Dehumanizing Sex: “The Stepford Wives” redux
Elmore Clemmentson, a high school mathematics teacher, was noted for his meticulously groomed yard. As a matter of fact, he had won the neighborhood’s “best yard” award for last three years in a row. He was very proud of his methodical and rational approach to life’s dilemmas.
Although a scientist by trade, he harbored an antipathy toward certain branches of technology, especially the mechanization of the species through androids and silicone dolls. For him, science had gone amok. Robotics was useful but served also as a means of distorting human relations.
Current movies were rife with examples of technology’s excesses. The future was at stake and humanity was competing with emotionless replicas of itself.
Sadly, a short while ago Elmore had lost his wife of twenty years; she had been hit by a drunk driver, killed on the spot, and he had never really recovered from the shock.
After the funeral and the departure of family members, Elmore had to face his solitude whenever he came home at night and there was no one to talk to, no one to snuggle against on the couch while watching television and, of course, no warm body to love during those evenings and nights when he and his wife had both expressed their love through regular and satisfying sexual encounters.
Even as young lovers, they had a true lust for each other; at times, after a particularly energetic session with moans and sighs, Millicent would laugh and ask him what supplement he was adding to his diet…not that she was complaining! Although he didn’t give the appearance of a gigolo-type guy–he was of average height, bespectacled, and thin–Elmore was a very sexy guy in the bedroom.
He had been blessed with an unusual sex drive and an oversized member that thrilled his spouse. In fact, prior to having sex, she would play with his penis casually at times in an admiring way. She had fondly labeled it his “bulbous battering ram.”
It was a thing of fascination and utility/procreation that singled him out from the average man. It was a part of his identity just as much as his mathematical knowledge and professional skills.
All this love-making had produced only one daughter. Millicent had gone through two miscarriages prior to her birth. Caitlin, the daughter, had recently married and was living far away with her husband. She would call Elmore on a regular basis and ask how he was doing. He was due to visit them on Thanksgiving; Caitlin would be spending Christmas with her husband’s parents.
It was the sexual dimension of their marriage that he missed the most. He soon found out, however, that many women who were alone for a variety of reasons were interested in satisfying his needs. They were even brazen about their availability.
Months after Millicent’s passing, he finally asked one of his female associates out to dinner. Later on, he discovered that he could take her to bed with a minimum of effort and fulfill his sexual needs. He was amazed how easy and uncomplicated everything was.
One problem was that after several outings and sexual romps, the woman would become very insistent that he commit to her exclusively and stop dating other women, who were also willing to satisfy his ongoing carnal desires in exchange for evening companionship and a body in bed.
To be honest, most of Elmore’s partners understood that sex was the reason they were both dating; marriage or, in this case, remarriage was only a distant possibility, not an obligation. It was human warmth and company they sought but not a long-term relationship.
Elmore was sexually satisfied but something was missing: that was the immediacy and vivacity of an individual to tease, to converse with about what had happened in the classroom that day, and with whom he could simply watch television without having to talk on and on. Millicent was a comfortable presence by his side. That feeling of togetherness would be very difficult to replace.
After a hard day at school, Elmore came home and ignored the messages that had been left on his voice mail. He knew they would be from women he had dated. He didn’t feel like taking someone out to dinner, and then returning to her place (he preferred that arrangement) to have programmed sex, sometimes with passion but many times with only ejaculation in mind. If she had an orgasm in the process, they would both be fulfilled.
Out of boredom one night when alone, he turned on the television pay channel and came across a classical oldie, “The Stepford Wives,” that he had seen years before. At the time he found it fascinating although far-fetched. The film was inspired by a novel of Ira Levin whose stories always dealt with the recreation or altering of human beings for nefarious ends.
One scene in the “Stepford Wives” stood out in Elmore’s mind: two female neighbors had slipped into the town pharmacist’s home during Maltepe Escort the workday; they heard loud cries of pleasure coming from the upstairs bedroom. The two intruders were surprised at how passionate their sexual intercourse was. The average-looking, decidedly non-sexy pharmacist was not only having sex in the middle of the day but he was driving his wife to ecstasy with his bedroom skills. It was the fulfillment of the male fantasy–passion and wifely obedience at his fingertips.
Later, after multiple incidents, the female protagonist finds out that the pliable and submissive wives were in reality sophistical mechanical dolls that had been fashioned to replace the human spouses who had been nagging their husbands with endless demands for a better and more profitable existence. To her horror she comes across her own incomplete replica that was ready and waiting for eyes to be inserted before being activated. In the end, she surrenders her humanity and becomes one of the mechanical suburban Stepford wives.
For the audience of the 1970s it was a chilling look into the future of technology and misogyny. That, most certainly, would never happen. Not in their lifetimes.
Elmore sat in the den and thought about the condemnation of male patriarchy in the film and the personal limits imposed by demanding wives.
The hard working male suburbanites of Stepford had concocted a way to rid their lives of an impediment to happiness: replacing a sharp-tongued and always exigent wife with an obedient and subservient mechanical doll, who was the antithesis of the new woman championed by feminine activists such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.
According to the new feminist order, male dominance was on the way out; women were now freed from the burden of multiple pregnancies thanks to contraception and expanded abortion rights.
Their access to once forbidden careers had guaranteed them financial independence. A more equitable world was at their doorstep in so many fields. It was rapidly becoming a feminized society. The male would be a progenitor, an entertainer, a bread winner, a plaything, and little else.
In the very modern world, procreation could be achieved without sexual contact; sperm donorship and in vitro fertilization had done away with the need for traditional insemination by sexual intercourse.
It was becoming evident that the male was not needed for orgasmic or sensual pleasure. Machines were being fabricated to replace the traditional penis-vagina model. Mechanical dolls, penile machines that could be adjusted to feminine needs and dimensions, and other devices were available for producing the orgasm that never failed.
Intrigued by this eventuality, Elmore went to the computer and typed in “artificial dolls and artificial intelligence.” He was stunned to see graphic pictures of human-like dolls, life-sized, and made to male and female specifications. It was an artificial world that Elmore found hard to conceive.
It was obvious that a great deal of progress had been made since the 1970s in the fabrication of plastic dolls that moved, acted, and spoke in a manner that gave them a credible human appearance. Although not yet perfected, certain dolls could speak in an interactive manner…that is, answer questions and make suggestions concerning sex play.
They were able to create with language. Instead of being robotic helpmates without emotions, they were now sentient beings who had been placed on a rational par with their “masters.”
Artificial intelligence, that was being perfected by scientists at M. I. T. and other institutions, was paving the way for a new being, not organically created, but a creature of technology and ideologues. Science had become the theology of the future. God was being replaced by the mechanization and silicone-infused imitation of life.
Pictures were plentiful of “owners”–who had paid several thousand dollars for their toys–copulating with the androids that could be programed to do a wide variety of tasks, even fellatio and other sex acts that were being refined for more intense pleasure.
For the female enthusiast, male body types could be selected to fit their taste. Penises of different widths and lengths could be inserted into the groin area of the doll to enhance sexual pleasure.
Similar to the male versions, interactive talk could occur between doll and human. Voices could be selected according to individual preference. In the pipeline were a number of possibilities to render the sexual act more life-like and fulfilling. There were even examples–as extreme as they may seem–of “masters” or “mistresses” becoming emotionally attached to their toys, dressing them and giving them pet names. Some even slept with them by their side.
Why worry about the nuisances of raising children and dealing with an indeterminate number of crises, expenses, and unforeseen events that organic children evoked? Scientists were hard at work producing Ümraniye Escort silicone copies of the perfect child at various stages of life.
Although expensive to purchase, they could be modified realistically and programed to reflect the surrogate parents/owners’ beliefs and prejudicies. The children would even look like them and be free of disease. A certain emotional bond would be developed between child and “owner-parent”; legitimacy would be granted by legal contracts. Birthdays, school graduation ceremonies, and various celebrations would mimic the tradition rites of passage that organic families would experience. The future would be predictable and parenting would a means of control and not education per se.
Women users would no longer have to worry about premature ejaculation or clumsy lovers leaving them unfulfilled: the human-android model could perform at differing speeds, gyrate or thrust according to pre-arranged specifications, and last until the female had achieved orgasm before withdrawing and returning to an inert state.
Unwanted pregnancy was of course impossible. There would be no reason to worry about not taking a pill or forgetting condoms or any other form of contraception in the new world of scientifically generated pleasure on demand.
Just by pressing a button, the female or male doll could be conveniently inactivated during intercourse…if the phone rang or any interruption occurred: intrusive salespersons or other disruptions. Fifteen minutes later, the erection would still be firm and ready to perform. No human could match this flexibility in the bedroom.
The androids would be available at any time during the day or night; they could be stored in closets or special areas where children or guests would not encounter them by error.
In the future, sperm from donors could be injected into the vagina through artificial penises in the event single women without partners wished to become pregnant and experience an orgasm at the same time. Insemination could be attempted multiple times at a modest cost compared to traditional family planning expenses.
The washing and maintenance of the sex models were simple. They could be easily bathed in a tub or shower and owners could apply lubricant when necessary during the sex act with minimal interruption.
For users with deviant or unconventional tastes, a large variety of communal sex activities were possible. Male and female dolls could be equipped for group sex. The possibilities were exciting and multi-faceted…male to female, female to female, male to male, either with dolls or actual human beings.
Imaginative combinations of dolls and humans could be improvised during group sex since mechanical dolls would be able to communicate their wishes to humans.
Sexual boredom would no longer be a threat to marital happiness. Technology could remedy nature’s imperfections in sexual arousal.
If both spouses were in agreement, the use of dolls during normal intercourse could spice things up considerably in the bedroom. The husband could watch with minimal jealousy as his wife was being penetrated and given an orgasm by a robust male robot; the wife could witness her spouse being fellated by a beauteous doll who emitted loud cries of sexual pleasure.
Copulation with the female doll could be done in a wide variety of positions with the attendant moans of pleasure. The possibilities of sensual fulfillment were many and intriguing.
Couples or individuals could try out an enhanced android –with a down payment–for home use or they could visit a local outlet and test the efficacy of the machine in a showroom especially equipped for potential customers. Modifications could be made for an additional fee, often substantial.
The era of sex-on-demand was at hand; in a short period of time, the android models would be for sale. Specialists in their use would counsel consumers by “Zoom” or in home visits.
Anonymity and confidentiality were assured.
Elmore was tempted by some of the online advertising. The price was steep and he worried about being “outed” by curious maids or guests who would be sleeping in a “restricted” bedroom where the doll would be housed.
On the other hand, he knew that he could–with a simple text message or phone call–obtain the services of a lonely widow or even a married woman who was seeking an alternative partner for the night. However, there would be the inevitable follow-up. Phone calls would flow in inquiring about another get-together. There would be knocks on his door from grateful lovers who had baked a casserole they could share for the evening, and so forth.
The word was out: Elmore was well-hung and he knew how to please women with his appendage. He was also relatively young (43 years), had a fine job with a pension. He was ready, so they believed, to be joined again in matrimony and shed his lonely, bachelor state for the convenience and warmth İstanbul Escort of marriage.
In human terms, being over forty and alone was not something anyone wished for. There were many ways to overcome solitude.
Elmore, however, was not truly over his Millicent. He could sense her presence in every room of the house. Even watching TV was at times a painful experience.
He had kept her clothes in upstairs closets. From time to time, he would bring out a dress and bury his face in the cloth material that had retained a trace of her scent. It wasn’t unusual for him to lie in bed and look at the ceiling, recalling their intimacy and joyful moments.
Now and then Elmore would bring out albums of old photographs and video tapes that had been made during vacations and family gatherings. His heart was heavy and his memories vivid. He had not yet finished mourning the extraordinary woman who had graced his life for slightly over twenty years.
He was not ready to “move on” and commit to another partner. He couldn’t find it in him to put another woman in Millicent’s place.
Several months later, Elmore happened to meet a delightful, talented colleague, Grace Pendleton, who had majored in mathematics at college, taught briefly in the public school system, but had decided to take leave from teaching to raise two children.
In a morbid coincidence, her husband had also been killed in a private plane disaster during a violent storm. She was around his age (42) and very attractive. In fact, because he was plain-looking and somewhat nondescript, he didn’t attempt to approach her. She seemed very popular with widowers, divorcés, and other men who were lonely and single. She was outgoing and, in Elmore’s mind, would soon be married again.
For her age and the fact she had borne two children, she was still a good-looking woman. Even the young male students at the high school would ogle her as she passed by in the halls. She moved with a flowing, sensual gait; her hips would sway and her breasts would shift with each step. Although she dressed conservatively, she exuded a sexual aura that Elmore found irresistible.
Elmore became more and more interested in her as a potential dating partner, but he couldn’t find the moment or courage to ask her a personal question or to invite her out.
Grace Pendleton had noted that Elmore seemed interested in her as a woman, not just a colleague. In faculty meetings, he asked pointed and intelligent questions. He was one of the more innovative teachers who had devised charts and ways to explain complicated structures to teenagers.
“Elmore, I really admired the way you presented linear equations today. My students have a difficult time in understanding these,” Grace said when they were getting coffee in the faculty lounge.
“Thanks, Grace. It is hard to get them to see how the product of variables is not found in linear equations. It requires a little imagination and a lot of study time,” he answered, flattered that she had benefitted from his explanations.
“I’ve been here for a few months and we haven’t really had time to discuss a number of issues. I could use your experience and guidance if you have some time.” She was looking at him in an open and friendly manner.
“Well, if you’re free, I could let you review my notes over lunch today,” Elmore proposed tentatively, almost anticipating a refusal.
“That’s nice of you, Elmore. But I’ve got hall duty and that cuts my lunchtime in half. But, if you’ve got some time later, we could meet in the math classroom at five. I’d love to see your material.”
Elmore had almost agreed to meet with her, but remembered his dentist’s appointment at 4:30. “Sorry, Grace, but I’ve got a dental appointment. Maybe some other time.”
She seemed genuinely disappointed and excused herself. Elmore sensed that he should invite her out, but colleagues were milling around and it might be an embarrassing moment for both of them.
That evening, he picked up his phone to dial her number, but hesitated. Linear equations were not something you discussed on a date; that was reserved for workdays. He needed a different approach.
He also realized that they were colleagues: getting involved would be restrictive when every day you would see the woman you had been intimate with the night before. Lovers sometimes made very poor colleagues.
Maybe it would be better to think things over first.
As usual, Elmore put off making overtures to Grace. She was very pleasant to him at school and he managed to lend her his notes on linear equations. She thanked him for his thoughtfulness.
Elmore began to view Grace Pendleton as a sexual conquest and not purely as a colleague. He found an increasing number of opportunities to chat with her about school and other matters.
In the late fall, Elmore had volunteered to serve as a ticket monitor at home football games and to be a faculty chaperon on field trips. He had still not been forthright enough to ask Grace out. He had heard that she was involved with a local businessman–widowed with three teenage children.
Elmore made inquiries and his sources assured him that she was dating, possibly getting serious with the businessman.