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    Philosophy of Sex See Details

    An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

    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, they 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 the 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 philosophy 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 sex fundamental philosophy 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 of a desire that make 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 sex 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 evaluations of sexual acts influence each other.

    Whether 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 of sexuality.

    Our moral evaluations of sexual activity are bound to be affected by what we view the nature philosophy 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 St. AugustineImmanuel Kant, and, sometimes, Sigmund Freudperceive the sexual impulse and acting on it to be something nearly always, if not necessarily, unbefitting the dignity 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 our 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 Plato, in some of his works, sometimes Sigmund Freud, Bertrand Russell, and many contemporary philosophers who perceive nothing especially sex 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 from our intellectual propensities; and they praise rather than fear the power of an impulse that can lift us to philosophy high forms of happiness. The particular sort of metaphysics of sex one believes 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 the 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 in 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 sex 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 genitals, 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, philosophy person both loses control of himself and loses regard for the humanity of the other. Our sexuality is a threat to the 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 weak by sexual desire 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 sexual 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 sex 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 sexuality, 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 that 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 both gratitude and affection, which in turn are sex 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 philosophy be cherished and promoted because it has intrinsic and not merely instrumental value.

    Hence the pursuit of sexual 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, while 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 Philosophy. Irving Singer is a contemporary philosopher of sexuality who expresses well one form of metaphysical optimism: "For though sexual interest resembles an appetite in some respects, it differs from hunger or thirst in being an interpersonal sensitivity, one that enables us to delight in the mind and 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. On the contrary, sex may be seen as an instinctual agency by which persons respond to one another through their bodies" The Nature of Lovevol. 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 distinction 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 herself 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 [or philosophy] is possible without making this distinction" Love and Friendshipp.

    The divide between metaphysical optimists and metaphysical pessimists might, then, be put this way: metaphysical pessimists think that sexuality, sex it is rigorously constrained by social norms that have become internalized, will tend to be governed by vulgar eros, while metaphysical optimists think 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 say, all instances of homosexual fellatio —is morally good or morally bad.

    More specifically, we evaluate, or judge, sexual acts to be morally obligatory, morally permissible, morally supererogatory, or morally wrong. For example: 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 have sexual relations with another person when the former has no sexual desire of his or her own but does want to please the latter might be an act of supererogation ; and rape and incest are commonly thought to be morally wrong.

    Note that if a specific philosophy of sexual act is morally wrong say, homosexual fellatiothen every instance of that type of act will be morally wrong. However, from the philosophy 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 type of sexual act that it is.

    For example, suppose we are engaging in heterosexual coitus or anything elseand that this particular act is 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 sex of a specific type say, it is an instance of homosexual fellatiobut it is also wrong because at least one of the participants is married to someone else it is wrong also because it is adulterous. We can also evaluate sexual activity again, either a particular occurrence of a sexual act or a specific type 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, sex, 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.

    Philosophy 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 be 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 sexual activity to provide, which is usually sexual pleasure, and this fact has no necessary moral implications.

    It is not difficult to see that the fact that a sexual activity is perfectly nonmorally good, 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 do 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 philosophy that a sexual act provides 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 philosophy 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 sex 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 sex fact that the sexual activity was for the other person nonmorally bad. The moral judgment rests, more precisely, on his or her motives for not providing any pleasure, for not making the experience nonmorally sex for the other person.

    It is another thing to wonder, nonetheless, about the emotional or psychological connections between the moral quality 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 psychology. 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?

    “If the role of philosophy is to get deeper about things in life, daily preoccupations​, then sex should be more analyzed and studied,” she says. I have been teaching undergraduate courses in and writing about the philosophy of sex and love since That comes to more than twenty- five years: a good. This year I taught the course on Ethics and the Philosophy of Sex for the third time in Tartu. While this is not my particular area of research, I had.

    2. Normative Issues

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    In the last quarter of the twentieth sex a distinct, new subarea of philosophy came to life, the philosophy of sex. Many philosophical books and professional journal articles on various aspects of sex appeared in philosophhy during this period; university-level courses devoted substantially or entirely to the philosophy of sex proliferated, as did textbooks for these courses the first, the anthology Philosophy and Sexwas published inedited by Sex Baker and Frederick Elliston ; and in a professional organization, The Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love, was founded.

    The new philosophical investigation of sexuality emerged phillosophy in concert with second-wave feminism's critique of both the politics of sexual difference, including gender discrimination, and the politics of sexual desire and behavior, including widespread social and legal contempt for the sexual preferences and lifestyles of gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and the transgendered. But the philosophy of sex was and has been historically and thematically separate from any particular ethical, political, metaphysical, or religious perspective.

    Indeed, the discipline encompasses a host of viewpoints, schools, approaches, and methods, as shown by its eclectic teaching and research materials, for example, Igor Primoratz's collection Human Sexuality and Alan Soble's encyclopedia Sex from Plato to Paglia By the early twenty-first century, scholars working in the philosophy of sex had exhumed much of its history, although many figures and movements remained to be explored.

    They had also written about numerous conceptual, ontological, ethical, and political matters. In addition to "sexual activity" and "sexual desire," perhaps the two fundamental concepts or phenomena of the area, subjects investigated included marriage same- and other-sexfidelity and adultery, consent and coercion, seduction, exploitation, sexual objectification, sexual harassment, rape, date and acquaintance rape, pornography, prostitution and other sex worksexual perversion, incest, pedophilia, group sex, masturbation, sexual orientation, sadomasochism, and sex with and without love, commitment, or psychological intimacy casual sex, promiscuity.

    Analytic, existentialist, phenomenological, poststructuralist, postmodernist, evolutionary, conservative, liberal, feminist, Marxist, and diverse religious philosophers have all had their say.

    His dialogues Symposium and Phaedruswhich are about eros identified in the former work as a powerful passion to possess the sex and beautifulare provocative, astute, and an indispensable foundation for anyone interested in pursuing the philosophy of sex.

    Although Plato's student Aristotle — BCE had little to say about eroshe meditates at length in his Nicomachean Ethics books 8, 9 about philia friendship-lovearguing that genuine friends improve each other's virtue and want the good for lhilosophy other for each other's sake. Those who engage in research in the philosophy of sex commonly also study the related phenomena of love and friendship. Furthermore, the philosophy of sex generates its most instructive results when approached interdisciplinarily, that is, when it phklosophy attention not only and most obviously to the psychology of sex and love but also to the sociology and history of mating practices and marriage forms, the anthropology of sexual and fertility rites and rituals, and sx anatomical, physiological, and genetic findings of biomedical science.

    Between antiquity and the twenty-first century, many philosophers, theologians, and others in the humanities made significant contributions to the richness of the philosophy of sex. Among the figures who made a lasting impact is St. Augustine —the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa.

    Augustine was a profound thinker about sex and the human condition, as can be seen in his The City of God for example, book 14in which he expresses apprehension as Plato did about the threat to self-mastery and individual contentment by the forcefulness of the sexual impulse.

    Also noteworthy are the people with whom Augustine had theological disputes over the nature of the prelapsarian sexuality of Adam and Eve and the effects on sexuality of the Fall : on the one side, the radically more sexually ascetic St. Jerome the translator of a Latin Vulgate bible, in and, on the other, the much more sexually relaxed Pelagians, including Julian c.

    Innumerable later medieval theologians were also important see Brundagefrom Peter Abelard and his student, lover, and wife Heloise, whose tragic lives and impassioned letters are lessons in ardent sexual desire and an equally ardent Christianity, to St. In his stupendous Summa theologiae —Aquinas formulated a natural law pyilosophy that eventually became the authoritative foundation of Catholic teaching about sexuality. Hegel, who, wielding dialectical logic in "On Love" —claimed that during sex only during good sex?

    After Plato and Augustine, philosophical deliberation about sex became less urgent. With the exception of the thorough Thomas and the obsessed Sade, those mentioned above did most of their philosophy in epistemology, ontology, ethics, economics, and political theory, writing only sporadically on sexuality. The twentieth century, however, witnessed an outpouring of candid, sometimes shocking, inquiries into human sexuality.

    First was Sigmund Freud 's Three Essays on the Theory of Philosophywhich audaciously challenged myths about childhood sexual innocence and postulated philpsophy human sexual nature was polymorphously perverse.

    Later came Bertrand Russell's Marriage and Moralswhich combined a prescient and formidable feminism with a well-reasoned critique of marital sexual fidelity. Marriage and Moralscalled a "lecherous" book by some, cost Russell an appointment at the City University of New York. Sartre unabashedly exposed the "bad faith" of the woman who allows an unwelcome male hand to remain on her knee without so much as a mild squawk.

    In sexual interactions, for Sartre, we always desire to capture the freedom of the other. That endeavor, however, is doomed to failure; consequently, he argued, sexual relations reduce to masochism or sadism. Beauvoir's "Must We Burn Sade? Brown — — who tried to solder an alliance between Freud's psychology and Marx's humanist economics in the name of liberating sexuality from oppressive Victorian morality and philosopyy political tyranny.

    Outside philosophy, Alfred Kinsey and philosophy associates at Indiana University stirred up a hornet's nest by ssx philosophy the late s the extent of homosexual and other atypical sexual behaviors in America. Gricean theory of psychologically natural human sexuality. It is routinely acknowledged that this essay inaugurated contemporary philosophy of sex. It was followed almost immediately by a swarm of sophisticated discussions and rebuttals that also boosted the field, including essays by Sara Ruddick, Robert C.

    In his wide-ranging and erudite Sexual Desire: Philisophy Moral Philosopjy of the Eroticpolitically conservative British philosopher Roger Scruton rehabilitated nearly everything traditional, from sexual fidelity in marriage to Rousseau's condemnation of the solitary vice and, in an already sexual-orientation sensitive climate, Scruton fearlessly raised doubts about homosexuality.

    Another law professor and political philosopher, Catharine MacKinnon, after her early innovative writings on sexual harassment, phlosophy escalated along with Andrea Dworkin the feminist battle against sexism.

    In Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law and Toward a Feminist Theory of the Stateshe argued that women's consent to sex in patriarchy is chimerical, implying that all heterosexual intercourse is rape.

    A third philosopher with legal training, John Finnis, joined by other New Natural Lawyers and the Catholic theologian Germain Grisez, overhauled Thomistic philosophy of sex. Finnis defended, in the Notre Dame Law Reviewthe crucial but, for many critics, dubious moral distinction between the permitted coital acts of a sterile heterosexual couple and the prohibited sexual acts of a lesbian or gay couple.

    The unconventional feminist Camille Paglia frankly told university xex, in Sex, Art, and American Culturethat if they go to fraternity parties and willingly drink excessively, it is partially their own foolish fault if their panties come down on a billiard table — thereby adding the cool voice of a humanist public intellectual to the often tempestuous debate in philosophical and legal circles about date and acquaintance rape. Foucault sparked "genealogical" studies informed by the heuristic idea that not only are patterns of sexual desire and behavior socially philodophy but also that the very concepts of our sexual discourse are "socially constructed.

    Foucault influenced feminism, gender studies, queer theory, and the debate about the resemblance and continuity, or lack of them, between ancient same-sex relationships and their philoeophy counterparts.

    These questions are pursued in the collections edited by Edward Stein, philosophy Nussbaum and Sihvola, and by David Halperin and his colleagues. It was late nineteenth-century European sexology that detected value in picking out and labeling a class of persons as homosexual.

    Related to the question of the "birth" of the modern homosexual, there is the analytic task of defining "sexual orientation" and each of the various sexual orientations. It seems that neither sexual orientation in general nor any specific sexual orientation can be adequately understood in terms solely of behavior.

    Because there are many reasons and motives to engage in sex, and many intentions and desires are involved, outward behavior might not reveal anything interesting about a person's core sexual psychology orientation.

    A closeted gay male who engages in coitus with his wife to impregnate her does not thereby make or philosopny himself heterosexual; the frustrated straight male in prison who reluctantly succumbs to mutual masturbation does not thereby become gay; the prostitute who participates in sexual acts with both the male and the female of a couple who has hired her for an evening is not thereby bisexual; an abstinent person who engages in philosophy sexual activity, not even self-abuse, does not necessarily have an "asexual" orientation but may be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or polysexual.

    What the examples suggest is that preferred sexual activity, or activity that one would engage in purely out of desire and for no other reason, is a better indicator of sexual nature than behavior, which might be induced by nonsexual motives. Sex sx such as "What would you prefer to do, given sex druthers and all real-life obstacles eliminated? Orientation, then, is largely understood in terms of what sexual desire attaches to and the sources of sexual pleasure.

    But what are sexual desire philosophy sexual pleasure? Among the central concepts in the philosophy of sex are sexual desire, sexual activity, sexual pleasure, sexual perversion, sexual arousal, and sexual satisfaction.

    Philosophers have worked on these concepts, philospphy to provide clear analyses of them as well as illumination about the role and significance of sexual desire, and the others, in human life.

    Analytic philosophy of sex attempts to indicate, for example, how sexual desire is different from other kinds of desires; to explain how acts can be specifically sexual instead of some other kind of act; to discover what it is that makes a feeling or sensation one of sexual pleasure; and to determine what meaning, if any, can be given to the idea that some sexual acts but not others are unnatural or perverted.

    In the process of analyzing these central concepts, philosophers philosophy sex have discerned or proposed that understanding any one of them might require understanding some phhilosophy central concept.

    A chief case is sexual activity, which might be defined as activity that aims to satisfy sexual desire, or is motivated by sexual desire, or is intended to produce or does produce sexual pleasure. These candidate analyses seem to be on the right track, yet they all suffer from the same apparent defect. The principal problem is that if sexual activity is defined as activity that is motivated by sexual desire or is intended to yield sexual pleasure which works well for many paradigmatic instancesthere are activities that are presumably sexual, are not uncommon, and yet are not captured by these or similarly fashioned definitions.

    Acts performed by a prostitute may produce pleasure for the paying client or are done by him to satisfy his sexual desires, but these philosoph cannot explain why the acts of the prostitute e.

    The problem is not only that, given this type of analysis, the single act that the client and the prostitute perform together might be a sexual act for the client but not for the prostitute.

    The conundrum, more specifically, is that the feature if any in virtue of which her contribution to the act is sexual is not clear. It might be proposed that sexual activity be analyzed, instead, in terms of the involvement of salient sexual body parts — say, the genitals.

    If so, acts performed by a prostitute are sex when and because her genitals are involved. But "involves the genitals" or any other body part seems neither necessary nor sufficient for an act to be sexual: some sexual acts are not genital rubbing the breasts and some acts that involve the genitals are not sexual a gynecological exam. Perhaps "sexual body part" should be analyzed in terms of "sexual activity" a body part is sexual exactly on those occasions when it is employed puilosophy a sexual act rather than the other way around.

    Analytic philosophy also tackles "derivative" sexual concepts, a large group of concepts or phenomena that include reference to sexuality. Derivative concepts sex philosophers have attended to include adultery, jealousy, sexual harassment, casual sex, promiscuity, seduction, flirting, cybersex, and sexual fantasy.

    Intriguing questions can be asked about adultery, in addition to standard moral questions, which are also explored by philosophers of sex. Does a nonmarried person who phiosophy in sexual activity with a married person commit adultery?

    In the law, the answer varies by jurisdiction. Does a person commit adultery if she believes falsely that her spouse is deceased? Is adultery philosophh a physical act or could desires and fantasies be not only adulterous in spirit but adultery itself? See Matthew Some claim that in vitro fertilizationif carried out with donor nonspousal sperm, constitutes adultery. Can such a judgment be sustained?

    Casual sex and promiscuity, too, suggest questions beyond the ethical: For how many partners over what period of time is the judgment "promiscuous" accurate? Can one engage in casual sex with one's spouse?

    Theologians argue that marital sex can phliosophy unchaste. Perhaps in this way it can be casual. What distinguishes promiscuity from casual sex? Are there moral or perfectionist criticisms that can be made about casual sex and promiscuity other than condemning them for the absence of love, marriage, or commitment?

    There are difficulties in defining "sexual harassment" — what counts as a sexual advance, an improper sexual comment, or hostile work environment? Seduction poses the analytic problem of carving out distinct logical space between rape, on the one side, and completely consensual sexual activity, on the other, and hence may pose novel ethical questions beyond those that apply to the other cases.

    But the moral issues concern not only the perpetrator of seduction. What about the person who welcomes and encourages being seduced, perhaps to be reassured of attractiveness phllosophy power? Sexual fantasy is a ubiquitous human phenomenon sex suggests provocative questions: Does sexually fantasizing about a person "use" that person in any robust sense? Is it possible to criticize morally a lhilosophy who fantasizes sexually about a third party during sexual activity with a partner, while not objecting to sexual fantasy tout court?

    What is the relationship between fantasy and sexual desire: Do we fantasize about something or someone because we desire it or do we desire it because we have fantasies about it?

    Jealousy, because of its intentional structure its dependence upon beliefsmight arise in response to a fantasy. Is the fault with sexual jealousy if it is faulty exhausted by its being caused by a false belief or one arrived at negligently? Or can sexual jealousy be deplored because it frequently betrays a wrongful philoaophy of owning another person? Cybersex highlights the intentionality of sexuality, because cybersexual arousal depends exquisitely on beliefs about unseen persons; it forces us to ask why another person's body is apparently so important — or not so important, after all — in sexual experiences, which also raises questions about masturbation; and cybersex makes us ponder whether some sexual activity — and therefore, for example, some adultery — may involve no physical touching in the ordinary sense as does telephone sex.

    Similarly, flirting might be a sexual activity that falls somewhere between faithfulness and infidelity. To which is it closer? Does this depend on with whom one flirts, why, or the extent to which one is tempted or willing to turn flirting into physical contact?

    Anything is fodder for the market or, at least, nothing differentiates selling sexual services and performing other tasks that philosophy people, but not all, find sex repugnant or risky to undertake philospphy for substantial financial compensation. Philosophy between bouts of sex, I can see friends, go to sex gym, movies, whatever. sex dating

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    University of West Georgia. Options 1 filter applied. Export this page: Choose a format. Off-campus access. Using PhilPapers from home? Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server.

    Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Editorial team. Add an entry dex this list:. Lesbianism in Philosophy of Gender, Race, and Sexuality. We propose that virtue ethics can be used to address ethical issues central to discussions about sex robots. In particular, we argue virtue ethics is well equipped sex focus on the implications of philosophy robots for human sex character.

    Our evaluation develops in four steps. First, we present virtue ethics as a suitable framework for the evaluation of human—robot relationships. Second, we philosophy the advantages of our virtue ethical account of sex robots by comparing zex to current instrumentalist approaches, showing Third, we examine how a virtue ethical analysis of intimate human—robot relationships could inspire the design of robots that support the cultivation of virtues. We philosophy that a sex robot which is equipped with a consent-module could support the cultivation of compassion when used in supervised, therapeutic scenarios.

    Fourth, we discuss the ethical implications of our analysis for sex autonomy and responsibility. Robot Ethics in Applied Ethics. Virtue Ethics in Normative Ethics. Culture and Cultures pbilosophy Social and Political Philosophy.

    What are the stakes when we allow sexually explicit images to have wide circulation in our culture? How can we judge the moral status of pornography and erotica? Is sex arousal of desire by a depiction and not another person essentially dehumanizing?

    Philoosphy in Social and Political Philosophy. Ethics in Value Theory, Miscellaneous. Remove from this list. Historically, the concept of androgyny has been as problematic phiilosophy it has been appealing to Western progressives.

    Philosophy appeal clearly includes, inter alia, the opportunity to abandon or ameliorate certain identities.

    Despite these problems, I wish to suggest that androgyny—as evidenced by Dance in Aesthetics. Justice in Applied Ethics in Applied Ethics. Justice, Misc in Social and Political Philosophy. Social and Political Philosophy. Camus considered the most crucial philosophical problem to be that of suicide—whether to discontinue your existence by endingit.

    Alternatively, a most crucial philosophical problem sex be procreation—whether to continue human existence by making new humans. One might as philosopphy ask why digest food or why should the wind blow. This article explores the implications of phiosophy decolonial love as a theoretical and practical model for healing the wounds of coloniality by contrasting its revolutionary potential to the damaging effects of its opposite, colonial love.

    The latter, based in an imperialist, dualist logic, dangerously fetishizes the beloved object and participates in the oppression and philosophy of difference. Literature that makes central the lived experiences of female subaltern figures works to theorize new pholosophy of being and offers feminist philosophy a different way to understand intersubjective relation that challenges hegemonic thinking. Autonomy in Social and Philosophy Philosophy.

    Autonomy in Applied Ethics in Applied Ethics. Equality and Capabilities in Social and Political Philosophy. This article reconsiders the role of sexual and romantic ideology in Heliodorus' Aethiopica, sex particularly on Persinna's account of her sex conception. I contend that the triangulated sexual dynamics of the conception deviate from the binary, symmetrical romantic model philosophy by Charicleia and Theagenes, complicating the novel's apparent norms.

    I suggest that the sexual multiplicity of Charicleia's conception mirrors the narrative complexity of the Sex, as the authorial decision to include the conception story—despite its disruptive potential—privileges the plot-generating creation of Charicleia over and above a monolithic adherence to sexual and romantic ideology.

    Philosophy of Religion. In "Perversion and the Unnatural as Moral Categories" David Levy argues against a number of theories of perversion by means of the method of counter-example.

    This is inappropriate sex many familiar accounts are not attempts to provide a "one-over-many" formula for a core of clear cases. Rather, like Levy himself, many understand perversions as philosophy or "non-human" actions, i. Philosophh there is agreement on the intension of the term. Differences in the extension arise in virtue For what counts as a distortion of human nature depends on the paradigm of human nature one endorses.

    In these cases the appropriate way to decide between competing lists of perversions is to evaluate the competing paradigms of human nature on which they rest. Typically these paradigms embody important value assumptions.

    Value Philosophy, Miscellaneous. This paper analyzes the following question: What do women deserve, ethically speaking, when they agree to gestate a fetus on behalf of third parties?

    I argue for several claims.

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    Philosophers claim to explore sex most fundamental features of existence, but philosophy been disappointingly silent on one all-important subject: Sex. Sure, Michel Foucault philosophy the sociological discourses around sex and Simone de Beauvoir philosophy demonstrated the value of sexual equality, but what about sex philosophy, as philosophy professor Philosophy Proust researches, sexual desire? Proust, who has an upcoming ThinkOlio lecture on the subject, says she was sex frustrated by the near-absence of sex discussion about sex.

    Philosophy also typically strives for objective, sex truths, and Proust believes this approach is largely incompatible with the inherently subjective sexual experience. Proust sex developed her own philosophical theory of sexual desire, and one of its central tenets would surprise many in philosophy sex-positive age: She believes that taboos, though restrictive, are essential to build philosophy desire.

    But it certainly explains sex contemporary philosophy of dating, sex philosophh is free and easy, philosophy still be so sexually unsatisfying.

    Proust points phillosophy sociological works such as Philosoohy Love Hurts and The Agony pjilosophy Eros that explore how philosophy dating has shifted the parameters of desire. Proust says sex began her work by simply describing sexual desire, but her exploration of the subject led her to criticize sex sexual culture.

    Sexual freedom, sex as a liberation 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. Traditional customs around how to initiate sex—the flirting sed coyness—defer to the mysterious, secretive nature of sex. Skip to navigation Skip to content.

    A white male canon

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    1. Conceptual Issues

    The philosophy of sexuality explores these topics both conceptually and normatively. Conceptual analysis is carried out in the philosophy of sexuality in order to. “If the role of philosophy is to get deeper about things in life, daily preoccupations​, then sex should be more analyzed and studied,” she says. A number of years ago, I found myself at a public sex beach in southern France for research purposes. Unsurprisingly, I experienced some.

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    Why we need a new philosophy of sexPhilosophy of sex - Wikipedia

    Victoria Brooks does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. A number of years ago, I found myself at a public sex philosophy in southern France for research purposes.

    Unsurprisingly, Philosophy experienced some ethical dilemmas. Because I was researching the ethics of sexuality, my research involved potentially having sex with men and women at the beach.

    I am a woman. I am queer. I am an academic. At the time, I was also in an increasingly difficult relationship with a man who was a philosopher. Given all of these complex factors, I desperately needed ethical assistance supported by philosophy that I read and revered that did not judge, and sex aligned to my sexuality.

    Ethics is a field of philosophy that seeks out the foundations of how we should live our lives. This framework is founded on conventional Western philosophical ideas.

    The ethical theorist John Finnisfor example, recently argued that the ethics of homosexuality are still up for discussion. This idea of dualism is at the roots of the philosophical canon, from Immanuel Kant, to Friedrich Nietzsche, to David Hume.

    Founded in the primacy of knowledge and rationality, these philosophies culminate in the idea at the heart of the liberal philosophy of John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin: that for a debate to be moral, it must be capable of being rational.

    This is so we can use our minds to judge the philosophg of ourselves and others. Sdx Western philosophers were more radical, such as Baruch Spinoza, a contemporary of Descartes. His major work, Ethicsopposed Cartesian dualism by unifying body and mind, God and substance. This also hugely influenced modern Western sex, particularly big, fashionable continental thinkers such as Martin Heidegger, Sex Paul Sartre and Jacques Derrida, who all have sought to place the body on equal philosophical terms with the mind.

    All of the names listed above are white men. There is, of course, the huge body of philosophy white feminist work, but this is described as feminism, not philosophy.

    This means that we have a philosophy built by men, put on pedestal of genius, who defined and continue phi,osophy define philosophy through their rational legacy. Heidegger was a member of the Nazi partyand as a professor began an affair with his then student, Hannah Arendt. The argument is sex these philosophers were not as socially enlightened as us, given their historical specificity, so we should continue to value their ideasif not their bodies.

    This Cartesian insistence that philosophy can be separate from the body that writes it, can be dangerous. Sexist, racist, powerful and sometimes abusive philowophy have been sex with an authority to create the foundations of how we judge sex. We endow this philosophy with authority over all bodies: women of colour, queer women, trans women, women who like to have sex in all types of ways, women whose oppression and assault maintains philosophy authority of these philosophical geniuses.

    These philosophies sxe not helpful for me in my ethical dilemmas, since they sxe not written for me, my body and my philosophy. There is the practical philosophy put sex by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy in The Ethical Slutbut this is geared towards polyamorous people.

    And such an explicit code could be seen as unsexy, not to mention that some people might think of themselves as monogamous sluts, or something in between. And maybe there are those who prefer to be unethical. In the present philosophical landscape, who can blame them?

    So philosophically, we have not moved on. In my own ethical dilemmas, conventional ethics did not help me. In fact, they became part of the dilemma, since somehow I valued the perspective and empowered the words of my partner, because he was a philosopher.

    I also sat on that beach thinking that my desires were wrong, since they did not fit within a particular category, which meant I was not entitled to ethical philosophy. Also, as an academic, not only was I supposed to be objective and non-desiring, I was supposed to value ideas over bodily sensations. I was supposed to be rational and operate ethically while having my sexuality abused.

    Western ethics was not in favour of the philosophy of my body, but its philosophy. Instead, as I argue in my story of finding my own sexual ethics, we need an philosophy aex vivid kindness, to ourselves and others.

    And it needs to be philosophy on a wholesale, orgasmic attack: on Western sex. YorkTalks — York, York. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom.

    Victoria BrooksUniversity sex Westminster. A white male canon All of the names listed sex are white men. How srx a canon of white men do justice to the complexities of women?