Stamp collection or sex

TUESDAY, 4 JANUARY 2005

Why do people have sex?

Put another way, why is sex so important to so many people? (I will restrict my question to sex between people who do not love each other, but who are sexually attracted to each other to a bare minimum degree.)

The answer: certainly not to ensure offspring, but for the pleasure of it!

Okay, I know anybody old enough to know what two dogs are doing on the pavement and who know that people occasionally do something similar (hopefully not on the pavement), know about the pleasure aspect. So what is my point? A question of course: why is pleasure so important? Pleasure is so important because it makes life bearable: the pain, disappointment and sometimes unbearable boredom that is part of so many people’s daily lives.

A further point is that if pleasure is the primary motivation behind the whole loveless sex story, it can certainly be said that to a large extent this motivation cannot so much be suppressed as channeled into other activities.

“Like what?” someone may ask.

Stamp collections, to name one possibility. And then of course everyone can fill up their own list with dozens of other personal projects that would make the pain, disappointment and unbearable boredom more bearable.

Personal projects also have the added benefit that it can promote a sense of self-worth, and it can even confirm your identity, as well as your place and relative value in the Greater View of Things.

Sex can certainly do the same things. But stamp collections, or any other personal projects, tend not to interfere unnecessarily with the delicate rhythm of the heart. Plus, your stamp collection will understand if you want to enjoy some breakfast on a Monday morning before you go to work …

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