Sex is an overrated waste of time

Remember the movie Forty Days and Forty Nights? I didn’t see it, but the premise was that there was something extraordinary about voluntarily going six weeks without having sex. I thought that was completely nuts, but apparently that’s normal thinking among some Americans. It’s certainly the norm on some TV shows I watch, like Friends and Sex and the City and Buffy and Scrubs and – and, well, virtually all of them except for Smallville. Feeling incredibly deprived if you’re not having frequent sex is normal.

So I was reading (via Eve Tushnet) this interview with David Biano, a once-gay writer who has recently decided that he can’t have sex with men anymore, because it contradicts “traditional Jewish observance.” He plans on starting a family with some nice (and apparently yet-to-be-met) Jewish woman, but despite that isn’t signing up with the “ex-gay” movement, thank goodness.

Anyhow, this exchange between Biano and his interviewer struck me:

Q: But what makes you think that this fundamental, core piece of who you are, regardless of how it got there, can be put away and sort of just ignored or not acted on? It’s not like you’re deciding not to eat Big Macs because you know that they’re bad for you. This is something much more central to who we are… This is sex.

A: And I believe that American culture and the gay community have overly glorified sex to the point that it’s expected to be the most important piece of our lives. And historically that never happened before the last couple hundred years. And I don’t accept that it’s natural for us or that it’s what God wants for us. I think it is Western culture that is out of whack, not me.

Although I’m not religious, I think Biano is on to something here. But then again, I’m pretty weird about sex. I mean, I like it. A good orgasm with another human being is astounding; the only experience I’ve had that rivals orgasm with another person for pure intensity is trippits (inhaling nitrous oxide while tripping on LSD).

I love trippits. But y’know, if I never have a trippit again, that’ll be okay by me. (It’s been years since my last one). It’s not the end of the world. It’s not even a big deal. There are better things in life than seeking intense momentary pleasure.

Folks who organize their lives around arranging their next drug trip, or making sure they have a steady supply of drugs, are seen as ludicrous or pathetic. But folks who organize their lives around arranging their next sexual encounter, or securing a steady supply of sexual encounters, are seen as normal. What’s the difference?

There’s a sort of fascism of desire in American society. In much the same way lesbians and gays are told they’re not normal, people who don’t want to have sex all the time – who don’t think sex is a “fundamental, core piece of who you are” – are understood to be weirdos, deviants, freakishly far from the norm. If someone goes to clubs five nights a week hoping to find a sex partner for the night, that’s normal; if someone completely throws over their friends and their goals in order to be more attractive to a steady sex partner, that’s normal; if someone sends letters to strangers who want to get married and said so in a classified ad, that’ s normal; but if someone doesn’t feel any particular need for sex, get them to a psychiatrist!

Not that I’ve got anything against people who want to have sex a lot. Hell, go for it. Have fun.(Although please don’t pretend that you’re being a rebel; nothing in the world is more mainstream and conventional than being interested in sex). I’ve also think personal ads are a good idea (some close friends have vastly improved their lives using the personals), and I’ve got nothing against heavy drug use, or going to clubs five nights a week. I still think that anti-gay groups like the Republican party are, for all their excuses, little more than exercises in legitimizing hatred.

But speaking for myself, I’ll be perfectly happy if I never have sex again. It’s simply not a vital issue in my life. Why should that be weird?

Update: Read as well this excellent post by Blueheron – he’s a much more conventional and ordinary thinker than I am on sexuality (I just said that to get his goat), but he and I think in very similar ways about the value – and devaluation – of deep friendships. “It’s very odd and deeply sad that partnerships (being defined here as close and lasting relationships based on serious friendship and shared common interests) have become so marginal in our society.”

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74 Responses to Sex is an overrated waste of time

  1. 1
    ugk says:

    Well done
    What we now need is more and more people changing their mindset to one like yours. This may actually happen on its own as many people are not filling satisfied no matter how many orgasms they have. They are disillusioned.

  2. 2
    curiousgyrl says:

    this is a fine point– I often feel this way when reading Dan Savage or other sex advice columnists who seem to think that sexual compatability is the most important thing in relationships– personally, I think money compatibility and politics are more important.a

  3. 3
    pheeno says:

    I felt that way until it had been 2 years since the last time the hubby and I (then in a LD relationship) had had sex.

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    Then there’s the flip side, where everyone assumes that if two people of opposite sex (remember, we’re talking a conventional assumption) have a close friendship, it must actually be sexual and they are either hiding it or sublimating it.

  5. 5
    nobody.really says:

    Why did people start posting to this thread after four years?

    A good orgasm with another human being is astounding; the only experience I’ve had that rivals orgasm with another person for pure intensity is trippits (inhaling nitrous oxide while tripping on LSD).

    …But y’know, if I never have a trippit again, that’ll be okay by me…. There are better things in life than seeking intense momentary pleasure.

    I think there’s much to be said for comparing sex to other ways of affecting brain chemistry, including drugs and music. It is not coincidence that one generation praises wine, women and song, and the next prizes sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll.

    That said, sex can be more than just intense momentary pleasure. Please forgive the quaint observation that monogamous sex may play a different role than other means of altering brain chemistry. My wife’s habits can grate on me, and I have no reason to doubt that the feelings are reciprocated. All kinds of petty slights and grievances accrue over time. Thankfully, lust and an occasional mutual orgasm helps reset our attitudes to a more generous perspective. I feel affirmed and validated (and, ok, sleepy). And because my wife is the only person with whom I have sex these days, orgasms provide a very practical bond to this relationship, distinct from any other relationships we have.

    Now perhaps I’d achieve a similarly bonding effect by regularly sharing mind-altering stimuli with a stable group of friends. I suspect this happens in a number of religious rituals: music, incense, wine, a peace pipe, a ritual tea, etc. I suspect similar emotional bonds can be created by people who experience a common traumatic experience, whether a hazing ritual, a natural disaster, or military training/combat. Yet I don’t have any such stable cabal of friends, or such ritual with which to bond them, so I don’t know about this. And who knows whether it would promote deep sleep.

    But I do have a wife, so I do know something about that. If an individual does not feel the need for sex, that’s her business. If a couple does not feel the need for sex, that’s the couple’s business. But the consequences for the individual may be different than the consequences for the couple; generally an individual in not in danger of breaking up. An orgasm may be short-lived, but the consequences of mutual sex may be much longer lasting. Sex relieves a lot of tensions, not just sexual ones.

  6. 6
    ugk says:

    The only reason people started posting all of a sudden was because of my first post. People have the cow’s herd mentality, soon as they see one post they all jump in. ‘Nobody really’ is correct when he says the consequences of sex are long lasting. Yes sex not only brings diseases, it also weakens the body and mind by draining the body’s vital energy (prana, chi or whatever). This is why boxers and other athletes avoid sex for a long time before a major event. Fighting dogs, bulls, cocks etc are also not allowed to mate for the same reason.

  7. 7
    curiousgyrl says:

    if by herd mentality, you mean ” a comment appeared in the sidebar and people thought-huh? wonder what that previously invisible bost says” then ok.

    On the other hand, the “sapping vital energy” bit, it needs hardly be said, is pretty much a load of misogynistic horse hocky.

  8. 8
    Myca says:

    Yes sex not only brings diseases, it also weakens the body and mind by draining the body’s vital energy (prana, chi or whatever). This is why boxers and other athletes avoid sex for a long time before a major event. Fighting dogs, bulls, cocks etc are also not allowed to mate for the same reason.

    Man what?

    —Myca

  9. 9
    RonF says:

    ugk:

    This is why boxers and other athletes avoid sex for a long time before a major event.

    IIRC, the advantages of this practice are what used to be called an old wives’ tale (I suppose the PC equivalent would be an urban myth, but it’s not limited to cities). Surveys have shown that having had sex the evening before an athletic event has no effect on an athlete’s performance. Of course, if what’s actually going on is that the athlete is staying up until 4:00 AM drinking and f**king, then I can see where there’d be a problem.

    And I’ll be happy to accept an alternative phrase to “old wives’ tale”; my imagination is failing me this morning.

    curiousgyrl:

    On the other hand, the “sapping vital energy” bit, it needs hardly be said, is pretty much a load of misogynistic horse hocky.

    Hm? Misogyny, eh? I wonder; does the same attitude exist towards female athletes having sex prior to competition? The concept came up when there were very few female athletes, but I’m wondering what the current attitudes are.

  10. 10
    curiousgyrl says:

    Ron F-

    before i posted I searched the internet for any informatino encouraging women to abstain from sex to preserve their “chi” or “vital energy” for any reason, athletics included. I didnt find anything. I did find thousands of pages which addressed men’s chi and vital energy, and potential sapping of it due to women/thinking about women/looking at women, etc.

    if any such admonition to women exists, the field is so unbalanced in the other . direction that such an exception to the rule would be nearly irrelevant. As you say, the myth developed in a particularly gendered way. Its not, like, a coincidence that female atheletes appear to us to be a recent invention!

    Myths of this kind have a long history in many cultural traditions. the common theme is women sap men’s strength, sometimes maliciously, sometimes not, but it is an inherent part of what we do! Semen in many many instances is symbolic of mens strength, though sometimes its other things (eg Samson and Delilah).

  11. 11
    Mandolin says:

    “The concept came up when there were very few female athletes, but I’m wondering what the current attitudes are.”

    I think the historical roots have to do with a concept of your vitality = your sperm. Eject your sperm, lose your vitality. That’s how the Victorians conceived of it, I think?

  12. 12
    Kate L. says:

    If someone goes to clubs five nights a week hoping to find a sex partner for the night, that’s normal; if someone completely throws over their friends and their goals in order to be more attractive to a steady sex partner, that’s normal; if someone sends letters to strangers who want to get married and said so in a classified ad, that’ s normal.

    I don’t know that I would agree all of the above are “normal.” In fact, I think a lot of people (probably mostly women) would see the above as somewhat disgusting. But I don’t have anything other than annecdotal evidence to back me up.

    I will say that I agree that sex isn’t the end all be all of everything. Though I will say I don’t think I’d be ok if I never had sex again (if you include masturbation as sex). I don’t know that I’d go stark raving mad or anything, but I don’t think I’d be happy either.

    I think I agree with nobody really here – there are long lasting relational benefits to a monogamous sexual relationship. I don’t know that it’s NECESSARY to have a good relationship, but I do think it can provide a unique boost.

  13. 13
    Q Grrl says:

    RonF: they don’t call women “succubus” for the hell of it. Well, actually, they do. But they like to think it’s because our twats have the ability to deplete men of their vitality. Of course, when one stops to ponder the correlation between sperm and a man’s current vitality, you get quite the peek into patriarchal male ego. One would naturally expect top performing, vital males to be discouraged from masturbating if losing/releasing sperm is such a risk.

    One wonders, too, just how sapping, depleting, and harmful porn is to men’s wholeness. If orgasming inside a woman (or with a woman’s help) is depleting, one must naturally assume that wanking in front of the computer screen would make men downright soulless.

  14. 14
    Brandon Berg says:

    One would naturally expect top performing, vital males to be discouraged from masturbating if losing/releasing sperm is such a risk.

    In fact, some Googling suggests that many people do seem to have the same concerns about masturbation.

    If you try hard enough, you can explain just about anything in terms of misogyny, or misandry, or anti-black racism, or anti-white racism, or anti-semitism, or pro-semitism (anti-semites do this all the time), or whatever your favorite form of bigotry is. That doesn’t mean that you should, or that it’s going to lead you to reasonable conclusions.

  15. 15
    Q Grrl says:

    Brandon: do a little homework of your own on what a succubus is. Lots of women burned because of that line of thinking. But no woman hating there, eh? It’s all just in my head.

  16. 16
    Mandolin says:

    Well, if we’re talking about the Victorian concept of sperm-release-as-drain-of-vitality, then certainly they were concerned about self-abuse. They had lots of fun ways of trying to prevent “self-abuse,” like blistering agents applied to the penis and clitorodectomy.

    I don’t think it’s very hard to come up with reasons why the sexphobia of the Victorians was patriarchal in nature, and I’m sure that more talented feminists have done so than I.

    *

    I really appreciate this post, though I don’t feel like I have anything too coherent to say about it. I agree with curiousgyrl about being dubious when matchmakers or advice columnists discuss sexual compatibility as the number one priority in a realtionship.

  17. 17
    nobody.really says:

    I agree with curiousgyrl about being dubious when matchmakers or advice columnists discuss sexual compatibility as the number one priority in a relationship.

    Any time we name any one attribute as “the number one priority,” it suggests that we’re willing to sacrifice all other attributes to get it. I have a few Catholic and ex-Catholic friends who regularly bemoan the fact that priests are picked on the basis of gender and abstinence – and not, say, on leadership skills, counseling skills, speaking skills or even personal hygiene. Apparently, it shows.

    That said…..

    It certainly seems crazy to pick a life partner solely on the basis of sex EXCEPT if you believe in monogamy. After all, cultural and legal norms permit a broad range of behaviors in marriage. She ain’t my soulmate? There’s no prohibition on spending time with other people. Not a great dancer? No prohibition on dancing with other people. Not a great conversationalist? No prohibition on talking with other people. Doesn’t like bowling? No prohibition on bowling with other people. Infertile? No prohibition on adoption, and declining prohibitions on surrogate parenting.

    Hates sex? Uh oh.

    At least four marriages of my acquaintances have broken up/are breaking up because the guy stopped having sex with his wife and/or start having sex with other guys. Now, who knows whether these marriages would have stayed together anyway, but the stories I hear are about a lack of sexual compatibility. It’s not a small matter to them.

    If you don’t need your marriage to be your sole source of companionship or finances or food or children, but you DO expect it to be your sole source of interpersonal sex, then I can’t fault you for focusing on that aspect of the relationship when picking a mate.

  18. 18
    Mandolin says:

    I didn’t say it shouldn’t be a factor, just that it flags me as dubious when it’s the first priority. *shrug*

  19. 19
    curiousgyrl says:

    yes, I agree its a factor– i was thinking more about the Dan Savage “if your partner isn’t ggg about your every latest kink, DTMFA” than “oops, honey I didnt realize I dont enjoy having sex with women.” Alot of things sex-wise seem negotiable, but I suppose it all comes down to whats on the table.

    As for conversationalist and all the rest, I may be able to talk to whomever I want, but I kind of have to talk to my partner. If that didnt work, we’d be sunk. Also, just speaking for myself, here, not getting exactly what I want in bed everytime would grate much less than running into constant streams of dirty socks/dishes/carpets or constantly finding my bank account overdrawn would.

    Sex can only take up so much of your time, while dishes happen 3-4 times a day!:)

  20. 20
    Brandon Berg says:

    Q Grrl:
    The succubus has a male analogue, called an incubus (which gets 8 times as many Google hits as “succubus”). But even if we ignore incubi, the idea of succubi can be construed as misandrous just as easily as it can be construed as misogynistic. What does it say about men, if they can be weakened and controlled through sex? I would be accused of misogyny for making similar claims about women, would I not?

    All of which is beside the point, because the belief in question is that ejaculation, whether a woman is involved or not, drains energy. This, also, I think can be construed as misandrous if we lower the bar to the level needed to provoke the use of the word “misogyny” here; consider what the response would be if I were to claim that orgasms are bad for women.

  21. 21
    Mandolin says:

    Well, it has to do with the construction of various mythologies. The Victorians did believe that orgasms were bad for women — see: medical use of clitorodectomy. Of course, they also believed that orgasms were curative and had masturbation therapy, so chalk one up for sex-obsessed sexphobic ambivalence.

    The idea that a man has to conserve his energy, by contrast, was about the build-up of sperm being awesome and manly. Sperm = manly, right? So more sperm must = more manly! It’s a definite case of PHMT.

    Re: google hits, incubus does pull up more hits than succubus, but for the top ten, most of the incubus hits are about things like films and bands, whereas most of the succubus hits are about succubi. Plus the succubus search provides one with some non-requested images as a bonus, one showing a woman about to sexily remove the life-force from a prone man.

    Image of succubus from one of the top ten google sites – http://www.occultopedia.com/s/succubus.htm

    Image of incubus from google image search, after scrolling past a couple pages of band member photos – http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/exhibitions/gothicnightmares/images/works/incubus_large.jpg

    Note the sexified women in both pictures.

  22. 22
    Mandolin says:

    So now that this thread has been successfully derailed over nitpicking, I guess I’ll try to back up my assertion that making sex the number one priority makes me dubious.

    I agree with curiousgyrl: sex is only so many hours in the day. I’d rather have a partner I agreed with about things like how to spend money and how to have a good time, who was also a good-but-not-great sex match, than a partner who was the bestest ever in the sack and who I couldn’t get through an evening without a shouting fight with.

    Now: people can and should demand both, if they want to.

    I think people just have pretty varying ideas of how much they want sex to be primary in their lives. I have a writer friend who is a couple generations older than I, and she and I were having a conversation about polyamory last summer, and she said, “I used to be polyamorous, but it just felt like too much work for too little reward.”

    And this is more or less how I feel about it, too. I’m a happy, lazy monogamist. I feel no particular stirring toward accumulating more sex partners, although I have no philosophical objection to such. The work of maintaining multiple relationships just isn’t worth the reward of more, and more varied, sex — for me.

    So, since sex is something I like, but that I don’t like more than going on a hike on the cliffs in Monterey, or going to an aquarium to point out neat-looking fish, or reading a fucking great novel — well, sometimes I like sex a lot more, if it’s the right time and place, but you get what I mean — sex isn’t going to be the central part of a relationship search for me. It’s going to be a factor, but not the main one.

    So, maybe Dan Savage is right when he suggests that sex should be the main factor — for some set of people who aren’t me. There seems to be a sort of tone to his letters (which I’ve only read when they’re repeated in feminist blogs, to be honest) wihch seems to suggest that he thinks sex should be central to everyone, and I’d like to respectfully submit that it should only be central to people who want it to be central.

    Which leads me back to asexuality (I think Amp has described himself as asexual elsewhere?), because it’s about the pathologization of the other. I should have been clearer in my initial post that I don’t mean to pathologize people who do look at sex as being of primary importance; it’s cool for them, I just don’t like the one-size-fits-all-ness. So, some people who think sex is central pathologize all of us who think its not. Some people of moderate apetite pathologize people with extreme apetites (“nymphomania”) and no appetites (asexuality)… and, well, I don’t think asexuals are in much of a position to get to pathologize anyone, culturally, although ugk sure made a swing at it with his chi bullshit. (And, I suppose, some religious constructions where a celibate priest class condemns all sexual behavior as sinful.)

    That’s what I like about the title of this post, though. Amp’s actual text doesn’t seem to support the extremity of all “sex is a waste of time,” though he’s wary of it as a central preoccupation. But the suggestion in the title, sans the qualifications and actual explanation of it in the text, gives those of us who reflexively pathologize asexuality a bit of a slap on the nose because it pathologizes our behavior. We’re the ones wasting our time on the noisy exchange of a few, squishy bodily fluids.

  23. 23
    Sailorman says:

    I don’t think it’s as accurate to say “sex is the number one priority in keeping a marriage together” as it is to say “lack of sex is the #1 priority in making a marriage go sour.”

    That’s not because sex is the be all and end all. It’s because, as nobody.really notes, we are not generally “permitted” to fulfill that need anywhere else than marriage.

    It’s the restrictions that make it seem important. If it was socially unacceptable and in some cases illegal to eat food cooked by someone other than your spouse, then whether or not your spouse could cook would suddenly become pretty important.

  24. 24
    Q Grrl says:

    This, also, I think can be construed as misandrous if we lower the bar to the level needed to provoke the use of the word “misogyny” here; consider what the response would be if I were to claim that orgasms are bad for women.

    Considering that the majority of heterosexual women do not orgasm during penis-in-vagina sex, women’s orgasm is irrelevant. Or only slightly relevant, as it points to the deeper misogyny of normative heterosexual practices.

  25. 25
    Crys T says:

    “I don’t think it’s as accurate to say ‘sex is the number one priority in keeping a marriage together’ as it is to say ‘lack of sex is the #1 priority in making a marriage go sour.’”

    I don’t think that’s accurate, either. Lack of sex within a marriage is usually a symptom of one or several other factors. If anything, this supports Amp’s point: the sexual behaviour (or absence of it) is really the end result yet so many people assume it’s the cause because sex is held up as the end-all-and-be-all.

  26. 26
    Sailorman says:

    I dunno, crys. I don’t think sex is the ultimate importance. But there’s a big overlap between “not being of the ultimate importance” and “not being something I am willing to live my life without.”

    There are a lot of things in that category. Sex is just one of them. I’d marry a vegan, and I’d avoid eating stuff in front of her, but all thing being equal I’d rather marry someone else that give up eating nonvegan stuff entirely, for the rest of my life.

    The mental difference between “rare” and “never” is pretty huge, even if they’re functionally similar.

  27. 27
    Crys T says:

    But Sailorman, my point was that if there’s no sex in your marriage, that’s a sign of something else being off. And if you want that marriage to continue, that something is what you have to fix, not the sex or lack of sex. Even if the problem is that you’ve never liked the sex you’ve had as a couple, the real problem is your unwillingness or inability to communicate that.

    No one goes into a relationship initially desiring it to be a sexual one and then just not wanting sex anymore. It may seem that way and that’s what we’re taught to focus on, but there’s always an underlying cause. That cause may be physical, it may be that the attraction is gone (again, it’s the lack of attraction that’s the trigger TO the lack of sex, not the other way around), there may a history of abuse, whatever. But if there once was sex and now there’s not, it’s due to something else.

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  29. 28
    aoundthebend213 says:

    is this David Bianco? Because if so, which I think it is, he is a homophobic ex-gay writing against gay marriage etc.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/25/EDNR11F0AU.DTL

    I have some sympathy for the point of the post, but it is worth pointing out that “sex/sexulity is overrated” is also an argument used to closet and shame queer people and identities. As it seems to be in Biano/Bianco’s case.

    I hope his wife agrees with him that sex is a waste of time, otherwise hes going to find he has some duties under orthodox law that he is likely to find unpleasantly frequent.

  30. 29
    Ampersand says:

    Aoundthebend, I didn’t intend for my post to be at all a subscription to Bianco’s anti-gay views. Sorry if that was unclear.

  31. 30
    aoundthebend213 says:

    Also, reading my old comments on this thread under a different handle cracked me up; the relationship i was then in tanked over sex AND dishes, and the bit about “you can only spend so much time having sex” I lifted off my partner who used it to argue that sex and sexuality aren’t that important.

    As it turns out we disagreed about that. And some other stuff.

  32. 31
    aoundthebend213 says:

    Yes, I didn’t think you subscribed to his views, but I had recently seen him around mouthing off about gay marriage etc, and wanted to correct your assertion that he’s not part of the Ex-Gay movement.

    I think he’s classic Ex-gay, and that while I think that supporting the rights and identities of asexual people and people who legitimately place a low priority on sex and sexuality, the same arguments, though fine in themselves, are often used by homophobes against sex-crazed decadent gays.

  33. 32
    dude says:

    escellent post. And the only thing I’d like to fuck is sex. Kill it.

  34. 33
    JT says:

    In my experience sex is way overrated. It’s never worth the crap, manipulation and headaches you have to put up with to get it.

    “How’s your love life JT?”
    “I don’t know. We’re not speaking anymore.”

  35. 34
    Silenced is Foo says:

    Not having sex while single? Fine. You get used to it. Single people who are patholotically obsessed with sex seem pathetic.

    Not having sex while young and living with a partner? Kill me now. Whether your mind does or not, your body can obsess over your partner. It’s hard to crawl into bed with that beautiful person every night and not feel slighted if nothing happens for months on end. It’s one thing to go without sex when you’re on your own, it’s another when there’s a person right there that you’re not-having-sex-with.

    edit: whoops, I didn’t notice that this was a threadsurrection. Never mind.

  36. 35
    Mandolin says:

    “It’s one thing to go without sex when you’re on your own, it’s another when there’s a person right there that you’re not-having-sex-with.”

    And yet – particularly when there’s a physical reason – the solution doesn’t seem simple.

  37. 36
    Someguy says:

    Sex is a waste of time: Wrong, healthy sex has anti-depressive effects, it’s healthy exercise and it’s a great way to bond with someone. Like everything else that’s powerful, sex can be used the right way and the wrong way (don’t hurt yourself or others with sex and you’re doing it the right way)

    You have to want sex to be normal: That’s ridiculous, to each his/her own I say.

    Sex is comparable to drugs: It may seem to be, the way some people are having sex. The difference is: we’re designed to have sex, not to take drugs.
    Sex has a lot of positive effects on a human being, many of them long-lasting. Assuming it’s healthy sex, it battles depression, laziness, stress, negativity and it actually gives the immune system a boost so it’s a health boost (as well as anti-aging, according to recent studies).
    Drugs offer momentary escape from troubles (or just a momentary good time), they can help some people cope with difficult circumstances and diseases but ultimately they’re taxing on the body and should be used in moderation if at all. Note that I consider tobacco, alcohol and sugar to be drugs, since they affect your body and mind with chemicals in a desirable manner, are addictive and ultimately harmful.

    It’s perfectly normal and natural to want sex and have sex. Modern media and popular culture have exaggerated this phenomenon, making people who aren’t having sex feel left out and unnatural, and people who temporarily or generally don’t want to have sex feel abnormal. That’s a social problem that needs to be solved.

  38. 37
    Anonymous says:

    “we’re designed to have sex, not to take drugs.”

    Actually, drugs act upon receptors that are used for other systems, so in a certain sense, we are designed to use drugs. There are a number of drugs that provide beneficial effects as well, it’s wrong to assume that because something is a drug that it must ultimately be harmful. The comparison between sex and drugs is rather apt IMO, good blog.

  39. 38
    Someguy says:

    My apologies, by “drugs” I’m using the generally accepted but rather undefined term for “harmful but addictive substance”, the drug in “don’t do drugs kids”. Of course a lot of legal, beneficial medicine is also called drugs.

    LSD, the particular substance referred to in the article, is very dangerous (although I believe further study should be legalized, many believe it is possible to reduce the drug’s harmfulness and use it beneficially in psychotherapy). Sex is dangerous too, if it’s unhealthy or unsafe sex.

    I change my statement to: We’re designed to have sex, and if we don’t we won’t be able to naturally reproduce. Our bodies are specifically designed for procreation, and for some reason the human race was given increased incentive to have sex (as well as some animals), that is we like it. We crave sex before we ever try it, the same cannot be said for recreational drugs (we usually try those out of curiosity or because we hope they will help us in some way).

    Btw I should like point it out to myself that sex is psychologically and socially addictive, I made it sound as if drugs are but sex isn’t.

    Ultimately, the difference between sex and “drugs” is a gray area, although I maintain that recreational sex is healthier and not really comparable to “drugs”.

  40. 39
    Mister me says:

    sex is stupid. im a man and can’t believe how much of my life i wasted interested in this stupid act. Don’t get me wrong when i was younger it was all i thought about. Just now with the benefit of age and wisdom i see it for what it really is and that is basically a short physical workout.

    Its just so short lived and can’t ever bring you true joy yet people act as if its the be all and end all of everything about them and their relationships with others. Frankly im with you when you say you’d be perfectly happy if you never had sex for the rest of your life. Im that way too. I just can’t see the fascination or why people are so interested in it.

  41. 40
    A.W. says:

    “Not that I’ve got anything against people who want to have sex a lot. Hell, go for it. Have fun.(Although please don’t pretend that you’re being a rebel; nothing in the world is more mainstream and conventional than being interested in sex).”

    That depends entirely on who your core audience is. There’s a meme that trans people aren’t supposed to want or enjoy sex until after the cis-expected bottom surgery and another meme that pwd’s aren’t sexual – at all -, particularly pwd’s with disability(s) that other people notice ‘right off the bat’. You typed too soon there, and it’s way too all-encompassing.

  42. You have the point of 40 Days and 40 Nights totally wrong. It’s not only “six weeks” (as you say) of going without sex, it’s six weeks without sex, masturbation, or any kind of orgasm at all, for a man. Anyone can go 40 days without sex, but for a man to go 40 days without release is very frustrating and maybe unhealthy (ever hear of blue balls?).

  43. 42
    Elusis says:

    Someone needs basic sex ed. [sigh]

  44. 43
    Danny says:

    I was thinking about this movie recently after watching it on Comedy Central. While about the movie but off topic with what’s going on here I find now that I’m bit bothered by the way his promise was broken. He has someone tie him to a bed and after dreaming about sex he wakes up to a woman he clearly didn’t want to have sex with on top of him having sex. I really didn’t like the way it focused more on his love interest walking on him and getting mad at him that he broke his promise with that other woman than on the fact that he was just violated (and you could very well argue that she raped him).

  45. 44
    Nat says:

    I have to agree sex is a total waste of my time. I think the last time I had sex with the wife was about 25 years ago.

  46. 45
    defunkt_knight says:

    I can’t believe you are arguing about the merits of sex. If it’s been twenty five years you simply don’t remember the feelings accurately, the memory of physical pain is never as intense as the pain itself was at the time.

    “Considering that the majority of heterosexual women do not orgasm during penis-in-vagina sex, women’s orgasm is irrelevant.” – This is a female problem. The problem being choice in sexual partners and/or a lack of understanding of their own bodies. I will be difficult to convince otherwise, though my mind is not closed.

    Sex, to me, is a spiritual experience which is not attainable through any other means, including the most intense drugs out there.

  47. 46
    Elusis says:

    “This is a female problem. The problem being choice in sexual partners and/or a lack of understanding of their own bodies. I will be difficult to convince otherwise, though my mind is not closed.”

    Are you… female?

  48. 47
    Ming on Mongo says:

    “But speaking for myself, I’ll be perfectly happy if I never have sex again. It’s simply not a vital issue in my life. Why should that be weird?”

    Not if you have little or no sex drive to begin with. Dunno why we always seem to assume that the need or appetite for sex is the same for everyone? It’s kinda like telling a “large” person that “food” is overrated!

  49. 48
    nobody.really says:

    “But speaking for myself, I’ll be perfectly happy if I never have sex again. It’s simply not a vital issue in my life. Why should that be weird?”

    “How does sex change with age, Sophocles? Are you still the man you were?”

    “Silence!” he replied. “Most gladly have I escaped the thing of which you speak — as though fleeing a mad and furious master.”

    Cephalus, from Plato’s Republic, Book I

  50. 49
    Elusis says:

    It’s kinda like telling a “large” person that “food” is overrated!

    In what way is that an analogy to people having different appetites for sex?

    It sounds like you’re assuming that fat people all eat more and have bigger appetites (and more interest in food?) than thin people. Did you mean something else?

  51. 50
    Sebastian H says:

    Some people have different sex drives than others. Trying to derive moral implications from personal taste choices is fraught with peril. I’m sure lots of people would say that they’d be fine never reading another comic or another novel.

    Related (I think) anecdote: I grew up in a VERY fundamentalist christian family. There were all sorts of warnings about how a young man had to be careful or he’d fall into sexual temptation with women. I spent years being confused about it, because I didn’t think the temptation was that strong.

    But it turned out, I was gay. Of course they’d say I gave into another sexual temptation. But ignore what they’d say and focus on what was important to me. Sex with women = not important. But it wasn’t because I didn’t have analogous drives, it was because my drives were on other things.

    There is very likely something in your life that really drives you. A lot of people probably would think that thing is frivolous and trivial. But that is because it isn’t important to them.

  52. 51
    Ampersand says:

    A lot of people probably would think that thing is frivolous and trivial.

    You must be mistaken about that. What sort of irrational, Hitler-like doofus would ever think comic books are trivial?

  53. 52
    nobody.really says:

    Oh geez, Amp, that was almost 10 years ago. I didn’t know you wrote comics then.

    And, ok, the reference to your Judism was just dumb; my bad. But I did shave the mustache. And since I ditched the contact lenses, my eyes don’t bug out of my head quite as much.

    Anyway, I’m sorry. Can we drop it now?

  54. 53
    Ming on Mongo says:

    “Food has replaced sex in my life, now I can’t even get into my own pants.”
    -The Cunning Linguist, by Richard Lederer

  55. 54
    Ampersand says:

    Ming, fat jokes aren’t welcome here.

    Nobody Really: LOL

  56. 55
    Susan says:

    Everyone is different. What happened to the idea that diversity is OK?

    Some people are interested in little BUT sex. I know several people who aren’t much interested in sex at all, with anyone. For those of us who are interested in sex (let alone people who do little else but do it or think about it), dealing with people who aren’t interested is puzzling; I am assuming the puzzlement goes both ways.

    Live and let live. A neglected but valuable approach.

  57. 56
    Nat says:

    Sex is really overated. Sex with my wife is terrible. She wouldn’t try new things, it was all the missionary position and thats all. That lasted about 2 months, then I just stopped having sex with her.
    Thats was 45 years ago. I finally moved all my things down stairs and built a small apartment. Weve done absolutly nothing together. She was shocked and depressed and after many years finally accepted her fate in life.

  58. 57
    DWeller says:

    I am to the point in my life where sex is just a big waste. I can either go and do something that gets my endorphins running or I can have sex. One can have consequences granted I am not careful. After having a recent scare you can probably guess which one I chose to do. I’ve been there; done that its the biggest waste of time besides the internet =/ It really makes you feel… empty inside. I just wish someone had been there to tell me that when I entered college. You have to have a hobby, a skill, an art. Sex, life, isn’t what the media cracks it up to be. You need a hobby to keep yourself occupied.

  59. 58
    Robert says:

    Are comments broken, or has nobody had anything to say for two days running?

    Just in case comments aren’t broken: sex is great. But if it isn’t a big deal for you, then more power to ya. I think we should all give each other a lot more slack in this, as in most, area of life.

  60. 59
    nobody.really says:

    Robert, abbv’d: FUCK YOU. Or not.

  61. 60
    mythago says:

    DWeller: I invite you to consider that your mileage may vary.

  62. 61
    Susi says:

    Well said, I totally agree! Great posting!
    Always have to think of the Friends episode “what would you give up, food or sex?” – That is so imbalanced, I could never understand that question… food is vital, sex is not.

  63. 62
    lowen.km says:

    And for a lot of folks with a h.s. diploma and an IQ of 90, no doubt education might also seem a bit “over-rated” (aka, “ignorance is bliss”).

  64. 63
    Blue Duck says:

    Sigh. The importance of sex varies a lot from individual to individual.

    and Nat, your comments are so depressing. You two couldn’t go to counselling? Or get a divorce since clearly this relationship was not working out for you two?

  65. 64
    SkepticTank says:

    Sex is not in any way special. It’s about as meaningful as putting gas in your car. It’s a mechanical process that may or may not lead to an outcome. That outcome is, objectively, the same no matter who or what is involved. I hate the way this natural drive uses us, makes us pursue something that is utterly meaningless and machine-like. It is not special. If you feel it is, you’re buying into the marketing imposed on us by biology.
    Sex between two people can be good if it’s good. But it not good just because it’s sex. There must be much more between the people involved. Otherwise we are simply allowing these ridiculous drives to use each other as masturbation devices. Sickening.

  66. 65
    okebaby says:

    I’m with SkepticTank.
    People are all dictated from society what they have to do, including sex.
    3 times a week, always in diffrent positions, it needs to be steamy hot sex ect. cuz else.. you’re boring.
    Just have sex with your soulmate. Don’t settle for less people. And have sex for the 2 of you.

  67. 66
    Leisha Young says:

    I’m married yet consider myself to be asexual. Luckily I’m married to a man with a relatively low sex drive. We are trying to get pregnant currently but it isn’t working because neither of us can be bothered most of the time. Yet our relationship is as strong as it’s ever been. It’s just not a factor in our lives. We have a great time together and we are definitley the best of friends, we are romantic and hold hands and cuddle, but when it comes to hitting the sack we would both rather just sleep than fool around. On the occasions that we do engage in ‘the act’ for the purposes of pro-creation its pretty damn quick; neither one of us wants it to go on and on, and it’s usually rather forgetable too.

    Now before someone says “that’s because you’re not doing it right arf! arf! arf!”, yes we try different positions if it isn’t ‘happening’ so-to-speak and lubricants, but it just ain’t ‘all that’ I’m affraid.

    Now before someone says “well you must be ugly and can’t turn your husband on arf! arf! arf!”, I am in fact a slender blond who has never been short of admirers, the problem has always been me not being interested in THEM sexually; having no attraction to them. My husband is a handsome man for sure, but he doesn’t turn me on because I am asexual. I can appreciate a good looking man as much as the next person, but the desire to have sex with said ‘looker’ just isn’t there, and probably wouldn’t be if I was in a relationship with him either.

    The reality is that sex for me is a boring, messy and tiring waste of time…that’s it really. I’d always rather be doing something else…like sleeping or watching a good movie, or reading a great book.

  68. 67
    SkepticTank says:

    Leisha, thanks for keeping the conversation going. Personally, I envy you. You’ve found a compatible partner, it sounds like, and you seem smart and well-adjusted. But a question: Do you ever masturbate? Does your husband? Just interested to know if you get any enjoyment out of that, or if there’s truly no sexual component to your life/lives.

  69. 68
    Ming on Mongo says:

    Good question, Skeptic, which also makes me wonder how much asexual folks still enjoy kissing, cuddling, embracing or indeed any physical expressions of affection at all (or is asexuality simply another way of saying “don’t touch me”)?

  70. 69
    Harlequin says:

    Ming on Mongo, you might check out the FAQs at the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, or AVEN, for answers to those kinds of questions. (Obviously, not every asexual person agrees with what they have to say–like any community there are many differing opinions. But that’s a good place to start. And in general, I’ve found that when I have questions about common practices in a community I’m not part of, it’s usually easiest and most polite to search out public writings first.)

  71. 70
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks, Harlequin.

  72. 71
    Roostahh says:

    I am a 25 year old female.
    Married with children.

    I find sex to be extremely over-rated. It’s everywhere. We learn about it as children and it’s all over the tv/web/magazines/books/music/Laws:Gay-Pride..etc. I personally feel it’s very objective. It’s different for each person. Some love it. Some hate it. Not everybody needs it to function.

    I identify as asexual.
    I don’t like to be touched.
    I don’t like to be naked.
    I find cuddling satisfying.
    I do not masturbate.
    I dislike oral sex.
    I dislike intercourse/penetration.
    I CAN orgasm.
    I do not ENJOY orgasms.
    I CHOOSE to be married and celibate.
    I have sex for procreation purposes only.
    My spouse accepts me.

  73. 72
    SkepticTank says:

    Roostahh, your input is fascinating. Thanks for answering so many potential questions. I think you’re right that there’s a wide range of sex drives, from zero (or nearly so) to obsessive/addictive. The vast majority of us fall somewhere in between.
    For me, saying “I don’t like sex” would be analogous to saying “I don’t like food.” (Note that I’m speaking only for myself here, not critiquing you or anyone else.)
    I’m no picky gourmet, but there’s some food I really don’t want to eat. In fact, I hate it. On the other hand, I’m not overweight, but there’s some food I absolutely adore. Bringing it back to the topic at hand… as I mentioned a year or so ago here, I’m not interested in sex with another person just for the sake of sex. That’s what masturbation is for. When sex is intellectually and emotionally stimulating, truly intimate, open, uninhibited, free-flowing and loving, between two people who care deeply for each other and want to give each other pleasure, that’s when it’s worthwhile. When it’s just for the sake of getting off, it’s weak. Those who go after it and do it for that reason are weak and sad, in thrall of deaf, mute, blind hormones. No wonder sex has been used successfully as a “secret weapon” with which to lure, bribe, cajole and blackmail for millennia.
    Anyway, you say your spouse accepts you. I’ll ask the one question you didn’t already address: Does he (I’m making the assumption you’re married to a man) share your lack of interest in/dislike of sex? To the same degree you expressed? And — follow-up question if I may — would you be OK with him fulfilling whatever sex drive he has (if any) without your participation, either a) by masturbating privately, or b) by having sex with someone else?

  74. 73
    Roostahh says:

    SkepticTank, thanks for your reply and to answer your questions..

    I am married to a man with a very normal and very healthy sex drive.
    My husband masturbates every day. He enjoys sex, pornography, touching and being naked.
    I do not enjoy any of those things.
    I have given him written and verbal permission to have sex outside of our marriage to make up for my lack of interest, but he has refused to take advantage of that offer.
    It is a genuine offer. I made it to pretty much get him to stop asking me for sex or getting upset when sexually frustrated.
    He is NOT okay with me not allowing him to touch me. It hurts his feelings greatly, unfortunately. He also gets really upset when I don’t get naked around him. I sleep fully clothed. I have had intercourse, fully clothed. I personally hate nudity. I don’t even enjoy seeing my husband naked, and he is a good-looking man.
    My husband supports ME though. Sex is clearly not the root or foundation of our marriage. It wasn’t even something I was interested in when we first got together. He doesn’t agree with our sexless marriage, but he loves me and has stayed with me for now 11 years. That has to account for something.