When you think about why we have sex, the reason seems crystal clear. For evolutionary purposes, it’s literally the only way we, as humans, can reproduce, therefore is absolutely necessary. And for hedonistic purposes, it feels really fucking good.
But very recently, scientists believe they’ve found the real reason why we do all the sex things we do – and it’s not what you’d think. Like, at all. Prepare to have your minds blown, folks.
Apparently, we have sex for the benefit of our babies. Seriously. When we have a baby as a result P-in-V sex, that kid is waaay healthier than if it were to be born from the genetic material of only one parent, because their genetic profile would be much stronger.
If you’re confused and thinking “What is this person talking about??” just you wait. A little background information, and we’ll be on the same page.
First of all, think back to sixth grade biology when we learned about sexual and asexual reproduction. You know, sexual reproduction like humans do. The fun kind of reproduction that involves two people.
And asexual reproduction, like when an organism clones itself and reproduces without the input of a second organism. For example, a single-celled bacteria that divides in half and produces a “baby” via binary fission. Ah, middle school.
Keeping that info in mind, scientists at the University of Stirling studied more than 6,000 waterfleas, which sometimes reproduce sexually by mating with a partner, and sometimes asexually, by having sex with themselves. Just kidding. They clone themselves.
The researchers compared the waterflea babies and discovered that the sexually produced offspring were more than twice as resistant to diseases as the asexually produced offspring, which means sexually produced offspring are hella healthy, whereas clones are weak, like the economy. Ooh burn.
One of the researchers, Dr. Stuart Auld, said: “One of the oldest questions in evolutionary biology is 'why does sex exist when it uses up so much time and energy?'”
Hmm...good question, Dr, Auld.
“Sex explains the presence of the peacock’s tail, the stag’s antlers and the male bird of paradise’s elaborate dance. But if a female of any of these species produced offspring on her own without sex, her offspring should come to dominate, while the other females watch the redundant males fighting and dancing. So why are we not surrounded by clonal organisms?"
“By comparing clonal and sexual daughters from the same mothers, we found sexually produced offspring get less sick than offspring that were produced clonally. The ever-present need to evade disease can explain why sex persists in the natural world in spite of the costs.”
So, moral of the story: We burden ourselves with the taxing, time-consuming task of sex just so our kids will turn out healthy and happy.
Well, that was interesting. Fun fact of the day.