According to christian mythology, today is the day in which the son of their imaginary god rose up from the grave as a zombie, mounted his giant zombie rabbit that shit colored eggs, and rode around eating brains. At least, I think that’s what happened, I’m fuzzy on my christian mythology.
I think it’s funny how many christians don’t know the origins of most of the easter symbols. Why, for example, are bunnies and eggs associated with zombies? The answer, of course, is the early christians adopted the pagan symbols for fertility: rabbits that multiply quickly and eggs that are the symbol of life about to begin. This is because the pagans respected nature and tried to stay in tune with it and in the Spring, animals begin to reproduce so that their young can be born under conditions that make it much more likely they will survive and be ready to face the winter. The christians, however, perverted these natural symbols and stripped them of all meaning, such that now there are bunnies, eggs, and zombies, but no apparent connection between them. Thus, does christianity pervert all that it touches.
I think that this Spring we should forget about the zombies and celebrate fertility by reflecting on the role of sexuality in our lives. I think we should celebrate reproduction by thanking our parents and grandparents, if they’re still alive, and appreciating our children, if we have any. I think that we should remember that we are animals, a very special kind, to be sure, but animals nonetheless and we should not rail against this fact of nature, but embrace it and our animality. In short, we should do away with christian mythology and celebrate our lives and our sexuality.
I just got done talking with my friend Patrick about Merleau-Ponty and a chapter in one of his books (I don’t know which, strangely) called “The Body as a Sexed Being.” One of Patrick’s specialties is in phenomenology and it’s exceedingly good that it was, because I’m not sure I would have understand any of it without him.
What I wanted to talk about here, though, was the idea of “erotic comprehension.” I don’t want to talk about it in terms of Merleau-Ponty, I only mention this because this is his term. However, what is more natural than a philosopher co-opting terms he likes from others?
Anyway, I find the idea of “erotic comprehension” to be fascinating. Consider this question: how do we know we are in a “sexual situation”? We don’t usually just declare this to a sexual partner. There is no international hand signal that we give to show we’re about to have sex. But, nevertheless, we do know when it happens. I think that we can call this knowing “erotic comprehension” and it comes from the activation of triggers set by our sexual schema.
Our sexual schema is that totality of our past beliefs about sex, including the beliefs we’ve internalized from others and the culture, our own past experiences, our beliefs about what sex should be, and our fantasies. This totality rests as a sub-conscious schema regarding sex. Part of this schema is our “triggers” for how we know we’re in a sexual situation and this is usually from our own sexual past.
Let me concretize this to try to make it clearer. Imagine that you enter a room and see an attractive person. This person smiles at you and starts to undress, revealing their body to you. Now, imagine you’ve been on vacation to a nudist retreat and you’ve been naked for a week and the magic of nudity has inexorably worn off so that every body you see isn’t sexual (this happens). Imagine you now see this same person naked. Would you expect sex? No, you wouldn’t. The sexual triggers are missing. In the first case, there were lots of triggers: you were alone together, the person was attractive to you, they smiled at you, they started to undress, and they revealed their body to you. In the second case, none of these triggers exist. Unless, of course, the second example happened to you after the first and then your first interaction could itself be a trigger for the second interaction.
Consider if your schema didn’t find the person attractive, then there would have been no trigger. If they person had instead yelled that you were intruding, there would have been no trigger. The triggers come from our sexual schema and where this isn’t congruence to our sexual schema, there will be no triggering event.
What is so interesting about the idea of erotic comprehension is that this is something that must be learned and is not innate. We don’t, innately, know when we’re in a sexual situation and if we’re inexperienced we might not pick up on the cues given off by the other person, if they aren’t in our sexual schema. Of course, learning the cues affects our sexual schema for subsequent interactions; we learn and develop as we gain experience.
I’m not sure entirely how I might use the ideas of sexual schema and erotic comprehension, but I think that they will prove useful at some point and it’s interesting to give names to these phenomena.
In this episode of the Erosophia Podcast, Jason, Devin, and Joia discuss Racial Fetishes.
Confession: I lost a recording of Erosophia
This is our one year anniversary!
I’ve completed my second complete draft of Eros and Ethos.
“Given that it’s possible for couples to have arrangements where they may have sex with other people outside the relationship, how should a man act, accordingly, if he sees a married woman he’s interested in, or if the married woman shows interest in him?
I’m not talking about cheating, of course, but given that whole “arrangements” thing . . . is there an appropriate way to flirt/court, or find out about a potential arrangement?”
What are fetishes? What kinds of race-related fetishes are there? Is there any moral import to racial fetishes? On this episode we discuss these fetishes and their morality.
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Summary: Certain people in the publishing industry say that my next book, “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” has an unacceptable title because it’s not okay to suggest that fossil fuels could be moral. They are claiming no one will buy the book, and trying to intimidate people into distancing them from it. Please help me counter them by pre-ordering as many as you can.
On November 13, 2014, Penguin/Portfolio, one of the leading publishers in the world, will release a book with a title I never expected a major publisher would carry: The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.
And for the same reason I never expected a major publisher to carry it (the anti-fossil-fuel establishment has a vested interest in keeping the moral high ground), it is already under attack.
Here’s the background—and what you can do about it. (Short answer to the second: pre-order a lot of books.)
Today’s mainstream discussion of fossil fuels has framed the debate in a lose-lose way for the fossil fuel industry and everyone who benefits from it (i.e., everyone). Environmental groups characterize fossil fuels as an unnecessary evil, an addiction to be ended in the next decade or two. The “defenders” of fossil fuels counter that, no, fossil fuels are a necessary evil—an addiction that will take many, many decades to end.
My essay “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” offered a new alternative: Fossil fuels are a necessary good—something that we should embrace, champion, and further. If we look at them big-picture, instead of focusing out-of-context on negatives, they are a boon to every aspect of human life, including our environment. This argument got the attention of hundreds of industry executives because it was unique and uniquely powerful. And it got the attention of a major book agent, my (now) agent Wes Neff of Leigh Bureau, who thought it was a unique contribution to the energy debate.
But now that the book has been announced, certain people in the publishing industry (not my publisher) have been saying that the title is inappropriate, that it goes too far, that they won’t carry the book. They’d rather see something bland like The Case for Fossil Fuels, which may go unnoticed because everyone will think it’s the same old “necessary evil” argument.
Think about it: We are in a world where someone can say it’s inappropriate to even argue that fossil fuels are morally good. And these people want to intimidate me into changing the title on the idea that no one will buy a book that openly argues that the fossil fuel industry is moral.
Well, there is one way to show these people—and the many who are sure to follow as the book comes closer to release—how we feel. Pre-order copies on Amazon. My agent tells me that if we can get 5000 pre-orders it will be a game changer in terms of the publicity the book gets. It will show that making a new, compelling case for fossil fuels is not a commercial liability but a commercial asset.
So I ask you, please pre-order multiple copies of this book and let me know how many you buy. If you like my current writing, I can promise you that this book is on a totally different level. It’s the book you will want to hand to any friend, family member, Republican, or Democrat who is interested in these issues. And if you’re considering buying copies, now is the time.
For anyone who buys 10 copies before the end of the month, I’ll send you a personalized, autographed copy.
For anyone or any group that buys 100, I will send you 100 physical copies of Fossil Fuels Improve the Planet to pass out while you’re waiting for the book to be released in November.
For any company that buys 1000 copies or more—and I sincerely believe every employee in the industry needs to read this book—I will come speak to your company about it for free.
It is an absolute guarantee that if we can drive up the pre-orders the book will get more publicity and be more influential. And I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed in the book. I work on it every morning, weekday or weekend, consulting with the best researchers, editors, philosophers, and energy experts I can find. Many on this list said they particularly enjoyed my recent Forbes piece, “The Unscientific Consensus,” which finally clarified the issue of how to think about the “climate change consensus.” That is material taken straight from the book, and there are 60,000 more words where that came from.
Please help me promote this book and stop those who disagree with us from trying to stop it before it gets started. Order now.
I’ve argued before that I don’t think porn addiction is a real thing (here and Erosophia Podcast #14 & #15). I’ve also referenced Dr. Marty Klein’s essay on it. But, here’s an angle that I haven’t pursued enough yet: why do people think they’re addicted to porn in the first place?
It turns out that it might be because they’re religious:
Compared with their less spiritual peers, people who identified as very religious were more likely to have a perceived Internet pornography addiction, no matter how much porn they actually consumed, according to a new study.
“We were surprised that the amount of viewing did not impact the perception of addiction, but strong moral beliefs did,” the study’s lead author Joshua Grubbs, a doctoral student in psychology at Case Western Reserve University, said in a statement. (LINK)
In some ways this isn’t surprising, because it is religion that labels porn wrong and we can only have addictions to things that are “wrong.” If you don’t think that’s right, consider that I have a strong chemical addiction to caffeine. Not only that, it’s easily available, lots of people have this same addiction, and some people spend lots of time and money on their addiction. But, even though this is a chemical addiction with literally all the signs and symptoms of an addiction, this isn’t an “addiction.”
Actually, and this is rather off-topic, but I am reconsidering my views on “addiction.” After taking classes in addiction and substance abuse for my MFT program, I’m not sure that I even think that the idea of “addiction” is a useful concept. In fact, I think it probably does more to obscure the true problem than elucidate it. The idea is this: people use drugs because they are in pain and don’t know how to cope with it. I don’t think I would have accepted this idea before my classes and before attending a SMART Recovery (cognitive based recovery, which is a really good program) meeting and some AA meetings (which I think do more harm than good). Before, I thought of drug addicts in the stereotypical way of purposely doing something immoral and being completely culpable for this. While at the Smart meeting, I heard the addicts there describe their pain and how good their substance made them feel, when nothing else would help. How they came back to their substance of choice when things got worse, in a very vicious cycle, because they needed their substance more when it was hard and not less. I initially couldn’t quite understand this, how these people could keep using their substances even in the face of all of the problems mounting because of their use. Now I understand that they don’t escalate their use in spite of their mounting problems, their mounting problems are another reason they use! I can’t help but think this idea, that people use because they are in pain, restores the humanity to drug addicts. It also gives us a clear place to begin in treating addiction and helping the addict to overcome their problems. If we can’t help them to overcome their deeper pain, all we’ll do is send them into an endless cycle of relapse. But, once we can help them to heal their inner pain, we can help them to quit using or to control their using. I think that it also explains addiction more thoroughly than other frameworks, including why addiction can be self-perpetuating as the pain increases from the addiction itself. Moreover, it explains the apparent contradiction in the disease model whereby the disease model cannot explain why some people with very strong genetic dispositions to addiction never actually use and why some people with no genetic disposition to use become addicts. Frankly, the disease model is a bad metaphor gone awry. One does not “catch” alcoholism like one catches herpes. There is no virus or bacterium that causes addiction. While it might cause dis-ease in a person’s life, it shares nothing in common with the common usage of that word and to continue to call it a disease is both wrong and misleading.
Anyway, getting back to “porn addiction,” of course those who feel that porn is wrong are going to have a problem with watching porn. Since they’re watching porn to masturbate (because really, why else do you watch porn?), and masturbation is also a sin, but sexual needs are real needs and important needs, but their “addiction” to watching porn makes them look at porn, which makes them touch their dirty genitals, well…you can see how their god wouldn’t be happy. Since watching porn is both immoral and feels good, the christian comes to think that there must be something wrong with them that makes them feel pleasure in this “immoral act.” But, the problem is their christianity and mistaken beliefs, not the pleasure they get from porn and masturbation.
So, the easiest way to get rid of “porn addiction” is just to get rid of christianity.
Do you have a funny story about sex going badly? I was approached by the production company behind the new show “Sex Sent Me to the ER,” who asked me to post this looking for people to share their stories. If you’re interested, check out the flyer and get in touch with them.
I haven’t been writing as much as usual due to grad school (and working full time and finishing the book!), but I wanted to take a minute to say something about this current “scandal” about the Duke University freshman who is also a porn star.
I think it’s great that she is so secure in herself and her sexuality to be able to do porn and to enjoy her experience. I also think it’s great that she’s given serious thought to her financial future and hasn’t saddled herself with more debt than she could expect to pay back in her lifetime. Far from being a victim and exploited, I think she’s doing the right thing with her life and I expect that she will go on to live a healthy and happy life.
I don’t know your name, young porn star, but good luck! At least this section of the blogosphere is rooting for you!