Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sex, a secular perspective, preamble

At a Humanist discussion I recently attended I heard someone ask why there is no Humanist stance on sexuality, which I found really compelling. Why isn't there a secular perspective on human sexuality? 

I think most of the problem is that in the U.S., sexuality is so demonized and marginalized that a serious, rigorous look at human sexuality that is pro-sex seems oxymoronic. I have not heard any attempt at building a new paradigm about human sexuality. And as a big philosophy of science fan, I like me a good paradigm. 

Historically, as I understand it, the anglo-american tradition of sexual attitudes basically boils down to sex is bad, but we'll tolerate it within the bounds of marriage for the purposes of procreation. And as we have become an increasingly liberal culture what we have done is keep the idea that sex is bad, but expand the list of sanctioned acts. So sex remains prohibited unless you are doing it in an allowed way. 

Well fuck all that. 

Sex is: fun, necessary for the survival of the species, good for your health, builds relationships, cheap, creates mutual trust, a stress reliever, among many many other things. 

I would like to think about sex in the same way that we think about almost all other areas of human behavior, using the standard tools of evaluation that we use for those activities. Sex is not a special case of human behavior, and to say otherwise is implicitly take on board the theological importance that it has been given. So let’s see what happens when you start with that as a premise and reason logically for a while. 

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