Column: Sex ranks No. 1 when it comes to a fulfilling life

By Gabriel Stoffa

Iowa State Daily, Iowa State U. via UWIRE

Breaking news here folks! A recent study discovered that sex/making love is the most pleasurable, meaningful, engaging and happy thing for people.

But seriously, a study at U. Canterbury joined the small but meaningful ranks of researchers attempting to track and measure the happiness and well-being of relationships in day-to-day life.

The areas of distinction paint an interesting picture of what a “full life” could be described as. Granted, the means of gathering results — achieved through text-messaging — might not seem like the most reliable of methods, but hey, this is the new millennium, and our robot phones are almost an extension of our bodies.

Drinking alcohol/partying came in second in the “pleasure” category, but only 10th in “meaning,” while still hitting fifth in “engagement” and second in “happiness.” Again, not a big surprise given that drinking alcohol/partying tends to lead to sex/making love.

There are oodles of fun activities, or not so fun activities, to peruse at leisure, but when the fun of that has dwindled, take a moment to look at what all of this might mean.

Could this be a fair representation of the times? There are, of course, outliers to the generalizations of folks finding sex to be the pinnacle of happiness, but despite the comical obviousness, the sex result along with the other rankings could really tell us a lot about how to operate in life.

Think about the results of the study in terms of marketing. Such information makes the crafting of commercials or other gimmicks to get a person to buy something a far cry easier if it is agreed upon that making a person happy will sell more things.

And political campaigning or policy formation gets a nice leg up as well. With information measuring and tracking how to achieve a “full life,” issues can be tailored or addressed with specifications that otherwise might have been cast aside in favor of those wacky “traditional” notions a lot of older generations subscribed to.

Not that traditional views of “full life” are not worthwhile, but that the current 35-and-under crowd, the “younger” generations, might really be serious when they say to their parents — as spoken by “da Dawson” himself, James Van Der Beek, in “Varsity Blues” — “But I don’t want your life.

The applications could do some good with assessing psychological hurdles challenging some, or cause restructuring of jobs to account for what makes people happier, and hence more productive. Who knows how far you can stretch the information for application?

Research that examines what people really want also opens the door to potentially kicking in certain taboos in talking points. There are still some folks uncomfortable with certain topics — sex for example — and as such avoid learning about aspects for what could very likely be the most fulfilling thing in their lives.

There will be people arguing that the results don’t represent them, or that will deny the “validity” of some of the rankings, but that’s opinions for ya. Everybody has to be special, or have some distinction. Meh.

The reality remains: The results do seem to be a reasonable assessment of folks. Well, of the younger generations at least, as we tend to have this whole “new” outlook on life due to our global village upbringings; that and our adoration of sharing every detail of our lives, compared to the less “out there for all” outlook of many previous generations.

Before you scoff, or maybe have a chuckle at the sex “revelation,” and move on with your day, think about what you learned. In fact, you were probably already pondering what things you find in your life to be fulfilling, what make your life have a cherry on top, and ranking them.

And that is the beauty of studies like the one under discussion; those studies let you look inward and think. And if a study — no matter how dubious the methods might seem or how potentially skewed you might consider the results — makes you think and let you learn a little more about yourself, well, doesn’t that make it worth looking into a bit more?

Read more here: http://www.iowastatedaily.com/opinion/article_e82b118a-3d89-11e2-a89d-001a4bcf887a.html
Copyright 2014 Iowa State Daily

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