Henry Greely, a professor of law and genetics at Stanford University, in his book The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction claims that within twenty, maybe forty, years most people in developed countries will stop having sex at least for the purpose of reproduction.
What may prompt couples to forego sex? Most likely, other interests take precedence over sex. Sex is increasingly becoming a mechanical chore and other things (like video games, WhatsApp and social media) seem more interesting.
Lack of time and energy, besides constant preoccupation and stress, are the latest reasons for the modern-day urban non-existent sexual life. Sex has come to be equated with a chore to be dispensed with or pushed over to the end of the priority list. And even if some effort is put in, it is a hurried affair as the couples are too tired or have an early-morning flight to catch.
Our consumeristic society and the work culture in a competitive world create altered lifestyles leading to imbalance in our lives. Overcrowding of schedules and pressure to meet deadlines and targets play havoc with our system. Erratic eating habits and fatigue due to lack of sleep have all impacted our lives. So when the exertion itself is half-hearted, the product will unquestionably be shoddy.
Since the 1950s our spare time has dropped by 40 per cent. We have gadgets and goods that are supposed to save and manage time, but yet we suffer from a new problem—time famine. The demands of modern life exhaust couples of all ages and incomes. Romance and relaxation have taken a severe beating in this set-up as stress knocks out the male and female sexual response. It is not physical exhaustion alone that is to be blamed here but mental exhaustion, too. Unfortunately for a man, since nature has designed that he should be the performer, he becomes an ill-fated object of disparagement when he is not able to get an erection. Thus starts the downward spiralling of the relationship itself.
Apart from the well-known physical effects of stress like hypertension and peptic ulcer, stress also affects the sexual and reproductive system adversely. Desire is killed, erection takes a dip, lubrication fails and orgasm becomes unattainable. Sperm count and motility also take a beating due to stress and unhealthy lifestyles. Erectile dysfunction is the earliest suggestion of heart attack and stroke.
In women, hormonal disturbances occur, making periods irregular. Ovulation or egg release becomes defective and fallopian tubes can have a temporary block due to spasm. So, ultimately, all this proves counter-productive and will prevent couples from achieving their ‘target’ of sex. The physical hazards apart, stress also leads to psychological conditions like depression and anxiety.
What people should realise is the fact that there are very important physical and mental benefits attached to having sex. Chemicals like endorphins are released during ejaculation and orgasm, reducing arthritic pain. A sexual session is also supposed to burn 200 calories and is equivalent to a 15-minute run on the treadmill. Sex is compared to an intense aerobic workout that boosts the circulatory system and gets the heart beating at a good, healthy pace, hence better health and fewer heart attacks. Research has also proved that sex can prevent the further growth of lumps and tumours in women’s breasts. Studies link hormones oxytocin and DHEA (released during orgasm) to prevention of growth of these lumps or tumours. Immunity levels have also known to go up with regular sex.
Here are some guidelines to regain sex life:
• Diet: A sensible balanced diet rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins would go a long way in staying healthy.
• Exercise: A brisk, energetic workout routine energises you and clears the mental cobwebs.
• Prioritise: Draw up a priority list, set your goals and then set the wheel of life in motion.
• Have sex: Sex is the best stress buster. Enjoy life to the maximum.