Archive for 2013

Top 100 Sex Bloggers of 2013

by Jason Stotts

I wanted to congratulate all of my fellow bloggers who made the Top Sex Bloggers of 2013!  Unfortunately, Erosophia didn’t make the list this year, which is disappointing.  It’s not, perhaps, surprising, though, since I’ve written fewer essays for Erosophia this year.  I did, however, finish the first draft of my book Eros and Ethos!  Not only that, but I started grad school in clinical psychology while working full time.  As you might imagine, this means that time to write for Erosophia has been…limited.  I hope you guys are enjoying the podcast, though.  I find that it takes a lot less time to do the podcast than to write essays and it’s a change of pace, which is nice.

I’ve got some big things planned for 2014 and hopefully 2014 will see the publication of Eros and Ethos!

As always, I’ll be posting the Best of 2013 sometime after the first of the year.  If you have any nominations for your favorite posts of the year, please comment here and let me know.

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Merry Xmas!

by Jason Stotts

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Erosophia Podcast #17: Sex Work and Erotic Dancing

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In this episode of the Erosophia Podcast, Jason, Devin, William, and Joia, discuss sex work and erotic dancing.

News

Botched Circumcision

Question

I need advice on how to establish a sexually active lifestyle. I am a virgin in my mid-twenties who lives with his parents and can’t have a partner over for complicated reasons I don’t want to get into.  I can’t move out right now for financial reasons, but am looking to get my own place as soon as I get back on my feet, which may be a year or more. I’m not interested in a long-term relationships right now, but I also don’t want one-night stands and all that. Currently there’s no one in my immediate contacts that I’d like to heavily invest in a relationship with, but plenty for both sexual relations and other satisfying psychological things (such as fulfilling conversations, activities done together on occasion, and so forth.)

I’m not a virgin because I’m shy or afraid, but rather because I continually make excuses as to why I “can’t” have sex, such as planning a major out-of-state move or trying to resolve my financial debts (leaving little money for dating), so since I’ve habituated the single-living lifestyle for all my life I’m not sure how to make the cross-over. Plus, my living conditions are unsuitable to bring another person in.

So how do I go from virgin nerd overly-focused on the single life to James Bond-stylin’ nerd focused on life AND gettin’ it on?

– John

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Sex Tips: Enthusiasm

There are few qualities relating to sex that are as attractive as enthusiasm.

Tonight’s Topic: Sex Work and Erotic Dancing

Both Joia and Devin have worked as erotic dancers before and we talk about their experiences and whether such work can be a moral choice for a person.

Support the Podcast

You can support the show by making a donation via PayPal (see bar to the right) or Amazon Payment (or any other payment method you might want, just get in touch with us).  You can also use Erosophia’s referral link to Amazon to buy things.  You can sign up for Kasidie, the best lifestyle site on the web.  Or you can tell your friends and spread the word about the podcast on Facebook and Twitter.

If you want to advertise on the Erosophia Podcast, please contact us at Jason(at)JasonStotts.com or on twitter via @ErosPod.

Connect with us on the web:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ErosophiaPodcast

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Questions for Us?

Jason(at)JasonStotts.com

William(at)JasonStotts.com

Joia(at)JasonStotts.com

Devin(at)JasonStotts.com

https://www.facebook.com/ErosophiaPodcast

@ErosPod

Subscribe to the Podcast

You can subscribe via iTunes or RSS.

A special thanks to Jennifer Snow for editing today’s podcast!

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Resistance Carols

by Jason Stotts

Here’s my first attempt at a Resistance Carol for this holiday season.  If anyone has some musical talent and wants to run with it, feel free!  Just send me the link when you’re done so I can check it out.

“NSA Is Comin’ To Town”

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
NSA is coming to town
NSA is coming to town
NSA is coming to town

It’s making a list,
Checking it twice;
Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.
NSA is coming to town
NSA is coming to town
NSA is coming to town

It sees you when you’re sleeping
It knows when you’re awake
It knows if you’ve been bad or good
So conform or go to jail

With shiny jack boots and rifles and guns
Armored personal carriers and the force of law
NSA is coming to town
NSA is coming to town
NSA is coming to town

It sees you when you’re sleeping
It knows when you’re awake
It knows if you’ve been bad or good
So conform or go to jail
Go to jail

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
NSA is coming to town
NSA is coming to town
NSA is coming
NSA is coming
NSA is coming to town

(Coming to town)
NSA’s a busy branch, it has no time to play
There’s millions of people to force to conform by Christmas day
(NSA is coming to town)
(Coming to town)
(NSA is coming to town)
(You better watch out)

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The Rest of the Bettie Page Photo Shoot

by Jason Stotts

Have you ever seen the full Bettie Page photoshoot?  What about the nudes?

NSFW – The ‘Illegal’ Bettie Page Photos We Almost Never Saw (NSFW)

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Aporia: The Emotional Process

by Jason Stotts

Aporia (ἀπορɛία): an impasse, puzzlement, doubt, or confusion; a difficulty encountered in establishing the theoretical truth of a proposition, created by the presence of evidence both for and against it.

Aporia’s are a chance for me to try to work through a philosophical problem.  I do it in writing because writing helps me think more clearly.  I do it publicly, because you might find it interesting.  Also, sometimes the solutions to complicated problems are easier to see from the outside.  Today’s aporia is the emotional process.

Note: this aporia presumes background knowledge of: the Objectivist theory of emotions, Robert Solomon’s form of philosophical cognitivism, the cognitive model of emotions from CBT (esp. Beck), and the Aristotelian understanding of emotions.

My general theory of emotions is that emotions are a unique kind of psychic phenomenon that are a response to antecedent beliefs.  My former thoughts about emotions followed Robert Solomon closely, except that I think that emotions are responses to beliefs and not judgments.

I recently wrote a paper for one of my MA’s classes about my personal take on counseling, where I said:

I am, principally, a philosopher.  I have long been interested in questions in philosophy of mind, especially with regards to emotions and motivations for action.  Philosophically, I am indebted to Aristotle, the Stoics (to some degree), Robert Solomon, and Ayn Rand.  These philosophers, in different ways, have all postulated a cognitivist view of emotions whereby emotions are a natural part of what it means to be human, that they should be integrated into one’s life in healthy ways, and that our emotions are a response to prior “somethings” in our minds (I say “somethings,” because there is a significant disagreement about what sorts of antecedent things can cause emotions). For example, Aristotle thought that one could not end up having a good character if he was not raised well as he recognized the pivotal role our parents have in shaping our early beliefs and the great effect these have on us throughout our lives.  Aristotle also thought that our emotions were open to our reason, in contrast to Plato.*  The Stoics thought that emotions that caused a disturbance in our calm were bad, but those that accorded to reason were good (Stoic ideal of “eupatheia” over “apatheia”).  Robert Solomon’s The Passions (1976) came out at the beginning of the psychological cognitivist movement and his book renewed an interest in philosophical accounts of emotions.  However, Solomon situated emotions as response to antecedent judgments and not antecedent beliefs, rejecting the latter proposition because he thought that only judgements of how a thing would impact the self could be important enough to cause the emotional response.  Ayn Rand developed a theory of sense of life (which are like core beliefs directed at the world and one’s efficacy in it) and also introduced the idea that our emotions are rational and follows necessarily from our beliefs into the philosophical world.

My own position on the matter is that our emotions are response to antecedent beliefs in a direct way.  To quote from the conclusion to my chapter on emotions from my forthcoming book Eros and Ethos: The Ethics of Modern Sex:

Emotions are undoubtedly a complicated subject, since it has usually been assumed that they were impervious to reason and beyond our ability to understand. […] But the idea that emotions cannot be understood is wrong: not only can we understand the emotions themselves, we can also understand where they come from and how they are formed.

We started with drawing distinctions between emotions and other psychic phenomenon.  We then moved on to see that emotions are a response to our beliefs. After a brief analysis […] we came to a provisional definition of emotions that was: “emotions are a form of automatic evaluation with a very specific underlying process.”

Problematically, we didn’t yet know what that specific underlying process was, so our next step was to seek to understand that process and how it works, since it underlies emotions.  We saw that the emotional response has three distinct phases (although it is always experienced as a totality), which are: identification, evaluation, and response.  In the first phase, identification, the object is identified and its relation to the your life.  In the second phase, evaluation, our subconscious compares the object to our past network of beliefs and evaluations looking for relevance and, if it finds enough of a match, the emotional process moves forward to the third phase.  The third phase is the emotional response itself, which is what we experience as the emotion.[…]

We then moved on to the issue of sense of life, which is an emotional response to a person’s past judgments about his efficacy in the world and his judgments regarding the nature of the world in which he acts.  This manifests in one of two primary forms: as a benevolent sense of life where you think it is possible to act in the world and your actions are efficacious or a malevolent sense of life where you think real action is impossible in the world and your actions are inefficacious.  Sense of life is important as it forms one of the core components of our personality and is evident even in our unconscious actions and the way we carry ourselves.  Not only that, but insofar as it is a thing, sense of life is what underlies the idea of “love at first sight.”

We then moved to philosophy and sense of life.  Although most people don’t think of their philosophy as having any bearing on their emotions, since our emotions come from our beliefs and our beliefs come from our philosophy, our emotions literally come from our philosophy.  This can be good or bad, depending on whether our philosophy is well integrated and aimed at helping to live a human life or is aimed at its opposite.

Finally, we looked at the idea of a passionate life, a life where emotions and philosophy are integrated together such that we can experience the reality of our philosophy through our emotions and our emotions can help us to motivate our philosophy so that we can create meaning in our lives in a robust way.  If we want meaning in our lives, we must create it and that can only be done by both having the right kind of philosophy and being able to experience its power through our emotions.  When we know what is right and feel that it is right too, that is when we are truly living well.

* For example, Plato, in the Phaedrus (253d), uses the metaphor of a charioteer pulled by two strong steeds: a white purebred (reason) and a wild black stallion (the passions).  He claims that in order to maintain one’s path, one must tame the black stallion as much as possible so that the two horses work together.  If the black horse of the passions cannot be tamed, then he shall pull the chariot astray.  The problem with Plato’s psychology is that it treats the passions as innate and irreducible, in addition to being opposed to reason.  This position obvious greatly influenced christianity and filtered up into our own culture through both that channel and Freud, i.e. (id/black steed/passions) vs. (superego/white steed/reason) vs. (ego/charioteer/”self”).  This Platonic and Freudian view must be rejected for the cognitivist, if emotions are going to have an important role in our lives.

What’s causing this aporia, then, is that I’m not sure how to situate the CBT idea of “Automatic Thoughts” or AT’s into this framework.  Usually someone in a clinical framework has had their AT’s structured negatively, so they are suffering from Automatic Negative Thoughts, or ANT’s.  Automatic negative thoughts are one of the core ideas of CBT and the theory that they exist and operate has been demonstrated to be both true and clinically very efficacious.  The idea is this: our emotions are a response to a (not quite conscious) thought about our situation that sets the emotional process into motion.  We can, through the help of a therapist and self-reflection, come to identify these automatic thoughts and their impact on us.

Now, if you look at my theory above, the emotional process does not need this quasi-conscious thought to operate.  On the other hand, my theory is compatible with the idea, as an AT could be the catalyst to initiate the emotional process.

My question, or aporia, is this: is an automatic thought a retrospective construct that integrates what is happening in the subconscious into something understandable to the conscious mind or is it actually a causal part of the emotional process?  Is an automatic thought simply picking up the antecedent belief that the emotional process is responding to, or is the automatic thought part of the causal chain?  To put it differently: are automatic thoughts always present in the emotional process?  Are they the initiators of the process?  Are they simply a retrospective construct to understand what has happened?

It seems to me that AT’s can be both the antecedent causes of the emotional process in their subconscious form and also a retrospective understanding of what has happened.

By this I think that we can have these kinds of robust composite beliefs (like intermediate beliefs and core beliefs, or sense of life) form in the subconscious and these can definitely be the cause of emotions.  But, it’s also the case that we can give them a real form by bringing them into conscious awareness.  These beliefs that define us, define our personality, our orientation to the world, our deepest beliefs, they are not consciously known.  They reside in the subconscious and are not easily accessible.  We can only bring them into conscious awareness through introspection and effort and we may or may not be completely capturing them.

Another problem presents itself here: thoughts are different than beliefs.  Or is this an issue or language and not a real issue?  One can think about beliefs.  Beliefs are the result of thought. On the other hand, AT’s are probably more actually beliefs: “I felt overwhelmed.  I thought I wasn’t capable enough to handle it.”  You’re not actually thinking about the situation and judging whether you’re capable enough to handle it, you’re bringing up your belief that you’re not.  In this since Automatic Thought’s is probably a misnomer.  It should probably be something more like “Automatized Beliefs.”  Doesn’t have the same ring to it though, that’s for sure.

It seems like we need to reconceptualize the process and transition to “automatized beliefs” and these beliefs are part of the milieu of antecedent beliefs from which our emotional response arises.

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Administrative Update: Spam

by Jason Stotts

Erosophia was recently compromised by a backdoor exploit that was injecting spam into posts and the RSS feed.

At this point, the issue should be fixed, but the site isn’t going to look pretty until I can find a better and more secure theme.  Also, most plugins are disabled right now for security.  Things will be coming back online in the next week.  Core functionality and content remains uncompromised and the archives are still active.

Please let me know immediately if you see any spam or weirdness on the site or in the RSS feed so I can get it fixed.

 

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Erosophia Podcast #16: Slutshaming and Shamenorming

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In this episode of the Erosophia Podcast, Jason, Devin, William, and Joia, discuss slutshaming and shamenorming.

News

Spoons Help Stop Forced Marriages In Britain

Sponsor: Kasidie

Kasidie.com... Plays Well With Others.

Get a free 90 day trial by signing up with the banner link!  Make sure to friend us on Kasidie (Erosophia) and check out our group: http://www.kasidie.com/communities/Erosophia

Sex Tips: Basic hygiene goes a long way

Before you have sex with your partner, consider the state of your hygiene!

Fun with Words

Hymen

Orgasm

Tonight’s Topic: Slutshaming and Shamenorming

Slutshaming is a form of shamenorming whose goal is to punish people who enjoy sexuality too much.

Support the Podcast

You can support the show by making a donation via PayPal (see bar to the right) or Amazon Payment (or any other payment method you might want, just get in touch with us).  You can also use Erosophia’s referral link to Amazon to buy things.  You can sign up for Kasidie, the best lifestyle site on the web.  Or you can tell your friends and spread the word about the podcast on Facebook and Twitter.

If you want to advertise on the Erosophia Podcast, please contact us at Jason(at)JasonStotts.com or on twitter via @ErosPod.

Connect with us on the web:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ErosophiaPodcast

Kasidie: http://www.kasidie.com/communities/Erosophia

Questions for Us?

Jason(at)JasonStotts.com

William(at)JasonStotts.com

Joia(at)JasonStotts.com

Devin(at)JasonStotts.com

https://www.facebook.com/ErosophiaPodcast

@ErosPod

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