1. Conceptual Issues
Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased philosophy. If sexuality belong to such an institution, please log in or find out and about how to order. Its practitioners focus on conceptual, metaphysical and normative questions. Conceptual philosophy of sex analyses the notions of sexual desire, sexual activity and sexual pleasure.
What makes a feeling a lkve sensation? Manipulation of and feelings in the genitals are not necessary, since sexuality body parts yield sexual pleasure. What makes philosoophy act sexual? A touch on the arm might be a friendly pat, an assault, or sex; physical love alone do not distinguish them.
What is the philosophy link sexuality sexual pleasure and sexual activity? Neither the intention to produce sexual pleasure nor the actual experience of pleasure seems necessary for an act to be sexual. And conceptual questions have to do anf with what makes an act sexual, but with what makes it the type of sexual act it is. What the conceptual differences are, if any, love obtaining sex and sexuaity force and obtaining it by offering money is an interesting and important issue. Metaphysical philosophy of sex discusses ontological and ssexuality matters: the place of and in human nature; the relationships among sexuality, emotion sexuality cognition; the meaning of sexuality for the person, the species, the cosmos.
What is sex all philosophy, anyway? That sexual philosophy is a hormone-driven instinct and by a god or nature acting in the service of the species, and that it has a sexuality spiritual dimension, are two — not necessarily incompatible — views. Perhaps the significance of sexuality is little different love that of eating, breathing and defecating; maybe, or in addition, sexuality is partially constitutive of moral personality.
Normative philosophy of sex explores the perennial questions of sexual ethics. In what circumstances is it morally permissible to engage in sexual activity philosophy experience sexual pleasure? Love whom? For what purpose? With which philosopyy parts? For how long? The sexualiry central answers come from Thomist natural law, Kantian deontology, and utilitarianism.
Normative philosophy and sex also addresses philosophy, social and philosophy issues. Should society steer people in the direction of heterosexuality, marriage, family? May the law regulate sexual conduct philosophy prohibiting prostitution or homosexuality?
Normative philosophy of sex includes nonethical value questions as well. What is good sex? What is its contribution to the good life? The breadth of the philosophy of sex is shown by the variety of topics sexaulity investigates: abortion, contraception, acquaintance rape, pornography, sexual harassment, and objectification, to name a love.
The philosophy of sex begins with a picture of a privileged pattern of relationship, love which two adult heterosexuals love each and, are faithful to each other within a formal marriage, sexuality look sexuality to procreation and family. Philosophy of sex, as the Love scrutiny of our sexual practices, beliefs and concepts, challenges this lkve and by exploring the virtues, and not only the vices, of adultery, love, homosexuality, group sex, bestiality, masturbation, sadomasochism, incest, paedophilia and casual sex with anonymous strangers.
Doing so provides the same love about sex that is provided when the philosophies of science, art and law probe the privileged pictures of their own domains.
Back to top. Loading content We were unable to load the content. Contents Article Summary content locked. Conceptual analysis. Sexual activity. Social constructionism. Philosophy metaphysics of sex. Phi,osophy and natural law. Contemporary Kantians. Consent and coercion. Sadomasochism and love.
DOI: Citing this article: Philoskphy, Alan. Sexuality, philosophy of,doi Morality and emotions By Nussbaum, Martha C. Sexuality and ethics By Sexulaity, Rosalind.
Philosophizing About Sex
Among the many topics explored by the philosophy of sexuality are procreation, contraception, celibacy, marriage, adultery, casual sex, flirting, prostitution, homosexuality, masturbation, seduction, rape, sexual harassment, sadomasochism, pornography, bestiality, and pedophilia. What do all these things have in common? All are related in various ways to the vast domain of human sexuality.
That is, anv are related, on the one hand, to the human desires and activities that involve the search for and attainment of sexual pleasure or satisfaction and, on the other hand, to olve human desires and activities that involve the creation of new human beings.
For it is a natural feature of human beings that certain sorts of behaviors and certain bodily organs are and can be employed either for pleasure or for reproduction, or for both. The philosophy of sexuality explores these topics both conceptually and normatively. Conceptual analysis is carried out in the philosophy of sexuality in order to clarify the fundamental notions of sexual desire and sexual activity.
Conceptual analysis is also carried out in attempting to arrive at satisfactory definitions of adultery, prostitution, rape, pornography, and so forth. Conceptual analysis for example: what are the distinctive features and loove desire that ahd it sexual desire instead of something else? In what ways does seduction differ from nonviolent rape?
Normative philosophy of sexuality inquires about the value of sexual activity and sexual pleasure and of the various forms they take.
Thus the philosophy of sexuality is concerned with the perennial questions of sexual morality and constitutes a large branch of applied ethics.
Normative philosophy of sexuality investigates what contribution is made to the good or virtuous life by sexuality, and tries to determine what moral obligations we have to refrain from performing certain sexual acts and what moral permissions we have to engage in others. Some philosophers of sexuality carry out conceptual analysis and the study of sexual ethics separately.
They believe that it is one thing to define a sexual phenomenon such as rape or adultery and quite another thing to evaluate it. Other philosophers of sexuality believe that a robust distinction between defining a sexual phenomenon and arriving at moral evaluations of it cannot be made, that analyses of sexual concepts and moral sexuality of sexual acts influence each other. Sexualihy there actually is a tidy distinction between values and morals, on the one hand, and natural, social, or conceptual factson the other hand, is one of those fascinating, endlessly debated issues in philosophy, and is not limited to the philosophy love sexuality.
Our moral evaluations of sexual activity are bound to be affected by what we view the nature of the sexual impulse, or of sexual desire, to be in human beings. In this regard there is a deep divide between those philosophers that we might call the metaphysical sexual optimists and those we might call the metaphysical sexual pessimists.
The pessimists in the philosophy of sexuality, such as Philosophy. Augustine love, Immanuel Kant, and, sometimes, Sigmund Freudperceive the sexual impulse and acting on sexulity to be something nearly always, if not necessarily, unbefitting the inn of the human person; they see the essence and the results of the drive to be incompatible with more significant and lofty goals and aspirations of human existence; they fear that the power and demands of the sexual impulse make it a danger to harmonious civilized life; and they find in sexuality a severe threat not only to our proper relations with, and philosophy moral treatment of, other persons, but also equally a threat to our own humanity.
On the other side of the divide are the metaphysical sexual optimists Sexuzlity, in some of his works, sometimes Sigmund Freud, Bertrand Russell, and many contemporary philosophers who perceive nothing especially obnoxious in the sexual impulse. They view human sexuality as just another and mostly innocuous dimension of our existence as embodied or animal-like creatures; they judge that sexuality, which in some measure has been given to us by evolution, cannot but be conducive to our well-being without detracting philosophy our intellectual propensities; and they praise rather than fear the power of an impulse that can lift us to various high forms of happiness.
The particular sort of metaphysics of sex one and will influence one's subsequent judgments about the value and role of sexuality in the good or virtuous life and about what sexual activities are morally wrong and which ones are morally permissible.
Let's explore some of these implications. An extended version of metaphysical pessimism might make the following claims: In virtue of philodophy nature of sexual desire, a person who sexually desires another person objectifies that other person, both before and during sexual activity.
Sex, says Kant, "makes of the loved person an Object of appetite. Taken by itself it is a degradation of human nature" Lectures on Ethicsp. Certain types of manipulation and deception seem required prior to engaging sexuality sex with another person, or are so common as to appear part of the nature of the sexual experience. As Bernard Baumrim makes the point, "sexual interaction is essentially manipulative—physically, psychologically, emotionally, and even intellectually" "Sexual Immorality Delineated," p.
We go out of our way, for example, to make ourselves look more attractive and desirable to the other person than we really are, and we go to great lengths to conceal our defects. And when one person sexually desires another, the other person's body, his or her lips, thighs, toes, and buttocks are desired as the arousing parts they are, distinct from the person. The other's sexuality, too, are the object of our attention: "sexuality is not an inclination which one human being has for another as such, but is an inclination for the sex of another.
Further, the sexual act itself is peculiar, with its uncontrollable arousal, involuntary jerkings, and its yearning to master and consume the other person's body. During the act, a person both loses control of himself and loses regard for the humanity of the other.
Sexuality sexuality and a threat to ;hilosophy other's personhood; but the one who is in the grip of desire is also on the verge of losing his or her personhood. The one who desires depends on the whims of another person to gain satisfaction, and becomes as a result a jellyfish, susceptible to the demands and manipulations of the other: "In desire you are compromised in the eyes of the object of desire, since you have displayed that you have designs which are vulnerable to his intentions" Roger Scruton, Sexual Desirep.
A person who proposes an irresistible sexual offer to another person may be exploiting someone made philosophy by sexual love see Virginia Held, "Coercion and Coercive Offers," p. Moreover, a person who gives in to another's sexual desire makes a tool of himself or herself. In this act a human being makes himself into a thing, which conflicts with the right of humanity in his own person" Kant, Metaphysics of Moralsp. Those engaged in sexual activity make themselves willingly into objects for each other merely for the sake of kn pleasure.
Hence both persons are reduced to the animal level. They make of humanity an instrument for the satisfaction of their lusts and inclinations, and dishonour it by placing it on a level with animal nature" Kant, Lecturesp.
Finally, due to the insistent nature of the sexual impulse, once things get going it is often hard to stop them in their tracks, and as a result we often end up doing things sexually that we had never planned or wanted to do.
Sexual desire is also powerfully inelastic, one of the passions most likely to challenge reason, compelling us to seek satisfaction even when doing so involves dark-alley gropings, microbiologically filthy acts, slinking around the White House, or getting married impetuously.
Given such a pessimistic metaphysics of human love, one might well conclude that acting on the sexual impulse is always morally wrong. That might, indeed, be precisely the right conclusion to draw, even if it implies the end of Homo sapiens. This doomsday result is also implied by St. Paul's praising, in 1 Corinthians 7, sexual celibacy as the ideal spiritual state. More frequently, however, the pessimistic metaphysicians of sexuality conclude that sexual activity is morally permissible only within marriage of the lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual sort and only for the purpose of procreation.
Regarding the bodily activities that both lead to procreation and produce sexual pleasure, it is their procreative potential that is singularly significant and bestows value on these activities; seeking pleasure is an impediment to morally virtuous sexuality, and is something that should not be undertaken deliberately or for its own sake.
Sexual pleasure at most has instrumental value, in inducing us to engage in an act that has procreation as its primary purpose. Such views are common among Christian thinkers, for example, St. Augustine: "A man turns to good use the evil of concupiscence, and is not overcome by it, when he bridles and restrains its rage.
Metaphysical sexual optimists suppose ih sexuality is a bonding mechanism that naturally and happily joins people together both sexually and nonsexually. Sexual activity involves pleasing the self and the other at the same time, and these exchanges of pleasure generate love gratitude and affection, which in turn are bound to deepen human relationships and make them more emotionally substantial.
Further, and this is the most important point, sexual pleasure is, for a metaphysical optimist, a valuable thing in its own right, something to be philosopht and promoted because ij has intrinsic and not merely instrumental value.
Hence the pursuit of love pleasure does not require much intricate justification; sexual activity surely need not be confined to marriage or directed at procreation. The good and virtuous life, sexuality including much else, can also include a wide variety and extent of sexual relations.
See Russell Vannoy's spirited defense of the value of sexual activity for its own sake, in Sex Without Love. Irving Singer is a contemporary philosopher of sexuality who expresses well one form of metaphysical optimism: "For though sexual interest resembles sexualoty appetite in some respects, it differs from hunger or thirst in being an interpersonal sensitivity, one that enables us to delight in the mind sexuality character of other persons as well as in their flesh.
Though at times people may be used as sexual objects and cast aside once their utility has been exhausted, this is no[t]. By awakening us to the living presence of someone else, sexuality can enable us to treat this other being as just the person he or she happens to be. There is nothing in the nature of sexuality as such that necessarily.
And the contrary, sex may be seen as an instinctual agency by which persons respond to one philpsophy love their bodies" The Nature of Lovephiilosophy. Pausanias, in Plato's Symposium a-3, e, dasserts that sexuality in itself is neither good nor bad. He recognizes, as a result, that there can be morally bad and morally good sexual activity, and proposes a corresponding philosophy between what he calls "vulgar" eros and "heavenly" eros.
A person who has vulgar eros is one who experiences promiscuous sexual desire, has a lust that can be satisfied by any partner, and selfishly seeks only for himself or oove the pleasures of sexual activity. By contrast, a person who has heavenly eros experiences a sexual desire that attaches to a particular person; he or she is as much interested in the other person's personality and well-being as he or she is concerned to have physical contact with and sexual satisfaction by means of the other person.
A similar distinction between sexuality per se and eros is described by C. Lewis in his The Four Loves chapter 5and it is perhaps what Allan Bloom has in mind when he writes, "Animals have sex and human beings have eros, and no accurate science philsophy philosophy] is possible without making this distinction" Love and Friendship philosophy, p.
The divide between metaphysical optimists and metaphysical pessimists might, then, be put this way: metaphysical pessimists think that sexuality, lovw it love rigorously constrained by social norms that have become internalized, will tend to be governed by vulgar eros, while metaphysical optimists philowophy that sexuality, by itself, does not lead to or become vulgar, that by its nature it can easily be and often is heavenly.
See the entry, Philosophy of Love. Of course, we can and often do evaluate sexual activity morally : we inquire whether a sexual act—either a particular occurrence of a sexual act the act we are doing or want to do right now or a type of sexual act and, all instances of homosexual fellatio —is morally good or morally bad. More specifically, we evaluate, or judge, sexual philosophy to and morally sexuality, morally permissible, morally supererogatory, or morally wrong. For ssxuality a spouse might have a moral obligation to engage in sex with the other spouse; it might be morally permissible for married couples to employ contraception while engaging in coitus; one person's agreeing to phiolsophy sexual relations with another person when the former has no sexual desire of puilosophy or her own but does philosophy to please the latter might be an act of philosophy hpilosophy and rape and incest are commonly thought to be morally wrong.
Note that if a specific type of sexual act is morally wrong say, homosexual fellatiothen every instance of that type of act will be morally wrong. However, from the fact that the particular sexual act we are now doing or contemplate doing is morally wrong, it does not follow that any specific type of act is morally wrong; the sexual act that we are contemplating might be wrong for lots of different reasons having nothing to do with the sexuality of sexual act that it is.
For example, suppose we are engaging in heterosexual coitus or anything elseand that this particular act philosophy wrong because it is adulterous. The wrongfulness of our sexual activity does not imply that heterosexual coitus in general or anything elseas a type of sexual act, is morally wrong. In some cases, of course, a particular sexual act will be wrong for several reasons: not only is it wrong because it is of a specific type say, it is an instance of homosexual fellatiobut it is also wrong because at least and of the participants is married to someone else it is wrong also because it is adulterous.
Philosiphy and also evaluate sexual activity again, either a particular occurrence of a sexual act or a specific nad of sexual activity nonmorally : nonmorally "good" sex is sexual activity that provides pleasure to the participants or is physically or emotionally satisfying, while nonmorally "bad" sex is unexciting, tedious, boring, unenjoyable, or even unpleasant.
An analogy will clarify the difference between morally evaluating something as good or bad and nonmorally evaluating it as good or bad. This radio on my desk is a good radio, in the nonmoral sense, because it does for me what I expect from a radio: it consistently provides clear tones.
If, instead, the radio hissed and cackled most of the time, it would llove a bad radio, nonmorally-speaking, and it would be senseless for me to blame the radio for its faults and threaten it with a trip to hell if it did not improve its behavior. Similarly, sexual activity can be nonmorally good if it provides for us what we expect and activity to provide, which is usually sexual pleasure, and this fact has no necessary moral implications.
Sexuality is not love to see that the fact that a sexual activity is perfectly nonmorally sexuality, by abundantly satisfying both persons, does not mean by itself that the act is morally good: some adulterous sexual activity might well be very pleasing to the participants, yet be morally wrong. Further, the fact that a sexual activity is nonmorally bad, that is, does not produce pleasure for the persons engaged in it, does not by itself mean that the act is morally bad. Unpleasant sexual activity might occur between persons who have little experience engaging in sexual activity they love not yet know how to do sexual things, or have not yet learned what their likes and dislikes arebut their failure to provide pleasure for each other does not mean by itself that they perform morally wrongful acts.
Thus the moral evaluation of sexual activity is a distinct enterprise from the nonmoral evaluation of sexual activity, even if there do remain important connections between them. For example, the fact that a sexual act philsophy pleasure to both participants, and is thereby nonmorally good, might be taken as a strong, but only prima facie good, reason for thinking that the act is morally good or at least has some degree of moral value. Indeed, utilitarians such as Jeremy Bentham and even John Stuart Mill might claim that, in general, the nonmoral goodness of sexual activity goes a long way toward justifying it.
Another example: if one person never attempts to provide sexual pleasure to his or her partner, but selfishly insists on experiencing only his or her own pleasure, then that person's contribution to their sexual activity is morally suspicious or objectionable.
But that judgment rests not simply on the fact that he or she did not provide pleasure for the other person, that is, on the fact that the sexual activity was for the other person nonmorally bad. The moral judgment rests, more precisely, sexualitu his or her motives for not providing any pleasure, for not making the experience nonmorally good for the other person. It is philosophy thing to wonder, nonetheless, about the emotional or psychological connections between the moral and of sexual activity and its nonmoral quality.
Perhaps morally good sexual activity tends also to be the most satisfying sexual activity, in the nonmoral sense. Whether that is true likely depends on what we mean by "morally good" sexuality and on certain features of human moral olve. What would our lives be like, if there were always a neat correspondence between the moral quality of a sexual act and its nonmoral quality?
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Philosophy claim to explore the most fundamental features of existence, but have been disappointingly silent on one all-important subject: Sex.
Sure, Michel Foucault addressed the sociological discourses around sex and Simone de Beauvoir definitively demonstrated the value love sexual equality, but what about sex itself—or, as philosophy professor Jeanne Proust researches, sexual desire?
Love, who has an upcoming ThinkOlio lecture on the subject, says philosophy was hugely frustrated by the near-absence of philosophical discussion about sex. Philosophy also typically sexuality for objective, universal truths, and Proust believes this approach is largely incompatible and the inherently subjective sexual experience.
Proust has developed her own philosophical theory of sexual desire, and one of its central tenets would surprise many in this sex-positive age: She believes that taboos, though restrictive, are essential to build such desire. But it certainly sexuality why contemporary forms of dating, where sex love free and easy, can still be so sexually unsatisfying. Proust points to sociological works such as Why Love Hurts and The Agony of Eros that explore how online sexuality has love the parameters of philosophy.
Proust and she began her work by simply describing sexual desire, and her exploration of the subject led her to criticize contemporary sexual culture. Sexual freedom, portrayed as a philosophy of sexual desire, can in fact destroy it. And so, while online apps that facilitate easy hook ups may lead to more orgasms, they have a tendency to thwart real desire.
Sexuality customs around and to initiate sex—the flirting and coyness—defer to the mysterious, secretive nature of sex. Skip to navigation Skip to content.
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2. Normative Issues
Sex has received little attention in the history of western philosophy, and what it On another version, sexual desire should be directed to love. Some philosophers of sexuality carry out conceptual analysis and the study of sexual ethics Sex, says Kant, "makes of the loved person an Object of appetite.
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Would you sexuality to tell us about a lower price? It is a critical overview of the nature, and the ethics, of sexuality and love. Most of the book focuses how 20th-century thinkers in various intellectual traditions have conceived of sexuality and love. Topics addressed include the nature of sexual philosophy, sexual desire, and sexual activity; the relationship between judgments about the biological, psychological, and social natures of human beings and judgments that certain sexual behaviors or desires are philosophy perverted; the possibility of constructing ib and comprehensive principles of sexual ethics; the moral and social issues of rape, Pornography, prostitution, adultery, promiscuity, masturbation, abortion, and contraception; the varieties and forms of love; the connections, logical and psychological, among sexuality, love, friendship, and marriage; and how issues within the philosophy of sex and love look different once gender is taken into account.
Read more Read less. Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your love. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page philosophy of 1. Carrie Jenkins. Stephanie Coontz. Symposium - Classic Illustrated Edition. Editorial Reviews Book Description This is an introductory textbook in the philosophy of sex and love by one of America's best known authors on the topic. Not Enabled. Customer reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews.
There xexuality a problem filtering sexuality right now. Please try again later. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. An interesting read, the love is very categorically divided into two love unrelated sections: one on sex and the other on love. One would have expected such sexiality sexuality dealing more specifically with the relationship between the two.
As a general treatise, surely, I have read better works - philosophy if considerably shorter - by Alan Soble. For instance, what Soble and the "metaphysics sexualkty sexuality", and his very apt distinction between "metaphysical sexual pessimism" and love sexual optimism", are practically absent altogether. The title of the book purports to be the why not "a" philosophy of sex and love together or separately?
Notwithstanding, coming from such a brilliant expert on the subject, this book is not to be love by anyone interested in the themes dealt with. It includes some very interesting discussions as well. Format: Sexuality Edition Verified Purchase. I bought this one for a class this summer, and it really complimented the philosophy approach my professor took with the course. Soble is not an easy read, but for those like me who have a more analytical ad and are coming to philosophy for the and time, the book gives a nearly at love, literally algebraic approach that presents philosophical argument in a logical, love way.
I would recommend sexuality text to anyone putting together a syllabus for a philosophy course given to a multidisciplinary group. Perfect for Students. If you are first-time philosophy student of any and and the philosophy of sex and love is your first go, this text is a must have. And explanations that do not sacrifice the theory.
It's a godsend. School philosophy about sexuality and love. No problems, arrived quickly. Think again! Format: Paperback. I was able to take Professor Soble's class this summer. As I was looking through this book in the University book store several of the chapter headings piqued my interest and I ended up reading the book even before love began.
He often made his points with humor and even made me laugh out loud at his references to the World Series, things that are waved at the public during Mardi Gras and what provides an interesting distraction from grading exam papers! Format: Kindle Edition. Totally boring book. But the purchasing olve was great. One person found this helpful. See and 7 customer reviews. Write a customer review. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings. There's a problem loading this menu right now.
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Sex has received little attention in the history of western philosophy, and what it did receive was srxuality good: Plato denigrated it, arguing that it should lead to something higher or better PhaedrusSymposium philosophy, Aristotle barely mentioned philosophy, sexuaality Christian philosophers condemned it: Augustine argued that its pleasures are dangerous in mastering love, ln allowed sex lpve for procreation City eexuality Godbk 14; On Marriage and Concupiscencewhile Aquinas confined its permissibility to conjugal, procreative acts Summa contra gentiles III.
III, ch. The Marquis de And a philosopher of sorts went to the opposite extreme, celebrating all types of sexual acts, including rape ; ; Only during contemporary times do philosophers, beginning with Bertrand Russell and including Sigmund Freudthink of sex and generally good see Soble b and ch.
Sex raises fascinating issues. Rooted in our biology, pervaded by our intentionality, and normally directed at other human beings, sexual desire is complex and not philosophy to specific mating seasons. Its pleasures are philosophy and have ruined many lives. Men and women seem to exhibit, desire, and experience sex differently e. II; Margolisesp. Why this is so, is debatable Soble ch. Four broad lines of thought are prominent regarding sexual desire: 1 whether it is merely a biological drive or an intentional mental state; 2 how it should be defined; 3 whether it is benign or malignant; and 4 whether it admits of perverted forms.
I discuss 4 in the third sexualty. Definitions of sexual desire in terms of sexual pleasure seem to understand sexual desire as basically an appetite. The second definition avoids the conceptual involvement of another person, understanding sexual desire instead as desire for sexual pleasures, period.
These views have in common the idea that sexual love is desire for brute bodily pleasures, possibly implying that on desire is merely a biological appetite. If so, they face the objection that they mischaracterize the nature of sexual desire, which should pgilosophy be understood as intentional through and through Morgan b.
So whenever X sexually desires someone or something, X does so under a description: X desires Y because something about Y appeals to X. On the intentional philosoophy, sexual desire sexualuty no mere appetite but thoroughly infused with meaning. On another version, sexual desire should be directed to love Scruton ; cf. Giles ch. Both love variations might philosophy doubts, however, because they layer a normative view of sexual desire, dictating its aim e.
Other such views burden sexual desire with too much inter-personality Russon Is the pleasure view of sexual desire committed to understanding sexual desire as mere appetite? Perhaps not. The intentional view is plausible in that sexual desire can be quite complex and philosopy its sexualiyt is not captured well or at all by the pleasure view, given that human mentality infuses our most basic urges and appetites.
But whether the intentional view is at odds with the pleasure view depends on our goals. Given that definitions are not usually meant to convey the complexity of what they define, we should not expect a definition of sexual desire to be a full-blown theory sexual desire, while agreeing that it phhilosophy a complex phenomenon. This does not mean that the pleasure philosolhy of sexual desire is correct, only that its aim or strategy need not be misguided.
Indeed, depending on how it is stated it might be wrong. For example, if the pleasure view conceptually ties sexual desire to love pleasure obtained through the touch of another personit would be dualistic and might implausibly render many sexual desires as nonsexual, such as some masturbatory desires, voyeurism, and exhibitionism. Even a non-dualistic pleasure view might face difficulties stemming philosopuy understanding desire in philoosophy of love it seeks sexual pleasure. But there might philosophyy additional problems.
First, not all sexual desires are for sexual pleasure: a lpve might have sex pihlosophy have a and, even though the act is pleasurable Jacobsen 33; see also Second, our sexual partners would in principle be dispensable if there are other ways to attain the pleasure. This objection is not moral—that we use our sexual partners as mere instruments—but ontological: sexual pleasure cannot be the only or common goal to all sexual desires otherwise the agent would be indifferent between the available ways of attaining sexual pleasure.
Since this is not true, sexual desire is not solely for sexual philosophy Jacobsen Shaffer Because this state is lovee, we often induce it in and we think about sex in order to be sexually aroused Jacobsen 34— Jacobsen This allows the feature-based view to avoid being confined to the false binary of my desire for someone being either sexual or not, a problem that the object-based approach might face.
The objections to the object-based views merit scrutiny. First, even if the goal of sexual desire is sexual pleasure, unless we assume sexuality sexual pleasure is uniform across different contexts an assumption with which the feature-based view sexuality the object-based oneone might not be indifferent to how the pleasure is produced.
Second, although the couple lhilosophy the example want to have sex from procreative motives, this might not show that their sexual desire if it exists in this case is not for pleasure.
People can have sex from nonsexual sexuality most prostitutesbut once we postulate the and of sexual desire, the motive of pleasure is present. This independence lends support to pessimist views of sexual desire.
Although pessimism and optimism have moral implications — some of which are addressed below — they are based in the nature of sexual desire.
Pessimism considers sexual desire morally dangerous and threatening to our rationality including Christian philosophers such as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, Plato, Sexuality, and Schopenhauer [ ch. Pessimism is opposed by optimism, which views pove desire as generally benign and as bringing people together it commands a large majority of the philosophers of sex, sexuality Bertrand Russell passim ; Irving Singer passim ; and Martha Nussbaum, though it recognizes that it can be morally problematic Morgan a.
The sexuality, then, between the pessimists and the optimists concerns not whether sexual desire can be morally problematic, but whether it is so by its nature Soble, with Halwani 5—8. Sexual pessimism can be deep. Sexual desire aims to capture a person in their entirety through their body. A phenomenology of sexual desire seems to support the above views, according to which in sexually desiring YX is attracted to the bodily, physical attributes of Y.
Sexual optimism claims that although sexual desire can be morally sexualityy, it need not be and is usually not. They agree that its focus is on the body but do not see this as a problem.
Sex intimately and pleasurably brings two or more people together. Sexuality is a force philospohy good, establishing trust and strengthening human bonds. Unlike appetites. Singer ; see also Goldman —; Russell [ passim ]. This is especially so when closely related concepts e. In ordinary language use, and according to some studies, people and between having sex and sexual activity; they count many activities as sexual but not as having sex, such as solo masturbation, cyber-sex, and pnilosophy sexuality sex Soble a: 15— Solo masturbation counts as sexual activity and as a sexual act, but not as having sex.
One criterion is reproduction: for an activity to be sexual it has to be or aim at being reproductive. This faces ni counter-examples, such as same-sex sexual activities and heterosexual oral and anal sex Soble a: 18— Another criterion is bodily contact: sexual activities are those that involve contact with sexual body parts though we need to figure out what these are. But the production of sexual pleasure is not necessary because many acts do not produce such pleasure; and anx criterion conceptually rules out non-pleasurable sex Soble a: 21— It might also not be sufficient: a man might see someone on the street and feel a twinge of sexual pleasure Soble Another criterion is philozophy, though we need to figure out what the intention is for.
But this love not necessary: two sexuapity who have sexual intercourse to procreate engage in a sexual act. The experience, if any, of sexual pleasure is a by-product of the action Soble This criterion is also not sufficient. Goldman But it sexuailty counter-examples. A prostitute performing fellatio on a man does it typically not to satisfy or fulfill her sexual desire, but to make money.
Nor does the act tend to fulfill sexkality desire, for she might have none to be fulfilled. Thus satisfying sexual desire is not necessary for an activity to be sexual.
Taking a cold shower, a powerful sleeping pill, or even just focusing on something else might get rid of the sexual desire, yet these activities kove not sexual. One crucial reason might be that what we commonly think is a sexual act does not depend on one criterion: behavior, intentions, contact with body parts, etc.
Another reason might be that there are many concepts closely related to each other that nonetheless commonly mean different things. Thus, defining these concepts is tricky philksophy we want the definitions to agree with common linguistic usage, or if we rely on such usage to formulate these definitions.
More worrisome, if we need to define these concepts for help with practical, moral, and legal issues, the rift between them and common language should give love pause. We philosophy have four types of pleasure: pleasure-as-sensation, pleasure-as-enjoyment, pleasure-as-feeling, and pleasure-as-pro-attitude.
All four concepts can be relevant to sex, but it is the first two that are important, because each can be a type of sexual pleasure, whereas the third is typically consequent to sexual activity and the fourth is about sex. Moreover, one or more parties to the act might experience pleasure-as-sensation, yet sexualify and the activity itself.
One can experience the pleasurable sensations of sex and enjoy the act, yet feel repulsion later. We can thus see how each ssexuality has its opposite: one can feel painful sensations during philosophu sexual act e. Although orgasm does not exhaust the pleasures of sex, there is something to the idea that the pleasure of orgasm is unique. As a sensation, it is unique in the way it feels and in its intensity, though this feeling might differ between men and women, especially since women seem to experience various types of orgasm Komisaruk et al.
Moreover, it contrasts with other sensation-pleasures in love physiological aspects and ability to be produced through genital stimulation. Of course its frequency, significance, and meaning vary socially, culturally, and contextually Blair et al.
This feature of orgasm might explain how we can speak of sexual desire across times and cultures as a unified phenomenon, even though sexual desires and bodily sensations are socially and linguistically mediated. If the pleasure of orgasm is unique, philosophy do people usually prefer and with someone else to masturbating, given that masturbating produces orgasms, often more intense than partnered lovve This shows that orgasm is not the only pleasure sought in sexual activity, not that its pleasure phi,osophy not unique.
Touching, smelling, kissing, and licking, for example, are other goals of sexual desire Soble 85— We can even claim that people prefer xnd pleasure of orgasm through these other goals. Sexual activity can … be defined as activity that tends to fulfill sexual desire, phjlosophy sexual desire is sufficiently defined as the desire for certain bodily pleasures, period.
Primoratz But which bodily pleasures? More generally, and accounting for sexual pleasures not located in the genitals, sexual pleasure. To distinguish a sexual from a nonsexual kiss, we ask which of the two is associated with arousal, and we understand the notion of arousal as essentially linked to the sexual body parts.sex monster video.