Take a few steps back for a moment and have a look at the human civilization. We’re a fornication-happy bunch. So much of our culture is driven by sex: music, literature, dance and art. Our interactions often have a sexual component, whether intentionally or in a more subconscious form. The basic foundation of our society- the family unit, is, needless to say, organized by sex. Sex goes way beyond the biological function in the human civilization. The question is: how would reproductive needs drive the growth and development of an extraterrestrial civilization?
This may seem like a small consideration in the wake of First Contact. However, considering how important sex is in the development of our civilization, it’s possible that in the long term our relationship with an extraterrestrial civilization might come down to how well we can understand, and relate to, their reproductive needs and how it manifests in their civilization.
It seems likely that extraterrestrial reproduction would be very different than human sexual functions. It could be a difference that would be hard for us to grasp. This might actually be the best case scenario. There is also the possibility that it could be similar to human functions, but different enough for us to perceive it as gross. Once again, that may sound like a minor thing, but think of all the ways human sexuality comes out in our civilization. And then consider the implication if our reproductive behaviors are disgusting to extraterrestrials and their reproduction is disgusting to us. It seems like that could have a big impact on a new relationship.
There is the possibility that sexual reproduction would no longer be a biological function for extraterrestrials. If they are advanced enough in technology, they might have moved beyond biological needs and reproduce in an entirely technological way. Or perhaps they could live in a virtual state without reproduction at all? This too would impact the relationship between humans and extraterrestrials. We could view extraterrestrials that live in a technological realm, and no longer have biological functions, as even more threatening.
So, what to do? I suppose the only hope would be education. We would have to learn about them and they would need to learn about us. We’ll probably have some similarities and most likely many differences. There will be those in our society who will be “grossed-out” by extraterrestrials and let that gut reaction impact their perception. There will be those of us who push back at those gut reactions and work to appreciate the beauty of another life form. Perhaps alien Kinsey reports could help us along the way.
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