Q. If we don’t have babies with our partner, does our love eventually wane so that we can go fall in love with someone else to make babies? And what about when we are beyond our reproductive years, do we love in a different way?
A. Interesting questions…
I think that from a biological perspective, if we don’t make babies with the person we’re with, there’s a good chance we’re going to start lusting after somebody else to make babies with. I just read an interview with Joe Quirk, author of It’s Not You, It’s Biology, where he discusses the duel agenda of female biology. “In all animals where pair bonds are required to raise a baby to breeding age, females have this dual agenda in their emotions. They need really good genes and they need a really good nest. And the problem is, the best nest might come from your husband and the best genes might come from somebody else’s husband. And it’s hard to get both in the same guy, so women have this dual agenda, they want to feel hot genes and they also want a committed nurturing guy to help raise the babies. And these are separable instincts.”
So even if you do start lusting after that somebody else to make babies with, you may still want the “nest guy” to stick around and raise that baby with you. Hello polygamy…or polyamory.
Joe Quirk (btw, perfect name) also talks about how even past our child-bearing years we still have the same chemicals racing around, still go through the same cycles of love, and still choose our partners in similar ways. “Think of the ultimate purpose of human sexuality as luring homosapiens into a kind of family unit, a sort of secondary womb, where babies can be raised and children can be taught and grandchildren can be taught. Much like the bonobo, humans bond for a lifetime through sexual play. So mammals that don’t have these long pair bonds have sex basically to procreate. Humans and bonobos have sex to stay together, so biologically, the primary function of human sex is to bond people together and raise children.”
And “children”, probably includes pets and houseplants.