Western culture frames the humble orgasm as one of the most important experiences anyone can pursue. Is it really so important?

Harry Met Sally 2
Source: Castle Rock Entertainment

What is the most important thing in your life?

The word orgasm has only really worked itself into mainstream media in the last 25 years (probably mainly initiated by the above movie). It used to be a word more reserved to health classes and pillow talk, and maybe if you were brave or honest you would bring it up with your doctor if there were some problems happening.

Fast forward to today and the word is all pervasive. When someone describes the taste of certain food or the nature of certain activities, they are described as orgasmic. We also have variations on the word to describe other experiences we find amazing, such as joygasm, eargasm, and all the rest.

Although only usually lasting a few seconds per episode for most people, you could say that orgasm is one of the best feelings or physical experiences that a man or a woman can experience.

As a result, much of our culture encourages the pursuit of orgasm as the fulfillment of the pursuit of happiness. I would even venture to say that for a lot of us, we reduce our lives to the pursuit of orgasm.

What is the most important thing in your life?

There are a number of modern experiences and key parts of our society that are specifically angled towards this end. Here are a few of them.

Pornography and sex scenes

The porn industry is valued around at $14 billion US anually. That is a lot of money on magazines, movies, websites and novels. It is so easy nowadays for people of all colours and ages and creeds to access material that helps them experience an orgasm without assistance or hinderance from another human being. This industry grows more and more every year.

In fact, you no longer even have to watch something that is specifically labelled porn to get the same material. There has been a severe increase in the number of MA and R rated (or R and M rated if you’re in the USA) TV shows, and this is largely due to the explicit nature of the sexual relationships of their characters. No longer are they hiding under the sheets or cutting away to imply something has taken place – you and your mirror neurons are able to vicariously experience the relationship occurring before you.


Let’s be real – most clubs exist as a natural extension of the swingers’ parties of the 80s and 90s. Sure, the dancing means everyone can have a good time, but so much of the experience is crafted around getting lucky. The music is usually highly sexual, and the dancing encouraged is usually of a similar nature. Not to mention how much (or how little) people wear. People don’t exactly go to the club to find their Prince Charming or Mrs Right, they usually go to find someone they can put some runs on the board with.

Fitness Focus

This one is an interesting one. I read an article a few years ago that caused a huge uproar for its publisher, and it was one that suggested that the health and fitness industry should be considered an extension of the sex industry. Very bold statement.

I think it’s great to be healthy and to exercise and to ensure your body is working at its best, but it would be accurate to say that one of the biggest reasons why our culture is experiencing such a fitness craze is because it increases your chances of getting laid. In fact, a number of health clubs are overt in their advertising to this end, such as Go Fitness, and even Six Pack Shortcuts, one of the most popular YouTube fitness channels. People pursue a body ideal just to improve their chances of getting late.

Moving on…

Day after day, night after night, people are motivated towards going after orgasm. We say that it’s good to clean the pipes or to keep you regular. We mock men and women who haven’t had sexual experiences in the last few weeks, saying that they’re going to forget how to use it or that their parts are going to dry up and fill with cobwebs.

…So why is orgasm so important to us?

Well, we are sexual beings. It is pretty true that orgasm is one of the highest experiences a human can experience.

But once it’s over, what is left?

When the moment is over, you are still you, and the world is still as it was.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think orgasm in its rightful context with someone you’re absolutely committed to with no plan B is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Two people absolutely devoted to each other’s pleasure, and when you wake up, you’re both still there for each other. It also has several health benefits like stress relief and deepening relational bonds.

But even in that context, it is over in but a moment.

Until you have another one. And another one. And another one.

But they are all temporary. If you were feeling lonely and misunderstood before you had one, you still feel lonely and misunderstood after you had one. Sure, you had a momentary escape, but the problem still remains.

If you weren’t sure of who you were before you had one, you still won’t be sure afterwards.

If you didn’t value yourself before you peaked, you still won’t afterwards.

Its temporary nature makes it very easy for your momentary lover to be gone in the morning. Nothing was holding you together except your mutual pursuit for orgasm, and once it was over, your relationship could be as well.

People even frame their marriages around the pursuit of orgasm. Rather than pursuing each other’s hearts and building a lasting relationship, the relationship stops when the orgasms stop.

And so people go looking elsewhere. To images. To part-time lovers.

We trade in long-term happiness for momentary pleasure.

What is the most important thing in your life?

What are you actually looking for in your life? When you go out on those nights with the girls, when you’re out with the boys, when you’re going through all the numbers of your exes, when you’re visiting that Facebook page late at night, when you’re replaying certain episodes on TV, what are you looking for?

Have you found it yet?

Did an orgasm bring it?

If not, why are you still framing your life around it?

What have you left behind so you could find that one moment? Who have you said goodbye to? Who have you hurt? How many kids are getting left behind in your quest to get off?

You know, this idea really goes beyond orgasm. A lot of our pursuits in life are framed around short-term rewards at the expense of long-term success.

We’ll blow the savings account to buy that one thing that’ll make us look cool for about 3 minutes in front of 4 people who won’t care later.

We’ll trade in an amazing woman or an amazing man for the flash-in-the-pan fling.

We’ll desire romance more than we’ll desire relationship.

We’ll blow our diet for empty calories.

We’ll only be after what we can get out of it and not have a vision for how we can help others.

And in all of this, we won’t stop to get real and recognize something.

That we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.

But we keep going to the same places to try to find it.

Do you have a short-term focus? Or a long-term focus? Realistically, it’s probably good to have both. You need good awareness of the immediate as well as a sense of direction. Are you building towards something lasting, or towards destructive habits?

Are you pursuing the eternal, or the temporary?

What is the most important thing in your life?


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