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In my world, the main sapient species are Naledis. Naledis are similar to humans, but they are smaller and have cartoon-like features. Another large difference is that Homo Naledis have a mating season. During the season of Spring, Homo Naledi women ovulate and the men are pumped with testosterone; Naledis become very lustful and seek out sex partners. During the rest of the year, Homo Naledis are asexual and infertile (without drugs).

A major reason that bathrooms, locker rooms, and prisons are gender-segregated is due to fear of sexual harassment within them. For Naledis, sexual interest only applies for a limited time each year. Would it be logical then for there to be less gender segregation in regards to facilities compared to Homo Sapiens? Assuming Naledi society is very similar to modern-day America

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    $\begingroup$ This is borderline storybuilding. What goal are you trying to achieve with the decision? The reason I ask is that comparing an alien species to humanity only makes sense if you're considering the reaction of a visiting human. If not, then the comparison is irrelevant. You're trying to craft a culture. If the culture's development is similar to western human societies, then what might have started as communal bathrooms for the sake of simplicity and a cultural taboo during mating season when bathrooms are assigned segregation may "today" have enforcement by law... but that's story based. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented May 7 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ I remember now. Keep in mind that the problem with borderline questions like this is that you must include restrictions, conditions, goals and expectations that permit us to scope our answers such that a best answer can be chosen. If you do not do that, then you fall into the off-topic brainstorming/storybuilding category that'll get the question closed. Therefore, why are you asking the question? What's stopping you from making a choice and moving on? Are there any issues of narrative necessity we need to know about? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented May 7 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ "A major reason that bathrooms, locker rooms, and prisons are gender-segregated is due to" ... prudish tradition. For the canonical example of a mixed-sex shower room see the excellent documentary Starship Troopers by Paul Verhoeven (1997). In real history, mixed-sex public baths were the norm in the Middle Ages (in western Europe); sex-segregation of public baths is post-medieval and it became common only since the 16th century. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented May 7 at 21:31
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    $\begingroup$ As the final close-voter, some feedback. 1. A species that is completely asexual for 75% of the year and insanely reproduction oriented for the rest cannot have a society "very similar to modern-day America" where practically everything is based on a year-round, lower-level sexual competition but overly aggressive sexual behaviour is not acceptable. 2. Gender and sex are not synonyms for humans, if they are for Naledis then suggest using "sex" to make that clear. 3. Work out how Naledi civilisation developed to deal with the issue and it should lead to "modern" practices. $\endgroup$ Commented May 7 at 23:55
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    $\begingroup$ With a mating season like this, the whole species might live sex segregated lives much like how elk, deer, and elephants live segregated lives for much of the year. They come together only during mating season. That would make for a very different society. $\endgroup$
    – David R
    Commented May 8 at 13:49

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YES

Your question states that the mating season is "Spring." That's solidly 1/4 of the year where the entire sexually mature part of the species goes sex-crazy. If we're talking something along the lines of "men fight men for women when women are around and women may fight women when men are around" with the biologically common addition of "if a male sees a female in heat and no other males are around he's going to try and mate with her, females may not feel the same way" then you'll absolutely see segregated spaces. They'll probably be even MORE segregated than most humans. If the sex drive isn't quite as bad as that (they end up acting more like horny teenagers than wildebeest in heat) it might not be quite so bad. But I'm operating under the assumption that sex (or violence due to one person NOT wanting sex and the other being essentially incapable of taking no for an answer) is a certainty between genders during the mating season.

If they spend such a significant time in heat, they'll need to build all sorts of "temporary" facilities to keep the sexes apart. Things like hospitals, grocery stores, government buildings, military facilities, and all sorts of other places would need to have male/female versions or wings 1/4 of the year. At that point it may well be more economical to have a men's wing/building and a women's wing/building year-round. Perhaps something less than 3/4 of the year (As presumably not everyone goes into/out of heat on exactly the same day) everybody can use every space, but for that 1/4 of the year you do NOT want certain things constantly sidetracked by sex/trying to avoid sex.

Given they'd need to create whole separate wings/buildings, you may not see gender-specific showers/restrooms outside of specialized facilities like hospitals (where presumably you may have to treat folks who are in heat out of season as a medical condition). After all, 3/4ish of the year the Male Wing is perfectly usable by females, and during the Horny Season a female won't even be in that part of the building!

Additional thought: For most animals that have mating seasons smell is a large part of what drives them to what we'd consider excess as far as mating/fighting is concerned. Males can smell female ovulation which increases desire to mate and makes him produce more testosterone in response which the female can smell which makes HER want to mate more. So your species may have excellent air filtration/ventilation systems, especially in critical buildings like infrastructure and defense, to tamp down the mating urge as much as possible. If your species doesn't have any physical signs of being in heat you might even have filters or masks for individuals to wear so they can focus during mating season. Then when their 9-5 job is over they go to the local pub/orgy, take their mask off, and Do the Deed!

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  • $\begingroup$ I like your ideas. Although now I wonder how homosexual/bisexual Naledis will be handled? They will feel a strong sexual urge as well, but they can do it with members of the same sex? I think the best solution is just to designate sex partners during the offseason and all other sexual contact is restricted. $\endgroup$
    – Rhymehouse
    Commented May 7 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Rhymehouse there is a good chance that there would be very few non-heterosexuals in this scenario. We do not know well how homosexuality develops, but it is likely a genetic component to the group-bonding social aspect of sex, which would not exist in this world. Even if not, it is likely the Naledis would be fiercely homophobic, as homosexual individuals would complicate the sex segregation scheme during Heat Season. $\endgroup$ Commented May 8 at 6:38
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To directly answer your question: it's pretty easy to reconfigure any of these facilities for a season, making them segregated when that's considered necessary and desegregated again later. There's no reason they need to be permanently configured one way or the other.

But thinking a bit more broadly: a world with a "sexual harassment season" sounds pretty intense. A growing number of people would say gender segregation is unnecessary in the real world; if the degree of harassment in your world's spring is so high that segregation is truly beneficial, then you may need separation in more than just a few types of facilities.

Also consider that not all sexual harassment is related to sexual interest. Humiliation and dominance are some other motives for example. It's also not strictly limited to interactions between people of different genders. In other words, a world in which sexual harassment can rise severely and then drop to absolute 0 is pretty unrealistic. So if you're not accounting for those parts of the problem, then you can do pretty much whatever you want because the psychology and sociology involved is strongly divergent from reality.

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    $\begingroup$ If their society is effectively asexual 3/4 of the year, then most aspects of gender relations that can lead to sexual harassment would simply not exist. They might not even have strong definition of gender, rather believe everyone is a genderless individual who simply assumes the role of one sex for the Mating Season. $\endgroup$ Commented May 8 at 6:42
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I feel that it would make sense for there to be little to no gender segregation in this scenario, at least outside the mating season. I would not be surprised if the situation changes when the population enters heat, but aside from that this culture seems likely to be fairly unisex. One note is that often segregation into distinct groups originates from misinformation or bigotry, so it is still possible there would be gender segregation. Hope I was able to help, have a good day.

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It depends

I am going to give a controversial and tangential answer.

The question of Sex/Gender segregation is not a function of Sex or mating.

It is a question of Violence - When the Males of your species are in the Mating season - how aggressive and violent are they going to be?

and the men are pumped with testosterone;

And this is what jumped out at me - If 75% of the year you don't have an overwhelming urge to Fight or Fuck everything that moves, then suddenly you get, as you say, 'pumped' with testosterone - the males of your species are not going to have the coping tools to deal with the sudden increase.

The Males are going to be beating the ever-loving crap out of each other and I think the concept of Consent is going to be a fairytale.

What would a society do in that scenario?

One possibility would be a society that operates like in the Purge universe - that Society accepts this as 'normal' behavior - just like Rape and Pillage was the standard for committing warfare (and one can argue... still is...) throughout the world.

Another possibility is that before Mating season, the entire of Society segregates - the Men fight it out and to the victors the spoils - which given this is kinda what we see in Animals that have Mating seasons, makes me think this is what would happen.

The other question is how much emotional Trauma this period is going to create and is there the equivalent of Menopause for Women and whether this Testosterone spike decreases with age for the Men - It is possible to have absolute units/killers/monsters of Men well into their 50s (beware of old men in professions where men die young).

Also what degree to your creatures pair bond for the purposes of raising children?

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  • $\begingroup$ There is marriage amongst Naledis, but it is done for raising children or for lifestyle synergy instead of being done for love. Also, Naledi society is organized to let most people fulfill their urges without destroying society or themselves in the process. Since Naledis have estrous, Naledi females do not experience menstruation or menopause. Even elderly Naledis go through estrous, but its effects are much weaker compared to the estrous estrogen/testosterone spikes of younger Naledis. $\endgroup$
    – Rhymehouse
    Commented May 8 at 16:03

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