Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Great questions of our time: Sex, sleep, or food?

Let me make this crystal clear: I want you to argue with me on this one.

So Jason Mulgrew brought up this question the other day: what’s best, food, sex or sleep?

Obviously one can survive without sex, whereas the other two are necessary. So, given the choice between bad sex and none at all, I’d choose none at all. In contrast, I’d chose bad food or sleep over none.

But that’s almost meaningless, since the body needs both sleep and food, no matter how bad, and the idea of choosing whether I prefer bad food or bad sleep is just too depressing.

Let’s consider the good.


Those nights after a long day and a hard workout, when every limb feels heavy. And you manage to muster the physical energy to stand under a hot shower so that your skin is tingling through the weariness. And the bed is made with fresh sheets, and you slide in between them and drift into blissful deep sleep.

(That probably came across like a virgin trying to write erotica. I admit I was using my imagination. I haven't had a good night's sleep since 1991.)


I have maintained for years that those people who use food merely as fuel don’t know how to cook. Because no-one can eat grilled haloumi with a glass of dry Rose, or asparagus and sundried tomato risotto with parmesan with a Marlborough Sauv Blanc and tell me that this is mere bodily fuel.


Don’t worry. I’m not going to describe good sex in lurid detail. You all know what good sex is. The sort that renders you oblivious to the world around you at the time, sees you grinning stupidly afterwards and makes your toes curl in pleased embarrassment on a bus full of commuters in the morning. You all know.

Sex, sleep, or food?

The thing about good sleep is that by definition, you’re not consciously experiencing it. Good sleep is experienced in the future and the past, but never in the present. So I’m ruling it out.

Good sex has more beneficial side effects than good food. It elevates the heartbeat, gets the endorphins flowing, promotes a sense of well-being. So assuming that there’s no possible repercussions (ie, it’s your own partner you’re with), sex has to win on the virtuous side of things...fundamentalist attitudes aside.

But then again, sex requires a certain amount of effort. You can have decent sex on your own, of course, but I’m not sure that competes with good food. And sex with someone else, well, it involves someone else. And therefore there’s a certain amount of pressure to make sure they’re enjoying themselves, they know you’re enjoying yourself, they know you know they’re enjoying…anyway, you know what I’m saying here.

Food, not so much. You can share a banquet of dhal, matter panir, alu ghobi and tomato kachumber with friends, or you can hunker down with an avocado, some olive tapenade and some good beer on your own. It can last a few exquisite minutes or be savoured over hours.And you never ever run out of flavour combinations.

I hate to come to this conclusion. But food is the best thing ever invented.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. You've had sex on a bus full of morning commuters?

30 August, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without good sleep you cannot fully enjoy good sex or good food. Without good sex you can enjoy the other two (in fact they can begin to seem better) and without good food sex and sleep can still be good, so I believe the most important of the three is good sleep. Of course I haven't had sex for a while and I'm a food = fuel person so I may be biased.
As for the comment, "those who believe food is fuel just can't cook", I would say that those who believe food is fuel choose not to cook. Once you decide that food is fuel you realise that spending 3 hours slow-roasting a zucchini, or delicately arranging litle bits of stuff on crackers before Dr. Who is a waste of good drinking time.

30 August, 2006  
Blogger kt said...

read it and cringe - http://www9.sbs.com.au/theworldnews/region.php?id=131019®ion=4

so is the question what would i pick out of all three? i would choose good sleep over all the others. not enough sleep or is one of my anxiety/panic/depression triggers. no food is also a trigger, but i've got bad food, so it's ok. right?

31 August, 2006  
Blogger kt said...

gah, stupid link. try this

31 August, 2006  

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