DisadvantagesThere are significant disadvantages to sexual reproduction, and while these are not all of them, here are some important ones. Most of these disadvantages are lessened, if not mitigated, by reproducing asexually.
Finding a Mate:
|Superb Bird of Paradise|
The Video from class showing the intense mating rituals of birds of paradise:
Ain't Nobody Got Time for That:
|Potential Octopus Threats|
Not 100% Thrust into the Next Generation:An innate problem with sexual reproduction is that not all of an organism's genes are present in the next generation. Naturally, about a half of the genes in an individual comes from one parent, the other 50% coming from the other parent. The goal of reproduction is to make sure that the organism's own genes are successfully transmitted, yet sexual reproduction places a theoretical limit of only half said organisms' genes continuing. As successive generations reproduce, one's progeny becomes less and less representative of those original genes. Asexual reproduction guarantees 100% transmittance.
Whenever I hear the concept of only 50% of genes being transferred to the next generation, I remember a movie I watched when I was still in grade school. The movie is called Rabbit Proof Fence, and it told the story of three Aborigine girls who escaped from the "Moore River Native Settlement" to return to their families. The movie details the events of the Stolen Generation, a plan run by many agencies in Australia to remove Aborigine children and raise them in a western fashion, eventually having them bear children that were half Aborigine and half European in an attempt to breed out the Aborigine. Here is short clip film someone adapted and annotated for what seems to be a school project. I warn that some of the scenes are very intense.
A Higher Chance for Infection:
|I wild Operon Appears|
Boys:There wouldn't be boys in asexual reproduction. While some would call this an advantage to asexual reproduction, I chose to ambivalent. Regardless, there is an impact of boys being in a population. Say the distribution between males and females was equal, 50-50. Compared to population of a 100 asexually reproducing "females," there are half the amount of reproductive females. The reproductive success of females is restricted by the number of eggs they hold, and the reproductive success of males is, similarly, dependent on how many mates they can encounter . The theoretical maximum is therefore the total number of eggs females can consecutively get fertilized in their life times. The asexually reproducing population, would by default have twice as many females, and therefore a greater theoretical maximum.
AdvantagesDespite these substantial negatives against sexual reproduction, it was selected for, and still is. As I am sure you are aware, the purpose of all adaptations is to help a population survive. It is interesting that regardless of all the downsides, the positives make up for it.
Cleaning up DNA Mutations:
|Crossing over during Meiosis|
Conclusion:Are males worth it? To many species, the answer is yes. The benefits of sexual reproduction outweigh the costs for many species. And while there are still many species of organisms that continue to reproduce asexually, it is as nature intended. Parasitic pressures drove organisms to reproduce in such a way that resulted in increased genetic variability in the population as well as the steady removal of unsuccessful traits. Sexual reproduction doesn't speed up evolution, and doesn't benefit an individual, but the entire population. An interesting thing to consider as well, some of the very downsides of sexual reproduction have become positives in that they give a certain degree of satisfaction. Finding a mate, for example, isn't time consuming, as it is usually the goal.
 Fox J., Dybdahl M., Jokela J., Lively C. (1996). Genetic structure of coexisting sexual and clonal subpopulations in a freshwater snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum). Evolution. 50 (4): 1541-1548
 Combes, Claude. The Art of Being a Parasite. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2005. Print.