Monday, March 7, 2011
**Friday – Solomon
Problems with Nagle – because Nagle has wrapped himself in Liberal Sexual Mythology
Liberal Sexual Mythology:
1. The aim of sex is enjoyment – this is a reaction against former doctrines (i.e.
Christian doctrine); against constraints of what we’re able to do. Thinking of sex
as pleasure is ‘opening up the doors’ – adopted new mythology to pass off old
mythology. Solomon: Made a mistake. Orgasm has taken over sex – becomes the
2. Sex is a private activity – Holdover from traditional beliefs. Comes out from
attitude of sex as enjoyment.
3. Any sex will do – Platitudes; mistakes that Nagle doesn’t get around to
explaining where the arousal goes. Solomon: lack of content in theory of
sexuality; ‘no sex’. You can’t have a theory of sex without talking what Romeo
and Juliet do after the bar. Leaves arousal in the open; interpersonal awareness;
sexual pleasure? No definition given by Nagle. What is their arousal, anticipation
for? Solomon says this is a problem.
*Papers written in the late 70’s.
We enjoy being sexually satisfied; we are not satisfied by our enjoyment.
• Enjoyment is not satisfaction; conflated satisfaction with enjoyment
• Pleasure is not the end of sexual desire; not distinctly human end (Solomon)
Sexual activity consists in speaking what we might call ‘body language.’ It has its own
grammar, delineated by the body, and its own phonetics of touch and movement. Its unit
of meaningfulness, the bodily equivalent of a sentence, is the gesture.
• Body becomes a way of communicating
• Solomon: when we have sex with other people, we are gesturing, communicating.
There’s a purposefulness.
…Body language is essentially expressive, and its content is limited to interpersonal
attitudes and feelings…
• “Having a conversation” when having a sex – Nagle: Don’t get the ‘conversation’
that Solomon points at
Fetishism and bestiality certainly do constitute perversions, since the first is the same as,
for example, talking to someone else’s shoes, and the second like discussing Spinoza
with a moderately intelligent sheep.
• Problems in communication; a shoe fetish is a perversion isn’t communicating
between people; bestiality – you aren’t talking to another person; no
interpersonal communication. Since it’s perverse in other realms of
communication, it’s perverse in sexual communication Qua body language, sex admits of at least two forms of perversion: one deviance of form,
the other deviance in content.
• Deviance in content – what it is that you’re communicating; what message, and
what type of message
A concept of perversion should account for the content of sexual activity (contra-Nagle).
Sex as communication gives a better explanation of why some acts are perversions:
• Sadism and masochism are just one-sided communication; but, they can be bad
when they express negative attitudes like domination. Problem in
communication; not quite a perversion. Negative attitudes – perverted? May
not be great form – still a conversation. More of a content perversion.
• Homosexuality is not a perversion – Nagle was fuzzy on homosexuality. Soloman
says people can communicate if they’re the same sex or not.
• Bestiality and fetishism are perversions
That is why the liberal mythology has been so disastrous, for it has rendered unconscious
the expressive functions of sex with its stress on enjoy