The tyranny of sex: Just imagine what you could be doing without it

A recent study of Korean eunuchs showed they lived longer on average, but would you sacrifice sex for a longer stay on Earth?



It’s the ultimate dilemma: would you rather live a long life without any sex or die young and have it off till you drop?

It sounds like one of those pointless conundrums you pose to your mates down the pub but the predicament is closer to reality than you might think.

According to a recent study into the lifespans of Korean eunuchs who were castrated in boyhood, the eunuchs lived, on average, a lot longer than their less testicularly-challenged compatriots.

The study compared the lives of 81 eunuchs who served the Korean royal family between the 14th and 20th centuries with those of three families of testicle-endowed males living in similar social conditions. The results showed that the eunuchs lived an average of 70 years whereas the sexually active men only managed an average of 56 years, a huge 14-year difference.

The sample of eunuchs also contained a disproportionately large number of men living to over a hundred – at least 30 times greater than the modern day percentage of men who become centenarians. All of which, though scientifically inclusive, supports the idea that being sexless prolongs life.

That’s the science out of the way, now we can get back to the pointless pub conundrums. So here’s one for the men: would you prefer to be castrated now and be guaranteed a fit, healthy and active life to over a hundred, or die in ten years time but get to sow your wild oats like Ghengis Khan on a Viagra drip feed?

When I thought about this myself my initial response was instant and, I’m guessing, typical: live fast and die young baby!... rock n roll!... shagging!...yeah!... etc etc.

But when I actually started to consider the issue in a little more depth, the advantages of being freed from sex started to become more apparent. Foremost among them was the amazing amount of time it would free up to do more constructive things, a lot more time than you might initially think. It wouldn’t just involve all the time spent actually having sex but also the time spent thinking about having sex, planning how next to have sex, reminiscing (either fondly or ruefully) on the last time you had sex or generally regretting the fact that you’re not having sex. That’s a lot of time and a lot of cogitating.

Which reminds me of the famous statistic that men think about sex every seven seconds. We are like goldfish swimming around in a bowl, constantly on the brink of doing something positive like repainting the living room but then thinking “ooh, breasts”. Imagine how much decorating we would get done without those seven-second brain resets.

And that’s not all. Apart from vast swathes of time we spend thinking about sex there’s also the time we spend doing things that are secondarily related to sex, like going out for example. We may tell ourselves that going out is all about “the craic” or seeing our mates, or letting off steam or having a laugh but let’s really face the music on this one, no matter what we tell ourselves, the main reason single men go out is sex. Why else would we spend all our wages on double-priced, half-quality beer in order to not hear what anyone is saying in an overcrowded, over-heated, smelly environment with a latent threat of violence hanging over proceedings?

And it’s not just in our social lives that we waste time on sex. Our day-to-day existences are filled with seconds, minutes and hours of nonsensical, sex-related baggage that, over a lifetime, adds up to days and weeks and months. Thousands of minutes spent on mindless, ‘flirty’ conversations, on trying to decode enigmatic looks or comments, on hopelessly replaying scenarios in our minds. Hundreds of hours spent cooking over-ambitious and ultimately insipid meals, on deciphering baffling menus, on choosing flowers that don’t symbolically mean you want an immediate break up. Millions of wasted micro-seconds glancing at women while walking down the street, at work, eating lunch, on the bus. All that wasted time that could have been spent taking in the surroundings or thinking about something really profound or useful like how the living room needs... ooh, breasts.

Okay, I’ve made my point, men spend a lot of time doing sex-related activities. So what if you decided to reclaim all those lost hours, to take the plunge and lose the danglies? What would you actually do with all that time suddenly on your hands -  resort to philately? (that’s stamp-collecting by the way, not an attempt to self-administer oral sex).

Well, you might write a book. It wouldn’t exactly be Fifty Shades of Grey and would actually have no appeal whatsoever because of your inability to write love scenes or romantic plot lines, but at least you could tick the whole book-writing thing off the list.

You could go back to university and study a subject that really interests you, secure in the knowledge that you would actually get a good mark because you would spend more than four hours a week in lectures and tutorials.

You could become a black belt at an exotic martial art or a sword master, then you could craft your own blade, and gain comfort from the fact that the combination of celibacy and homemade weaponry in some ways qualifies you as a Jedi.

You could invent something new, something simple and revolutionary like the zip or the tetri-pack and make millions while knowing that every day someone somewhere was being annoyed and/or injured by your device.

Most useful of all, you could spend hour upon hour surfing the internet, doing valuable research without once looking at porn.

The list goes on and on. There is literally no end to the amount of positive things that you could do with your life if you were emancipated from the tyranny of sex. When I think about it this way it almost makes me want to do something about it, not actually chop my own gonads off, of course, but in some way to try to be less pre-occupied with sex. I imagine it would lead to an incredibly relaxed state of mind not to have to think about sex every seven... ooh, breasts.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...