Rebecca Ann Talcott All human beings are sexual creatures and there are few, if any, for whom the whole area of sexuality and relationships is not of interest and concern. Peter Vardy Analyse any human emotion, no matter how far it may be removed from the sphere of sex, and you are sure to discover somewhere the primal impulse, to which life owes its perpetuation.
The primitive stages can always be re-established; the primitive mind is, in the fullest meaning of the word, imperishable. Sigmund Freud, If insemination were the sole biological function of sex, it could be achieved far more economically in a few seconds of mounting and insertion.
Indeed, the least social of mammals mate with scarcely more ceremony. The species that have evolved long-term bonds are also, by and large, the ones that rely on elaborate courtship rituals. Love and sex do indeed go together. Harvard University Press What it does show is how our culture, our religious beliefs, and our emotions have prevented us from writing honestly on this most profound subject.
I would venture to say that it is almost impossible for a human to be completely happy or healthy if they are devoid of a meaningful sexual relationship. Further, evidence suggests that where sex is actively prohibited, as within certain religions, then the sexual urge, being so strong, tends to manifest in abusive ways that cause great harm to human society. The sexual abuse of children by priests is an obvious example of this.
As an evolutionary philosopher, I felt that it was important to construct a web page that discussed the subjects of Love, Sex and Orgasm sensibly, without the constraints of customs or religious belief, and from good scientific foundations. And I must admit that I find these subjects very interesting, and a welcome relief from most of my work which is in the area of Philosophy, Physics and Metaphysics.
I hasten to add though, that these other subjects are very important to sex, as they ultimately must provide the metaphysical foundations of our existence what we actually are as 'humans' existing in this Space of our universe and thus providing the moral foundations for our sexuality and human interactions. Please see links on the side of the page. Cheers, Geoff Haselhurst Note - Karene has been working very hard for the past 6 months building a comprehensive section on the Evolutionary Philosophy of Human Sexuality.
They are beautiful pages and have a great collection of latest research on our sexual evolution which is very interesting and useful!
So you are welcome to browse this page but the new sexuality pages are substantially better. Dr John Marsden says dopamine - the drug released by the brain when it is aroused - has similar effects on the body and mind as cocaine or speed.
It leaves you wanting more," the National Addiction Centre head said. His findings will appear in a BBC programme to be broadcast next month. Pounding heart "Being attracted to someone sparks the same incredible feelings no matter who you are. Love really does know no boundaries," he said. According to Dr Marsden - a chartered psychologist - the brain which processes emotions becomes "fired up" when talking to someone it finds attractive.
The heart pounds three times faster than normal and causes blood to be diverted to the cheeks and sexual organs, which causes the feeling of butterflies in the stomach, he says. However, as with cocaine and speed, the "hit" is only temporary, though it can last between three and seven years, he added. Perfect partner Dr Marsden's research for the BBC's Body Hits series suggests people look for similar features to themselves in a partner as they are searching for characteristics in their mother and father, who have already successfully raised a child.
Sex trap The research also suggests sex is booby-trapped to make partners bond. According to the research the more two people have sex together, the more likely they are to bond. However, human sexuality has a specific nature, regardless of what we believe or say about it.
We are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome, if we work with our biology rather than against it. We will be happier if we face reality on its own terms. According to Montaigne, it was the oppressive notion that we had complete mental control over our bodies, and the horror of departing from this portrait of normality, that had left the man unable to perform sexually.
It is he that governs the passions of the vulgar; for, first, they are as much attracted by women as by young men; next, whoever they may love, their desires are of the body rather than of the soul; and, finally, they make a point of courting the shallowest people they can find, looking forward to the mere act of fruition and careless whether it be a worthy or unworthy consummation.
And hence they take their pleasures where they find them, good and bad alike; for this is the Love of the younger Aphrodite, whose nature partakes of both male and female. But the heavenly Love springs from a goodness whose attributes have nothing of the female, but are altogether male; and who is also the elder of the two, and innocent of any hint of lewdness.
And so those who are inspired by this other Love turn rather to the male, preferring the more vigorous and intellectual bent. One can always tell- even among the lovers of young men - the man who is wholly governed by this elder Love; for no young man can please him until he has shown the first growth of beard. We agreed that Love itself, as such, was neither good nor bad, but only in so far as it led to good or bad behaviour.
It is base to indulge a vicious lover viciously, but noble to gratify a virtuous lover virtuously. Now the vicious lover is the follower of the earthly Love who desires the body rather than the soul; his heart is set on what is mutable and must therefore be inconstant. The first arises when the attraction is to a beautiful body and where the desire is for momentary physical possession. Here, beauty is a means of enkindling sexual passion and satisfying it.
The reasonable eros is similarly passionate, but is directed more by reason and passes through three stages: At the lowest level, the love of beauty in one body leads one to recognise that beauty is not to be found in one thing but that beauty is found in many different guises, 2.
A person finds that this has an improving influence on them and may challenge and develop them. At the third stage, it is the beauty of science or ideas in general that are found to be most attractive of all. This leads onto the search for pure beauty, or the perfect Form of beauty which, in Christian terms, is expressed most deeply in God.
Vardy, The Puzzle of Sex, Introduction All human beings are sexual creatures and there are few, if any, for whom the whole area of sexuality and relationships is not of interest and concern. This book starts by taking seriously theological reflections about sex from the perspective of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament.
I am not a Christian, so this is of no relevance to my thinking on sexual ethics. Unless we understand where existing ideas have come from, we will not be able to develop a rational way forward.
It will be suggested in this book that the time has come for a reappraisal of traditional views on sexual ethics. Such a reappraisal will, of course, be resisted as every other reappraisal has been resisted, but counter arguments then need to be presented taking account of the known evidence including that gleaned from genetics, psychology and the physical sciences.
Some hold that sexual morality is set in stone and can never alter but, as this book will make clear, this is far from the case. To claim that the time has come for a change in traditional sexual ethics is to suggest that we have reached a turning point and that to continue with old understandings is to fail to be truthful. There have been many such turning points in the history of thinking about human beings in relation to God and the whole moral order: Up to his time, most Christians had been pacifists yet Augustine claimed this understanding was inadequate and this has changed the whole subsequent way war was regarded.
Yet even in marriage a virtuous man will wish that he could manage without lust. Slavery was accepted by the Church and it took Christians like Wilberforce to overturn the conventional wisdom and to reach a new and higher level of understanding of the essential brother and sisterhood of all human beings.
He was condemned and persecuted but he arrived at new insights and, in time, different Churches came to see the merit of many of his views. The Calvinism of the Afrikaners built their security on apartheid and the subjugation of non-white South Africans. It took the pioneering work of Oscar Romero, Martin Luther-King, Trevor Huddlestone, Nelson Mandela and many others to maintain the fundamental equality of all human beings, often in opposition to established Churches.
The Reformation overturned a long Western Church tradition and Protestant Churches allowed married clergy- as the Orthodox Church has always done. The Roman Catholic Church has yet to follow the same path Most mainstream Christian Churches now accept this and see these stories as depicting the dependence of the universe on God rather than a specific accounts of events.
Moral teaching is straightforward: This book will argue that none of the above statements are straightforward and that the ethical problems are more complicated and less clear than many assume. Understandings of moral and religious ideas found in the Bible develop over time- as one would expect of any account written by human beings. Scientific knowledge of the universe develops with the passage of the years due to new discoveries, so, in a similar way, theological and moral reflections develop over the centuries.
The idea of development has not always been accepted. The tradition which comes from the Apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. Today, there is a greater appreciation of the sophistication of the biblical texts than ever in the past. Our knowledge of philosophy has increased enormously, as has our understanding of human biology and psychology. Even for those who believe in God, it would be surprising if, in the face of this increase in knowledge, our ideas of what constitutes appropriate sexual behaviour remain unchanged- yet all too often this is assumed to be the case.
As has been shown, there have been many significant moments when religious and moral ideas have altered and past understandings rejected. This same, it will be argued, now applies in the arena of sexual ethics. It is a position which can no longer be justified. It is generally understood to be absent in childhood, to set in at the time of puberty in connection with the process of coming into maturity and to be revealed in the manifestation of an irresistible attraction exercised by one sex upon the other, while its aim is presumed to be sexual union, or at all events action leading in that direction.
We have every reason to believe, however, that these views give a very false picture of the true situation. If we look into them more closely we shall find that they contain a number of errors, inaccuracies and hasty conclusions. Sexual relationships can be seen as extending from a mutual, loving relationship to rape at the other extreme. Rape is the violent subjugation of one party to the demands and wishes of another without her or his consent. This, clearly, is morally evil and a denial of the autonomy of the other party- yet it is distressingly frequent.
Rape in prison, in conditions of slavery, on the streets of large cities or even within marriage is far too common and all too often sex involves the exercise of power. Any ethical understanding of sexual behaviour has to take a firm stand on rejecting this and showing its devastating effect both on the victim and, in human terms, the perpetrator. If these are absent, distortions are likely to result which may not be resolvable without help later in life.
The negative view of human sexual nature deriving from the Christian tradition needs to be rejected and a positive approach taken to the wholeness of human experience in giving and receiving love.
Vardy, p One should never, as a minimum, engage in sexual activity with another where this does not reflect and represent a very real commitment to the personal identity and individuality of the other. In the absence of this, we are not really engaged with another human being but rather with a human being whom we are degrading to the level of an object. The more a person becomes promiscuous and is controlled by instinct or the desire for personal pleasure, the more he or she cease to be able to see the humanity of their partner and instead see them in terms of their function, as a means to temporarily satiating their desire.
At the lowest level, the love of beauty in one body leads one to recognise that beauty is not to be found in one thing but that beauty is found in many different guises. Genuine, deep love will only develop where the love is of the deeper self, the real person behind the exterior, and it will take time, care and trouble to discover this deeper person. Real lovemaking will seek not the pleasure of the self but the joy and development of the other. It is an expression of passion, love and commitment which should not have a selfish aim but which should be directed towards thinking of the other person.
Paradoxically, it will be in giving joy and pleasure that joy and pleasure will be found- but as a by-product, never as an end in itself. Real love can be costly as it may mean not holding on to someone but freeing them to move to a new stage in life.