P. 1
Final Phil Paper

Final Phil Paper

|Views: 81|Likes:
Published by Ai Candii

More info:

Published by: Ai Candii on Oct 28, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOCX, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





PHIL 3510: Philosophy of Sex and Love

Questions # 1 and # 3
Lecturer: Simeon Mohansingh
Tutor: Ava- Loi Forbes Id #: 60-7005674 Name: Aisha Matthews Faculty: Social Sciences

October 26, 2010

1 1. How important is this view in analysing the characteristics of any sexual activity? Does this definition then limit the acts or behaviours that may be called or deemed sexual? In light of the 21st century and taking into consideration the drastic shift in the paradigm of the state of affairs. and support your answer with the use of two (2) examples. what are the characteristics of a sexual activity that defines it as sexual instead of something else? Thomas Nagel and Robert Solomon both employ models of sexual behaviour that are characterized by flirtation and seduction (Soble. a definition cannot be proffered. gay men and other forms of activity that are typically extreme such as sadism and masochism. As customary as it is. a definition of this criterion would leave no room for lesbians. Given the concept of a ³sexual activity´. its heterosexuality or its convenience for mutual orgasm? (Soble. 2002) One can analyse this in terms of the natural law phenomenon that postulates that it is natural for sex to occur between a man and woman who are married. as Robert Solomon questions µWhat is it that makes intercourse the paradigm of sexual activity?¶ Could it be its significant biological role in conception. sex is normatively identified as only a penis penetrating a vagina. thus putting forth the paradigm of heterosexual coitus. 2002). Critically discuss. If so. However. 2002). it is one definition of sex that has held µtrue¶ over time. Moulton argues that while flirtation and seduction and traditional courtship involve sexual 60-7005674 . However. What other forms of activities could be described as having sexual significance? Would the petting and rubbing of a partner¶s body be considered sexual? Can self-stimulation or masturbation be considered sex? Does sex typically include two or more persons? Janice Moulton theorizes that we can distinguish behaviour that is sexual from behaviour that is not (Soble. An arbitrary definition of sex or sexual activity usually takes the form of describing penilevaginal intercourse.

as is seen in prostitution. A man entered the booth as that thought ran through my mind and I flashed him a smile. ³Monday nights are slow. For use as an example to further reiterate the dimensions along which sexual activity can occur. Not all sexual encounters involve flirtation and seduction. Could be because everybody has to work and it¶s the first day of the week so the work load from the previous week may be a lot to deal with. It is not the act in and of itself which causes the change but rather the awareness of the sexual barrier which has now been breached to create a sexual connection with one¶s partner. would sex as a business transaction. the follow depiction shows how little physical contact is needed to categorize an act as being innately sexual. I didn¶t mind my job. all sexual encounters typically involve contact with a sexual organ. From a normative perspective. dry humping (frottage). However prominent that correlation may be. Why is it important to define sex and to know when a sexual act has been performed? Greta Christina notes that people have a need to qualify their sexual experiences as its occurrence has caused a change in the nature of relationship they have with their now sexual partner. If sex must involve some form of foreplay. that is. I saw the craziest things happen here but some days. be defined differently than all other occurrences of sex? It most certainly would not. engage in sexual intercourse. they are independent of the physical act. days like this. I just want to go home. There are cases where both participating individuals make an arrangement to only have sex. whether it is penis-vagina. I moved for him. Kissing. other activities cannot be detracted from the sexual sphere. fore playing. rubbing. Those leading to the actual intercourse should also be classified as sexual activities because they carry significance when performed in a sexual context. sexual petting and simple acts such blowing on body parts can carry sexual connotations once it is done within a sexual context. As I waited for a customer to arrive I grew impatient. He watched and began 60-7005674 .2 feelings. vaginavagina or penis-anus.

This desired other usually expresses recursive intention and consents to the acts that may take place. I walked over to him and squatted and began masturbating. He theorizes that sexual desire is desire for contact with another person¶s body and for the pleasure which such contact produces. Alan Goldman (1977) in his paper ³Plain Sex´ attempts to define sex in its simplest form. We both had a fabulous time. We grinned at each other and watched each other until the final stroke. behaviours and actions that require or involve physical contact are not primarily sexual. As an individual experiences and takes part in various sexual activities. which would be acceptable according to Christian¶s definition of a sexual act. The definition of sex has to be expanded in order to become inclusive of all acts underlined by sexual desire. he really needed to let off the steam¶. µHard day at work I presume. a child who regresses through sucking their finger has an erogenous zone in their mouth but usually some other activity accompanies this.3 masturbating. Nights like this I couldn¶t believe I being paid to masturbate«¶ The excerpt. The child might µfeel their parents body¶ (for example arms) only for the purpose of completing the satisfaction that is felt in their 60-7005674 . For example. Sexual activity is activity which tends to fulfil the desire of the agent. in my opinion is a clear account of sexual activity although there was no direct physical contact by mutual parties they both engaged in mutual masturbation or non-penetrative sex. A sexual feeling is usually communicated to oneself through sexual feelings and physiological responses to sexual stimulation. Goldman¶s theory seems to relay thatsexual desire is only the desire to have physical contact and without that desire in and for itself. sex with women or even sex with oneself. which may include sex with men. By becoming aware of one¶s state of sexual arousal it can be communicated to desired other(s) through the above mentioned actions. the lines which separated what is sex and what is not has become hazy.

intention or pleasure but rather on the basis of the physical contact that usually defines a sexual act. that this need can only be fulfilled within a relationship. as Goldman states. The contact which occurs for both parties would be as a result of sexual desire for mutual physical contact. Kissing may be described as the act of touching with the lip as a mark of affection or greeting (Schreibman. For those cases.However. sexual desire by itself cannot be sufficient. this activity whilst it involves physical contact would not be deemed a sexual act as the desire comes from sucking the finger but is amplified through touching another person¶s or even their own body. to qualify an act of physical contact as sexual. 2000). consenting. While the contact is still made the desire that is ought is predominantly different. Greta Christiana (Soble. Her definition is wide enough to include many sexual acts transcending genital contact or orgasm and definitive enough to not include every instance of sexual awareness or arousal. where the sex act is forced upon an individual. it may not be defined as sexual as the basis of sexual desire. they are still considered sexual as the intent was to gain pleasure through sexual means. what does this mean for those encounters that are consented but not sexually gratifying? Personally. However. meaning without their mutual consent. An example of sexual behaviours underlined by sexual desire for physical contact would be visible between two people who are in a relationship and have sexual intercourse and participate in sexual activities for the purpose of satisfying a need for sexual physical contact.4 mouth on a psychological level but. mutually acknowledged pursuit of shared sexual pleasure¶. 2002) speculates that µhaving sex with someone may be the conscious. The actual kissing that may occur within a relationship would be inherently different from kissing that occurs between friends. This is the same for the act of fellatio (oral sex). 60-7005674 . using the mouth to µkiss¶ a sexual organ. This is not the state however.

his theory was formulated by comparing the sexuality of humans to that of lower animals. I disagree with the notion that the only valid purpose of sex is its procreative potential. Natural law proposes that each person should ³do good. any act of sex which leads to the unwarranted emission of semen not for the purpose of carrying on the generation is contrary to nature or a sin. Aquinas¶ works on the matter of human sexuality are largely reliant on his theory of natural law. the sole reason for sexual intercourse is procreation. For this reason.´ St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Contra Gentiles The motion was put forth by Doctor of the Church St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). According to St. in and of itself carries more weight on the human existence than just the continuity of generations. it must be a sin.5 3. I believe that sex. avoid evil´ and ³«harm no man´. designed for the purpose of procreation. Sexual activity is to be understood as a function of sexual organs. His beliefs 60-7005674 . postulated that sex is only a legitimate act when it occurs within the correct institutional context of marriage and is geared towards the procreation and continuation of the human species (Soble. in such a way that generation cannot follow is contrary to the good for man. ³Every emission of semen. Aquinas holds that these precepts are imprinted in the minds of man by God since creation. His writings. Do you agree or disagree with Aquinas? Provide justification for your response. mostly a commentary on the philosophies conveyed by Aristotle. mammals in particular. 1998). Much like other sexual optimists. Thomas Aquinas. It puts forward that what is natural in human sexuality occurs only between a man and woman who have voluntarily entered a committed relationship which is only possible within the boundaries of a monogamous marriage. not pleasure or any other purpose. With regards to sexual ethics. And if this is to be done deliberately.

Immanuel Kant supports Aquinas¶ view by positing that sex and all instances of sex objectify one person or both persons involved in the act. This plan for man ensures the preservation and continuity of the human species which is noted in the first book of the bible ³Be fruitful and multiply´ (Genesis 1:28). One must consider the psychophysiological conditions of the act. But can this be the only way to look at the morality of human sexuality? In essence Aquinas¶ view will only hold for those persons who believe in the existence of a superior divine being. before. he quotes the bible by highlighting the punishment received by persons found guilty of committing these acts. The feelings and drives associated with the act. The act between a man and a woman is a natural expression of human sexuality and depositing semen in any other place but within the vagina is unnatural. and sexual petting. He postulates that these acts are impermissible as they upset the natural order of things in God¶s design. Sex while it may described as the physical act of intercourse cannot only be seen as the insertion of a penis into a vagina for the purpose of ejaculation. make it much more than a natural function or task of sexual organs. during and after. Based on the foundations of Aquinas¶ theory. In his defence. Furthermore. But how can one be truly sure of this? The assessment of Aquinas¶ theory brings forth the nature of sex. masturbation. fellatio (oral sex).6 are centered on what he calls God¶s design of man. Aquinas also discreetly discussed his stance on other sexual acts which are described as being unnatural and indecent and otherwise defined as mortal sins. just as natural as an orgasm. These feelings cannot be ignored as they are a natural part of the act. These include homosexuality. He postulates that µto allow oneself to be used is to make an object of oneself and making an object of anyone is morally wrong´ 60-7005674 . Aquinas accepted the sexual act between unmarried couples if and only if commanded by God. it is obvious that sexual acts which occur outside of the precincts of a monogamous marriage would be immoral.

2002).7 (Soble. µmakes of themselves a tool¶ and as such reduces themselves to an animalistic level. Thirdly. The apostle St. or psychological danger. sex is seen as an appetite which requires one person or both to become the substance that is devoured or relinquished for the pleasure of another. which states that sexuality is a severe threat not only to our proper relations with. He further reinforces his claim by stating that some form of manipulation or deception is out into play and seems a requirement prior to engaging in sexual activity with another. This is all amalgamated to create an unnatural encounter whereby a person objectifies themselves for the pleasure of another. characterized by uncontrollable drives and impulses. the insistent nature of the sexual impulse is hard to stop. Paul. In all fairness. or in other words. compelling persons to seek gratification even in the presence of physical and. 1998) From his perspective. This argument refutes the claim made by theorists such as Immanuel Kant. it challenges reason. involuntary jerkings and most importantly its yearning to master and consume the other person¶s body parts (Soble. According to Soble (2002) sexual liberals judge that sexuality cannot be but conducive to our well-being without detracting from our intellectual propensities. He makes his claims aims firstly at the nature of the sexual act. St Thomas Aquinas and others against the expression of sexuality. in his teachings 60-7005674 . Once the ball begins to roll there usually is no turning back. he claims the act itself is peculiar. and normal treatment of. human sexuality is just another and most innocuous dimension of our existence in the same way that there is a need for food and shelter. Furthermore. The sexual pessimists¶ metaphysics on the nature of sexuality therefore only reinforces its procreative function and disregards all other elements of the act. other persons but also to our own humanity. The sexual desire is unnatural and immoral. The sexual liberal or optimists of sexuality perceive nothing especially obnoxious in the sexual impulse. Soble (2002) states that sexual desire is powerfully inelastic.

is not unnatural nor does it come from the need to procreate as Aquinas states. µThe bed is undefiled¶. He stipulates that the goal of sexual desire and activity is the physical contact itself. Ethics and Sex (1999) gives a good counter argument to Aquinas¶ claim that µthe¶ purpose of sex is strictly procreative by putting forward that while persons may engage in sexual activity for the purpose of procreating others may have sex although they do not or cannot intend it to result in procreation. The lack of self-control. rather that something else that this contact might express. Alan Goldman (1977) believes that sex is continuously misconstrued in relation to its cause and purpose. He argues that a purpose is subjective and as such µa purpose is always somebody¶s purpose¶ hence. for those who cannot exercise self-control. He does not overemphasize orgasms as the goal of any sexual desire or genital sex to be the only norm of sexual activity. but rather from a natural urge that was given by God. He describes sexuality simply as the desire for physical contact.8 advises by concession that while abstinence is the ideal spiritual state. because it is believed that God created that institution for the free expression of sexuality. whether it is reproduction (Aquinas). so as to not be found guilty of fornication since marriage was created and is ordained by God. expression of love. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion´. St Paul called on marriage as a solution in controlling the sexual urge. or rather the presence of a sexual drive and desire. Primoratz. should marry. 60-7005674 . communication (Nagle) or interpersonal awareness. µthere is nobody to whom this purpose can plausibly be ascribed as the purpose concerning sex¶. ³..

Bourke. 6. Routledge. Rowman& Littlefield Publishers Inc.Summa Contra Gentiles. 267-287 Primoratz. 144 Goldman. No. ch. The Philosophy of Sex and Love.). (2002). 60-7005674 . pp. Notre Dame University Press. trans V. 3.9 References Aquinas. A. Plain Sex. Notre Dame. Paragon House. Soble. (1999). pt II. T.Philosophy and Public Affiars. (1975). An Introduction. (1977). Ethics and Sex: Sex and Procreation. A. p. A. Maryland.J. London. The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings( 4th Ed. Soble. (1998).Vol. bk III. I. 122.

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->