In Defense of Life-Mates
reading one of my stories, it’s pretty obvious - giant dog on your
chest kind of obvious - that I enjoy putting my characters in 'together
forever' kind of situations. I like
together-forever stories, especially when the forever is unexpected. Or
unwanted. Two people in a romantic situation that’s not entirely based
on their own free will?
'Together for tonight' or 'together as good fuck-buddies' is fun, too, don't get me wrong. But I leave that to people who are, frankly, better at writing it. I do best with the x-rated fairy tales that gives us happily ever after, emphasis on the ‘ever after.’
What can I say, Disney warped me at an early age. Or perhaps I warped Disney. It’s a bit of a toss up.
Since I don't usually write completely human characters, I get to bind my couples together in ways that transcend what regular ole humans get to experience; that gets my rocks off like you wouldn’t believe. Life-mated, bonded, soul bound – whatever you want to call it, I revel in that like a dieter sucking down a super-fudge chocolate cake.
But periodically I’ll come across arguments against this particular scenario as it applies to gay couples. Not heterosexual couples, mind you, just gay ones. According to the argument, mating is about Procreation. Gay couples wouldn’t have the same biological imperative, or the ability to form the same type of 'bond.' Homosexuality is a genetic dead end. So if a magical or physical bond could be formed, it would only makes sense if it existed between heterosexual couples.
My usual response to that is: uh….what?
Yes, this kind of logic tends to make me sputter. It’s so far from the way I think that it takes me a minute to believe someone actually said it. Because the above argument boils down to this: even though homosexuality and heterosexuality are part of human biology, that couldn’t possibly be true of another species.
I have to shake my head. Roll my eyes. Make a catty aside. But not too catty, or I lose my goody-two-shoes license.
It seems to me that how a creature experiences his ‘sex and mating’ has more to do with his species than his sexual orientation. Seriously, our species needs to procreate too, does it not? Yet our genetics have handed us not two sides of a sex coin, but a freaking 12 sided die of sexuality with a game board attached. And it doesn’t change all that much about the basics of how our bodies work.
All of us experience our sexuality in basic, human ways. We have a physical response. We feel desire, the pulse races, the eyes dilate, the heart beats faster, and we get wet or hard, or both. We touch. We orgasm. We fall in love and form emotional bonds.
Being straight or gay doesn’t seem to affect the basic biological responses to arousal and sex, it just affects our ability to make a kid.
So why would another species be different? What, a species that forms life-long bonds has a biology that’s immune from this genetic facet of existence? Homosexuality isn’t something that’s part of any other population’s experiences?
I don’t buy it.
In fact, to add strength to the premise that gay couples would form the same types of bonds as straight couples, no matter the species, I point you to the animal kingdom. Quite a number of species have scientifically recorded cases of both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Among them are animals with all sorts of mating habits, including those that mate for life.
I always love the flamingo example.* Two flamingos stay together as a couple and raise babies, and they do it whether they are gay or straight. In fact, get this, flamingo chicks do better if they have two daddies, because the male flamingo is the one who claims territory. Gay flamingos will adopt (okay, steal) eggs from other flamingo couples and raise them. And since they have twice as much territory as a heterosexual flamingo couple, they have twice as many resources, so their baby starts off with an increased chance at survival.
Rock on, my pink, feathered, gay brethren.
Flamingos are a fantastic example of why biology is not as simple as ‘making babies.’ It’s survival of a species. If a couple’s abilities to make babies was the sole factor used to tell how well a species survives, rabbits would rule the planet. In other words, procreation is not the be all, end all of relationships, even relationships based on ‘instinct.’
With so many examples of various ‘norms’ of sexual behavior on our planet, to me it not only seems possible, it seems likely that other species, imaginary or not, would have sexual behaviors that apply to all their members. That’s the way it works here, after all. There are species whose members fuck once and move on (bears, the sluts), species that have females with false penises (I’m lookin’ at you, hyenas), species where the males gets pregnant (seahorses, you adorable mpreg bastards, you), and of course, species whose couples stay together the rest of their lives (way to go, eagles).
Pretty damn awesome, in my opinion. It's setting a good example for all us erotica writers. I think the animal kingdom is giving us a message: write about any and every conceivable sexual practice or bond, and somewhere, some species probably already has it. And even if they don't, I'm sure there's room for one more imaginary species and their own version of life-mates, gay or straight.
* Curious to know more about the sex lives of flamingos and other animals? Oh come on, admit it, you’re a tiny bit curious, aren’t you? Check it out.
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