Archive for 2014

Volunteers Needed

by Jason Stotts

10405903_917939211565460_2014162886_n

I am sending out a call for help from you, my dear readers.  As you probably know, Eros and Ethos is done in draft.  Some chapters have had many revisions and are around a 7th draft and some are only a 2nd draft.  Suffice it to say that the book is in a really well-polished first draft edition.  This is where you come in.  I need one or two people to read a draft and provide comments on the content, readability, and style.  I don’t need a line-editor right now, but if you’re interested in that, let me know and I will definitely appreciate your help when the time comes.  I would ideally like your comments back in 4-6 weeks, so you would need to commit to that timetable.  If you are able to do it, but need longer, let me know that as well and we might be able to work something out.  I would like to get Eros and Ethos published this year if it’s feasible.

I can’t offer you much for your help, but you will be mentioned by name and thanked in the acknowledgement section, you’ll get to read the book before anyone else, you’ll get to see how it evolves, and you will receive one of a very small number of printed, numbered, and hand signed first-edition books.

If you’re interested, email me at Jason (at) JasonStotts.com or contact me via twitter @JStotts.

I could really use your help.

Welcome CatalystCon

by Jason Stotts

I want to welcome anyone I met at CatalystCon over the weekend to my blog.  I hope you find it interesting.  I would start by checking out my best posts of the past couple of years.  Also, feel free to reach out to me!  I would love to hear from you.

Continue reading ‘Welcome CatalystCon’

CatalystCon Day 1 and Revelations

by Jason Stotts

I’m at CatalystCon here in LA and so far it’s been interesting. I’ve met some interesting people and tomorrow the talks start.

A weird thing happened, though. Twice, people have asked me what I do, since most people (it seems) here are involved in some sort of activism or related fields like counseling, education, etc. I responded, both times, that I write a blog about sexual ethics and I’m working on editing my first book on the topic and that I’m getting my MA in clinical psychology. One of the women I talked to asked me what sexual ethics is and to explain it.

Now, this seems like it should be the easiest question in the world for a philosopher specializing in sexual ethics…but it wasn’t. I fumbled my answer pretty badly. This got me to thinking that I seriously needed to work out an “elevator pitch” for what I do and for Eros and Ethos. I mean, I should really be able to respond, and hopefully succinctly, about what I do in a way that anyone should be able to understand.

So, that’s what I’m going to try to do here. Let me know how it sounds.

What is sexual ethics?

Sexual ethics is the field of philosophy concerned with integrating sex into your life. It also covers things consent, rape, incest, bestiality, and anything related to sex about which you might use the words “good” and “evil”.

What is your book about?

My book is called Eros and Ethos and through it I’m attempting to create the first sexual ethic that integrates sex deeply into what it means to live a good human life.  I don’t think we can give an account of what it means to live a good human life if we omit sex.

Why are you writing it?

A lot of reasons. Primarily because I think that sex is too important a part of what it means to live a human life to be left out of ethics. Also, because we cannot hope to win the current debates around sex when we have ceded the moral high-ground to those who hate sex and the body. If we want to win the debates about gay-marriage and abortion, we need to argue for them from a position of moral certainty.

CatalystCon

by Jason Stotts

I just wanted to put up a quick note to let everyone know that I will be at CatalystCon over the weekend.  If you see me, come up and say “Hi”!  I assume we’ll have name-tags on, but if not:

2013-09-26 11.21.27

That’s me standing in front of the Museum of Sex in NYC.

I look forward to meeting some new people at CatalystCon!

On Intuitionism

by Jason Stotts

Note: What follows here is the first draft of a philosophical essay on intuitionism that will appear in my forthcoming book Eros and Ethos in an appendix.  I’m publishing it here because I’d like feedback on it to improve the draft.  Please leave your feedback below as a comment below or email me at Jason(at)JasonStotts.com.

What I want to do now is to analyze the idea of intuition and of intuitionism to attempt to understand the phenomenon here and how it operates.  Through this, I don’t want to explicitly refute intuitionism, although I think this is a necessary consequence of our analysis, but rather, I want to show the underlying process that makes up intuition and pull back the veil on it, revealing it for what it really is.  It’s not that I think intuitionism is necessarily wrong, but it most certainly is not necessarily right and we need to consider the thoughts and beliefs we get from our intuition carefully.

Intuition has historically been thought to be the mind’s ability to have immediate access to the truth, without any conscious input.  As an example, you are reading a mystery novel and not thinking consciously at all about the book, when suddenly you just realize that you know who the killer is. Or, you’ve been going over and over a problem in your head and you suddenly have the answer days later when you’re about to go to sleep. This is, apparently, your intuition working to give you the truth even though your conscious mind did not know it.  Thus, intuition is taken to be some kind of direct access to truth.  Now, many have thought that this “direct access to truth” has a divine source and that their god or spirits were giving the truth to a person and this matches the attendant feeling of just knowing and being certain, as though the knowledge were given to us by the divine.  So, the question is, how does this happen?  How can we understand intuition as a real thing in the world without having to rely on explanation based in fantasy and wish?  In order to answer this, we need to take one step back.

I think my theory of emotions (cf. Chapter 2) precisely captures the connection of what we call consciousness and sub-consciousness.  Our conscious mind is the one that is in our control (or, perhaps, we think of ourselves as our conscious minds). It has powers like teleological judgment, abstract reasoning, integration, and differentiation, etc.  It would be inconvenient at best, and completely stifling at worst, to try to live our complex lives with all of our mental functions in our conscious control.  It would simply be too much to attend to at once.  To fix this problem, much of what we need to get through our days is automatized.  This is both natural and desirable.  For example, I need to think critically and engage when learning a new skill like driving.  Once I’ve mastered it, though, I barely need to consider the mechanics of it when I’m doing it.  In fact, once the activity is thoroughly automatized, attempting to consciously focus on it makes the action clumsy and awkward.  This is because our conscious mind has let go of the information and given it all to the subconscious mind.  Now, the conscious mind could choose to relearn it, but, again, there is only so much the conscious mind can hold at once, and so everything we choose to keep there must displace something else.  This should not be understood to mean that everyone has the same capacity in their conscious mind, since clearly we all do not.  What it does mean, though, is that when we learn and automatize a skill, it leaves our conscious mind and resides entirely in our subconscious.

When people talk about using their subconscious for different ends, and let us be clear that this definitely happens, what they have done is to program their subconscious with certain routines and let it operate as normal.  For example, any writer worth his salt knows that writing has two distinct phases: drafting (the putting of words onto paper) and editing (making that into good writing).  In drafting, the writer must let his subconscious freely bring forth his ideas in language.  This is because language is another automatized ability that we have.  Attempting to use language consciously is terribly inefficient and may even be nearly impossible for most language users.  If you doubt this, try to use language consciously: spell each word and sound it out as you go, make sure to conjugate each verb as you go.  Make a conscious choice about tense and make sure you can explain why you chose that tense and not another.  Make sure that you carefully choose each individual word and be able to explain why you didn’t choose any other.  The very enterprise would be prohibitively hard.  The good writer has worked long and hard to develop his writer’s voice and his presentation style.  It is not only what we choose to say as writers, but how we say it and how it affects our audience.  This, however, is far too much to think about consciously.  In fact, if a writer were to try, it would completely stymy the entire process and force the writer to plod along from word to word, with each sentence being an achievement.  It would be, in short, impossible.  The automaticity that our subconscious mind affords us is absolutely critical throughout our lives and this is especially clear for the writer.  For this reason, we utilize the great power of our subconscious.

The subconscious is not some magical thing, though.  Good writers are not born with the subconscious ability to write, this is a skill that must be mastered and perpetually practiced. We can program the subconscious different ways, the artist uses one routine, the writer another.  The man who walks is using one routine, the man who rides a bike another.  Our subconscious is capable of holding many, many, routines in it and every time we learn a new skill (subconscious routine), we add it to our subconscious.  Of course, if we don’t practice these skills, they may fade from our subconscious.  Our subconscious is not a permanent storehouse and I’m sure all of us have had the experience of trying to recall a previously mastered skill and finding ourselves out of practice or “rusty.”  When we need these previously mastered skills, when I need to ride a bike in the first time in many years, for example, I don’t consciously think about what to do, I rely on my subconscious to supply me with this information.  If it has been too long and the skill has faded too far, then I can supplement this with conscious learning, which allows me to use the skill and also re-sharpens my subconscious routine, helping me to do it again in the future.

Now, our subconscious is not limited to physical skills, but can also handle even complicated mental problems.  For example, have you ever been mulling over a very complex mental problem and then have the answer suddenly come to you later, when you’re doing something completely different?  This is your subconscious taking on the mental problem and working on it for you beneath the surface.  You need your conscious mind to live in the world and we can’t always be focusing on mental problems: we need to eat, get to work, bathe, etc.  Luckily we can quickly transfer this problem to our subconscious where our minds can continue to work on it, even while we’re consciously engaged in other tasks.  Of course, if you want to do this consistently, you need to develop a subconscious routine for this.

This ability to sub-consciously work on even very complex mental problems outside of our conscious mind is precisely what we call “intuition.”  Or, rather, it’s called intuition when our subconscious returns the answer to the question it’s been working on.  When we get this answer, it seems to just come to us without us having to consciously think about it (because we haven’t), and we know that it’s right.  This attendant feeling of truth, or correctness that comes with the idea, is because it, naturally, conforms to all the information we have about the issue.  In this sense, it necessarily fits given the information we have available to us.  This is why it feels like it’s definitely true: as far as we can tell, it is.  On the other hand, we may not have all the information.  For example, I may notice that my wife has started acting suspiciously, staying out late with friends, taking secret phone calls, and evading questions about her actions.  I might think nothing of it, then suddenly be hit by the intuition that she’s cheating on me.  And, given the information my subconscious has, it does fit.  So, I commit to confronting her after work, get home, walk in the door, and am met by a gigantic surprise party for my birthday.  Just because the intuition feels true and fits the information, does not mean it is true.  And this is the danger of intuitionism: our intuitions will always feel true and they will always conform to the information we have, but that does not mean they are actually true.

In a very real way, intuitionism is the deification of our own subconscious into an oracle of truth.  And this is absurd, because we all use our subconscious to store automatic routines, memories, and knowledge.  Our subconscious is the great machine right below the surface.  But it is not infallible.  We have all mis-recalled information we were certain of, forget skills at inopportune moments, and generally asked our subconscious for something that it wasn’t able to give us.  Just because we intuit something, does not mean it’s true.  We must use our conscious judgment to determine its truth by treating an intuition as a hypothesis and seeking more information in order to determine whether it is true or not.

Our intuitions cannot serve as a source of justification for a belief, they are based only on our own beliefs and the information available to us and have no necessary connect to reality. When we say that we intuit something, what we mean is this: I got this idea from my subconscious and it just “feels right” to me. This is entirely insufficient to determine the truth of the matter.  In case more refutation is needed, consider how different people have different intuitions: few philosophes seem to share intuitions about what is right and moral.  If intuition were a direct access to truth, this is impossible.  If, on the other hand, we are right, then this only makes sense as different people will have different beliefs and have different information available to them.  In fact, not only can we understand it from our perspective, it is a necessary consequence of our perspective.

Ultimately, intuition can be very useful in life, but it tells us only about our own beliefs and nothing necessarily about the truth.

Erosophia Podcast #23: Children and Sexuality

Podcast_Cover

In this episode of the Erosophia Podcast Jason and William discuss sexuality as it relates to children and adolescents.

Sponsor: Kasidie

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

Today’s Topic: Children and Sexuality

Children and sex seem to be like oil and water. But sex is a part of a child’s reality, just like an adults. Is it healthy for children to explore their sexuality? What age should this process begin, and what effects do parents have on children’s sexual identity during development? What does pedophilia mean, and what is wrong with it? Jason and William won’t shy away from controversy in this episode of the Erosophia Podcast!

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

Subscribe to the Podcast

You can subscribe via iTunes or RSS.

Getting Started with Female Anal Sexuality

by Jason Stotts

A reader recently wrote in asking me about anal sex in relation to women.  Apparently, I’ve somehow never written on the subject!

Jason,

I was hoping you might be able to help me, because I was searching the web to try to find out what kind of anal stimulation females tend to prefer.  First off, there was not anything that addressed this question directly, and what I did find seemed suspect and morally dubious (one of the top hits pitched itself as a way to “trick” women into loving anal).  I noticed that you did a post on this with respect to men [LINK] and you had some more general stuff too, but given that the absence of a prostate is probably a game changer in terms of technique perhaps a post on what kind of anal stimulation women like would be a good topic for the blog.  This might be particularly interesting because the limited info that I did find suggested that for some women, they are only capable of orgasm when being anally stimulated and some claim that so called “anal orgasms” are the most intense kind that a woman could have.  In any case, a post that sorted fact from fiction on these points and gave some pointers would be a good addition to the info that available on the web.

The thing that I found most disturbing was that so many of the articles took the following angle: “do you want your significant other to let you throw it in the butt? Then here are some moves to trick them into loving it in the butt.”  I think as you’ve pointed before, this is a fundamentally unhealthy attitude towards sex: there is almost a total disregard for the other person’s experience, and the whole goal is to get someone to do what you want.  I think that the way you emphasize communication in what you’ve written goes a long way to combat that attitude.  I guess my point is that it shouldn’t be about tricking someone into liking something, but rather more about talking about what both people like etc.  That is why a post that focuses on what your partner might like (instead of how to get your partner to give you what you want) might be a really good corrective.  I think a big point to emphasize is that anal play is about a lot more than “throwin the D in the B,” and I think that people would do well to appreciate that some people might never like to have a big old dick in the butt, but they might love some of the other stuff.

Bruce 

Bruce,

That’s a good idea to write about it.  I tend to not do a lot of practical sexual posts, usually only on topics where information is scarce, so it’s good you pointed this out.

I have a lot to say, but a lot of it depends on what stage you’re at. I’ll assume, too, that your partner is interested in exploring this from what you’ve said. I totally agree with you that you shouldn’t try to trick people into things they wouldn’t want to do otherwise.

If you’re at the “never had anal sex stage” or “anal sex is very uncomfortable” stage, then definitely don’t rush it.  I would recommend starting to explore by just stimulating your partner’s anal opening when you’re doing other things like going down on her or having sex.  Don’t start by inserting your fingers, just massage the outside with the pad of your finger (not the pointy tip).  Once she’s used to the feeling and has separated it from the “I need to poop” feeling, you can start to penetrate some.  Still with the pad of your finger, gently massage the anal opening until it slowly starts to open and just let your finger dip in.  I would, again, recommend this as an adjunct to other things like clitoral stimulation.  By pairing it with pleasurable things like clitoral orgasms, it’ll help her come to accept it as pleasurable much quicker.  Once you’re able to successfully penetrate her ass with a finger, just leave it there. As you work up to more fingers (definitely not the same night you get the first), you can experiment with what motions she likes.  In and out is an obvious one.  The motion of all the way out and all the way in is very different from just in and out without completely withdrawing your finger.  You can also move around in a circular motion.  Then there’s also adding more fingers for the stretching feeling.

If, for whatever reason, your partner doesn’t like the way you finger her ass, even with practice, she can always do it to herself to get better at anal.  She can do it while masturbating or even during when you guys are doing other things together.

If playing with her ass is hurting her, then it’s likely one of three things.  First, it could be a sharp nail or a sharp piece of skin on the finger.  You need to make sure your nails are completely smooth and you don’t have any hang-nails.  If it’s a problem, you can also use rubber gloves. This makes your fingers completely smooth and also makes clean up easier. Second, it could be you’re not using enough lube or not using the right kind of lube. The third thing it could be is the anus stretching too far too quickly.  The anus can really stretch open well, but it needs to relax in order to do so.  The sphincter is actually two muscles, the internal, which is autonomously controlled, and the external, which is consciously controlled.  If a person isn’t relaxed enough or excited enough, the internal sphincter won’t open and that can cause pain.  After you get really good at knowing your ass, the sphincters can open together with the internal coming more in line with the external.

After some time, when you’re able to slowly work up to the number of fingers that are the same approximate width as your penis (around 3, depending on your girth) and she can enjoy that without a problem, then you’re good to try anal sex.  When you go to actually do anal, make sure you get her ass ready by fingering first and opening it up.  Make sure to use lots of lube when fingering her ass and opening it up and also on your dick. Make sure to start very slowly and let her ass open up on your dick.  I recommend stimulating her clit as you do it.  Start moving in and out very slowly.  Check with her whether she likes just in and out movement without withdrawing your head or in and out where you pull the head of your dick out and then back in.  Also make sure you don’t go too deep into her ass.  Approximately 6 inches into the ass, there’s the sigmoid colon where the large intestine takes a sharp turn to the right.  You can let it open up and put your dick deeper, but know that on the other side of the sigmoid colon it’s probable that you’ll encounter fecal matter. If, for whatever reason, it starts to hurt her when you guys are having sex, just stop and be still.  Don’t ever pull out quickly, as that can be more painful.  If you do need to pull out, do it really slowly.  I would recommend pulling out to cum and cumming on her stomach.  If you cum in her ass, obviously it’s going to need to come back out and she might not like that feeling and that association might not be good for her to have.

Now, in terms of the lady-anus, since there is no prostate, the most sensitive area is the opening. You can massage it with your fingers or lick it with your tongue.   Some women can cum from stimulating the outside of the anus by itself.  Of course, some women can come just from having her nipples stimulated.  Part of this is how excited a woman is before you start the stimulation.  Or, how excited you make her by getting her worked up with clitoral simulation first.  The other way that some women cum from anal is via their g-spot.  The abdominal space that the penis is in for anal is the same space as for vaginal and the wall separating the two is very thin.  Thus, many women experience g-spot stimulation from anal.  This is obviously dependent on the position and angle.

A couple of final thoughts.  The kind of lube you use makes a really big difference.  A thicker lube will provide some cushioning and mute the sensation, while a thinner lube will increase the sensation.  Either way, make sure to use lots of lube and to stop to re-lube if you need to.  Be careful that if you use a thin lube and your partner is in doggie style that it can drip into her vagina and potentially cause an infection.  In general, cross contamination=bad.  If your partner is worried about mess, make sure her diet is good and she’s defecated not too long before.  As long as she doesn’t feel like there’s anything in her colon, there should be little to no fecal matter.  You could also use a female condom and you wouldn’t have to worry about mess at all, but many people don’t like female condoms.  If you do use one, make sure to lube both inside the ass and the inside of the FC.

I would recommend Jack Morin’s book “Anal Pleasure and Health.”  It does focus more on male sexuality, but is very detailed and full of good info.  I also recommend Tristan Taormino’s “The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women.”

Books to Start Learning about Sex

by Jason Stotts

I was recently emailed by someone who asked me which books I would recommend to get started looking into the deeper aspects of sexuality.  This is the list that I gave them.  I don’t agree with everything in these books, but I think they’re worth knowing and they raise some really good and interesting questions.

Christopher Ryan and Jacilda Jetha: Sex At Dawn

Jack Morin: The Erotic Mind

Robin Baker: Sperm Wars

Simon LeVay: Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation

Betty Dodson: Sex for One

Darrel Ray: Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality

Robert Solomon: The Passions

What books would you recommend?