Sexual Love and Western Morality, 2nd edition. 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. Aquinas and Nagel agree that such activities are unnatural and perverted, but they disagree about the grounds of that evaluation. For this reason alone, on Aquinas's view, such activities are immoral, a grave offense to the sagacious plan of the Almighty. Thus in evaluating whether a sexual act will be overall nonmorally good or bad, not only its anticipated pleasure or satisfaction must be counted, but also all sorts of negative undesired side effects: The move historically and socially away from a Thomistic moralistic account of sexual perversion toward an amoral psychological account such as Nagel's is representative of a more widespread trend:
If the penis entering the vagina is the paradigmatic natural act, then any other combination of anatomical connections will be unnatural and hence immoral; for example, the penis, mouth, or fingers entering the anus. Muehlenhard, Charlene, and Jennifer Schrag. The good and virtuous life, while including much else, can also include a wide variety and extent of sexual relations. Applying this formula, Aquinas concluded that the purpose of sexual activity and the sexual organs in humans was procreation, as it is in the lower animals. Thus in evaluating whether a sexual act will be overall nonmorally good or bad, not only its anticipated pleasure or satisfaction must be counted, but also all sorts of negative undesired side effects: Indeed, all these pragmatic and prudential factors also figure into the moral evaluation of sexual activity: Robert Gray is one philosopher who has taken up this line of ordinary thought and has argued that "sexual activity" should be analyzed in terms of the production of sexual pleasure. On the contrary, sex may be seen as an instinctual agency by which persons respond to one another through their bodies" The Nature of Love, vol. Sexual Love and Western Morality, 2nd edition. I talked about it in a previous post. Sexual Activity and Sexual Pleasure In common thought, whether a sexual act is nonmorally good or bad is often associated with whether it is judged to be a sexual act at all. The view that the presence of any kind of pressure at all is coercive, negates the voluntary nature of participation in sexual activity, and hence is morally objectionable has been expressed by Charlene Muehlenhard and Jennifer Schrag see their "Nonviolent Sexual Coercion". Solomon, Robert, and Kathleen Higgins, eds. Note that if a specific type of sexual act is morally wrong say, homosexual fellatio , then every instance of that type of act will be morally wrong. I would like to illustrate the conceptual philosophy of sexuality by focusing on one particular concept, that of "sexual activity," and explore in what ways it is related to another central concept, that of "sexual pleasure. Suppose we assume, for the sake of discussion only, that heterosexual coitus is a natural human sexual activity and that homosexual fellatio is unnatural, or a sexual perversion. Translated by Mary Gregor. These activities might be unnatural, and perhaps in some ways prudentially unwise, but in many if not most cases they can be carried out without harm being done either to the participants or to anyone else. Thus, depending on what particular moral principles about sexuality one embraces, the various ingredients that constitute the nonmoral quality of sexual acts can influence one's moral judgments. The moral judgment rests, more precisely, on his or her motives for not providing any pleasure, for not making the experience nonmorally good for the other person. Translated by Louis Infield. Perversion, then, is a departure from or a truncation of a psychologically "complete" pattern of arousal and consciousness. It follows, for Aquinas, that depositing the sperm elsewhere than inside a human female's vagina is unnatural: Of course, those in the Natural Law tradition deny that consent is sufficient, since on their view willingly engaging in unnatural sexual acts is morally wrong, but they are not alone in reducing the moral significance of consent. 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?
Video about what is sex according to philosophy:
Sex Advice from Ancient Philosophers
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