Ethics. Research. Community.

The origins of human sexuality: procreation or recreation?

Reproductive biomedicine online. 
18 Suppl 1:
[Record Source: PubMed]
Human sexuality has multiple meanings, although reproduction is considered the focus of sexual activity. In spite of this, human sexuality began to lose its exclusive reproductive meaning very early in the evolution of the genus Homo and, with a concealed ovulation and a female accessible to the male during the entire menstrual cycle, the need became that of avoiding, rather than seeking conception during intercourse. The 'contraceptive revolutions' of the 20th century (sex without reproduction, reproduction without sex, reproduction in menopause and, one day, reproduction without gametes) are having a major impact on the lives of individual couples and women. At the same time, this tumultuous progress drew the attention of religious moralists, since ethics have always focused on sexuality and its moral regulation. Catholic ethicists have been at the forefront of the battle against 'dehumanizing' the reproductive process, whereas Judaism took a much more open position. Early Christian teaching on sexuality, focused on abstinence; this is because Christ himself defined celibacy as a better life choice for human beings. Drawing on this basis, early Church fathers developed the concept, upheld until the 20th century, that intercourse is totally justifiable only in order to procreate. Today, some cautious overtures are being made and the Church has recognized that sexuality can be expression of conjugal love independent from procreation.
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