Why You Shouldn't Have Sex for Your Health
Megan Erickson is an Associate Editor at Big Think. Prior to Big Think, she taught reading and writing to ninth and tenth graders in NYC public schools and tutored students of all ages at the Stuyvesant Writing Center, which she helped launch. In her spare time, she worked in the communications department at the Center for Constitutional Rights and served as a mentor at the Urban Assembly, where she designed and led an extracurricular civics course on grassroots community action. She’s written on education, small business, and the arts for CNNMoney, Fortune Small Business, and The Huffington Post. Megan received her master’s degree in Education from Teachers College. You can reach her at email@example.com.
What's the Big Idea?
Hey, did you know that sex improves your self-esteem? It's also linked to increased bladder control, reduced depression, fewer colds, pain-relief from the rush of oxytocin that precedes orgasm, better teeth (seminal plasma contains zinc; who knew?), and "a happier prostate." Plus, it burns calories.
Today we're advised to orgasm guiltlessly and often, because sex is not just good, it's good for you. One recent study found that men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm over a ten year period had half the death rate of those who climaxed less frequently -- leading Forbes to ask eagerly, "Is sex necessary?"
"Who cares?" says Slavoj Žižek. These days, there's nothing less daring or less satisfying than being a hedonist, the Lacanian philosopher told Big Think in a recent interview. Watch the video:
What's the Significance?
"What is the model of today’s hedonism? A couple of days ago flying here, I read some airline journal that you get, and it had a long text praising sex -- but in a way which was totally depressive. It said, 'Make love as often as you can because it’s good for your blood circulation. It strengthens your heart.' Then it had even an obscene theory how if you kiss a lot, especially French kisses, it’s good to strengthen your jaws, your mouth, and so on. This is a terrifying vision," he argues.
It's obscene, for Žižek, because of the way it transforms pleasure and/or love into an opportunity for self-improvement. And it's terrifying for roughly the same reason: it suggests an overwhelming impulse to quantify the unquantifiable, to accrue life's moments like capital rather than to experience awareness in a physical or emotional sense. In a tragic-comic twist, the sexual revolution seems to have made talking about sex not just acceptable, but boring.
"The only true hedonists, I think, are today, two kinds: drug users and cigarette smokers. And you see how under total pressure they are," explains Žižek. (He doesn't smoke because "screw the tobacco companies.") "But nonetheless, there is something deeply symptomatic in our horror at the chain smoker, as if what bothers us is his or her enjoyment, as if you see there is a guy who has a singular passion and he’s ready to risk everything he has for pursuing that passion."
Žižek's take? "I find this rather nice, if you ask me."
Video edited and produced by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd. Interview conducted by Megan Erickson. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Dogs' floppy ears may be part of why they and other domesticated animals love humans so much.
- Nearly all domestic animals share several key traits in addition to friendliness to humans, traits such as floppy ears, a spotted coat, a shorter snout, and so on.
- Researchers have been puzzled as to why these traits keep showing up in disparate species, even when they aren't being bred for those qualities. This is known as "domestication syndrome."
- Now, researchers are pointing to a group of a cells called neural crest cells as the key to understanding domestication syndrome.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
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