By Igor Primoratz
Ethics and intercourse provides a scientific research of the character and ethical value of human sexuality and of the key concerns in sexual morality.
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Extra resources for Ethics and Sex
The other’s body is the focus of arousal, not simply as body, but rather as the embodiment of the particular person he or she is. Moreover, sexual arousal does not point beyond that individual; it is not transferable to another, who might do just as well. This summary of Scruton’s account of sexual arousal already adumbrates the main elements of his description of sexual desire. Sexual desire is a personal attitude. e. they abstract from their embodiment. Desire is one of the few exceptions: Although people are essentially embodied for us, and although we always respond to them as embodied, it is only occasionally that their embodiment is itself the object of our interest, just as it is only occasionally that I am interested in the buildings of my university, rather than in its institutional procedure.
1 Sex and love are quite different matters and should be distinguished accordingly, both for the sake of clear thinking and for practical reasons, such as avoiding disastrous marriages that result from mistaking sexual attraction for love. And if sex were indeed a type of language, the moves that make up its vocabulary would be important only instrumentally, as efficient means of communication, and could have no significance in themselves. But that is surely not the case; if we focus on it and consider it without preconceptions, we readily see that sex is simply a bodily activity intensely pleasurable in itself.
He does so by predicating it on the expressive character of sex: 36 ETHICS AND SEX Whatever else sexuality might be and for whatever purposes it might be used or abused, it is first of all language…. It can be enjoyable, not just on account of its phonetics, which are neither enjoyable nor meaningful in themselves, but because of what is said. One enjoys not just the tender caress but the message it carries; and one welcomes a painful thrust or bite not because of masochism but because of the meaning, in context, that it conveys.