What if Humans were Asexual

Sometimes I like to think about weird counter factual universes. In other words, if you change one knob of our universe, what are the implications? This kind of exercise can illustrate the particular strangeness of things we often take for granted.

So, just imagine for a moment what the world would be like if humans reproduced asexually instead of sexually.

In this world, there’d be no genders. No men and women. So from the get-go, culturally this would be a very foreign world.

But more than that, there’s no sexual attraction in this world; it’s not just that there’s only one gender and that you can map this onto what it might be like to be homosexual (to be sexually attracted to your own gender). No, it’s more subtle than that.

Sexual attraction results from sexual reproduction: In a gendered world you need a mate to reproduce, and you’re attracted to those that you perceive to have good genes. So in a world without sexual reproduction, there’d be no reason to be attracted to anyone else in that way. There’d be no pining love songs, no valentine’s day, no teen-age hormonal recklessness.

The idea of romantic love just wouldn’t exist. There might be deep friendships, but no chemical craziness in your brain would be drawing you towards women with hip-waist ratios ideal for birthing. Romantic love seems at first like such an integral part of the human experience — but from this perspective it seems almost just like something tacked on by evolution.

Of course, it’s both.

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