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Today's devil's choice

So, before I introduce the poll I'm about to introduce, let me start by saying that I like sex. I really, really, really like sex. It's fun, it's enjoyable, it's an amazing gateway to intimacy and shared experience, it's an awesome tool for getting to know someone (and yourself), and it's fun.

No surprise there.

So, here's the poll. It's a simple, one-question, yes/no thing:

Someone comes up to you and offers to place you into a fit, healthy, 23-year-old body. This new body will be completely immune to all diseases, and also totally free of the ravages of aging. You'll never get old and you'll never be sick; excluding accident or deliberate choice, you won't die.

But, there's a catch. You'll never have sex again. You won't feel the urge, you won't have a sex drive, nada.

Do you take the deal?

Yes or no?

Yes
99(49.0%)
No
103(51.0%)


Me, I say "yes," for the very simple reason that giving up sex for radically extended life seems like a no-brainer to me. After all, I can't have sex when I'm dead! So to me the question actually reads "Would you like to not have sex and also be dead, or would you prefer to not have sex but still be alive?" Since I take joy in many things in life other than sex, like bacon and cats and friends and blue skies and spinning fire and World of Warcraft and Leonardo da Vinci and vodka cranberries and VNV Nation and flying kites, the choice between "no sex and also dead" or "no sex but still alive" is an easy one.

Plus, I think that if I were given enough time, I'd probably find something just as good as sex. zaiah thinks that I'm an optimist.


Comments

( 77 comments — Leave a comment )
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foxsong
Aug. 11th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
This. The entire world around me would still be subject to the changes and ravages and rebirths of time, and the thought of standing outside that stream... well, not for me, thanks.
m_danson
Aug. 10th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
No more bipolar or thyroid problems? No more being dependent on medication? Sign me up!
---
[added after reading comments]

I don't see this as being trapped in immortality. I see this, "you'll never get old and you'll never be sick; excluding accident or deliberate choice, you won't die", as an increased chance of choosing the method, timing, and circumstances of one's own death. Not life forever, but life until I'm ready to leave.

Edited at 2009-08-11 01:17 am (UTC)
janetmiles
Aug. 10th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
I say no, because, like analogheretic, I have no interest in living forever (and probably insufficient courage to commit suicide).
jennylynn67
Aug. 10th, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
My first reaction was "hell no", but you make a fairly convincing argument... and then I thought about all the ways a person (especially a kinky person like me) could find to replace the act of sex, or even things of a sexual nature. Once I realized the long list of other things I already do that give me the same intimacy and emotional connections to my partners, it was an easy answer...
zastrazzi
Aug. 10th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
A big no from me. While living forever sounds appealing and fun, it's a lot less attractive if I lose what to me is a fundamental part of the human experience.

Sex is more than the naked banging of bodies together resulting in a genital sneeze - it grows and transforms throughout the day, whether inspired by a look, a meal, a dirty text message or just being stripped naked and thrown against the tiles in the shower.

I'd miss that!
zaiah
Aug. 10th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
This.

I think tacit is still, in his model, giving himself some sex.. the kite flying will get him off or something - but I just keep seeing it as an elimination of all that excitement and joy and sharing it with another person that sex is, beyond just the pressing of flesh, to be an abhorrent thing to lose.

I'm only a little scared of living forever, but willing to take the chance. I like facing my fears. But telling me I have to give up the connection with another that 'sex' is to me sounds like a terrible price to pay for the opportunity. Yes I have friendships and family relationship with whom there is no sex and we are bonded.. affectionate.. but they are NOT my life partners and the type of emotional relationship I end up forming with them is very, very different.

So.. that is to say.. I would be wiling to give up the pressing of flesh for immortality.. but I would not be willing to give up the ability to bond significantly with another. And as sex to me, now, is far more than the pressing of flesh, I would be giving up a whole lot of ME. That does not seem worth it.

Edited at 2009-08-10 10:48 pm (UTC)
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la_penguinita
Aug. 10th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
I said "no" mostly because...

1) No one takes a 23-year-old seriously. Change that to a 35- or 40-year-old and I might change my mind.

2) Like others have said, I don't want to live forever. Watching those I love get old and die isn't worth the trade-off of exploring what more life may have to offer.
bramblekite
Aug. 10th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
hi, there.

Found your entry thru reading kiki's friends-list.

I'm no sex maniac nympho, but I don't think I'd be who I am without my sex drive. Not to get too Freudian about it, but I'd guess that at least 30% of my life choices, and perhaps more, were due to either serving or sublimating my sexual urges.

My 2 cents. Thanks for the interesting post.
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tricstmr
Aug. 12th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
got here through a previous commenter..
but I'm somewhere here also..

Is this 23 year old body sterile or just lacks all libido?

My answer to the poll would be "no" if it is sterile.. but "perhaps yes" if it is not sterile.

passing on my genes is something fundamental to me.. and it would take a really big inducement to get me to give this up.. personal immortality is not big enough for me..
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jbrenner
Aug. 10th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
No. Mainly because I would hate to have to watch everyone I love grow old and die and not be able to do anything about it. After a few decades of that, what part of my humanity would be left? Also, who wants to have to explain to their own descendants hundreds of years in the future that you are, in fact, their ancestor? No thank you. I'll take my chronic pain, the anxiety meds I take, the sometimes inescapable urge to hide in my closet when things are going wrong, etc. Living forever holds absolutely no allure to me.
rain_herself
Aug. 10th, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
Seems like a double-bonus, to me. Much as sex can be good, I'd be extremely curious to view the world and its dynamics without a sex drive. I suspect it would free me from a lot of things, and even if it didn't, life beats sex any day of the week.
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the_failed_poet
Aug. 11th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
This.

I put yes mainly BECAUSE the sex drive would be gone as well. Imagine living forever with a 23-year-old's sex drive and no ability to do anything about it...
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vrimj
Aug. 12th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
*nod*
My connection to the world feels sexual.

But more then that immortality seems like a kind of vanity I can't really support, from what I can tell the whole planned obselance of people seems to lead to better models. I am not one to buck the goddess evolution in her works nor do I think I am good enough to be considered an end point in her cycles.
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(Anonymous)
Aug. 11th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
Something along these lines is why I'd probably say "no." I was thinking of two things that would make it super-lonely:

1) It would be hard to have relationships with people if I were to stay the same age while they moved on.

2) It would be difficult to find a romantic partner, because most people are interested in sex, so they would be looking elsewhere.
xaotica
Aug. 10th, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC)
no, for many reasons.

a lot of people talk about how hard it would be to watch your loved ones die over and over. i think more about how hard it would be for my loved ones to watch me not going through what they were going through.

i can't speak from personal experience, having never yet had a relationship that lasted for more than 1.5 years. but one of the things that sounds most romantic to me about the stereotypical idea of love is
going through things with your partner. occasionally i get envious of a couple i know who have an open marriage and have been together 11 years. i'm not envious of them specifically... they're attractive, great people, but i'm not romantically interested in either of them. but i just can't imagine what it would be like to share that much of your life with somebody else. over the past 11 years, i've weighed +-50 pounds, had every imaginable color/style of hair, wildly different appearances and interests, changed careers and educational paths, etc... i'm not the same person at all. so having a romantic partner who saw all of that firsthand and watched me change and changed with me would be very interesting.

if i was perpetually 23, my partners would age and i would not. they might be into that for awhile... who doesn't like a young, hot 23 year old? but i think it would start to feel bizarre for them when they had grey hair and gained 50 pounds and i looked as young and perky as ever. similarly, other people would treat our relationships weirdly, like harold & maude. they'd give my poor partners all kinds of shit about robbing the cradle and would scoff at my existence.

they'd likely start feeling strange about dating a 23 year old at age 43 or 53, even if my mind was similar to their own. and when they started getting older and realized that they would soon die and i never would, it seems like they'd inevitably feel different and separated from me. they'd be going through health problems and mental problems that i had no firsthand experience with and would never be able to fully relate to or understand.

i would not be happy with a partner who had no sex drive. a partner who has a significantly lower sex drive is one thing... not at all ideal, but not insurmountable either, esp. if they're okay with me having multiple partners. but someone who could never enjoy my touch sexually no matter what i tried... that'd trouble me.

so i wouldn't want to damn anyone else who fell in love with me to the same fate. i'd essentially only be able to have partners who were asexual for the rest of my immortal life.

although i don't feel the need to have a life partner, the idea of not having a life partner and being immortal is significantly more troubling. maybe it's because i currently don't feel the need to have a life partner but i still have the option available. if i wake up one day and change my mind and decide that i must find one immediately, i can still do that. if i were immortal, i'd know that i could for sure never have anyone who was 'til death do us part' under any circumstance, no matter how amazing they were and how much they felt similarly about me.
wherever
Aug. 11th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)
That's a toughie. At first I was like "hell no, I'd rather be old and fucking", but then it occurred to me that as long as I didn't feel the urge to do it, as long as I wasn't missing it, I'd be okay, there are as you say many other things in life to enjoy. So I voted yes.

I'd want to be able to still fall in love and have romance, and still be able to have children. But think of all the places you could go and things you could see with all that time and endless youth. And you'd still have the admiration for your hot 23 year old self. I would certainly love to have my own 20 year old body back, but still knowing what I know now.

But then I read the comments and thought, yeah, it would be nice to grow old with someone... so I don't know. It's a toughie!

I guess it would really depend *when* you asked the person this question. If you asked someone in their thirties who still had lots of life to live and was enjoying a rousing sex life, they might say no; but how about someone at the end of their life, sick and old, perhaps not all that interested in sex anymore anyway? They'd jump at the chance, methinks...
solar_diablo
Aug. 11th, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
That was my first thought when I originally read the poll - how it extends out into issues of illness and old age, both of which are more than capable of taking out sexual performance/desire. If that is the case, does the quality of life deteriorate to the point that it's suddenly not worth living?
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aclaro
Aug. 11th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
Science is better than sex.

Take away the drive to know the world? Well, that's a toughy. Take away orgasm and sex drive? Who cares? Look at the stars!
gentleindiff
Aug. 11th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
No, but mainly b/c I have no interest in living forever. I couldn't stand to see those around me die. I want to die first.
polymorphism
Aug. 11th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
I would take the sexless immortality IF I could stipulate that my "fit, healthy, 23-year-old body" would be unattractive.

I don't want to spend eternity being hit on while asexual. Eventually I'd start killin' people.
zaiah
Aug. 11th, 2009 01:02 am (UTC)
Hahaahahaha! Perfect response.
(no subject) - vrimj - Aug. 12th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
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sterno
Aug. 11th, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
This is an easy call, give up the sex for the youthful body. Think about it this way. Name the first thing that comes into your head that you don't want to do. Clean? Eat Broccoli? Auto repairs? Now, imagine if that's how you felt about sex, because that's how you'd feel under the scenario you outline.

What would be a more difficult question is eternal youth in exchange for the desire to have sex with the inability to actually do it. Then that's a far more tortured existence akin in some respects to a vampire, where you live forever, but you have an unquenchable thirst. In this case, nooky, not blood.

winterlady
Aug. 11th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
I saw no - but not for the reason you might think...

Life is precious and gives us joy specifically because we have a finite amount of time in it. Time itself becomes a gift. If you never have to worry about growing old, or dying, then those things that you think mean a lot to you now - would simply cease to exist.

You'll out live everyone you know - and everyone you love. have that happen enough times and eventually you're living an existence without love because it hurts too much. So then you wind up plodding along, subsisting, because those things that once had value no longer do.

Not for me, thanks. :)
freefall127
Aug. 11th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
totally!
you stop and smell the roses, not the diamonds.
(no subject) - joreth - Aug. 11th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC) - Expand
mlordslittleone
Aug. 11th, 2009 01:05 am (UTC)
I have a fit 24 year old body.
I chose No.

I do not want to live forever.
(Deleted comment)
joreth
Aug. 11th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC)
Re: No.
As someone whose sex drive periodically disappears, I can say with absolute certainty that the loss of sex does not automatically correlate to the loss of, or affect, the desire for love, for companionship or interpersonal relations. Some of my most intimate relationships and closest bondings do not include any sexuality at all.
cjhm
Aug. 11th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
So far, with every year past 40, sex is getting better and I'm still healthy enough to enjoy being tied up (ooohh maybe those two are related ;-)

I once thought that people over 40 didn't have sex - now I look forward to having sex well into my 80's - and I'll still be getting tied up ;-)
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