When we consider how people live together, we can see that there is a world of change to be brought about.
Everyone is born into a family, the dark side of which has been described elsewhere. The reproductive system creates this form of cohabitation naturally, and it has serious disadvantages. If we are to create a better future for ourselves, or rather for those who come after us, we must consider how we might develop new forms of living together. The sexual system is embedded firmly in the architecture of our world. Family homes and apartments form the bulk of buildings around us. Megacities sprawl over miles and miles of terrain built up with structures that house families, small or large. The difference between slums and opulent estates is striking, yet the similarity is that they both house a set of people that have been brought together by sexual reproduction only. In the smaller idyllic towns and villages of the wealthy countries the middle class house, standing in its own ground, seems the perfect dwelling for a family of four or five, emblem of sanctified ‘domestic bliss’.
Outside the family dwellings, there are such places as homes for the elderly, students’ flats, military barracks, hospitals, prisons, boarding schools, where the residents do not cohabit with family members. However, they are all temporary and the residents all come from families and expect to live in one at some point of time.
The largest category of singles are young unmarried adult singles and elderly widowed people. Occasionally, mixed forms are created when the elderly take in young boarders, or when young couples marry into their parents’ house or take them into their own. In general, the young singles are looking for a marriage partner to set up a family of their own, while the elderly singles expect to die.
If we can break through the mould of the sexual system, we can imagine forms of living together which will be much more satisfactory. The isolation of the couple and the nuclear family will be broken, the living environment of children will be enhanced, the elderly will no longer be put away in homes.
There will be a much more integrated social microcosm of people living together as well as apart, where there is a combination of private space and togetherness, where material and non-material resources can be shared to a far greater extent than is now possible. Building arrangements will enhance individual privacy as well as stimulate a variety of contacts and interaction.
This idea is not new, but all attempts to bring about change have failed because the sexual system itself has remained basically untouched. The natural ‘family’ behaviour in relationships, biological motherhood, anxious attachment, the war between the sexes, the lack in social and sexual skills, have combined with genetically predisposed shortcomings to perpetuate the family as the natural micro-community. The new approach is part of a fundamental change in all the aspects of the sexual system, and will therefore stand a much greater chance of coming about.