The Mind of James Donahue

Copulating For Survival

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The Link Between Sex And Stress


By James Donahue

August 2005


A recent story in New Scientist noted that a study at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada, found that algae gets sexually active and goes into reproductive mode when subjected to stress from excessive heat or nitrogen.


The conclusion to the study was that “sex is a useful stress response because new gene combinations could allow the algae to adapt to a changing environment.”


It seems that this was a somewhat silly research project since it is commonly known that all creatures start reproducing like crazy when the world around them appears to threaten their existence.


When the guns start firing and the walls around us are burning, it seems the first thing men and women want to do is jump into the sack with one another and have sex . . . even sometimes total strangers.


Another oddity about war is that to the victor goes the spoils, and that almost always includes raping the women.


Most people at the older end of today’s working population are known as the “baby boomers.”  This is the generation of children born of parents who lived during World War II. And there are a lot of boomers out there, which is one reason why the Social Security system in the United States is stressed just now. It means more people are going into retirement than are in line to fill their shoes and keep feeding the Social Security coffers.


I think we should not worry about this. Other mass breeding of more children during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts probably will help fill these number gaps within a few more years.


Animals are known to breed like flies during times of famine or assault from disease or predators. Trees will produce more seed during excessive drought or when stressed from excess heat.


Anyone who has spent time in the natural environment knows about these things. Sociologists understand the nature of social stress and its impact on reproduction.


There seems to be a natural instinct in all of the creatures of the Mother Earth to react to events that threaten the survival of the species.


There is another story . . . perhaps an old wife’s tale . . . but told just the same. It seems that more boy babies are born during periods preceding wars than girl babies. Hospital workers sometimes say they can predict when we are about to go to war because the balance between boy and girl babies in maternity wards gets out of whack.


I have not seen studies to confirm this story. I would not be surprised, however, if it is true. If we subconsciously connect to the collective unconscious knowledge of the universe, and consequently our spirits are warned of impending war and the killing of the men in the tribe, the reproduction of replacement parts would naturally go into high gear.


That was the old way of the world.


Now that women are joining the men in combat and coming home in body bags, I have to wonder what that is doing to the human psyche these days.


The mythology of everything we once thought we knew about maternity has got to be shifting.

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