Does Sci-Fi make us more open to sexuality? This is the question that Kyle Munkittrick explores in his post over on Discover Magazine’s blog.
“Science fiction knows how to play around with sex and gender. The free-lovin’ of A Stranger in A Strange Land, Commander Shepard’s bisexual proclivities, and William T. Riker’s seemingly universal interspecies compatibility are constant sources of entertainment.
…Sci-fi is teaching the diversity of our own human sexuality back to us. [It] allows for universes in which we can more easily accept…forms of gender expression and sexual desire.”
It’s definitely a valid argument. Although I love the genre, I’ve never claimed to be an authority on sci-fi. However, anyone who’s even aware of it knows that the futuristic and other-worldly nature allows for boundary pushing realities. Realities that can be as far away from our own as we desire.
And in this far away place, we are free to discover. “Sci-fi lets us explore sexuality free of the cultural and social baggage it carries in the here and now…The fictional universe provides a buffer for ideas about sex and gender that would normally make us uncomfortable.”
These realities allow us to test the waters of our own preferences, tolerance, and nature. “The point is that sci-fi lets us see those variables of attraction and sexuality in action. Even better, sci-fi video games let us experience those variables for ourselves.” Within sci-fi, we can also imagine the type of society we would ideally like to exist within. “A key measure of social progress is how accepting we are of different permutations of sexuality.”
Munkittrick’s article makes some great points using references throughout the genre as well as his own personal experience. It’s a great read, but ultimately boils down to one base fact that he makes sure to address: “All of the variables and spectrums and complexities and similarities and differences can be distilled down to one simple equation: consenting persons love one another for different reasons and in different ways…Sci-fi teaches us that the type of persons involved is irrelevant, so long as they are capable of consent and willingly enter into the relationship.”
And to that I say, engage. ;)