A Philosopher of Sex Says Sexual Freedom Is Destroying Desire by Olivia Goldhill

A Philosopher of Sex Says Sexual Freedom Is Destroying Desire by Olivia Goldhill

(Link): A Philosopher of Sex Says Sexual Freedom Is Destroying Desire

Excerpts

Philosophers 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 of sexual equality, but what about sex itself—or, as philosophy professor Jeanne Proust researches, sexual desire?

….European continental philosophy failed to address sex in large part, she believes, because “the Judeo-Christian luggage is still heavy to carry.”

Religious teachings in the West portrayed the body as “the enemy of the philosophical process,” and a dangerous distraction from intellectual thought. “It didn’t have the worth or dignity that traditional philosophical subjects are supposed to have,” she adds.

….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.

“When you feel sexual attraction, there’s something close to transgression,” she says. “When you observe how we get stimulated sexually and what makes sexual attraction very strong, the moral taboo plays a role.”

Though Proust appreciates the political value of free conversations and a lack of shame around sex, she believes that a totally open, blasé attitude can dampen desire.

“Maybe when we speak too freely about sex last night as though we were speaking about a new pair of socks, we destroy something essential to sexual desire: The secrecy and intimacy,” she says. “That’s why people from the beginning of humanity hide to have sex.”

 This isn’t to say we should encourage moralistic norms that restrict sexual liberation. But it certainly explains why contemporary forms of dating, where sex is free and easy, can still be so sexually unsatisfying.

..But there’s a potential solution. Traditional customs around how to initiate sex—the flirting and coyness—defer to the mysterious, secretive nature of sex. It’s worth honoring this timeless dance, Proust argues.


Related Posts:

(Link): We’re Casual About Sex and Serious About Consent. But Is It Working? by J. Zimmerman

(Link): Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex? America is in a Sex Recession –  by K. Jullian – via The Atlantic

(Link):  Why are young feminists so clueless about sex? by M. Wente

(Link):  Woman Says She Refuses to Hook-up with Men ‘For Fun’ – Says Most Men She’s Met Are Willing to Wait

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