My friend Alex keeps asserting that tea is better than sex, and because I’m me, I’ve been dwelling on it for quite some time. It’s a difficult question, isn’t it? (No, but let’s pretend it is anyway.) Sex is responsible for the continued existence of our entire species, while tea is a highly customisable beverage second only to water (according to Wikipedia) in its popularity.
Sex, as we know, is a highly controversial topic in many cultures, and we’ve developed some pretty complex concepts around it, like virginity and sexuality, which are constantly being challenged and developed further. In some countries, certain sexual activities can get you executed or put in prison, while in others you might just be treated with disdain by your community. No matter where you are or who you are, sex is rarely ever simple.
Tea, however, is. Well, compared to sex it is. I mean, once you get past the number of sugars, whether the drinker wants the teabag left in or not, whether they like it milky (if they don’t forgo milk altogether) or whether they need a specific cup, and all the other individual preferences each person has when it comes to their cuppa, it’s really quite simple. Make tea, drink tea, aaahh.
But which is better? Well, this question has been asked for hundreds of years, ever since tea was first discovered in China, when a man — after his wife attempted to solicit sex from him—replied, “Get gone, wife! I am drinking this delicious tea and I have no time for your nonsense!” Shocked that her husband would rather drink tea than have sex, she tried it herself and concluded that it was nothing special, and people have been killing each other over this conflict of interests ever since.
Well, I’m tired of seeing people lay their lives down for their beliefs. It’s silly. People should spend less time doing that and more time either drinking tea or having sex, and so I’ve taken it on myself to definitely prove once and for all which is better. Let’s weigh up the facts:
Sex is the primary method by which we humans and reproduce, and was indeed the sole method by which we reproduced for millions of years. Other than being responsible for the existence of the human race, and most other multi-cellular organisms, sex is a wonderful social bonding tool, topic of conversation when you’re bored, and the basis for many jokes, from the banal—
Q. How can you tell if your date really digs oral sex?
A. She hikes up her skirt every time you yawn.
To the artistic—
Villain, what hast thou done?
That which thou canst not undo.
Thou hast undone our mother.
Villain, I have done thy mother.
For reasons social, political, and existential, sex is a powerful thing.
On the other hand, we’ve got tea: a drink that results when you introduce boiling water to leaves. People really have ended up dying over tea. There are large-scale conflicts, like the Opium Wars between Britain and China, and then there are smaller incidents, like the recent killing of a tea plantation owner over in India. As far as the benefits of tea goes, they pale in comparison to those of sex. Tea, despite what you might think when you wake up in the morning exhausted and craving that caffeine kick, doesn’t help us to survive or reproduce, but it arguably does score some points as far as social-bonding goes, thanks to the existence of elaborate tea ceremonies in East Asia; the importance of tea to the British national identity; and its status as an inoffensive drink that can be offered to almost anyone—builders, acquaintances and dates alike (although coffee might be more appropriate for the latter.)
Tea is also strangely appropriate for almost any situation. When you’re talking with friends, when you’re getting ready to work, when you’re feeling a bit blue. As William Gladstone put it:
If you are cold, tea will warm you;
If you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are exhausted, it will calm you.
But, if I might borrow his structure for a moment, I’d like to present a counter-poem:
If you are cold, sex will warm you;
If you are too heated, getting naked (so you can have sex) will cool you;
If you are depressed, your sex drive will probably disappear;
If you are exhausted… well, maybe you should get some tea.
Hmm, so maybe it isn’t as widely applicable as the act of drinking tea, but really—qualitatively speaking—sex is just better. Dear reader, you are the result of a fusion between a sperm and an egg, not between a teabag and some water. Now, if you don’t mind, all this thinking has dried me out and I think I’ll go get some tea.