Tag Archives: paternity

DNA Testing, Family Secrets, And Revealing Truths About Infidelity

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What if you woke up one day and found out your father wasn’t actually your biological father?

What if you woke up one day and found out your kids weren’t actually your biological kids?

For a growing number of people, this isn’t just a distressing hypothetical. It’s a painfully real scenario. Secrets that were once easy to keep are now coming to light, thanks to a mix of curiosity, advancing technology, and simple economics. It’s causing a lot of distress for a lot of people, but the fact that it’s happening is somewhat telling.

To understand it, it’s necessary to understand just how unprecedented this situation is. Until very recently, getting a DNA test was exceedingly expensive. Go back 25 years when the Human Genome Project was just getting underway and just sequencing one person’s DNA cost millions. Then, thanks to advances in sequencing techniques and computing technology, the cost fell rapidly.

Today, sequencing your DNA costs less than $1,000. If you just want to test your ancestry, that’s even cheaper with kits costing around $100. You don’t need a court order or contacts at the FBI. You just need a spare $100 and a willingness to spit in a tube. It may not seem like much, but make no mistake. This is uncharted territory for our species and our society.

Ever since we structured our civilization around agriculture, passing down property through generations, and building more diverse societies, there has been a strong incentive to know that your children are biologically yours. This is where taboos surrounding virginity and female chastity come from. For centuries, the best way to assure your kids were yours was for your bride to be a virgin on her wedding night.

However, even in those limited circumstances, it was entirely possible to get around them. The traditional practices of testing young women for virginity are both invasive and prone to major error. If a woman is cunning enough, she can beat those tests and get away with lying about her sexual history. Men could be just as effective about hiding affairs that may have resulted in children with other women.

Now, hiding the truth isn’t just harder in the era of the internet and social media. Certain lies can no longer remain hidden. You can claim videos are deep fakes and that pictures had been Photoshopped. You can’t make those kinds of excuses when the truth is literally written in someone’s DNA.

Sometimes, the truth is just shocking. Take the story of Dani Shapiro, who found out that the man she’d loved and cherished as her father was not related to her. It wasn’t because of her mother’s infidelity, though. It was because her parents utilized an old infertility treatment that resulted in her being conceived with doner sperm instead of that of her surrogate father.

In other cases, the truth can be devastating, such as the case of Sarah Zhang, who found out that rumors of her mother having an affair with a restaurant owner were all too true. This revelation was heartbreaking. In an instant, her entire identity and sense of self had been uprooted. This is how she described the difficulty processing this information.

When I first found out the news, I considered taking a leave of absence from work, because I had difficulty focusing on anything else besides the revelation from 23andMe. On a hard day, I feel heartbroken about my mom’s secret. Her illness created an intimacy between us in the final months of her life and I felt that we were able to tell each other all the things in our heart. This news taints that memory and created a fresh bout of grieving about her death.

These stories are harrowing and they’re becoming increasingly common. There’s even a support group on Facebook for people who learn from these testing kits that their heritage isn’t what they’d previously thought. It’s hard to understand what these people are going through, living their whole lives thinking they know who their parents are, only to find out it wasn’t true.

As DNA testing kits continue to get cheaper and more prevalent, there’s a good chance there are plenty more cases like this just waiting to be uncovered. The fact that it seems to be happening so much says more about our species and our society than it does about the technology behind it.

Think, for a moment, about all the families who lived in the era before this technology became available. How many of those families had secrets like the ones Dani Shapiro and Sarah Zhang later uncovered? How many fathers unknowingly raised children that weren’t biologically theirs? How many mothers birthed children who were sired by someone other than their spouse?

It’s impossible to know for sure and the fact that it was impossible for most of human history might be just as telling as any family secret. I’ve mentioned before at how our notions of traditional romance and family have significant flaws. We value and idealize monogamy and fidelity, but the fact that we go to such extremes to favor it seems to imply that there’s something untenable about it.

Promiscuity and infidelity have existed in every human society. There’s a reason why even ancient civilizations had laws and traditions regulating marriage, adultery, and divorce. Even when there are serious consequences, people still did it. The fact that some of the punishments were so severe imply that a lot of people were getting away with it.

Even so, this didn’t stop men from raising children as their own. It didn’t stop women from loving their children and their spouses all the same. The fact that it was so hard to determine someone’s heritage might have even helped our species from an evolutionary standpoint.

A big part of what makes humans such a successful species is our ability to form tribes, cooperate, and coordinate towards a common goal. In old hunter/gatherer societies, close-knit tribes weren’t quite as concerned about the paternity of their kids. They took a more communal approach to family. Logistically, they had to. They needed that level of cooperation to survive in a harsh, unforgiving world.

Given that humanity spent most of its history in this hunter/gatherer structure, the forces of evolution are already working against those seeking parental certainty. The rise of civilization complicated things, but not to an extent that people couldn’t get away with fooling around. The fact that the average number of sexual partners for people these days is more than one only reveals that the inclinations is definitely there.

That’s an important factor to remember because as DNA testing becomes easier and cheaper, it won’t be possible to avoid the implications. People cheat. People keep secrets. People lie to their kids, sometimes without knowing it. For the most part, it hasn’t affected our ability to function as families and a society. Whether the emerging truth written within our DNA changes that remains to be seen.

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Advances In Male Contraception And What It Means For Women

I wasn’t planning to do a follow-up on yesterday’s big post about male contraception. In fact, I originally had an entirely different set of topics to discuss this week. However, some issues are just so relevant and so tantalizing that I can’t resist. I know contraception isn’t an overly sexy topic, but let’s face it. It has some very sexy implications.

It’s not hard to see why. Contraception does affect our sexual behavior as a society and a culture. The fact that the Catholic Church hates it is proof enough of that. Their hate doesn’t change the fact that contraception is as old as civilization, if not older. The problem is that, with the exception of condoms, most of these methods focus on the women.

Now there are logical reason for this that have nothing to do with some grand patriarchal conspiracy and everything to do with the inescapable tenants of male/female biology. Radical feminists may claim otherwise, but high school level biology is working against them.

It’s due to these biological restrictions that the modern history of contraception is closely tied to the modern women’s movement. It’s no coincidence that the advent of reliable birth control in the 60s also coincided with the women’s movement that began in the mid-60s.

From a logistical point of view, it makes sense. Contraception didn’t just give women more control over their fertility than they have at any time in human history. It leveled the playing field. Now women could participate in the economy and not be subject to the frequent interruptions of pregnancy, which could even prove fatal in some cases.

Again, the Catholic Church hates this. The idea of genders being equals does not sit well with certain institutions that would rather see women as breeding factories who regularly pump out new adherents/workers/tax-payers/soldiers/consumers. However, if we’re to create a more equal society with more balanced romances, then contraception is key.

That balance has already played out in ways that modern generations don’t even realized. Despite what the anti-gay marriage crowd would have you believe, modern marriage is very different from what it has been for most of human history.

The biggest difference, by far, is the concept of marrying for love. As an erotica/romance writer, that’s pretty jarring because marrying for love is often part of the narratives we craft when molding romantic stories.

However, for most of human history, we didn’t marry for love. We often married whoever our parents told us to marry. Love was even seen as disruptive to this institution. So whenever someone talks about “traditional marriage,” they might as well be referring to a loveless marriage.

Contraception changed that. Contraception made it so people didn’t have to get married for children. They didn’t have to get married because they got too horny one night and the woman ended up pregnant. People could actually choose who they married. What a concept right?

This concept couldn’t have worked without contraception because it gave couples control over their fertility. Men and women could spend time to find out whether they were romantically and sexually compatible. If done right, then it makes for a more loving, intimate bond. However, as the divorce rate indicates, there’s room for improvement.

That brings me back to Vasalgel, a potential game-changing contraceptive that the Catholic Church is sure to hate. What the birth control pill did for women in the 60s, Vasalgel could do for men today. It effectively levels the playing field in a way human civilization has never experienced.

It’s exciting and somewhat scary, but it is coming. The effectiveness of Vasalgel has already been proven to work in monkeys with no ill-effects. There are now monkeys in labs that can hump all they want and never have to worry about a monkey baby mama. Those are probably some very happy monkeys.

Within the next three to five years, after further testing with the FDA, this product could become available for men everywhere who also want to avoid baby mamas. Unlike condoms or pills, Vasalgel is as close to idiot-proof as you can get when it comes to contraception. For certain men, that’s very important for reasons I hope are obvious.

As a brief refresher, Vasalgel works in a way that’s not unlike a non-hormonal IUD for women. It involves injecting a special gel into the vas deferens of a man, which are the tubes that carry the sperm from the testes. This gel allows seminal fluid to pass through, but not the sperm. Without the sperm, there’s no possibility for conception. Even the anti-abortion crowd can’t complain about this.

There are no hormones involved so it doesn’t mess with any biology, which has been a big problem with past male contraceptives. It’s also easily reversible, requiring only another injection into the vas deferens to dissolve the gel. After that, the man can go back to making babies like a wannabe Dugger.

It’s also completely passive. Men don’t have to think or worry about it in any capacity. They don’t have to remember to put on a condom. They don’t have to remember to take a pill. Given how much thought and energy men put into video games, football, and extreme sports, that’s also very important.

Once injected, Vasalgel lasts for approximately 10 years. That’s 10 years of men never having to worry about a woman showing up on their doorstep with a baby and a legal document saying they owe them back child support. Ask any guest on Maury Povich why that’s very important to many men.

Beyond giving lawyers one less recourse to screw men out of their money, there will likely be other major impacts on men, women, and society as a whole. Think about it. What will this do for men and male sexuality in general?

Make no mistake. There will be an impact. We saw it with the birth control pill for women. We’ll definitely see something similar with men. I already painted a scenario in my last post for a man who doesn’t want to worry about having children. For this post, I’d like to focus on the women.

In order to do that, I’ll have to remind women of a few unpleasant, unspoken truths that some men harbor towards women. Remember last year when I did a post where I tapped into the mind of a misogynistic man? Well, there’s one key component to that mentality that needs to be highlighted.

One of the unspoken, but rarely-discussed attitudes that men have towards women has to do with using their horniness against them. Men hate it when women use their insatiable desire to have sex to manipulate them. As men and as human beings, we can’t turn off our horniness. It’s what drives us to jump through all the hoops that women make us jump through, even when they have serious legal ramifications.

The biggest manifestation of this disdain comes in the form of women who get with men for the sole purposes of locking them in with marriage and/or child support. While marriage is difficult in that it requires legal documents, getting pregnant does not. It just requires that a woman have sex with a man at a time when he’s too horny to remember to put on a condom. Given how horny men can get, this is not a difficult feat.

It’s this kind of manipulation that makes men say and think some of the horrible, misogynistic crap that makes radical feminists hulk out. They hate that women use their sexuality against them. They hate that they can’t always control the outcome of their short-sighted sexual escapades. When you’re that horny, you just don’t think things through.

Vasalgel changes that in a big way by removing that traditionally easy method that women can use to manipulate men. If a man uses Vasalgel, then it doesn’t matter what the woman does to get him into bed. He won’t get her pregnant. He won’t give her that baby that’ll entitle her to a healthy chunk of his paycheck. It wouldn’t just put Maury Povich out of business. It would change the way women have to relate to men.

Suddenly, women can’t extort men in a way that is far too easy, as many professional athletes can attest. They can’t hook up with him with the sole purpose of extracting valuable children from him. If they want access to his money and resources, they actually have to put in the time, effort, and passion to make him want to be with her. What a concept, right?

Beyond baby mamas for pro athletes, Vasalgel could have an even greater impact on the sexual behavior of youth. Many of us, minus those in Texas, endured sex ed in high school. We learned all about contraception, diseases, and all the ways that getting knocked up when you’re young can ruin your life.

Well, to this point, only the teenage girls could do something about that. For the teenage boys, they could never be sure whether the girl they were trying to hook up with was on birth control. It’s not just stressful in a way that makes it hard to get a boner. It gives the girls a significant amount of leverage over the boys. Give any gender that kind of leverage and you’re just asking for trouble.

Throw Vasalgel into the mix and things change. Suddenly, a teenage boy knows that he won’t be getting any girls pregnant for the duration of high school or college. He can be as irresponsible as he wants, banging every drama student and cheerleader in his path, and never have to worry about knocking them up in a way that’ll make some girl’s father hunt him down with a shotgun.

Once again, this levels the playing field. This means girls are the ones who can’t be sure if a man has Vasalgel or not. That means they actually have to talk to each other about who does what to avoid getting pregnant. It’s sure to be an awkward conversation, but the mere fact that they talk this stuff out is important for two people who are thinking about having sex.

At a time when young people are less sexually active than ever before, this could very well change that. Take away the stress and anxiety of contraception, especially among the exceedingly horny men of this world, and there are far fewer reasons for young people not to bone.

Assuming that Vasalgel makes it through the necessary testing phases, it could very well be available for the coming generation entering their teen years. Granted, those teen years will surely be awkward for many different reasons, but not having to worry about unplanned pregnancy will definitely help.

This means that we’re on the cusp of a major dynamic shift between genders. What will happen to the way men and women relate to one another when they both have equal control over their sexuality? It’s not just a thought experiment anymore. We’re going to find out very soon. As an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I look forward to the possibilities.

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