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The Earth Will Shake

Yes, “terror sex” is a thing, and it’s likely the way many of us will be enduring the end of the world

by Erin Pihlaja on December 20, 2012

If you’re in Australia today (Thursday) and you have access to Facebook, you could, if you were so inclined, join the 215 people who already said that they were going to an event called the “Big end of the world beach sex party.” Hopefully the potential attendees will have seen some of the French Durex brand condom ads before the big party. Some of the messages read: “If the end doesn’t come quickly, neither should you” and “Go out with a bang.” While safe sex may not be relevant after a world-decimating disaster, both the Facebook event and the ad campaign bring up a few interesting points. Do people really get sex-crazed before a doomsday-like happening, and if they do, why?

There’s a general notion among some that disasters do cause people to get it on, and often spikes in birth rates are cited as evidence. After Hurricane Sandy hit this year, Mental Floss wondered if we would see a mini-baby boom afterwards. According to the same article, The New York Times ran a headline after the 1965 blackout in New York City that read, “Births Up 9 Months After the Blackout.” Similar cases have been reported after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks at the World Trade Center and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

The data is inconclusive, though, and Snopes.com says flat-out that it’s a big myth. Still, sex is obviously on some of our minds (French Durex and Facebook heathens), and people have admitted that despite the grim realities following terrible events, they did have more, and better, sex. In an article published about a week after the worst was over in post-9/11 New York, Salon.com coined the phrase “terror sex” while detailing the accounts of some New Yorkers who did feel the earth move following the attacks, albeit in their own bedrooms.

So, what gives? Why does being in danger make us, well, horny?

Arlene Lev, a social worker and family therapist in Albany, said that while she hasn’t seen cases of people having more sex prior to doomsday threats, that “In situations of fear people often feel suddenly passionate. It’s all hormones.” She also noted that “we seek sex for many reasons, security being a big one” and that “‘touch’ creates some kind of security when we are scared. [It] reminds us we are not alone.”

Mistress Maeve, a sex columnist for Seven Days in Burlington, Vt., expects that the end of the Mayan calendar will bring about some action in the boudoir. “The threat of total annihilation should be just what they need to rev their engines. This Thursday, people will have sex for the same reasons they always do—connection, comfort, attention, escapism—but the quality will be better. With the threat of extinction, humans will bone with abandon, possibly generating the most mind-blowing sex the planet has ever seen.”

As for an increase in birth rates, Mistress says, “We’re likely to see a baby boom next fall. If we’re all going to disintegrate on Friday, why bother with the diaphragm this Thursday?” However, she does say that safe sex should be considered. “In case the Mayans were wrong . . . ringing in the New Year with a raging STI is no way to celebrate.”

So what’s it going to be for you this Thursday night? If you don’t have someone to snuggle up next to at home, you might want to head out and try to pair up with another desperate soul. If you’re short on pick-up lines, check out those Durex ads. It might be the most responsible thing you do all night.