Even if car advocates are defeated in "above the belt" arguments; they invariably dismiss the argument through belief that cars are associated with sex and opposition to them reflects badly upon one's sexuality; there are observations to make about this cars/sex complex.

Early sexual experiences deeply affect the psyche, so things associated with them, smells, music, facial features etc. imbue the older psyche with a (usually) pleasurable and youthful ambience. They can trigger fetishes, like the male fetish of female school uniforms, reviving powerful, often ungratified, youthful desires. The car/sex complex is largely a fetish of those who enacted their early sex life in cars, and probably most common in the US, where driving is legal at 16, and driving has become a "rite of passage" to adulthood; in countries where the legal driving age is higher the fetish is weaker, as more desires are gratified before cars enter life. If the driving age were increased beyond the average age of first sexual activity, perhaps to 21 (probably halving the road toll in passing), a smaller portion of the population would develop this fetish.

Cars can practically be associated with sexuality, they allow comfortable movement to where private intimacy can be assured; but except where population density makes privacy scarce (e.g. China) human cultural constructs create the conditions that require this escape; heavily patriarchal conditions, where home must somehow be evaded to have a sexlife and "get away with it", and the tendency for young adults to stay with their parents until marriage, do; but cultural conditions tolerant of early domestic independence or sexuality don't. Cars' speed can affect the nervous system and bring a sexual response; this is a biological after-effect of all danger, intimations of individual mortality trigger the urge to reproduce: plants must sometimes be water stressed in order to flower or fruit, observe the baby boom after every war, the popularity (and sexuality) of horror films, and the low birthrates and older age of new mothers in "safe" societies.

Genetic sexual thinking suggests the car is a sexual attractor inasmuch as it indicates some survival advantage: wealth, power, status etc., which vehicles historically have done. In the early 20th century the richest man was Rockefeller (oil magnate) and the richest class the car culture, so cars still connote wealth and power for most people alive today; but in reality they now run second to Bill Gates and the computer. The fictional "free open road" of the car commercials suggests the car indicates an independent survival capacity that might, for instance, enable emergency escape from a city about to suffer some catastrophe; but really attempting to evacuate a city by car would reveal a "tragedy of the commons", an horrendous traffic jam. The car-free city would be more effectively escapable. For rushing an injured person or pregnant woman to hospital it has some truth; but more in country areas.

But, equally cars are antisexual. Firstly cars reduce the number of potentially intimate human encounters, because they increase the stress in interaction environments and reduce the number of outdoor (approachable, exposed) nodes for interaction, so there are fewer people to interact with. Extant relationships may be enhanced by this isolation, but it reduces opportunities for those without extant relationships. The number of single people in the West testifies that an increasing number fall foul of this Catch 22. Secondly a vital well exercised body is generally sexually preferable to a flaccid one, (the true essence of sexual attractiveness probably isn't mere "physical fitness", but even a transcendent quality requires a usable vessel). Thus enlightenment reveals that those who drive the most tend toward fat, flabbiness and unattractiveness.

But to deal with the central insinuation from the car hegemony, that being anti car means being anti sex or asexual, in the only terms it deserves ... Humanity did a lot of fucking before it even learnt to ride a horse! The car's got nothing to do with sex, except in ad-men's wet-dreams. The human libido will survive the decline of the age of the car.

Last Revised 2009-07-09 JM

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