The Null Device

Life, liberty and the pursuit of bootywhang

The Green Party mayoral candidate in the Spanish city of Granada plans to issue youth sex vouchers to couples under 25, allowing them to rent hotel rooms at a discount, thus preserving their fundamental human right to an active and fulfilling sex life. Young couples going at it on the beach are a major problem in Spain, where young people usually live with parents until marriage and the country's conservatively Catholic culture frowns on bringing one's partner home. The usual solution until now was increased police patrols of beaches (presumably with spotlights and water cannon).

"Happiness, well-being and autonomy are very important," he explained. "It's about emotional democracy."

(It always amuses me to see an "active sex life" spoken of as a basic human need. Even the Maslow hierarchy lists sex as a basic physiological need alongside air, water and sleep, and more important than safety needs. Sure, people are sexually obsessed (for example, we have powerful computers and communications technologies, and we use them mostly for downloading porn and talking dirty to each other; well, after making ever-more-lethal killing machines, anyway), but to say that sex is as essential as oxygen is surely an exaggeration.)

There are 12 comments on "Life, liberty and the pursuit of bootywhang":

Posted by: gjw Wed May 14 09:55:42 2003

It depends if you're talking about the survival of _you_, or the survival of your _genes_.

Posted by: acb Wed May 14 10:51:06 2003

Well, that talks about the psychological need of the individual human being, not the needs of one's genes.

Even if one subscribes to the theory that lack of reproductive opportunity fucks you up severely and makes you suicidally depressed or a virus writer or religious zealot or something (which I don't), the effects are considerably less immediately lethal than lack of food or oxygen.

Then there's the question of whether people who have lots of non-reproductive sex are dysfunctional human beings as well. Which comes down to whether we're primates infected with memes or meme-colonies riding the bodies of primates. Personally, I'm on the side of the memes.

Posted by: Graham Wed May 14 14:56:25 2003

It's a very Western European way of looking at sex of course, something of which the weblogging cryptofascist street team will probably howl outragedly.

Just one query, though, I was under the impression that the Franco years had had the side-effect of secularising Spain as people reacted against the avowedly god-fearing government, or at least allowed soccer to take over as the main religion. Maybe Granada is just backward...

Maybe someone who actually lives in Spain can clarify.

Posted by: Hobbes http:// Wed May 14 15:52:15 2003

A lot of very modern and progressive people in the US seem to hold the same idea, and it pisses me off to no end.

Anyone trying to convince me that sex is a basic human need/right better be handing out discounts for prostitutes, not hotels.

Posted by: acb Wed May 14 16:04:37 2003

Actually, I once read that some upmarket prostitutes market themselves as "therapists" these days. I wonder whether any health insurance schemes will cover their services.

Does the Daily Planet do bulk-billing?

Posted by: gjw Wed May 14 22:23:14 2003

For a life form in the wild, "food, sex, shelter and safety" may be the big four needs. Maybe it is a defining part of modern Western culture that we feel we have the luxury of doing without "sex".

It always amuses me when I see someone ranting against libertarianism, saying "it will be survival of the fittest - only the richest will be able to afford health care and education!" - I agree with what they're TRYING to say, but the fact is, the "fittest" is the one who has the most viable offspring; usually the poorest people. Rich elites have the luxury of finding sex where they want, but refusing to breed lest it interferes with the payments on their Merc.

Posted by: dj http:// Thu May 15 01:32:10 2003

yeah, i hate it when scientists keep talking as if viruses sit around going "what can i do to improve my balance my infection rate?"

Posted by: acb Thu May 15 05:19:10 2003

And organisms in the wild die early if they don't reproduce?

Posted by: Lu http:// Thu May 15 11:37:06 2003

What I find interesting is the right to sponsored Viagra (health insurance) for people who would otherwise be unable to get it on. Because then, it's mostly no longer a need, but craving for fun.

Posted by: acb Thu May 15 13:15:18 2003

Yes, expecially when contraception (i.e., the Pill) isn't covered. One could argue that the consequences of sex without contraception would be more catastrophic than those of not being able to perform in bed.

Still, given how many politicians are rich old men, it's not surprising that Viagra is seen as a God-given right.

Posted by: kef Thu May 15 15:51:41 2003

The pill isn't even covered by health insurance for those who need to take it for medical reasons (controlling the growth of endometriosis/adenomyosis).

Posted by: stephen Thu Jun 26 17:09:30 2014

Hello, just thought I'd let you know that the above Maslow link doesn't work any more. There's a good one here: