Sex is one of those topics which is huge (if you're lucky) and I'm going to be talking about sex for a long time to come (if you pardon the puns). But let's have a think about it (not like that, at the back!). Sex is basically a way to transmit DNA and make offspring. There are a variety of reasons why we are sexual creatures rather than asexual ones, but the simplest explanation is that as our ancestors were sexual, so too are we.
But sex is also a strange beast. It is not a simple clinical process whereby a male gives a female his sperm and she deposits it inside of her, no fuss. It invariably requires a great deal of thrashing around, sweating and all manner of bodily fluids (well at least that's the way I've been doing it!). And human beings certainly enjoy sex. It is one of those things that undoubtedly takes up a significant percentage of a persons' life thoughts. I'm going to be speaking mostly from a male perspective, because I'm a man (and woman are an altogether different species). But certainly it is not in dispute that one of the driving forces behind the internet is the pornography industry, which itself exists for that mostly male occupation of masturbation.
But why? Because sex is a high. Orgasms too, are very much a kind of high and we have evolved certain predispositions which enhance the sex experience. Taste, smell, sight, touch and even hearing can all arouse. The minimum stimulus for arousal may simply be a sniff in the air, or a word spoken gently. Indeed, you don't even need another human being around to have sex, because a thought or a sentence in a book, can certainly provide the stimulation.
Isn't it all a bit weird though? Putting body parts into each other and enjoying the experience like crazed chimps, strikes me as wholly bizarre. The outcomes of sex are quite varied. Babies are pretty common. Orgasms less so. Sexually transmitted diseases, shame, guilt, pleasure, pain. It seems to me that, if you see no great skill in combining your DNA with another person's, then all you have left is the hedonism of the experience.
But what about love, I hear them cry? Love and sex are different, but they are related. Whether there is any great difference between love-making and sex, you'll have to ask some old romantics. As a scientist and sceptic, I will end on two related points.
First an extract from Matt Ridley's 'The Red Queen':
Baker and Bellis did an experiment on rats and discovered that a male rat ejaculates twice as much sperm when he knows that the female he is mating with has been near another male recently. The intrepid scientists promptly set out to test whether human beings do the same. Sure enough they do. Men whose wives had been with them all day ejaculate much smaller amounts than men whose wives had been absent all day.
And from a science report
from last year:
Looking at pornographic images of men and women together can increase the quality of a man's sperm, a new study suggests. Pornography involving a woman alone or multiple women doesn't have the same effect.
More on sex in the future. If you like it, I hope you're getting it, whatever you fancy (mostly).Go Top