The Washington Post gave space to Margo Kaplan, an assistant professor of law at Rutgers School of Law-Camden, so she could claim that “our courts and legislatures are still strangely squeamish about sexual pleasure, tending to treat it as a topic to be avoided or an immoral indulgence the state should prevent.”
Cutting through her verbiage, Kaplan wants the courts and culture to recognize a right to sexual pleasure that will weigh against any law or proposed law that might restrict such pleasure. She doesn’t express herself so explicitly. In fact, she seems “strangely squeamish” in stating her agenda. But what else can it mean for courts and law to “value sexual pleasure”? She generously allows that some traditional laws and taboos might still remain in place under her new regime.
Recognizing the value of sexual pleasure doesn’t mean we have to value it above everything else — that there is nothing better than sex. We regulate other things that bring people pleasure all the time. Similarly, there may still be good reasons to regulate things like adultery, incest and prostitution — but we would have to take a harder look at the justifications for these regulations and their costs.
But, of course, we have nothing to predict for us how these “harder looks” will work out. All we know is that she wants more weight thrown against those laws.
I’m not saying the editorial is a waste of time to read. It is actually quite revealing. For example:
Even Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which struck down a sodomy ban and is widely considered a landmark case for sexual freedom, sidestepped any discussion of sexual pleasure. The opinion focused on the value of sex in committed relationships. “When sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring,” the court wrote. It was an odd fixation for a case that started with two men having casual sex. It’s admirable that the court acknowledged that sex isn’t always just about pleasure. But it’s disappointing that the court seemed to forget that sex can ever be just about pleasure.
It wasn’t an “odd fixation”; it was an official lie to turn a one-night stand into something that looked valuable. It was moral cover for a homosexual act that set up the premise for the fiction of same sex “marriage.”
The paragraph above also shows that Kaplan is misrepresenting her premise. She isn’t writing about the courts’ failure to recognize sexual pleasure. She is upset that the court doesn’t legitimize genital stimulation as an end in itself with no further social or personal significance.
But if her claims about the courts hold up, then they are far more honest about sex than she is. How many “hedonists” are satisfied with masturbation? Very few, if any. Much more commonly they are fascinated by watching bizarre combinations of men and women (hopefully, but the “barely legal” meme suggests something worse) do perverse stuff on video. As I wrote earlier, some have found that such visual stimulation makes them incapable of loving a real woman, and they realize that this defeats the purpose of sex. These people are not Christians or conservative at all.
I notice this porn “recovery” website looks really helpful. Its disadvantage is that it doesn’t treat porn as a sin. But, I think its advantage is that it gets people to deal with their porn habit in a ruthless way; shame doesn’t hinder participants from seeking help. It wants to assist and encourage people in “resetting” their brains after saturation with porn. The philosophy of the site is based on evolution, which I don’t believe in, but find intriguing in this context.
Men prefer “conquests” and pursue multiple women as a form of manhood-affirmation and boasting.
You either have sex to communicate love in marriage or you have sex to communicate dominance or submission with others. Sex is always used in a relational (or anti-relational) way.
Only feral children—children raised outside society without parental interaction so they cannot speak a language or relate to others—are satisfied with “sexual pleasure for its own sake.” The rest of us are predators, slaves, or spouses.
The courts have been horrible on the moral issues surrounding sex, but they were right to see it as inherently relational.