I was having a discussion the other day with someone over what the world would be like if sex had never existed (as in, people could still reproduce, but there was no pleasure from the act).
My argument was that overall, sex has had a much greater negative impact on society than any positive benefits. Mathematically speaking, I proposed integrating the net happiness of the human species over all time, showing that the value is much less in the world we live in than a world with no sexual pleasure.
Some reasons I offered:
*No sexually transmitted diseases (HIV kills 1.8 million people per year).
*Over-population wouldn't be a problem.
*Gender inequality would be less prevalent.
*Less relationship destabilisation (so greater family cohesion).
*Body image problems less of an issue (so eating disorders would be practically non-existent).
*Mental illness rates would drop (currently affects approx 25% of people at some point in their life).
Their counter-argument: "If 80% of people are getting pleasure from sex, that produces more happiness than all of those factors combined many times over."
Interestingly enough, about 50% of people I spoke to agreed with me that sex was a net negative to the world. What do you think of this? How do we persuade people that a little bit of pleasure is not worth this much suffering?