Let’s Get It On (Asexually)
Seed Magazine asks, “Why Sex?” Now hold on — before you answer “because it’s fun,” think it over a second.
Think of all the time and energy we waste tracking down and screwing a suitable mate. Think of the money we spend on dinners, drinks, flowers, jewelry, lube, and full-body harnesses just to get a piece. Think of the emotional stress of trying to figure out what someone else is thinking, and of course the stress of trying to figure out who someone else is doing. Think of the frustration at starting over every time you bring someone home and they’re just not into the full-body harness.
What if we could just split down the middle, creating a perfect little clone of ourselves? On the plus side, your wardrobe would effectively double, and if you ever needed a spare kidney or pint of blood, you have it on tap. On the down side, your clones may build up exponentially harmful mutations, eventually killing off you and the rest of your self-loving species. At least according to the as-yet unproven mutational deterministic hypothesis, an idea that has been tested by Ricardo Azevedo in a recently published paper in Nature.Ã‚Â
That’s all fine and good, but what about other alternatives? Why didn’t we evolve to reproduce in other ways, for instance, like fish? I’d like to be able to just drop off my eggs under a tree somewhere, and whoever wants them can just swing on by and get with the fertilization. Maybe then the lucky dad could cart around the offspring seahorse-style and I’d be free to continue sleeping through the night, taking vacations, and other benefits of the childfree.
I suppose science is pretty close to giving us that anyway — if I were so inclined, I could probably get a few thousand dollars just to drop off my eggs for somebody else to fertilize. Thanks for the blonde hair, blue eyes, and college education, dad and mom! I think I’ll pass, just in case at some point in the future I decide that all the hassle of reproducing sexually is somehow worth it. But as of this moment, I’d really rather be a mermaid. Or a paramecium-maid. Hubba hubba.