The fundamental idea of the sexual revolution, the one that has led to so many of the sweeping social changes of recent decades, is that sex, marriage, and babies are separable from one another. Prying these created realities apart, realities that went biologically, historically, and religiously unquestioned until quite recently, wasn’t as inevitable as it now seems. Without technological innovations like the pill and legal innovations like no-fault divorce, it would have been impossible to imagine sex not inherently connected to childbearing or the normalization of childbearing outside of marriage.
The stage that we now enter, after separating sex from marriage and marriage from children, is separating childbearing from sex. Once again, technological innovations, such as in-vitro fertilization, and legal innovations, such as the Uniform Parentage Act, have made thinkable what was previously unimaginable.
The UK Guardian recently reported on the rise of something that is being called “platonic co-parenting,” couples who connect in order to fulfill their mutual desire to have a baby, but who have no romantic or relational commitment otherwise. These couples aren’t actually couples, at least not at first. They’re not seeking love or romance. They don’t want to “waste time” on dating or marriage.
“You’re looking to achieve a common goal” described Stephan, a camera operator who had recently fathered a baby girl with a geologist named Jenica. “I really didn’t want a romantic connection,” agreed Jenica. Their daughter was conceived naturally, but the intent from the beginning was to co-parent, without living together or marrying.
They’re not the only example. Co-parenting apps and so-called “mating sites” like “Coparents,” “PollenTree,” and “Modamily,” are rapidly growing, with some already boasting thousands of members. The main clientele for reproductive matchmaking services are, it appears, wealthy professionals, some who hear their biological clocks ticking and others who wish to skip love and marriage and proceed directly to the baby carriage.