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De Sousa and Morgan - Philosophy, Sex, and Feminism.docx

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Ronniede Sousa

- There are three different types of sex – gender sex, erotic sex, and sexual politics - Gender sex refers to masculine and feminine as well as female and male - Erotic sex includes sexual experience, sexual behavior, and sexual relation - What makes something sexual? - We could give a minimal definition of erotic sex and then examine questions of emotion, love, politics, etc. separately - Or we could give a rich, comprehensive definition - Alan Goldman says that erotic sex is defined in terms of contact with the body of another to produce pleasure in oneself - But this leaves many questions, such as why skin contact is necessary and whether arousal is necessary or sufficient - Aquinas provided a rich definition of sex that says the emission of semen is what naturally causes reproduction, that all sexual activity must be potentially reproductive, that marriage must be forever, and that women should be subordinate to men - Questions about the morality and politics of sex are usually considered separately from issues about gender and erotic sex, but the former often presuppose answers to the latter - For example, one might think that questions about gender sex belong in the public sphere, but questions about erotic sex belong in the private sphere - But public ideology still permeates this private experience, such as the legality of marital rape in many places and in the marital compulsion to heterosexuality in many places - We lack a useful vocabulary to talk about sex – we have crude words, medical words, and euphemisms - The most common crude words for the erotic carry the idea of male dominance in their syntax (ex. he is screwing her) - Men often refer to women by types of animals (ex. chick, tail), playthings (ex. babe, doll), as fetishized body parts, or as edible products (ex. sugar, honey) - The orthodox polar model says that we are composed of a material and a spiritual part - The material part is lower and the spiritual part is higher - Sex is consigned to the part of an animal appetite - Sexual desire has power to subjugate moral and intellectual functions and is seen
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