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So I have a setting where the main sapient species is a very closely Humanoid race. In this setting, Humans, along with many other species across a number of dimensions, are all descended from an original god-like race called the Originals, who very little is known about. In form, these species all basically resemble Humans, both "Feminoid" (resembling women) and "Masculinoid" (resembling men).


The specific species in this setting are called Stratawan, and they reproduce through use of a large-tree like structure called an Abrogaan. This is a large organism made of bone, which grows "pods" similar to a fruit, and a newborn Stratawan emerges from this pod and then undergoes relatively analogous human development.

Stratawan cannot become Abrogaans, and all Abrogaans are grown from a cutting of another Abrogaan. This makes all Stratawan inherently incapable of individual reproduction, and fairly analogous to worker drones in eusocial species like bees.

This also makes all Stratawan the same sex, because different sexes are largely useless when only able to reproduce through another organism (or, arguably, the Abrogaans are their equivalent of females). In this instance, they fall on the Masculinoid spectrum of species derived from the Originals. This also means that Stratawan would presumably be completely without any form of genitalia.

This means they have no form of parents, and children are either raised communally, or an adult Stratawan will pick a specific newborn and raise it as their child or "Sciall". This is generally reserved for the Aristocracy, as this society is fairly strictly organised into a caste system. This means all "families" are essentially just a series of adoptions.


However, one of my primary intentions with this setting was imagining humanity if it was only composed of Gay Men. As one myself, I wanted the challenge of imagining a society of human-like creatures that was only Homosexual Masculinoids. The Abrogaans are the mechanism by which this species reproduces, as gay males are not capable of child-bearing.

However, this leaves me with a problem. A species that reproduces through the use of another organism is incapable of sexuality, which is fairly core to the culture of gay males. This, in terms of sexuality, more makes them a race of asexuals than anything, which is interesting on its own but was not the authorial intent of this species.

Additionally, there's an argument this race wouldn't even have a form of romantic love. Their reproductive method does not enforce that they must couple in pairs, and while parental and familial (or more accurately tribal) love would definitely exist, romantic love doesn't really necessarily have a reason to exist without sexuality. This isn't how I see it, being a gay male myself and valuing romance without reproduction, but biologically speaking I don't know if this is justifiable.


Given the story planned to take place in this world revolves around a romantic relationship between a member of the aristocracy and a member of the peasantry, love is pretty core to the setting. So the question is whether any form of sexual pleasure could exist in this species, creating a cause for romantic ideals to be developed. Because at the moment I don't know if it's justifiable.

Given that most of this race is naturally raised communally, the question of childcare isn't really an answer to the question either, even though personal child-rearing is a function of this society. Currently there does exist a form of marriage, but it specifically is not intended for child-rearing and more just acts as a legal right for couples to share belongings.


tl;dr I have a humanoid (and masculinoid) species that reproduces through the use of another organism called an abrogaan that grows them like a tree. Would this species have any form of romance or sexual pleasure given this reproduction method?

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    $\begingroup$ If all living Stratawan were killed, would Abrogaan still be able to produce more Stratawan? (That is, do Stratawan have any biological function whatsoever, other than post-"birth" caregiving, in the reproduction of their own species?) $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2023 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ @KerrAvon2055 Yes, with ease, the process is automatic and doesn't require any triggering. However Abrogaans are generally pretty massive (several stories high), they start somewhat small and self-sufficient but they have uncapped growth, so they very swiftly start to need masses and masses of resources like nutrients and water to stay alive, which is what the Stratawan provide. Largely, the entire purpose of Stratawan society is to protect, maintain and grow their community's Abrogaan. The upkeep of this structure is essentially a religion with how sacred it is to Stratawan. $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2023 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ Technically asexual reproduction brought on by engaging in a sexual behavior? Kind of like the whip tail's parthenogenesis. But the whip tail used be have males and be sexual... $\endgroup$
    – user458
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 23:40
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    $\begingroup$ If all living Abrogaan would somehow get killed, will those Stratawan be able to remake/grow a new one? Otherwise there's a "banana frame challenge", if all Abrogaan are clones of a single entity, a virus that would be able to kill off that entity would spread and eliminate all its clones. Especially if it can host in Stratawan and not harm them. $\endgroup$
    – Vesper
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 11:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Vesper Given that to avoid that problem generally, Abrogaans have extremely high levels of recombination in the Stratawan they produce, the same process is probably true of Abrogaans as they grow. Abrogaans tend to have high levels of mutation as well, as different ethnicities of Stratawan exist. However, Stratawan have no method of creating an Abrogaan without another, and this is why they protect it so fiercely. The death of a community's Abrogaan (Gaandeath) is considered equivalent to a genocide, which it basically is. $\endgroup$ Commented May 29, 2023 at 14:46

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You're going to have to ask yourself what they would get out of it.

Despite what your social ideal recommends, romance isn't exclusively for the purpose of sexual reproduction. Thelma and Louise isn't about hooking up, and nobody ever expected Cates and Hammond to take a bone-break in 48 Hours. The bromance is a staple of action movies, and isn't terribly uncommon in any setting.

Every species has an optimal cluster size. Ants just happen to have a cluster size in the thousands. Humans have a cluster size of about 150. It's called the Dunbar number. We're pack animals, but we prefer to think of it as herd instinct. That's the point at which communities of humans have to sub-divide and choose representatives.

It may be that your race pairs up, and then the pairs gather by some other criteria. You can have fun with exactly how that works, what they value, and how it all works. They won't have sex, but that only matters if you're writing porn.

Usual substitutes for sex include grooming and cleaning each other, helping with clothing, and maybe cuddling. You could also have them sucking the bugs out of each others' crannies, but you'll have to figure out your comfort zone between the bizarre and the relatable.

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  • $\begingroup$ The cluster size for Stratawan would be hard to calculate. The Abrogaans have uncapped growth, the Stratawan essentially only exist to make sure it stays alive. The more it grows, the more Stratawan it produces. Arguably, because direct lineage doesn't exist for the Stratawan, naturally they are raised communally, and that is how most of the species is. The Aristocracy are the only ones who break this rule, having an equivalent direct parent-child relationship, and having developed concepts like ownership and inheritance largely for their own glory. $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2023 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Sl0wDeathUI, I should point out that the cluster size is whatever you say it is. You just have to figure out how to explain it to your readers. In my universe, the thaumechanics have a thing about nines because triple redundancy became so ingrained that they had to audit for triple-triple redundancy. You'd probably want to get into evolution and maximum capacities, things that social considerations can't crack. Maybe instead of two sexes, they have math-capable and social connection-capable, and their minds are literally not complete without the other. $\endgroup$ Commented May 29, 2023 at 4:03
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No.

You've identified the tension yourself. Gay culture revolves around sex.

Heterosexual culture revolves around the other parts of life more and sex far, far less, and even insofar as it does, has much more focus on the non recreational aspects thereof, such as child raising.

An asexual species culture will still have protocols relating to reproduction, but they have no reason to enjoy romance, etc. Fraternal love, yes, homosexual romance, no.

Suspension of disbelief is your best ally here.

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    $\begingroup$ Gay culture revolves around sex to the same degree as heterosexual culture. Frankly the idea that homosexuals are concerned exclusively with sex is pretty homophobic. Modern gay culture is also pretty rooted in the time before it was legalised, because of how recent that was, and the disconnect often arrives from that. Straights rule the world, so they got to decide what parts of society homosexuals were allowed into. Luckily that's ending, but the straights do seem to insist that that is inherent to homosexuals, which it isn't, you forced it upon us. $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2023 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Sl0wDeathUI Disagree, and so do most gay men when you talk to them about their subculture, which I do. The only bits of subculture that are specifically 'gay culture' are those that relate to being gay, which naturally revolve around romance and sex to a far greater degree than heterosexuals, who have a far higher average preoccupation with e.g. child raising and the huge number of unromantic tasks that arise from it. There's also the fairly solid evidence that is offered by how the gay community presents itself at pride parades; there's much more leather and nudity than nursery decor. $\endgroup$
    – user86462
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 0:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Sl0wDeathUI In your own words: "sexuality, which is fairly core to the culture of gay males". $\endgroup$
    – user86462
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ Gay men are humans, like anyone else. This does not constitute the entirety of their lives, and sexuality has about the same level of importance as heterosexuals. Most gays would love to be able to raise children, but unfortunately a great number of powerful people seem very insistent on not letting us, and the legal methods require years and years long waiting lists. And pride parades are no more indicative of gay culture than wet t-shirt contests are of heterosexual culture. I never claimed they were without it, my claim is that it is the same level as heterosexuals $\endgroup$ Commented May 29, 2023 at 1:39
  • $\begingroup$ "pride parades are no more indicative of gay culture than wet t-shirt contests are of heterosexual culture." Sure they are, they're run by organised lobby groups that at least purport to represent gays on the national level, as an activity that represents and exhibits gay culture. A wet tshirt competition is not a relevant comparison, that's silly or even disingenuous. And re: the rest, you seem to be either unaware or in denial of facets of your subculture. Like any subculture, it is adhered to to different degrees; we can still correctly generalise about culture. $\endgroup$
    – user86462
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 2:33
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I disagree with some of your premises. Now, granted - I'm not a Gay Man, I'm married with Kids - the experience of being a Parent is what I'm going to lean on heavily:

1: Raising kids is really hard. I'm currently trying to teach one of my kids to tie their shoelaces and I've lost the will to live about 20 times. That's not to include all the sleepness nights, tummy bugs, being covered in Shit/Vomit/bodily fluids, destruction of your things etc. etc.

Now, despite there being many single parents who do the best they can - it's easier to share that load between two people. So whilst the act of creating a child might not need two people, evolutionarily speaking - it's way easier to parent with two people. In fact, you could even argue that the old adage about a Village and raising kids is even more true - so having a Stable family unit (with an extended Family) has such an advantage when raising kids that it's necessary...

So, if you accept that it is optimal to have more than one parent raising a child, then you need two things Love and Pleasure.

2: Love. When you've both been awake since midnight, it's now 5 am - neither of you have slept and you've got a sick child - Love is the glue that stops you from saying 'Fuck this, I'm out of here' - Love is what enables you to suffer through those dark times and difficult times (of which you will have many as a parent) and it keeps you together so you can be there for your Child.

3: Which leads me to how we get Love. Your views may differ depending on your age and life experience - Love requires a degree of pleasure. I'm not just talking about the Carnal kind (but one review of what happens in a Sexless Marriage should tell you that it's a key component) - but little bits of affection - the small things that reinforce that actually, staying with this person isn't all that bad.

Purely utilitarian relationships seldom work because the people in them are missing the spark that makes a relationship worth putting up with all the negative crap that comes with a serious long-term relationship (especially one with Kids involved)

So - TL;DR - Kids are hard, you need Love to get you through when it's hard and you need pleasure to reinforce the love between you two.

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  • $\begingroup$ Child-rearing varies a lot in this species, usually by the specific caste you're born into. Most of the species is part of the Agrat class, who are all communally raised, essentially by people whose entire career is child-rearing from birth. They are raised in a set size called closts, and usually have a lot of teachers to take care of that. $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2023 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ It is only really the aristocracy who are raised in an equivalent parent-child relationship. They are the only ones with surnames. These families often all participate in the process of child-rearing, as children are adopted for the glory of the family. Thus, there is a large amount of ego involved in choosing parenthood, as it is fairly optional, and most aristocrats only do it for a sense of personal glory, which they aren't that willing to share. Class conflict is a big theme of this setting, and this is one example of their arrogance. $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2023 at 14:21
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Short Answer:

No.

Long Answer:

It cannot be understated how the advent of Sexual Reproduction has changed life on Earth. Basically for 3 billion years asexual reproduction produced very little change in the evolution of life. Suddenly, Sexual Reproduction became possible, and this caused a sudden explosion of species, capability and advancement. Very quickly, sexual species outpaced asexual and dominated all parts of the Earth.

Sexual Reproduction became a major determinant in the variety of life, of quality, competition and diversification. It formed the basis of behaviour, and later in humans the basis of culture.

There is extensive literature on why this is the case. One theory is instead of simple 'Survival of the Fittest', we now have Sexual Selection. The ability to choose who you mate with is a major constant now in life, and forms the bedrock of behaviour not in just plants and animals, but of society and culture.

Beyond simple biology, the Sexual Deterministic view is that all parts of our culture, from movies, art, architecture, economics, social behaviours, religion, governance, war, even technological advancement: all have a basis in sex and pair bonding. Whether it is the urge for males to impress females by rising in a dominance hierarchy, or females urge to be the most desirable female, or yes even gay men to pair with the most alluring partner, these all assist in advancement and progression of culture.

Now, in your scenario, remove the need for sexual pairing. We now grow randomly from a tree. Those that survive to adulthood go on to divide again, but simple survival is not enough to improve over time. Remove indeed the ability to improve children over time from selecting your partner, and you lose all the cultural apparatus needed to do so: why need fashion when it no longer improves your chance of being sexier? Why try to dominate over other males, when your chance of reproduction is the same as them anyway as there are no females to impress? That is what Romance and Sexual Pleasure is: and it is now not needed, nor even wanted.

Indeed, one could predict in your scenario that if all Stratawans live in relatively comfortable environments, the bar for survival is so low now that it is easier to devolve, rather than evolve. Over successive generations, they could regress to algae, or Protozoa - as doing so would be just as advantageous (if not more numerous) than pushing to be complex, driven and advanced without needing to find sex.

The only remaining need to pair is for convenience - but there is little evidence on Earth for asexual life needing to do so, and even if it was the case there would not be a Romantic or a Sexual need, only a mechanistic one.

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  • $\begingroup$ This seems incredibly reductionist, and as you said is merely one hypothesis. I can't even find much corroborating evidence online for the sexual deterministic view. In this specific scenario, the Stratawan have a a pretty core motivating factor for progression; their reproductive element, the Abrogaan, has uncapped growth, so if it is not maintained with masses of food and water it will die, and so will their specific genealogy. Arguably, this is a form of sexual determinism, as their entire society is dedicated to the safety and expansion of their reproductive element; the Abrogaan. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ It's also hard to respond to this for me, as the hypothesis that the entirely of human endeavour and progress exist for the sole reason of reproductive success makes me actively want to commit suicide. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 15:29
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No, I do not think that a species like this would experience sexual or romantic attraction...at least, not if they arrived at this state in the normal course of evolution.

However, it's possible that such a state of affairs didn't arise naturally. The Stratawan could be the product of deliberate genetic engineering: either self-modification by a group attempting to establish a utopian society, or the efforts of a now-extinct gang of evil overlords to create a new "worker" species for their empire.

If this engineering happened relatively recently in evolutionary terms, then the Stratawan might retain vestigial sexual impulses from whatever base species they were derived from. (The scientists tried to stamp that out, of course, but they never really got a handle on it before The Great Disaster struck...)

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