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Mommy, Where Did Sex Come From?

Where did sex come from?‘ can give even parents who’ve smoothly managed to answer the traditional, ‘Where did I come from?’ something to think about. Why sex? Where did it come from? Does anyone know how to answer?

I still remember straining, after first being told some things about sex, to imagine the parents of my friends doing what my older friends said they did. But ‘Where did sex come from?’ is a denser question. How did evolution get us here? Procreation, of course, but didn’t we already have that figured out?

Way back before anyone had the vaguest ideas about family reunions and home for the holidays, our single celled ancestors pulled it off by, apparently, not doing it at all. A cell, after all, is a self-contained swarm of activity, a community within itself. It bumped into and reacted to other cells, and internally it was busy doing pretty much what single cells do today.

Somewhere, probably in a random accident, a cell split in two in a way that left both halves able to survive. Presto, just like that, you’ve doubled your census. But something nagged.

I can’t help remembering a Mad Magazine parody on the song, I Ain’t Got Nobody,’ by having a detached head sing it with a space between No and Body, completely changing the statement and giving us an appropriate Halloween theme.

The reason, ‘I ain’t got no body,’ worked as a lyric was because all of us instinctively understand the remorse of something missing or broken. While ‘broken’ has no such qualities, we insist on its meaning something negative. Maybe this goes way back.

Maybe, those first two separated cells reacted by trying to become whole again, which was an impossibility since Sears had not yet started carrying toolkits. From this came desire for a wholeness, which it seems we already have, the confusion between sex and love, and all those repetitious songs about yearning.

We call them love songs. Listen again. Most are about yearning, not having. It’s a universal theme. Ever since Uncle Cell One and Aunt Cell Two split up, our evolution might very well have been driven by our wish to get them back together again.

So, how does that explain, you know, the act, copulation. It’s a lot more elaborate than the mending of cells. Is it? The first couple to do it–imagine, there had to be a first couple–were aware enough to know they’d produce babies.

The result was too unpredictable and remote to understand. What you had, that first time, whatever dating service evolution called in our behalf, was a temporary resolution of a passion to be together, to merge.

Next saturday night, back at it again.

So, now that you have a plausible theory to answer the question, ‘Mommy, Where Did Sex Come From?’, you also have someone to blame for those awful movies and country music. Spread the word.


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