I recently read a remarkable book by Margaret Atwood called Oryx and Crake. Without giving too much away, one of the characters creates a race of post-human beings that are, according to him, more perfect creatures than humans.
One key characteristic he designed into these new creatures is that they don’t have sex for pleasure. Although they derive pleasure from sex, they only do it once every couple of months when it’s time for a female to conceive.
This, coupled with what seems like a constant stream of adultery on the news, got me thinking: Would the world be a better place if humans didn’t have sex for pleasure?
Other than humans, only bonobos and dolphins have sex for pleasure. So obviously we’re the exceptions to the rule. That would indicate that there’s very little evolutionary purpose to having sex for pleasure.
Of course I see the benefits of sexual pleasure. But think about all the downsides that come with it: Wars have been fought over lust. People lie and cheat and defile and do all sorts of horrible things to have sex for pleasure. All the pain and suffering the pursuit of sexual pleasure causes.
The flipside is that dolphins seem pretty darn happy. They’re doing something right.
All of this is just hypothetical, of course. I’m not at all saying that people (including myself) shouldn’t have sex for pleasure. I’m just pondering an alternate evolutionary history of the world and how things would be different. What do you think?