Sex is a primal instinct. It is the way in which we guarantee the perpetuation of our families and of the human race. It is also the driving force behind so much beauty and tragedy, poetry and art, theater and film—the most profound and most soaring of feelings. Lately, it has transcended traditional relations between man and woman, allowing transsexuals, lesbians, gays, and bisexuals to openly acknowledge and enjoy its richness and texture. At the same time, there are persistent inequalities of the sexes that are crying to be redressed, gaps in income and aspirations, and persistent historic discrimination in a host of societies. These are the variety of challenges and opportunities that we set out to explore in the Spring issue of World Policy Journal.

We begin with Big Question, featuring a selection of global thinkers reflecting on how sex...

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