by Jason Stotts

I was recently interviewed by Marilyn Moore for The Atlas Society blog [Link] about my new book Eros and Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics. It’s a pretty lengthy interview where we delve into a number of interesting topics. Go check it out!

MM: Culturally we are in a period in which there is a lack of trust, particularly between men and women, in regards to sex. Some people might read the title of your book, Eros and Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics, and say that sexual ethics is an oxymoron. We seem to understand why the trust is gone, but we don’t seem to know how to repair it. Does your book offer insight?

JS: That’s an interesting question. Yes and no. My book doesn’t directly address the question of trust between the sexes around sexuality (at least this volume doesn’t). It does, however, address the much deeper question of whether sex and sexuality are compatible with a good human life. Indeed, it argues that, for most of us, sex and sexuality will be necessary for happiness. Of course, by “happiness” I don’t mean a simple feeling such as pleasure or even a more robust sentiment such as joy. Rather, I mean a rich and flourishing human life. I ground sexual ethics in the eudaimonistic approach that grows out of the tradition of Aristotle and includes Ayn Rand.

My book is an analysis of the deeper nature of sexuality and an exploration of how it fits into a good life. To start that, Chapter 1 opens with a discussion of the nature of happiness, since if we don’t understand what a good human life looks like, we’ll be unable to understand how sex might fit into it. In Chapter 2, we turn our attention to emotions and sentiments to lay the foundation to understand the deeper nature of sexuality, including how things like love and sexual attraction work. In Chapter 3, we turn our attention to love directly and explore its nature and such questions as whether everyone is capable of love. In Chapter 4, we look at the nature of relationships in particular and what a good relationship looks like. In Chapter 5, we explore sexual attraction and fantasy and see how each of these work and their importance to sex and sexuality. In Chapter 6, we explore the idea of sexual identity and whether our historic conceptions of this are helpful or harmful and how to better think about these issues. Finally, in Chapter 7, we bring all of this together and see how sex fits into a good life. We also explore the unique nature of sexual pleasure, the nature of sexual arousal, and possible ends of sex. Through all this, we set up a radically different kind of sexual ethics than has existed before: one that recognizes the importance of sex for most people and helps them to integrate it into their lives to help them to live better.

So, to get back to your original question…(read more)


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