Philosophy of Love and Sex - Essay Example

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Vanderbilt University
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In the human life, both love and sex play a significant role in philosophical inquiry. For years, the conceptual analysis of the nature of sex and love has been the prime of debates pertaining numerous ethical issues. Most often, the moral issues that result from love are permissibility of the state of romantically loving more than a single individual at a given time. It is a phenomenon considered ethically wrong in some societies and acceptable in others. On the other hand, the moral issues that normally arise from sex include prostitution, homosexuality, the wrongness of rape as well as inappropriate cyber sexual abuse. Moreover, the morality of casual sex, pornography viewing, or practice, open marriage as well as sadomasochism, are also ethical issues associated with sex.

While globally renowned philosophers that existed since the time of Plato have discussed the concepts of love and sex, it still remains a relatively unexplored part of philosophy. This is in comparison to other areas of applied ethics such as business as well as medical ethics. This low profile in the philosophy of love and sex in todays society is surprising given the central roles that the two play in most peoples lives. Additionally, a comprehensive philosophical study of the two phenomena will explain why they may be considered to be ethically wrong or right at different times in a persons life. It is also important to study the historical as well as philosophical viewpoints of love and sex, and the factors why the two are the primary contributors of numerous moral issues in peoples lives.

Plato's Theory of Love and Sex

Plato is among the first philosopher to discuss the concepts of love and sex in his Platonism theory. According to him, two persons can have a platonic love, which is a form of sexual relationship that exists between two heterosexual or homosexual friends (Gaye, 2014). According to Plato, sex is a relevant phenomenon that must be present for love to develop between two persons (Gaye, 2014). Arguably, I believe that Platos argument on love and sex is valid. This is because I believe that two people find a great emotional fondness with each other when they start sharing a passionate relationship. Such relations are in most cases characterized by a sexual component, which if perpetrated continuously by the two persons is interpreted to be love.

Today, there are many cases of divorce among numerous couples in different parts of the world. Such cases are primarily contributed by the lack of passionate relationships between people who are engaged. For example, if one person fails to offer sex to his/her partner for a prolonged period of time, the passionate affection towards each other or love may be depleted. Consequently, such persons may result to undertaking acts that are considered to be morally wrong, in search of fulfillment in terms of love and sex. For instance, a person may start having an affair to satisfy his sexual needs. As such, I can support, Platos premise that sex must be present for love to exist. Additionally, lack of sex may influence people who are engaged, to perform behaviors that others may consider to be ethically wrong in search of fulfillment.

Morality and Human Sexuality

Human Subject and Sexuality

In the past, some philosophers have expressed their view that sexual intercourse is an activity like any other activity, such as going to the movies. As such, the morality of premarital sexual intercourse should be dependent on the significance that a person gives to the act of sexual encounter in a humans life. According to Eustace Chesser, there is no need in seeking permanence in the relationships between different persons that are sexual partners (Punzo, 2002). This argument is developed on the ground that sex is just an ordinary human activity that can be equated to other activities such as going to the mall or theater.

Personally, I agree with this premise by Chesser. I believe that it is not morally wrong if two persons decide to have sex even if they are not unified by a romantic relationship. This is provided that the two persons have made a rational and uninfluenced decision to partake in the sexual act. However, this logic should not be used to support any form of sexual-related activities that are considered to be morally wrong by the society. Examples of such acts are the indulgence in promiscuity for financial gain among others. In such a case, the because such acts are considered to be ethically wrong by the majority population in the world. As such, the morality against perpetrating sexual acts that are considered to be socially disapproved must be upheld.

In addition, peoples actions or activities are influenced by the societies norms where they grow. As such, structuring an ethically appropriate code of perpetrating various social activities should be of paramount importance. By equating the act of sex to be on the same level with other ordinary activities, the relevance of sexual act as an important sacred social phenomenon between two persons would be depleted. In this case, the two persons should have been romantically involved either for a short or long period. As such, I believe it is also ethically right to structure some boundaries upon which sexual acts between two persons should be undertaken. Moreover, such provisions should also define the people who should partake in sex as well as the conditions under which they should have a sexual encounter.

In addition, persons should view sex as an ordinary basic need that should occasionally be fulfilled to acquire utmost satisfaction in life. Also, through ceasing to mystify the action of having coitus, most persons in the society would be able to view the act as an ordinary activity of daily living. This is instead of viewing it as a moral-dependent activity that should only be executed under strict ethical considerations. Additionally, such an understanding would be an imperative milestone to the members of the society. This is in aiding them to structure policies that are not oppressive to a few people who might indulge in sex outside the desirable ethical provisions like marriage. Instead, undesirable or ethically wrong sexual conducts should be taught to the public members to empower them with the knowledge of upholding morality when dealing with matters related to sex.

Ethical Issue On Marriage and Sexual Intercourse

Additionally, the ethical issue pertaining marriage and the sexuality of persons who have made plans to commit to marriage has existed for a long time. The institution of marriage is a globally recognized affair, one that requires its participants to have a defined approach to the issue of sex. Ordinarily, the persons who are committed to each other through marriage are morally obligated to remain faithful to each other by avoiding any sexual encounters outside the confines of marriage. However, does this provision mean that it is not morally wrong for persons who are not yet married to engage in premarital sexual unions?

Personally, I believe that the response to this ethical dilemma is yes. This is because having sex is a natural act that is expected between two persons who are in constant contact with each other. As such, if two persons have not made a decision to live and commit to each through marriage, they do not have any moral obligation to themselves or the society in not having premarital sex. Additionally, it is not ethically wrong for two individuals who have decided to get married to have sex on their weddings eve. However, after performing a marriage contract, it can be considered as morally wrong if one person decides to engage in sex with a different person who is not his/her marriage partner.

In all cultures, the act of having consensual sexual intercourse is considered an unacceptable phenomenon within marriage. Nevertheless, in some cultures, partaking in sexual acts outside the confines of marriage has often been regarded as a controversial issue. This is because it is seen as an immoral conduct, fit to have the perpetrators brandished as rebels of the desirable social convention. For example, in Arabic nations such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Morocco, Mauritania, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Sudan, sex before marriage is considered to be an illegal phenomenon punishable by law. In most cases, persons caught having sex before marriage are prosecuted and exiled for the act. However, should such prosecutions be considered to be ethically right?

My answer to this question is no. This is because, essentially, the legalization of sex before marriage in such Arabic nations is focused on mitigating the various social evils that are associated with sex in the society. Such evils include promiscuity, rape, and underage sexual encounters among others. Moreover, I believe it is ethically wrong to prosecute, charge and incarcerate a person for engaging in sex before marriage. This is because sex is a natural act entitled to all living organisms, including man. Instead of such policies, stricter legislations pertaining marriage and sex should be established to protect two persons unified in marriage from having multiple relations with other persons without their own consent.

Today, the societys cultural practices and social beliefs pertaining marriage sex and has immensely evolved. Where traditionally sex was permitted for the married, today a significant proportion of unmarried people perform sexual activities. This occurs due to the situations or places that such persons find themselves in and also their level of social interactions with each other. For instance, young persons in learning institutions may find themselves engaging in sexual acts due to their constant high level of socialization with each other, in their learning environment. In most cases, the majority of such students are not married at the time due to their young age and unstable economic position. Nonetheless, despite the prevalence of such cases, I would not support the argument that it should be considered as ethically right for such students to be prosecuted or punished by societal laws. This is because of having sex before marriage.

Additionally, in light of this philosophical argument, I can support philosopher Michel Foucault in his argument about sex and marriage. According to him, most societies in different parts of the world have created heterotopias conditions, where sexual acts outside the confines of marriage can be practiced. His theory is true because it can explain the reason why people in confined places such as brothels, prisons, asylums, as well as aboard ships perpetrate sexual encounters despite not being joined in marriage. I believe that such persons should not be subjected to moral displeasure or lawfully prosecuted due to their acts of engaging in sex outside marriage. Since humans are social beings, confining people in a single location would render them sexually attracted to each other. Consequently, such attractions could lead to sexual encounters between different people. However, it would not be ethically right to have such people prosecuted.

Contributions of Love and Sex to Moral Issues in Peoples Lives

Despite being two of the most important components of a flourishing human life, love and sex have a core contribution to various moral/ethical issues affecting people in the society. In most cases, such issues arise as people strive to fulfill their sexual and other emotional desires. Today, there are numerous issues that are associated with sex. Such include violence, rape promiscuity, and even death. Past research has linked the occurrence of violence to undesirable sexual activities among people. For example, a woman who has affairs with mu...

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