IN THE ATLANTIC, Alice Dreger, a professor of “medical humanities” at Northwestern, ponders the findings of two anthropologists who have discovered two African tribes where homosexuality and masturbation are unknown. These tribes present several puzzles to the liberal mind and their ways of life are instructive. Indeed, I would say anthropologists will be studying them for decades, so rich and interesting are the implications.
On the positive side, one of the tribes, who have been studied by the anthropologists Barry and Bonnie Hewlett, is a model of “gender egalitarianism.” Among the Aka, the women sometimes hunt and often “control distribution of resources.” Does that mean giving out bowls of beans? That’s not clear. Whatever it is, if the women control distribution of something important, even bowls of beans, that’s equality in the feminist sense.
On the negative side, the Aka are foragers while the misguided Ngandu are agrarian, and, as any enlightened person knows, all hell breaks loose when a people becomes agrarian. Agriculture brought all kinds of harm to Western civilization. Any reasonably educated college student already knows that. The original state of human nature was egalitarian and only later, through a fall from grace, society became anti-feminist due to economic necessity. So it is with the agrarian Ngandu with “men dominating over women.” Again, we don’t get specifics but it must be ugly.
The most interesting thing about these two peoples, says Dreger, is that they do not demonstrate any interest in homosexuality or masturbation. They don’t frown on these activities; they just have no interest in them. Their sex lives are very robust, with the average couple having intercourse several times in a night, and yet they don’t seem to want to live to the fullest, so to speak, by engaging in sodomy or onanism. People from both tribes beautifully refer to having sex as “looking for children.”
Dreger says that the absence of homosexuality does not conflict with the prevailing belief in the West that homosexuality is genetic. (That homosexuality can be genetic given that homosexuals do not reproduce is a mystery we never find adequately answered by most who make the claim that it is.) She writes:
If homosexual orientation has a genetic component to it — and there is increasing evidence that it does, in many cases — then it would not be surprising that this complex human trait (one that involves non-procreative efforts) would be found in some populations but not others.
Dreger then makes this statement in trying to explain the absence of homosexuality:
It’s also worth noting that Western science specifically distinguishes between three components of sexuality: desire, behavior, and identity. While the Hewletts’ research suggests that homosexual behavior and identity are foreign to the Aka and Ngandu, it’s entirely possible that homosexual desire does exist in these groups, at least for some of their members (so to speak). A culture that recognizes such desires — and especially a culture that does not condemn them — and especially one that involves large groups where homosexually-inclined people can find each other — is the type where such desires will become openly apparent.
In other words, there is possibly some very serious oppression of homosexuals in these cultures. That’s good, — or, I should say, that’s a relief.
As for masturbation, there is nothing remotely like Dr. Laura Berman’s sex toys among the Aka and Ngandu. Astounding. This is something to which medical humanities professors might devote a lifetime of thought.
This strange fact probably has something to do with their view that they are “looking for children.” By masturbating, they cannot find them. Why, you may ask, doesn’t that occur to us? Here’s why. Western civilization, Dreger says, is not able to “look for children” several times a night because we all work so very hard during the day. “In our culture, the work we have to do by day may overtake ‘the work of the night.’”
In other words, even if we wanted to “look for children,” we couldn’t. Our economy and whole way of life depends, indirectly, on forms of recreational non-procreative sex.
—- Comments —
Texanne, who sent the article, writes:
For a few decades now, our children have been subjected to the relentless, compulsory sex education curriculum, the purpose of which has been to terrorize them about the dangers of real (“unsafe”) sex, and to present, promote and train them in techniques of alternative (“safe”) sexual pleasures which protect them from the “punishment” of procreation. Might one infer (or at least study the possibility of) some correlation between this particular campaign, and the explosion in popularity of discovering alternative sexual orientation, confusion about sex identity, alarming rates of pornography addiction, drug and alcohol abuse, erectile dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and divorce — and, last but not least, falling birth rates?
How long before philanthropies such as Planned Parenthood, Melinda Gates and the U.S. State Department conclude that this tribe is desperately ignorant and backward, and in need of Western style reproductive health services?