Suppose an alternate reality where each human Society (country, clan, tribe, kingdom, or whatever) only give birth to one male per generation. That entire generation depend solely on that one male for reproductive purposes (and possibly, what ever sexual gratification their culture can conceive of.) It is therefore crucial to preserve the life of any male. Obviously, Gender politics cannot exist since males are too few to be considered as a class of society, and probably have no purpose or identity beyond sex and procreation and whatever is attached to that.

Please ignore biological limitations and concerns. So, assume that a man's libido is strong enough for him to fulfill his intended role. A sexual transaction would still be mutually rewarding in the same way that it is for us in the real world. There are no problems with genetic diversity etc. Biologically, everything just works.

Assume that as a historic convention, most societies are structured roughly as follows:

  1. There is an upper echelon of female elders (or council). To some degree they are trusted to govern in a relatively fair manner because they are mostly post-menopausal and therefore not likely to use their power to keep sex for themselves.
  2. If a male baby is born or discovered it is immediately reported. There is an immediate military operation to usher the male and its mother into protective custody.
  3. The mother is publicly venerated and given an honorary seat in the council and is given extensive access to her baby for the purposes of breast feeding. There is allot of social interaction and political double speak to assure her that she has custody of her child and that she is important, but a more objective observation would be that male is in the custody of the state.
  4. Men are not informed that they have a son, and if possible, they are kept ignorant and separate. There would be times where two or three men are at a sexually active age (for example: 16, 36 and 56), and they do not need to know about any other man.
  5. The council writes the law for the people.
  6. The council may conceivably be: democratically elected, a communist party, Appointed by a monarch, representative of noble families, a despotism or any other form of government.
  7. The council keeps the males close and would generally have the power to write the schedule of men if they wanted to operate that way.

As society continues from here, the question is:

  • Would men be permitted to wander around expressing themselves sexually? Or under constant rule of law to follow some schedule? Or physically confined to one room?
  • Would men be able assert power by offering or withholding sex? Could he increase his own freedoms by persuading the law makers or enforcers?
  • To what degree would accommodating the preferences and desires of a man be a concern for women? (not talking about sexual preferences or desires)
  • Is a pre-pubic male be allowed to have normal social interactions with other children in some kind of semi-normal school-yard environment or is he completely isolated and detained by authorities?

Most importantly: Would a man be made to feel like he is the king, and that he is free to gratify himself as he sees fit, that sexually active woman are his playthings, and that all women do all they can to serve him? Or would Men be made to feel that he is the tool of all women; that he is obliged to do as he is dictated?

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    $\begingroup$ This feels very opinion based to me. Any of the above could be true, you can design society to go whichever way you like. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Aug 6, 2015 at 10:26
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    $\begingroup$ What keeps the society from dying out when a male is born who is (for example) infertile? $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Aug 6, 2015 at 11:59
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @TimB in that this is opinion-based, but I also think it's too broad. I'm currently building a world where each of thirty different societies have to deal with this sort of issue, and each one is wholly unique. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Aug 6, 2015 at 12:08
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not entirely confident it is fair to say "disregard biological concerns." When designing an extreme society around one individual, the importance of the tiniest of details in a day can have more impact than another individual may have in a lifetime. You have stated to ignore 99.999% of what this individual is expected to do in the culture. Some of the details about HOW things work there would CERTAINLY echo in the rest of society and how the male integrates into society. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Aug 10, 2015 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ No one else is going for it?... fine... Death by Snu Snu! $\endgroup$
    – Culyx
    Aug 11, 2015 at 19:07

10 Answers 10


There is no one answer that will fit each society in your world. To say that each society arises from a common starting point is fine, but societies are fluid things and tend to diverge over time.

The freedoms of the few males in each society will depend on the character of the society and the historical background of the society. Societies in which males have met with accidents or have gone missing or have become uncooperative would tend to have instituted measures to restrict the males, though this need not always be the case.

This can range from the extremely restrictive to complete equality to extreme privilege. The following are examples of the variations:

  • The males are considered publicly-owned slaves, kept separated in high-security facilities and are milked for their semen. Their schedules and surroundings are arranged to maintain their health with little regard for their feelings or preferences. Actual penetrative sex with a woman occurs rarely if ever, probably only on ceremonial occasions which could in some instances be considered rape of the male by the chosen female, otherwise the male is made to ejaculate to provide laboratory samples on a regular basis, by force if necessary using whatever mechanical or electrical stimulation is required. Women purchase semen samples in order to become pregnant. Sex occurs (if it occurs at all) with a high-ranking woman or a lottery winner. Such males would receive only the education required to speak the local language to a degree sufficient to follow orders.

  • The males are kept in breeding facilities to which they are confined, but aside from a mandatory minimum level of exercise in order to maintain their health, can spend their spare time doing whatever they want, and can arrange their personal spaces however they want, though being confined, the choices and budget they are given by their keepers may be limited. The authorities select women to visit the males, who are expected to do their best to ensure successful impregnations. Women would be required to apply to the authorities for access to a male, and would probably have to pay a fee and be assessed for their fitness to be a mother. Such males would be offered education by select private tutors.

  • Males are effectively homeless drifters who may not own anything other than that which they can carry, relying on the kindness of women for their day-to-day sustenance. Each day, a male may find himself in a household with one or more women with whom he will engage in sexual relations in exchange for meals. He would sleep in the bed of whatever woman he was with when the time came. Law or Custom would dictate that men only stay with women who are in or approaching their fertile period, and then only for a few days. Women who keep a man too long receive the disapproval of the authorities or their neighbours and can eventually attract official or vigilante intervention to free the male. Women in a position of power may be able to ensure male attention by declaring sanctions against women who claim the male's attention while the privileged women is desirous of those attentions, and with no-where else to go, the male is forced to attend to the privileged women or starve. Such males would remain with their mothers until puberty, though probably not receiving much in the way of formal education, or possibly only state-school education if the state provides such services.

  • Males are effectively equal to women in civil matters, and may own property. They may have an occupation other than simply as a stud but would spend much of their time providing stud services to women, or their occupation may be primarily as a stud, occupying all their business hours. Stud services would be offered by males for a fee, the amount depending upon the time required and possibly the degree of attraction the male has for the female requesting his services. A male may or may not be permitted to have one or more longer-term partners, who may or may not be required to pay his stud fees, who would live with him. Depending on their prowess and financial acumen, these males may range from being on - or even below - the brink of starvation to being very well-off indeed. Such males would receive the best education their fathers could afford and chose to give them, or at the least, whatever officially mandated minimum level of education was required. It is likely that boys would be educated in schools with girls and would be held to the same educational standards regardless of their unusual gender.

  • Males live lives of great privilege, being granted a substantial share of tax revenue that enables them to have pretty much anything they may want within reason, their only obligation being to be seen in public and to be available to impregnate women. The male may either wander in public as he pleases, or choose to appear in designated rutting areas. This may range from the male inviting women he desires to a secluded location that may include his quarters or theirs, or intercourse may take place in public. There may be public ruts where multiple women present themselves for impregnation, whom the male services in rapid succession in order to fulfil his public duties yet allowing him to maximise his blocks of personal time. Such males would be accompanied by bodyguards who would ensure that no women attempt to kidnap and monopolise him - or kill him. Males of this type who allow themselves to get out-of-shape may be cut off from their funding until they can get back to an acceptable level of fitness. Males of this type would receive the best education available from private tutors, and would be set free to act as they please from the age of puberty.

  • The oldest male is King, though he may be an absolute monarch, or a constitutionally-limited figurehead depending on the society. Either way, when not performing the other duties of such a monarch or engaging in other hobbies, he would be impregnating women, both at his pleasure and as a reward for public service, which category may include making a large monetary contribution to the public - or the King's - coffers. The male heirs would also serve the nation and service its women in similar fashion. They would receive an education at the whim of the king - either at a private school or from private tutors.

With so few males, they would be in high demand. The death of a male could provoke wars with other nations or black-ops-style kidnapping attempts of males from other societies. A male could find himself promoted from an abused stud slave to a king (albeit probably a figurehead in such an extreme case), or demoted in like manner depending on the fortunes of war, covert operations or diplomacy. While a male might be afforded the same rights as a woman, when it comes to biological necessity and international politics, they could find that they really don't have any more rights than those the women choose to give them.

There could also be biological implications. Assuming that we're talking about humans, we could find the baculum re-appearing within a number of generations, as having a penis bone would be a distinct advantage for a male who would be in such high demand. While the duration of intercourse would not be longer as is generally the case with species in which a baculum occurs, the necessity for these males to spend a lot of time copulating effectively sequentially would select for the presence of a baculum.

Another likely biological adaptation to higher levels of paternity would be higher testicular and prostate mass.

In societies where men - or semen - were available to all women who wanted to have a child, we can expect the level of female attractiveness to decrease somewhat, as a woman's attractiveness to a man would cease to be a factor in reproductive success. However, in a society where the males have a choice of partners, female attractiveness would be more important - and selected for - than ever. A male would be well-advised to stay away from the homely women - they're likely the ones who practise sexual slavery.

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    $\begingroup$ That's Brilliant! I especially like the part about how "slavery of men leads to ugly women." I'm now thinking that there could be a utopian society admits the more barbaric nations, where only the most beautiful of women are bold enough to parade themselves before men in the sex palace. And where mothers dote on their sons with the utmost of affection, hoping that their son will some day desire inner beauty and venture out from the palace to seek out such women from amongst the masses. $\endgroup$ Aug 13, 2015 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ I also like the part about "Black-ops" missions. I'll be sure to include that! $\endgroup$ Aug 13, 2015 at 1:52
  • $\begingroup$ @LorryLaurencemcLarry, thanks for the bounty, but did you know that you can also upvote and/or mark this answer as the accepted answer? ;) $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Aug 13, 2015 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ "but did you know that you can also upvote and/or mark this answer as the accepted answer?" - ha ha. just letting me know that, aye ;) There you go mate. done. You really did allot of typing and research. $\endgroup$ Aug 13, 2015 at 2:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Monty Wild why would my testicles and prostate grow in mass due to paternity? wouldnt it be harder to walk around? $\endgroup$
    – user32862
    Feb 24, 2018 at 1:46

Like Ants, Only Human

Societies in this situation would function much the same way that an anthill does. The Queen is the most important and most heavily guarded member of the colony. Her physical adaptations prevent her from ever leaving the nest. The Male would be in the same position, sequestered to a single location, probably built as beautifully as possible and incredibly comfortable.

Male Privilege

The loss of this male would be devastating to the long term prospects of any group so they would be fiercely guarded. Any activity that takes away from reproduction is too risky. Every possible luxury would be afforded the Male. His schedule would revolve around the reproductive needs of the group, sex, all day, every day. If he managed to escape from his confines, everyone would instantly know who he was and that he shouldn't be there. Perhaps in the first generation after this change, the Male might threaten to withhold sex in order to get what he wants but this wouldn't be permitted. By the second generation, the women will have learned to deeply ingrain the need for the Male to always have sex. Always. Failing to have sex with as many women as possible is linked to an intense guilt.

Greater Society

Society in general would be radically different. Once released from the cultural expectations of childbearing, women would blossom. No more angst about whether a woman should bear children or not. In a large enough population, it's possible that there are too many women to be impregnated by a single guy, so the other women know they can go do whatever they want. Someone women have no interest in childbearing, so they don't have to.

Humans still need companionship, so dating of a sort would continue though whether that would include sexual liaisons or not would be up to the couple. (Or I've gotten that wrong and women would form small groups of intense friendships similar to how they do now. )

According to Carol P. Christ matriarchal societies have the following characteristics:

1) They practice small-scale agriculture and achieve equality through gift-giving as a social custom.

2) They are egalitarian, matrilocal, and matrilineal. Women and men are defined by their connection to the maternal clan which holds land in common.

3) They have well-developed systems of consensus decision-making that insure that everyone’s voice is heard and considered.

4) They honor principles of care, love, and generosity which they associate with motherhood and teach both genders to express. They often view the Earth as a Great Mother.

Concerning the first point, that wouldn't be true if the world in question started from modern day technology levels.

  • $\begingroup$ "Perhaps in the first generation after this change, the Male might threaten to withhold sex in order to get what he wants but this wouldn't be permitted" - I would think the opposite - It would absolutely be permitted, but turned on its head: He may think this is what he's doing but actually it's more that the rulers are withholding what he wants in order to get sex. If he gets everything he wants (which is relatively cheap considering there is only one of him), then that's an awful lot to lose if he withholds sex... So it's a great motivator! $\endgroup$
    – komodosp
    Aug 10, 2015 at 13:31


With one male per generation (3-5 males worldwide at any given time) one would imagine that the world would resemble one or more of the matriarchies previously explored in Science/Speculative fiction, albeit with power and privilege granted to those in proximity of the male(s) and the few children that would be produced. Absolutely, those with control of the men would hold the most power, those who were involved in childcare would be powerful as well.

As for the role of males, and their treatment? "Bird in a gilded cage" comes to mind, but perhaps the twist could be the use of his masculine wiles?

For men to possess any power at all in this universe, they'd (either by tradition, law, other literary mechanism) be able to withhold sexual and/or reproductive performance, otherwise they might suffer the same potential fate Vic faced in Topeka in A Boy and His Dog.

  • $\begingroup$ what would these masculine wiles be? $\endgroup$
    – user32862
    Feb 24, 2018 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for mentioning the classic A Boy and His Dog, imdb.com/title/tt1584913 $\endgroup$
    – arp
    Oct 27, 2018 at 15:06

Cloning and artificial insemination would be the main ways of producing children.

Why settle for nature when you can do better? While in the modern world, human cloning and artificial insemination techniques provide assistance for couples trying to bear children, in a world where there are almost no men, they would serve as the primary means of reproduction.

Artificial insemination, being technically simpler than cloning, would probably be the dominant form. The sperm in question would be produced in huge factories using clonally propagated testicular cells, allowing production to occur at levels much higher than what could be sustained using only natural methods of production.

Every generation, when the new male was born, their reproductive cells and stem cells would quickly be harvested before age or accident could lead to the damage or loss of these incredibly valuable resources.

Society would probably also place a much higher value on the study of genetic manipulation and positive eugenics, with patented sperm lines providing wealthy families with the highest quality offspring possible. Existing sperm lines would continually be artificially modified and split in an effort to remove undesirable qualities.

Males would probably be treated like royalty, but not of the useful variety. Their uniqueness would be marveled at, but not necessarily trusted, and their value to a family as a status symbol would far exceed their value as a member of society. They would be kept under lock and key, pampered, but with little real freedom.

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    $\begingroup$ They'd need to iron out some problems that cloning currently has (cloned cells never seem to be as robust or long-lived as naturally produced ones), but if they can smooth all of that out, this does seem like a viable solution, if only usable once the culture has hit a sufficiently high tech level. Until that point, you'd need natural ways of handling reproduction. And, frankly, if you can clone? You can clone up some more males of the species. $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2015 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ If women resorted to cloning for reproduction, then what about sexual gratification? Do you think they would invent pornography and sex toys? Or would they forget about this desire? $\endgroup$ Aug 13, 2015 at 1:27
  • $\begingroup$ Presumably most women would learn to find sexual gratification with each other, as often happens in single-gender situations today. $\endgroup$
    – arp
    Oct 27, 2018 at 15:10

Rather than focus only on power distribution, why not take a look at the philosophical landscape of such a society as well? After all, most societies are built around how they answer key moral questions.

Fragility and Existential Risks: Who needs WMD's when you can wipe out a rival group's future by killing one man? Men would become the focal point of philosophic and strategical debates similar to modern debates on nuclear weapons. Debated questions would include:

  • Is it permissible to kill another tribe's male? Does that constitute an atrocity? Or is it simply the death of one person, with unfortunate consequences (which are not guaranteed)?
  • What survival measures are permissible for a tribe that has lost its male? Are they morally permitted to use unlimited force to acquire new seed?
  • Is it permissible to hold another tribe's male hostage? What is the proper response to this type of threat?

Justice: The Aristotlean definition of justice is that each person gets their due/what they deserve. Such disproportionate power between genders highlights some key issues:

  • Is a male creditworthy for siring a whole generation or is that simply something he is supposed to do? Does he deserve more goods simply for being more important to reproduction?
  • Likewise, is a male blameworthy for failing to sire a healthy next generation, assuming he was capable of doing so? Does he deserve greater punishment simply for being more important in the failure of reproduction?

Individual vs. Collective Morality and Autonomy: Given the immense importance of males in this society, it's tempting to assert that they should be treated differently than everyone else. This is at odds with certain moral philosophies in our world. The following questions might be an issue:

  • Is a male properly considered public property? Does a tribe have the right to control a male for reproductive survival? Does the existential need of the community trump the bodily autonomy of the individual?
  • (Related topic) Is it a man's duty to provide reproduction to his tribe? What about providing for other tribes who have lost their male or have a sterile male? What is the proper punishment for a male who fails to do his duties?
  • Considering that males can effectively hold their communities hostage, what degree of lawlessness or irresponsible behavior should the community tolerate? Do existential risks justify a moral or legal double standard?

The Tail Wagging the Dog: Now it's entirely possible that a species of this nature would take a double standard as a given. Because people tend to adopt beliefs that are in line with how they live, it's possible that the Emmanuel Kant analog would never emerge in such a species, because it would be unimaginable to think that there could be a world with no male/female double standard. On the other hand, a hypothetical, asexual alien race might say the same about us. It is up to you to decide if this race of humans is in the habit of undergoing logical contortions to justify its way of life or if they it accepts rational arguments for radical and extremely risky changes.


There is a really good graphic novel that goes over this called "Y the Last Man"

It goes into the dynamics and the women actually kidnap him and use him and so forth. He really becomes treated almost like a resource, sort of like an endangered species. He is kept locked up at times and has very little decision making power about his "services." Its a very great graphic novel and I highly suggest you take a look.

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    $\begingroup$ It is also worth pointing out that there was a thriving business of women dressing to appear male and effectively acting as gigolos. $\endgroup$
    – IchabodE
    Sep 4, 2015 at 23:00

In order for this to work, there are a few 'musts' that need to be maintained.

A male must be kept healthy.

A sick or unhealthy male is a male that cannot perform. Therefore, he must be kept in a place that is clean. He must be provided with plenty of healthy food. He will need time in the sun, so his body can synthesize certain vitamins it cannot otherwise produce. He will need exercise other than sex to maintain his body's systems and keep his weight at a health level. Research done in Australia found that overweight men were less fertile, so his weight level would be policed as well.

If a male becomes sick, this would be cause for something of a panic within the culture...particularly if there are no current replacements available. As a result, for humans, Medical science would be rather advanced. In a typical society of mixed genders, if some breeding groups die due to disease, it is an acceptable loss. In this society, losing a male to disease would be a crushing blow and could, in some cases, wipe out an entire society.

Additionally, a male must be kept mentally healthy as well. Humans need social interaction and to be treated well in order to stay mentally healthy. A male's behavior would be closely watched for signs of instability. Social Isolation is dangerous and can lead to all sorts of problems. Mental state, particularly depression, can have a negative impact on fertility.

A male must not be injured.

In this society, males are the most valuable thing in the world. Without them, a culture can only survive a single generation. Harming a male in any way would be an extreme taboo and harshly punished. Even if battles were fought, a male would be protected from harm by both sides at all costs.

The only time this may be breached is in cases of extreme war where you need to cripple your enemy long-term, and cannot possibly abduct their males. Such an act would likely be viewed as extremely barbaric. It's essentially an act of genocide.

A male must be kept alive as long as he remains viable.

This ties in to the two above points, but since males are so rare and valuable, the longer you can keep one alive and viable for reproduction, the better

The male's busyness will depend on the size and tech-level of the culture

In the modern world, the Crude Birth rate per thousand people is 19.4, globally. This means that out of every thousand people, roughly 19 of them have a child each year. To maintain population stability, this number goes up if there is a war, or famine, or if the tech-level is lower than modern times. The current highest is in Niger, at 51.26 births per thousand people.

So, if you assume an average level birth requirements, if a male fathers 20 babies per year per thousand people in the culture, the population will stay stable. So, how he is treated will depend on how big the culture is...if its only a town or tribe, the male may have plenty of freedom and a pretty open schedule to spend how he wishes. If you rank things up to 'nation' level, things get a bit hairier for the guy.

Taking the completely random example of Ireland. Ireland has a current population of 4.595 million. In order for the population of Ireland to maintain the average global birth rate, our poor male would have to father 91,900 children per year. Or, 251.78 per day. This is a statistical impossibility, so we can see here that society size would be limited by the number of children that the male could feasibly father.

Scheduling for optimal society size

As mentioned above, there is an upper limit to how large a society could grow from the efforts of a single man. So, how would the life of a single male be scheduled for optimal breeding efficiency, given the requirements listed above. To maintain optimal health, 8 hours of sleep per night is required. It is recommended to get a minimum of 30 minutes exercise per-day, and our guy is still going to need this, because sex doesn't exercise all the muscles. He's also going to need meaningful social interaction that is not just the hello/goodbye of a scheduled sex meeting. He's going to need some friends to talk to. At least an hour or two per day. We'll say two hours, to be safe. Additionally, assume he needs a total of an hour to eat three meals in a day. Tack on an extra hour and a half for cleanliness and a bit of 'me time' for him, and that leaves us with 11 hours per day to 'work.'

So, assuming an 'average' young guy with an 'average' ejaculatory latency time of 2-4 minutes, plus some 'hello' time, some time to get started, and some time to clean up...we might be able to pack things in to about 15 minutes for a full turn-around. While there are no concrete studies around odds of pregnancy from a single act, I ran across an uncited statistic that stated that each time egg meets sperm, there is a 25% chance of fertilization. Assuming the female scheduling is managed well (explained below), we can thus assume that 25% of his encounters will result in a pregnancy.

So, 11 hours, 15-minute turn-around, 25% success rate. This means that we are looking at a maximum output of 11 babies per day. Factor in a ~9% chance of miscarriage (also assumes optimal scheduling and planning) or otherwise failed pregnancy, and we are looking at a yearly crude birth rate of 3,653.65. At the modern average, this means that he could support a population of 73,073.

Female Scheduling

In order to maintain an optimal society size, a woman's encounter with the male would have to be planned and scheduled as well. A woman reaches full fertility at about 19 years old, and maintains a high fertility until their mid-thirties. Likewise, the percent chance of miscarriage also rises after the woman hits her mid-thirties. Additionally, a woman is at peak fertility roughly 14 days prior to her next scheduled period. So, if you are seeking to have an optimally large society, women 19-33 would be ideal, scheduled to meet with the male 14 days prior to their next period. There are other biological indicators that can be measured to detect a woman's actual place in their cycle (look up 'The Rhythm Method' for more details)

How we arrange the meetings

There are really two ways that the appointments can be met by the male. Either the male travels between locations, and you sign up for your appointment with him while he is in town. Or the male stays in one place, and you come to him. For purposes and safety and security, the latter option makes the most sense. This means that women of age would travel to the capital to see 'the male.' However, since women's menstrual periods tend to sync up when they live together, you would need to keep the 'pilgrims' living separately so that their cycles would stay spread out.

As for the details

Given the 'musts' listed above, there is some flex room. Does the culture want to be as large as possible? What measures do they take to keep their male(s) happy and healthy? Do they indoctrinate them and basically brainwash them into being happy with their lot in life? Do they educate them and give them all the comforts they could want? If a male 'doesn't want to' at some point, does he have a choice? These are all flexible things, but the stack of requirements above holds true.

  • $\begingroup$ The average male produces millions of sperm per day. Since only one sperm is necessary to fertilize an egg couldn't the society figure out a much more efficient way of impregnating women than old fashioned sex? $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2015 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeNichols Eventually? Probably, yeah. But a civilization doesn't start off with knowledge of advanced biology, artificial insemination, and cryogenic preservation of reproductive materials. It's a lot easier to arrive at the 'scheduling' methods that I listed above for a culture. There's another answer here that addresses artificial insemination, and even the cloning of that reproductive material. I wrote mine intending it as being something that would be effective (with variance in the amount a single male could support) regardless of tech level. $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2015 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ But you don't need any high tech. As long as the society understands that semen causes pregnancies they just have to divide it up and put it into as many women as they can. I don't really want to go into details as to how this could work, but I'm sure the society would get better and better at it over the generations. They could likely get hundreds of pregnancies per intercourse with even rudimentary technology. $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2015 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeNichols Not without a very, very coordinated system, at least. Sperm is only viable at room temperature, exposed to air, for 20 minutes to an hour. So, unless you can get them into the receiving woman's body really, really quickly (because then it has to survive the acidic environment before the cervix, and then possibly survive multiple days waiting for an egg.) you need some way to preserve them. The only effective method we have found is cryogenic. $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2015 at 18:44
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    $\begingroup$ Regardless of just how effective artificial insemination before the time of cryogenics could be, you must admit that you could do better than 1 pregnancy per intercourse. Even 2 would double your estimated population size. I'm simply arguing that if the society is going through a great deal of trouble to maximize the number of pregnancies it would be very silly to only impregnate one woman per intercourse. $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2015 at 19:00

This is an old question, but I think the answers here neglect to consider artificial insemination. The modern era would likely have males produce samples for artificial insemination, sex would be seen as wasteful because enough sperm to conceive 2-3 children will be wasted on a single women and may not even result in pregnancy. You can get somewhere between 8-10 times as many pregnancy per 'donation' using the sperm bank approach.

Considering this I would imagine every male would be expected (and likely want to, from an evolutionary biology point of view) to produce samples every day, or possible multiple times a day since they likely would have much higher ability to produce samples rapidly then modern males.

However, this changes things in another manner. If males had previously been able to sire enough children to maintain a population equal to our own using traditional sex then the efficiency of sperm banks would mean there is less demand on males as there use to be. This would likely result in males having more free time not spent producing pregnancies. The availability of multiple males sperm for insemination, instead of being limited to only the few males your society has local to you, will also allow more extensive mate selection from the women.

This would result in males having more free time AND finding a need to prove compete with other males more extensively then before. Thus I would see modern males finding themselves using their free time to try to sell themselves as males so more will order their sperm.

The interesting thing is that the evolutionary psychology of this species would be different. The limited number of males would mean that women would be evolutionarily inclined to take care of and defend males as a source of children. However, males would likely be less inclined to competing and proving themselves, because they had an effective harem. Until recently males would have evolved to focus on being the most efficient producers of sperm, not the most efficient competition against other males. They likely would not be as prone to showing off, aggression, or other things associated with earning a mate through competition. They would instead be as energy efficient as possible to produce more sperm (probably meaning not doing much when they aren't having sex to save up energy for creating more sperm) because for them the best way to have success is to be able to service as many females as possible. There would be little love in this, the evolutionary psychology of this approach does not support love, men are a source of sperm nothing more; the only strong emotions women would have would be the drive to find the best male, and depending on their rarity to defend them, and fight over them,

Thus culture would have to go through a revolution now that males could easily service all women and have to compete. If males were truly rare they may become part of their own reality show like competition; where women watch the local men to see how they handle whatever tasks their assigned in their free time to judge which man seems the best source of sperm for her future child. A man's job would be to to prove himself as a good sperm source, and the sperm banks would pay him to do it so they can sell his sperm for more.

The males, having very little of an evolutionary drive until recently to compete for mates, would at first not know how to handle this transition. However, after only a few generations of males they would start to evolve a much higher drive towards competition as the males of the first 'sperm bank generation' that didn't bother to prove themselves as good perspective males would have not been used by women that now had a choice in mates and thus only the competitive-male genes will get passed on.

Which means you get a very interesting situation to write about. You get a modern society that has extremely strong evolutionary pressures placed on them, strong enough that a very real effect on the not just the culture but the actual biology of the species will be evolving over just a small hand full of generations. The availability of transportation and easy access to males is a strong evolutionary pressure that we can't technology our way out of. Humans get to watch evolution happening in 'real time' (or as close as you get to it in evolutionary circles). Human males actual psychology and predisposition will be changing over just a few centuries time. You can actually talk of pre-car males as an entirely different animal then present male, because they would have made such a huge transition.

The implications of this evolution is quite fascinating. The difficulty with culture adjusting to the fact that the very biology and psychology of your species is changing slowly but surely, and you KNOW it's happening!. Your scientists can tell you that your new approaches to selecting a male is changing the species at an unprecedented rate! Conservatives will refuse to use sperm banks not just because they are a new cultural phenomenon that they instinctual resist, but because they are afraid of the fact that choosing to use the sperm bank will actually change their very species! Of course conservative males will only exist for a generation or two before they evolve themselves out of the gene pool with that sentiment!

Imagine knowing that the very psychology and instincts of men, that you instinctual protect, are being modified by your technology! That, to a lesser extent, your own psychology as women are being modified as well (as you start to develop more of a drive towards finding the right mate instead of using the first available one, and as such less of an instinctual protection of your male).

Though having said all of that I have to point out that this species wouldn't evolve due to fisher's principle


What comes to my mind here is a beehive. But instead of a Queen, you would have a King. This does not necessarily have to mean that said male would rule, But I imagine that the societies would become structured with them as a central figure in a similar way. The question then becomes, is just anyone then allowed to demand time with him? If not, how would the selection process for "the drones" happen. I imagine this would also become a core aspect of such societies. I don't actually think that security would be a top priority in the matter, (not to say there would be none) as contemplating killing the men would then equate to deciding to murder off the entire race. Genocide. Literally.

Not that we humans don't love to make up stories about people trying to do exactly that, but how many times can you seriously say that you have met someone who actually wanted to do that.

Protecting men during war time would however become THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER!

I'm a little confused as to why you would seperate the men from each other though. Not saying you can't, just.... why?

But I digress, a beehive. In a hive, or ant colony even, you see one central figure being supported and managed by all the rest. I imagine it would work a lot like that. With the whole community being involved in making sure that one little boy grew up healthy and safe. Before all else.


One version of this was explored by Harlan Ellison in his short story A boy and his dog... later made into a cult film starring a very young Don Johnson.

The males in the underground society who survived the nuclear war were sterile from living underground, so they would kidnap an independent from the surface (known as a rover) on occasion to keep their underground cities producing children.

The problems from this arrangement were not much fun for the one functional male (as Vic found out). Libido didn't even enter into it.

"Lack of respect, wrong attitude, failure to obey authority. The farm, immediately."


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