o Paraphilias: a condition in which a person’s sexual arousal and gratification
depends on fantasizing about and engaging in sexual behavior that is atypical
o Most common are:
Nagel – ‘Sexual Perversions’
1. Romeo sees Juliet, he is aroused.
2. Juliet sees Romeo, she is aroused. Further, Romeo notices Juliet’s arousal and
is further interested.
3. Romeo follows Juliet’s gaze and realizes she is aroused by him (embodiment)
4. Juliet sees Romeo looking at her. He is now aroused by her arousal of being
seen by him.
5. Move to the physical level.
General Conditions to not be a case of Perversion
1. Must sense the other
2. The other must sense you
3. You must sense the other sensing you
4. The other senses you sensing them
Ongoing reciprocal sexual perceptions and embodiment of the other and
Sexual deviation: Incomplete versions of sexual arousal and interaction;
they are perversions of the central impulse
Sex with objects – not alive
Sex with children/animals – alive but no reciprocity
Sadism – retention of control impedes awareness of self as object
Masochism – can only experience being an object
1. Elaborations of the sexual act (anal, oral) – not a perversion.
2. Sex with multiple partners – leads to exhibitionism and voyeurism, which are
incomplete. Could be a perversion.
3. Homosexuality – not a perversion.
Is Sexual Perversion Wrong?
o It affects the quality of the experience, but all sexuality exists on a spectrum. o Further, while perverted sex is “incomplete” it could be more physically
o Having “bad” sex (perverted sex) might be better than having no sex at all.
o Two sexual partners of the same biological sex.
Two main arguments
1. Homosexuality is unethical
Immanuel Kant – “We must treat each other (and
ourselves) as an end and never simply as a means.”
Kant uses the notion of criminal carnis (the abuse of one’s
Contrary to reason = adultery
Contrary to our nature = masturbation, bestiality,
Ruse counters this by saying it is mutually beneficial.
2. Homosexuality is unnatural
Distinguishes between homosexual orientation (no choice)
and homosexual activity (choice)
The natural function of sexual activity is to reproduce. Any
sexual act that does not have this as its aim is a perversion.