Sex: right on the money

What do people want to gain from sex itself? In no particular order:

  1. Physical intimacy
  2. Emotional fulfillment
  3. Power

The first is obvious: people want physical contact, warmth, friction — in other words, sticky mucus-membrane pleasure. The raw deal! Another human being to hold, a person to touch. Black-out orgasms, flitting eyelids, gasping for air. This is not a necessary condition of love.

The second is trickier. The problem with these factors, is that the lines blur between them, or what they achieve. Many of us have emotional needs which we hope to fulfill through sexual contact. This often has to do with psychological issues, upbringing, genetic traits, our need for stability or excitement, etc. But there are some, who, because of their emotional state, require power-trips in order to derive emotional fulfillment from sex.

At the basic level, power, for the respective sexes (heterosexual terms for the moment), is that a women wishes to have the power over a man’s desire, via attraction, whereas a man desires the power to dominate a woman via penetration. Some people are different — they want influence over others via their mate, they want to be able to manipulate others with their prowess, they want to control the desires of another to gain self-esteem.

You can call it cynical, but as far as sex goes, I think this is the basic score. The error is not that sex is bad in of itself, but that people actually seem to think sex is a defining factor or catalyst for love. Love exists outside of sex, but can be triggered by sexual intimacy for many. The problem is that this love is limited and can be unreliable if this is it’s basis. Oh well — at least sex is fun.

I think in modern western society, sex has become a game more than a necessity. It’s not really a sin, just an indication of social blatancy and the phasing of the human experience. People who primarily seek power from sex often acquire it from groups of strangers, whereas those who seek emotional fulfillment often acquire it from within their social circles (perhaps a modern stand-in for arranged marriage). Obviously there is not such a clearly defined reason for why people seek sex, but this is a rough sketch of what I have observed.

I don’t think sex is taboo from a mystical standpoint. As one ages, the sex drive naturally fades away and one can spend more time in contemplation. I think religions, with their codes of celibacy were often ways to control unkempt desires in society, especially at times when birth control was crude or non-existent. Especially if many marriages were arranged, or relied on social ties, orphaned or outcast males might have been inducted into a monastic life either temporarily or permanently to keep them from causing trouble. I have no historical facts for this basis, of course, which will horrify empiricists and evangelicals alike (all according to plan).

I don’t believe sex is the “point” of life, or the greatest pleasure, or something to be pursued eternally. Many people have seriously dysfunctional sexual habits, just like many have harmful inclinations towards violent behavior, lying or stealing. These are other reasons for religious tenets, but people cannot be helped unless they wish to change on their own.

Sexual desire is the driving force of nature, whereas the belief (or hope) in a future tranquility or contentment is the bait. Sexual desire does not beget the bait, because the bait is a natural illusion to spur our trajectory forward, and thus enact nature’s drives. Sex is the motivator to reproduce, by giving the emotional illusion of providing long-term fulfillment.

Thoughts?

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7 Responses to “Sex: right on the money”

  1. You forgot 4. Not looking like a loser in front of your friends.
    I didn’t think that was such an issue for post-adolescents, but talking to my mother I get the impression that for the 1960s generation, adolescence never ends.

  2. I agree that the baby-boomers are the most privileged generation of all time, but don’t you think “looking cool” is tied into “power”?

    • No. I think power and image are different motives.
      My mum could care less if she can actually do something, but she sure wants people to believe she can and admire her and give her adulation.

      You could say “then she wants the power to make people admire her” but that’s like saying the motive to eat is actually power because people want the power to obtain the food they need.

      • You make a salient point, SM.

        It sounds like you are talking about “status”, which I do agree is a major factor. I think we have slightly different definitions of what power is — for instance, I would say a large portion of it is actually tied up in status and influence. Influence is a strong form of power.

      • “My mum could care less if she can actually do something, but she sure wants people to believe she can and admire her and give her adulation.”

        And isn’t this just the way that the whole of society has gone, too? All self-esteem and demands for respect. Don’t they understand that respect is earned?

        ‘Course I’m just complaining; I spent way too long in the boomers’ ideal school system and I’ve got all sorts of neuroses!

  3. psychologist1 Says:

    how can a sex give power? i do not know any people who could become “slaves of sex”. well, maybe.. if they think only by their genitals…

  4. “You can call it cynical, but as far as sex goes, I think this is the basic score. The error is not that sex is bad in of itself, but that people actually seem to think sex is a defining factor or catalyst for love.”

    Bingo!

    And when you really think about it, morality in general actually makes no sense whatsoever except in the context of a society.

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