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Old July 30th, 2013 (1:22 PM).
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Esper Esper is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: California
Posts: 10,670
My friend who has had two kids says that for her one day a switch just flipped in her brain and she wanted babies. She says that others she's spoken with had similar experiences. I can't speak of whether there is less desire to have children or not today compared to the past, but I don't think that desire exists in a vacuum.

There are a lot of things, and BlahIsSuck has done a fine job overviewing the major ones, that factor people's decisions to have children. The more agency a woman has the more likely she is to choose when and how she has children. So not only access to contraception, but societal norms that make it okay for women to make those kinds of decisions also play a factor. Bad economic times can also affect the rate. Think of the post-WWII and the simultaneous economic and baby boom. When times are good, people feel safer having kids (and if a particular society listens to women's desires about this kind of thing then you'll see a drop in birthrates).

You also have to keep in mind that gay people can have children if they are in heterosexual relationships. Probably there were a lot of gay people in the past who, for one reason or another, did this because it was just a part of their society and culture. (And I imagine it still happens a lot in certain parts of the world.) I would guess that the ratio of gay people today isn't all that different from any point in history. I mean, after all, there are some notable times and places in the history books that show there were people with homosexual desires and/or relationships. (Google pederasty or Sappho for some examples.) It's just been taboo so it's not been something that gets talked about. I can't prove this, of course not until I perfect my time machine.

tl;dr I think there have always been gay people whether there was an acknowledgement or understanding of the idea, and that birthrates go down when women have more power.
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