What if popular resentment rose against sexual freedom due to privileged circumvention of quarantines?
Sci-fi often envisions dystopias in which some centralized governmental authority bans sex, either partially or totally:
But partial bans on sex might allow reproduction.
It’s more rare to see a dystopia in which there is no chance of successful reproductive sex:
But totalitarian governments and religions can be warred upon, bribed, or subverted.
Very rare indeed is the sci-fi story that will dare to imagine sterility imposed by inhuman forces that cannot be warred upon or negotiated with. A sterility plague is sometimes not created by humans:
However, many sci-fi plagues are biological weapons:
This is a major problem, because fiction writers only write what they think people will be willing to consume.
Many works set in the future presume that people in the future will have the same social mores and values as they do in the present, excepting a few superficial changes in order to facilitate the plot, demonstrate the foreignness/”futureness” of the setting, or satisfy Author Appeal. The assumption is that our future will be essentially the same as our present — bigger, smaller, sleeker, faster, or more automated, but still recognizable as our world.
So if society has a problem, fiction is often a bad way to point it out – because if the fiction is direct enough to be understood, potential audiences will tune it out.
Society can benefit from the realization that its dysfunctional values really are dysfunctional. But fiction audiences are seldom willing to feel that way, resulting in the problem sometimes called “values dissonance.”
All of this is painfully relevant to the Manosphere and the Battle of the Sexes.
Let us consider a very likely future possibility: Emerging diseases may make current standards of Western sexual freedom very deadly.
Scenario: A set of several emerging infectious diseases infect sexually promiscuous Westerners. Symptoms are not always evident; some diseases can spread both with and without sexual contact.
The West is forced to re-instate 19th-century standards of disease quarantine. Sexual freedom obviously suffers, and sometimes quarantines are broken for privileged sexual degenerates. This leads to popular resentment of sexual freedom.
I have not seen a lot of sci-fi that has depicted popular hatred of sexual freedom. So far as I can tell, such a story would have no audience. People are willing to believe that an evil elite hates sex (like the Inner Party in 1984) but they seem to be unwilling to believe that ordinary people could become a hate-filled mob. Shirley Jackson was able to sell a story like “The Lottery,” which depicted a mob, but it wasn’t particularly anti-sex. No publisher is willing to publish a story about sexually repressed people lynching sexually promiscuous people.
I suspect that there will need to be a lot more obvious crises before the art scene is willing to publish sci-fi with realistic venereal diseases. We may see real plagues in the news before we allow ourselves to think about fictional plagues in our science-fantasy dreams.