Blog: A paid sex break

Burt Ross

Far be it for me not to pander to the prurient interests of you, my reader. I well understand that the three letter word “sex” has far more power than any four letter word. And so I am compelled to comment on a recent article in the venerable New York Times which, as we all know by now, is an enemy of the people.

The Swedes have finally outdone themselves! The Times reports that a Mr. Per-Eric Muskos, a councilman from a town in northern Sweden, has proposed adding a most unusual benefit for municipal employees — subsidized sex. Now we’re talking! Mr. Muskos believes that paying employees to go home for an hour to have some sex might reverse the municipality’s shrinking population, add spice to aging marriages and improve employee morale.

Lest you not fully comprehend what I am telling you, Mr. Muskos is not suggesting you pay for sex, but rather that you get paid for having sex. Mr. Muskos has apparently been imbibing some of that delicious Swedish snaps, and perhaps we should all join him.

And now I quote this great Swede, “Sex is also a great form of exercise and has documented positive effects on well-being.” Mr. Muskos goes on, “We should encourage procreation. I believe sex is often in short supply. Everyday life is stressful and the children are at home. This could be an opportunity for couples to have their own time, only for each other.”

Okay, now it’s time for me to share my perspective on this most sensitive and controversial subject. First of all, if I were on the nominating committee, I would most assuredly nominate Per-Eric to win the Noble Peace Prize. He is obviously a man after my own heart. It is hard to disagree with him. Surely getting a paid sex leave once a week would improve employee morale. If ever there were a truism, that’s the truism. Of course, a paid lobster lunch followed by some more of that snaps would also improve employee morale, but given the choice, I guess sex wins out.

As for sex being in short supply, Mr. Muskos might be speaking for himself. Having more kids does not sound like the road to more sex or less stress. Most of us figured out a long time ago that having kids meant more stress, less sex and locked bedroom doors.

Although Mr. Muskos may not win the majority of his peers in the city government on a vote scheduled for this spring, he does have supporters such as Malin Hansson, a sexologist who applauds Mr. Muskos’ efforts. She argues that sex not only reduces stress, but improves sleep and strengthens immunity. “If it was up to me, I would introduce this across the country,” she argued. I would also nominate Ms. Hansson for another one of those Nobel Peace Prizes.   

But then I believe she goes a bit too far when she proclaims, “In Sweden, sex is considered just another activity.” I for one have never confused sex with riding a bike, but then again, I am not Swedish.

All countries try to attract tourism, but I think Ms. Hansson has come up with the most alluring commercial of all time, “In Sweden, sex is considered just another activity.” If that doesn’t attract tourists, nothing will. It sure beats Lithuania’s “See it! Feel it! Love it!” or Morocco’s, “The country that travels within you.”

A Lotta Dellve, a professor at the University of Gothenburg, is another supporter of Mr. Muskos. Her research shows that short bursts of physical activity during office hours has many benefits, including productivity. “This activity could include sex, why not?” she asks rhetorically. I fear that many of my readers have stopped reading this column and right now are booking their flights to Sweden.

Of course, there are some difficulties with this proposed ordinance. For one thing, there is no guarantee that an employee might have sex during the hour off. God forbid, it is possible some employees might prefer a walk in the country, buying food at the grocery store, or just taking a nap. Also, some people might consider an hour off not nearly enough time. One elderly gentleman was quoted as saying, “One hour? You have got to be kidding.”

I hope that our mayor and members of our city council will seriously look at Mr. Muskos’ proposed bill and, I can only hope, indeed pray, that one of them introduces something similar here. The lively debate would give me material for endless columns, and would certainly relieve any of us who might be suffering from boredom.