Chapter 26: Sex And The Population Explosion
10 Feb 1964, 0100 hours
"Alen, Bob. We will state tonight our position regarding the most pressing problem of your time, the Population Explosion, as you call it.
"Let us start by stating that we are fully in favor of a responsible, scientific program of birth control, sponsored by the various governments, and administered by qualified medical personnel to the populace. This is most urgently needed in countries of unchecked procreation. The most notable at this time is India, the population of which is completely out of proportion to available living space, food supplies, and the necessities of life, such as clothing, education, shelter, and privacy.
"It will be noted that the countries of lowest economic, cultural, and educational status are those whose population problems are worst. Witness again India, and China, and also several South American nations. The exception to this so far is Africa, which so far is mostly jungle, even though the inhabitants without any contact with civilization have held their numbers to a very low figure, possibly due to the built-in cultural population control features, none of which exist more than sporadically in other areas of the world.
"Let us discuss therefore the problems and the solutions. In many countries, the US being one of them, a very large family is not uncommon, ten or more children being seen quite regularly in one's investigations. There is of course no need whatever for this type of excess, since it is a burden on the parents and no doubt precludes the necessary individual attention that a child needs end would get with only one or two other children in the family. The ideal family consists of the parents and two children, and of course the usual pets, such as cats, dogs, goldfish and meeces, to quote a famed cartoon character.
"The solution to this is to educate the parents on the advisability of small families and the means of obtaining the full enjoyment of marital privileges without the usual consequences. The exact means we will discuss later.
"Next we have the alarming number of unwed mothers in all nations. This is due in part to the lack of a comprehensive sex education and the great number of restrictions and unrealistic taboos associated with sex. By this we mean that it seems to be human nature to engage in the forbidden and mysterious. I should estimate that 95% of the unwed mothers were never given realistic sexual training and had no idea of the consequences, physically and socially, that accompany indiscreet capitulation to the pleasures of union.
"The male partner in the act is equally ignorant of the liabilities involved. As we see it, the main motivation is the lack of understanding, the clandestine secrecy, the beckoning mystery that surrounds sex, making of a process that is good and wholesome an object of unhealthy curiosity, in many cases to the extent of cultist devotion to it, as witness the early phallic cultures.
"What could possibly be more appealing to the young adults of your world than seeing for themselves what it is like to consummate their passions. Their parents have hemmed and hawed so much that there is only one way to obtain a working knowledge of biological processes -- by experimentation.
"How many of you have been told in your childhood that 'the stork brought you' or that you 'came from heaven on a cloud carried by an angel' or something equally asinine. Do you really believe that your children can be gullible enough to swallow such a far-fetched tale?
"When a child asks where he comes from, he ought to be told in terms understandable to him the truth of life, instead of being fed nonsense or having his questions ignored. When a child reaches high school age, a course of sex education ought to be a compulsory part of every curriculum.
Every individual ought to be given the necessary training on bow to accomplish a complete and enjoyable sexual relationship once wed. Also, laws should be passed making artificial defloration by a qualified doctor such as a gynecologist a condition of marriage. This would serve two purposes.
"First, it would eliminate the pain accompanying the first occasion of intercourse on the part of the wife. Second, It would eliminate any marital difficulties caused by the husband's suspicions of his wife's premarital adventures. By such a method of covering up the past, the incidence of divorce will of course decrease sharply.
"The man's past relationships cannot be detected. Why should not the wife enjoy the same privacy? Referring for a moment to the first point above, the pain associated with natural breaking of the virginal membrane often causes the wife to become hostile to future intercourse, and this can only lead to discontent and frustration and eventually divorce.
"Even more important, the practice, if you will consider, is downright inhuman. Any man who would insist that his wife's virginity be intact ought not to not be allowed to marry, because be is a sadist. The notion of virginity as an essential to happiness, and the notion that that membrane must be unbroken at marriage, stem from medieval times of abhorrent sexual suppression and religious beliefs and have absolutely no place in a modern enlightened society. The practice of surgical defloration will end once and for all this type of injustice.
"Now I will discuss a very controversial subject, the means of birth control, which are many. I will cover only a few.
"First is one which even the Catholic Church favors, the so-called 'rhythm method'. This is a process whereby intercourse is enjoyed during certain periods of a woman's menstrual cycles when the possibility of conception is minimal. It of course has the disadvantage that satisfaction must be restricted to these periods and avoided at other times. In itself this has an overtone of suppression that will lead to unhappiness.
"Next are the devices available at drugstores to prevent the possibility of fertilization by stemming the flow at the source. These have the disadvantage of dulling the sensations that are the essence of the act.
"We therefore advocate chemical and in some cases surgical contraception, The latter ought to be avoided if possible in favor of temporary methods.
"The most obvious type of chemical contraceptive is one that the woman uses, which temporarily renders her incapable of ovulation. The object of this is obvious. There are many drugs capable of this effect.
"A less publicized but actually better method is to develop a safe effective chemical to bring about a short period of sterility in the male. By this means, fertilization is rendered impossible, and no chances are taken on the 'maybe' factor of whether or not the drug affecting ovulation in the female has had sufficient effect. Besides that, it does not disrupt her regular cycle, and if at any time she should want to conceive, it is possible without question. As you know, ovulation occurs only periodically in women, whereas in men, the creation of sperm is a continuous process. Is it not preferable therefore to make these sperm incapable of uniting with the ova, over causing the ova to be stemmed for one or more periods?
"These contraceptives, as they are known, are one sure way of limiting births while retaining the pleasures of sex. Why the Catholic Church has been so long opposed to them is unknown to us. Surely there is no religious basis for objection.
"Now, assuming a worldwide program of sex education, and an efficient, safe means of holding down the conception rate, the next step is improvement of the stock.
"There are many ways of accomplishing this, ranging from the humane to the vicious. We will consider the humane, since anything that will bring suffering and sadness is to be considered morally incompatible with an enlightened society.
"The first technique is chemical sterilization of such as mentally defective persons or criminal types' whose characteristics might be hereditary and can be passed on. This goes for both men and women.
"The next type is surgical sterility. Here we must consider in greater detail the processes involved. In the male, an operation known as a vasectomy is performed to accomplish sterility. In this operation, the vas deferens are surgically severed, allowing the seminal fluid from the testicles to be absorbed by the blood instead of leaving the body. This absolutely rules out any possibility of conception, since the sperm originate there.
"This is a very humane measure in that it in no way interferes with normal manliness and does not affect sexual desires in the male. The man so treated can fully enjoy intercourse but without any danger of defective sperm reaching the ova.
"The female counterpart to this operation is called tubal ligation. The Fallopian tubes of the female are disabled by one of several methods, which prevents the ova from reaching the uterus. This operation is similar to vasectomy in that it does not stifle the normal desires and the ability of the women to enjoy sexual relations.
"The vicious, primitive and immoral ways of preventing conception in the male include castration, and in the female the removal of the equivalent organs. Some barbaric cultures perform genital mutilation on the females to prevent them from enjoying relations or experiencing orgasm. This practice demonstrates the evils that dark-ages religions still pose in your 20th century.
"The next consideration is based on scientific abilities that you do not yet possess, but which I believe will become accessible to you late in this century or early in the next one. A method should be devised to determine by examination the effects that certain genetic patterns will have on a child born by fertilization by such a combination. This can be done through a study of gene patterns of a number of men and a recording of the traits of resultant children.
"By this method, it can be determined beforehand whether or not the child will become good, productive citizen of Earth. Aberrations of the genetic structure which would result in mental or physical deformity would be brought to the attention of the prospective parents, to determine whether they would agree to sterility, thus preventing the birth of an inferior being.
"We have this science advanced to such an extent that we can determine even the color of the eyes of the child to be born. Also, we have developed the means to alter genetic patterns to eliminate deformities, produce superior strains and inculcate desirable traits such as great physical stamina, strong resistance to disease and the ability to withstand extremes of environmental conditions. This is useful in terms of our many explorations into space to uncharted areas and unknown worlds.
"In rare cases, we can instill "bents" such as extraordinary musical or scientific abilities. This is extremely rare, but some parents have requested it. The overwhelming majority of Korendian parents prefer to let nature define their children.
"Mind you, we have not advanced to the state that some of your writers predict, namely complete control of heredity, personality traits and mental qualities. Nor do we grow our babies in test tubes, such as you might read in your science fiction. Conception is perfectly, normally, and pleasurably obtained in the way that men and women have done it since before history began to be written. The child's growth in the pre-natal state is normal. And, if the mother wants it, the birth can be normal although absolutely painless.
[Note: a segment here dealing with teleportation of the child from the womb was deleted with Korendian approval, although it appeared in the published account. The technique was abandoned following studies that indicated that it was not as benign as had been believed by its advocates.]
"Once again, we stress painlessness over all, since to cause any suffering either to oneself or to another is morally wrong. There is a popular notion among you that the pain involved in childbirth makes the mother appreciate the child more. This we think is a gross, distressing distortion of the facts, and probably stems from medieval religious beliefs. If you believe that pain is necessary for appreciation, then something is drastically wrong with your culture.
"Recapitulating, we think that your population explosion stems from poor or nonexistent sex education, lack of approved and readily available contraceptives and misguided religious beliefs.
"In our next contact, perhaps later this week, and at any rate before Monday, February 17, we will comment on our system of treatment of criminals on those rare occasions when they appear. In later contacts we will discuss our entertainment, our sports and other topics related to daily life on Korendor.
"For now, va i luce, Brother. Lin-Erri from RK-11 is closing the channel."
© 2008 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved