It’s weird that we only talk about the last three (water & food & sleep) when all five are intrinsic to the human machine. Why is that?

My friend’s dad just died and she’s been reading the books On Death & Dying and On Grief & Grieving and the biggest takeaway she’s mentioned to me is how weird it is that people don’t talk about death; how awkward it is that people try to avoid this topic that is inherent to the human experience.

Why do we not talk about sex and death even though they are vital? Not only to the individual but to the species?

I guess individually, a human could do away with sex (choose to be celibate and never create offspring) but they still came from a sexual act (except, I guess people created from artificial insemination, which is still sexual reproduction but not really “sex” in the way society would define it). But no human can do away with death.

So sex and death are vital in that they are indispensable. So why are we so awkward in talking about them? We talk for days about food. An entire channel of television is devoted to food. But I guess there are also many sources of entertainment devoted to sex, but no one talks about them. Some death talk also seems okay. I’m thinking of two examples: 1) The Darwin Awards (a conflagration of sex and death talk in a way!), and 2) near-death-experience talk. Is this because the person didn’t actually die?

I’m coming at this from a purely secular approach because I don’t have any background in any religion, although obviously most religions concern themselves with expectations regarding both sex and death. But in everyday society – a hodgepodge of belief systems – people still don’t really talk about sex and death.

Maybe they are taboo because the various beliefs can be so extreme and thus we avoid discussion to avoid irritation? It seems like I can think of more examples of an inappropriate conversation regarding sex or death than I can regarding food or water or sleep. In casual conversation, someone gabbing on about a sexual experience or about the death of someone else could very easily seem uncouth, whereas (unless maybe the other person in the conversation is a vegetarian or vegan or something) I can’t really imagine a food discussion being considered offensive.


How do we break this and make talking about these topics okay? Sex-positivity is a growing trend, but only in certain circles. Should we coin another term now called death-positivity which supports people talking about their experiences with death?