Should You Keep Having Sex During a 9.0 Earthquake, and Other Pressing Questions

Photo by Maëlick

If you’ve been too scared to read this week’s New Yorker story on the apocalyptic earthquake that’s threatening to destroy the Pacific Northwest, here’s a lighter take from Dan Savage, who had a short conversation with Seattle author Sandi Doughton about her 2014 book Full-Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest and how worried we should really be:

The New Yorker quotes a FEMA official who says that “everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.” So all of us up here on Capitol Hill—we can see I–5 from here but we’re to the east of it—are going to fine, right? We don’t have anything to worry about, right?

You’ll be bruschetta—more refined, but equally toasted.

It’s true that the shaking weakens with distance from the fault, but I wouldn’t count on that tiny margin to save you. What I think the FEMA official meant is that a lot of our infrastructure in Western WA—utilities, roads, some bridges, brick buildings—will be wrecked, and access to the coast will be cut off.

I’m kind of disappointed you didn’t ask me about sex! But, sadly, I probably know more about earthquakes.

You want a bonus sex question? Let’s say two people are having sex when the full rip 9.0 megaquake hits. Should they stop and take cover? Or should they keep going because this might be the last time they ever get to have sex? Would your advice be different if they were, say, on top of Capitol Hill versus in a cabin on the beach in Seaside, OR?

On Capitol Hill, in a relatively new building with no chandelier or mirror or glass light fixture hanging over the bed, I say carry on. The motion from the quake might be a pleasing addition. In Seaside, give it up, put on your shoes and run for your life because the tsunami is coming.

Read the interview