Sex and Climbing

Not long ago I took it upon myself to “Answer The Public” regarding questions about rock climbing.  It was a fun experiment to try and use my base of knowledge to solve some of the internet’s most common questions about climbing.  You may not believe this (and shouldn’t because it’s not true) but since posting that article, the frequency of the questions queried has dropped nearly 50%.  It’s an astounding decline and serves to show the importance of sharing what you know when possible.

You may not believe this (however, you should because it’s true) but in addition to my experience writing about rock climbing I am also a philosophy professor specializing in the philosophy of love, sex, and marriage.  Being that the first attempt to “Answer The Public” garnered such overwhelming positivity and almost universal support writ large, I have returned to answer the public once more.

This time however, I am bringing together my two areas of study by combining sex and climbing.  I don’t want to give you the wrong idea, I am not going to be exploring the romantic interludes of the dirtbag lifestyle (that may be a worthy post for another time).  Rather, I am simply going to use the most commonly Googled questions about sex, and answer those questions as if they were about climbing, thus investigating a potential overlap.  This is very experimental in both fields of study, but if there is an overlap, we’re going to find it!1

Answer the Public Part II

Q: Why Climbing education is important?

A: Climbing education is important because of safety.  If one doesn’t learn to properly place gear, they put themselves in danger of serious harm.  But even worse, climbing without proper protection can also put your climbing partner(s) at serious risk.  Risks within climbing are often unseen and unknowable until it is too late, and a proper climbing education can go a long way in both recognizing and avoiding harm.

Q: Are climbing and gender the same thing?

A: Climbing has traditionally been treated as binary, that is, a climber is either a boulderer or a sport climber.  This dichotomy between boulderer and sport climber however, has been shown to be false.  While there are certainly boulderers and sport climbers, these types of climbing are not mutually exclusive.  One can be both, and one can also be neither.  Most dichotomous models ultimately fail due to an abundance of reasons, including shortsightedness and an inaccurate understanding of the world.  In the case of climbing, it is much more parsimonious to envision what was once considered binary as a spectrum.  Gender on the other hand is summed up pretty well by the World Health Organization (WHO) as follows “Gender refers to the characteristics of women, men, girls, and boys that are socially constructed.  This includes norms, behaviours and roles associated with being a woman, man, girl, or boy, as well as relationships with each other. As a social construct, gender varies from society to society and can change over time.”2 For an immensely interesting discussion on the role of gender I strongly recommend Simone de Beauvoir’s Introduction to her 1949 classic The Second Sex.

Q: Can climbing bring on labor?

A: Consult your physician on this one!

Q: Are climbing crazed spiders dangerous?

A: Consult your arachnologist on this one!

Q: Which climbing and the city character are you?

A: This sounds like a show I could get behind.  Set and filmed in New York City, the show follows the lives of a group of four women—three in their mid-thirties and one in her forties—who, despite their different natures and ever-changing climbing lives, remain inseparable and confide in each other.  Carrie is the newspaper columnist fashionista always wearing the latest climbing trends, Charlotte is the idealistic art dealer with traditional views and climbing style, Miranda is the cynical lawyer who puts reason over emotion especially when it comes to climbing, you don’t just jump on a route without first measuring the outcome, and finally there is Samantha, the independent publicist who is willing to climb any route she desires independent of grade, style, or location.  I relate to Miranda’s cynical ways and approach to life.  So, I guess that makes me a Miranda!

Q: Why climbing is important in a relationship?

A: Climbing can be important in a relationship, acts of climbing can bring people together based on shared experiences.  Chemical reactions while climbing can lead to bonding or strengthen established bonds.  However, there is no set prescription for what makes a relationship successful or even how to define success within a relationship.  So, while climbing can be important in a relationship, it is neither necessary nor sufficient for success.

Q: Why climbing hurts?

A: There are a lot of different ways to climb, and it is true that sometimes climbing hurts.  For some, the pain is worth the payoff.  For others it’s not.  It’s also the case that pain is relative, what may be painful for some, could be enjoyable for others.  Off-width crack climbing is generally considered one of the most painful varieties of climbing, but those who participate in off-width are able to get beyond the pain in order to enjoy the challenge, the views, and the charting of new territories.  Climbing doesn’t have to hurt, there are a lot of different styles of climbing, so just go slow and find out what is right for you.  All the while keeping in mind that climbing isn’t always for everybody, it is okay to just not climb.

Q: Why climbing before marriage is good?

A: I would never say that climbing before marriage is good, and I would never say it isn’t.  Climbing before marriage can be good, and it can be bad.  There are a lot of variables in play with such a question, and most of those variables are personal.  A few important variables to consider are how important climbing is to you and your potential partner, and in addition, how important marriage is to you and your potential partner.  If both are very important, then climbing before marriage has a tendency to be beneficial.  Finding out after marriage that your partner will only deep-water free solo, while you are averse to swimming could lead to discontent.  Compatibly in climbing at the very least can help when it comes to compatibility in marriage, and it is a challenge to know how compatible two climbers could be without first climbing together.

Q: How climbing is good for health?

A: Climbing has several health benefits.  In addition to burning calories, climbing also bumps your heart rate and uses various muscles.  All of which are good for health!

Q: Where climbing is common?

A: The country where people are climbing the most happens to be Greece3.  Who could blame them with climbing destinations like this…

Kalymnos Greece

  1. This article in no way serves as actual scholarly research and should not be seen, used, or cited as anything but parody.  
  3. Followed by Brazil and Russia.

43 Replies to “Sex and Climbing”

  1. Loved this post. And your sense of humor. I have never climbed, but have had sex in the course of my life. Your post almost made me want to try climbing. Think I will stick with the other. Always enjoy thedihedral.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Will rock climbing make you pregnant? This may depend on who you go climbing with, but, in and of itself, no. But you can probably spend as much money on climbing gear as you would on your (perhaps future) kids. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  3. This was funny, Thank you! Our New Year’s resolution as a couple is always to do more, er, rock climbing. And yes, like any vigorous activity, labor can be induced if you have already missed the mark your Doctor put on the calendar. My mom hiked Mt. St. Helens (before the mountain lost her Northern face) and ended up in labor the next morning with my twat of a brother.


  4. I could hardly tell if it was sex or climbing. I mean at one point I was like, oh yeah it’s about climbing and before I could finish reading the sentence I changed my mind again😂 I find how it’s unknowingly satirical amazing 🤩

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wonder if climbing with the cliff hanger would be oh sooo good this article you wrote had me climbing on hard press rocks even found my self on a ship traveling to mars this is beautiful and we’ll geered you mixed the pieces so we’ll i felt like I was involved in something lol u can never tell 🤫

    Liked by 1 person

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