activities and encourage private channels. For instance, at workplaces there could be love houses next to the facilities where staff's sexual activities could take place. Centers or love clubs will be more popular like restaurants and groceries. The sexual contract will also become widespread. Sexual technology, safe-sex products, and matching counseling will flourish. Recently, futurist Ian Pearson predicts that man will be able to make love with electric equipment and without a sexual partner by 2030 (also called electric autoeroticism, as to Pearson (2011)). His prediction does not conflict with the proposal of this article.
I agree with Firestone and some other researchers stating that natural reproduction will be barbarian in the future, gradually disappear, and will be replaced by artificial means of reproduction (Firestone 1970: 229). Non-natural reproduction will be made anonymous to avoid any inconvenience that might be caused. NSBFs will make up the majority in post-patriarchal society. Other kinds of families and cohabitations (traditional family, single parent family, polygamy, group marriage etc.) will still exist but make up the minority. However, NSBFs will not exist forever and will gradually disappear during the development of the human enhancement (also known as trans-human) process, which will cause fundamental psychological and physiological changes, e.g. it will eliminate the mental and asset sharing needs and the need for support in times of illness. This coincides with Karl Marx's prediction regarding the disappearance of families in the communist regime. Another factor that might exert an influence on the existence of families is the prevalence transgender operations, changing males to female and vice versa, which could be very easy thanks to the human enhancement process.
Figure II describes the current and future state of families, and sexual and offspring development institutions. A traditional family includes four functions: sex, sharing, support and lineage. A single father or single mother with his or her children forms a family with only one function: lineage. In the future, a typical family may include only three functions: sharing, support and lineage. Some traditional channels providing additional sexual activities such as public love centers and clubs, brothels, sex groups, personal relationships will become main channels. In addition, the new channels such as love houses at workplaces will be established. Artificial reproduction centers and child rearing centers will also be developed in order to reduce the burden of the lineage function in the family.
3.1 How Will the Postpatriarchy Happen?
Once the theory on post-patriarchy is disseminated, its foremost supporters will be women who are struggling with difficulties in finding ideal life partners, liberals, and concupiscent men. Single parents will find one another to share happiness and sadness. People over 50 encounter more challenges in finding a good opposite-sex partner because they, especially women, face declining physical attractiveness, among other age-related disadvantages. NSBF will more likely be their choice as their sexual needs are reduced significantly in comparison to that in their youth. Gay communities will also promote this theory because it helps reduce discrimination against same-sex families. Consequently, there will be a strong support from female adolescents influenced by gender equality development. Then will come the foundation and popularity of love centers. The women's movement will exert an impact on men so that they will feel ashamed of the one man, one woman marriage model. At last, this model will be accepted by the majority of men in society. Since the model requires consent from only a few individuals in order to form a family, its feasibility seems to be higher than the utopian female society model developed by Gilman (1915). I quite believe that in the future people will define the monogamous family as a dirty and barbarous institution, where two different animals are bound and suffer torment in a life full of ethical contradictions.
4.1 Non Sex Based Family in Comparison with Other Family Forms
The NSBF is formed based on the blood relationship or sworn relationship (on the compatibility of hobbies, views, interests, and characteristics etc.) which are naturally sustainable bases or bases with high levels of sustainability. That the sexual activities are moved out of the NSBF will keep family life safe from the sabotage caused by sex. The NSBF model also helps to set up gender equality and strengthen women's role in society as well as reduce domestic violence. Feminist literature still has controversial views on the connection between gender equality and sexual assault. With NSBFs, existing and new types of sexual channels will be fostered toward widespread develop, and hence, such assaults will be reduced in the long run. As the average sexual need of men is higher than that of women, and since women are better protected by societal law, men must behave more gently toward female partners if they want to propose sexual relations. Separating sexual activities out of the family also helps religious people such as Buddhists practice at home more easily. Buddhism teaches that sex is not "evil," but the temptation and sexual need will disturb the peace and contentment of the soul and prevent spiritual development. On the other hand, concupiscent people, especially concupiscent men, will have the chance to enjoy a diversified and abundant sex life without any ethical barriers. NSBF indirectly assists to effectively reallocate "sexual resources" of the society. Benefactors and concupiscent persons could participate in sexually charitable activities. The NSBF model brings benefit not only to developed countries but also to developing ones. In these places, gender inequality in traditional families is very prevalent, and men have much more of an advantage in seeking life partners and decide almost all matters in the marriage. NSBF therefore supports women to be independent from men.
A substantial body of literature proposes various alternative forms of family. One such document is Strauss' (2012: 534-544) essay on polygamy. Another creative idea toward legalization is suggested by Elizabeth Brake: Minimal marriage. With this marital form, Brake implies that individuals can have legal marriages with more than one person, symmetrically or asymmetrically, no matter the sex of partners, number of partners, type of relationship, or the way they share their rights and responsibilities (Brake 2010: 303). Polygamy, group marriage, and "minimal marriage" nevertheless have their inherent problems of complexity. The process of family decision-making becomes more complex and is more time costly when more adults to participate. Importantly, they are all sex based family forms. By indicating the irrationality of the traditional family, I had concurrently criticized sex based families, where men and women live together and sexual activities exist in their union. The NSBF model has strong points of gender equality, supports the ability to seek outside-marriage sexual partners, and possesses a relatively simple structure. The structure of the NSBF model simplifies the decision making process among a family's members and thus makes suitable to become widespread in society. Some NSBFs based on blood relationship also have advantages in term of maintaining biological bonds among adult family members. On the other hand, I admit that the new model has its own problems--for example those concerning biological children. Clearly the comparison of the theoretical models is sometimes ineffective because no one may be entirely inferior to another. Each model has its strengths and weaknesses and can fit into a certain group of citizens. More importantly, as argued by one of my readers, the theory is essential but may have unintended consequences. Only when put into practice will these models reveal clearly their positive and negative impacts on society.
Until now, models of living alone or being a single parent have not been practiced by the majority in society, since people still have mental and asset sharing demands and require moral support when sick or in old age, as well as a partner to assist in rearing children. NSBF can also be preferable to social groups because of its common features such as sharing assets and duties in family, and support to rear children.
4.2 Criticism of the Non-Sex Based Family Model
Although the post-patriarchal society has not yet appeared, I have foreseen some critical arguments against its prominence.
The NSBF is closely associated with the gay and lesbian family model. Some common problems of the two models, such as biological children and gender stereotype, have been discussed in the subsection "Irrationality of traditional families". The difference is that, though NSBFs will not face criticism regarding homosexual activities, it may encounter other critics, for example on matters involving sexual freedom, i.e. having more than one sexual partner at a time. The mistake here is that NSBFs do not necessarily relate to sexual freedom. Those who prefer the traditional monogamous fidelity can still seek mates who have the same views while those in favor of unrestricted sex, or that promote polyamory, can also look for likeminded partners. Opponents of sexual liberation usually link it with the erosion of the traditional families. The development of free love, however, may not be a bad thing but rather reflective of a current demand of modern society, in my opinion. Marriage forms should be consistent with the social context. Monogamy was not the initial marital form of human history, it was instead group marriage. It appeared simply to meet the need of undisputed fatherhood and patrilineal inheritance, as speculated by Engel. It may therefore no longer fit the contemporary technological and social conditions, and the decline of traditional families may therefore be unavoidable.
Distance between sexual partners will be another arguable point of the NSBF model. Comparing it to the existent sex based family, there is a trade-off between sexual freedom and the availability of one long-term partner. Fortunately, the time consumed for sex is rather small in comparison to total time one lives in one's family as prior shown. Combining that with the future widespread appearance of out-of-family sex-provision channels and the development of assisted autoerotic techniques, many people will find themselves biased toward the new model.
Sanitary and sexual health is also of high interest. People who are against sexual freedom may argue that extramarital relations create conditions for spreading sexually transmitted diseases. That kind of relation, however, has become a widely developed phenomena now in western and some other parts of the world. It is necessary to encourage people to practice safe sex and facilitate innovations in technology supporting safe sex instead of prohibiting NSBFs. As to my opinion, fidelity is a forced concept and so is not suitable to people's basic instincts. People should sooner or later eliminate it. The current state of medical techniques is advanced enough to put this concept aside.
Another important argument is that the family consisting of one man and one woman will promote better health. This applies especially to men, who will benefit from the family life that keeps them in moderation and thus allow them to live longer. As discussed in previous sections, men prefer the traditional family since they can abuse women's kindness. It is hard to sympathize with ideas stating that men will become aggressive when separated from women, and more easily involved in crimes. In view of human rights, women are not responsible for men's depraved behaviors. There will surely be some comments stating that the separation of sexual activities out of families will lead to sexual hunger, especially for men who are poor, undereducated, and unattractive. However, similar to inequalities in income, education and physical attractiveness, which still exist worldwide today, society must deal with inequality in sexual resource, and find lasting solutions for sex allocation on a voluntary basis and develop respective institutions, instead of maintaining the unfavorable position of women in the family as is done today.
Importantly, the article does not intend to speculate on the legislative aspects of implementation, though those NSBFs associated with same-sex couples can benefit from the current movements in favor of same-sex marriage. Other arguments such as religious barriers may need to be considered. Religious representatives will surely criticize the family form since it is against their present philosophy. However, religions could not hamper its progress as they have failed to prevent out-of-wedlock births and same-sex sexual activities. Society should admit these new institutions instead of trying to eliminate them, as they could bring benefits to a certain portion of the population.
At last, this research does not aim to eliminate existing family models but tries to add a new model for citizens to choose. Giving more options is necessary to meet the diversified demand of society. NSBFs, in fact, have existed in some forms in the world, but comprised a minority part in comparison to the number of sex based families. Moreover, there has been very little foundation for developing this kind of family to become a movement, or even a social trend, as to my knowledge. This study would like to lay out a philosophical foundation to start these movements and trends. As discussed previously, once this proposal is widely circulated, I believe that NSBFs will be an essential development of society.
I wish to thank Elizabeth Anderson, Gerald Marschke, Lisa Fuller, Rachel Cohon, Nguyen Tien Zung, Ngo Quang Hung, Do Quoc Anh, Ha Duong Tuong, Tran Huu Dung, Tran Vinh Du, Zachary Klein, Phan Thu Trang, Le Dong Tam, Nguyen Xuan Oanh, Nguyen Hoang Linh, Pham Tuan Anh, Nguyen Bich Ngoc and Truong Anh Huy for their valuable advices, comments and supports.
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DZUNG KIEU NGUYEN
State University of New York at Albany
Dzung Kieu Nguyen is a Researcher in Economics and Philosophy at the State University of New York at Albany and the Center for Analysis and Forecasting, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. Her research interests include Economics of Gender and Family, Feminist Philosophy, Ethics, Political Philosophy, Political Sociology and Human Enhancement. She has published several papers on Gender Equality, Moral Equality, Freedom of Speech, E-commerce and IT policies.
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|Author:||Nguyen, Dzung Kieu|
|Publication:||Journal of Research in Gender Studies|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2013|
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