Kant get him off my mind — 7 Comments

  1. What a great point, Elsie, about masturbation! You are right that somehow it’s also a step down from partnered sex, just like being without a partner is in general. It is also an expression of self-love, which is something loathed in our society, usually by equating it with narcissism.

  2. Thanks for talking about this! I also think sex (or the lack thereof) is way overemphasized in our culture. (As if you couldn’t tell from the way I go on about it at my own blog, heehee!) I think when the feminist movement tried to depathologize sex, the pendulum swung too far in the other direction and ended up pathologizing celibacy. The Freudian influence that persists in psychology today is also probably to blame; I remember how he famously prescribed the regular insertion of an erect penis to cure any female neurosis. Sure, sex is pleasurable, but there are a lot of other activities that are pleasurable and rewarding. It boggles my mind that this one seems to take precedence over everything else in our cultural mindset. It has just become so very wrapped up in everyone’s sense of well-being (both mental and physical) and gender identity even though it really has little to do with either.
    It’s frustrating, and I can only hope that this obsession is a phase we’ll grow beyond, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

    What may be worse is the persistent misconception that sex has to include a partner in order to be legitimate. We are all capable of experiencing the same sexual feelings with or without a partner, but, for some reason, we are repeatedly told that our sexual experiences must be subpar at best without a partner. I can only assume that this message is forced on us because intercourse is the only form of sex that produces children, and society collectively has a lot invested in continuing to reproduce.

  3. Single is even more taboo for parents. I was raising a disabled child and going to school, etc., etc., and frankly, I just didn’t want the headache of including someone else in such important decisions. I’ve been happily without male validation for 7 and a half years now. I’m not opposed to sex, I’m not a Xtian and I’m not really a fan of Kant. I’m just getting too old to be impractical about these things. Better to be alone than to wish I were!
    BTW: I read that there was a great deal of speculation about Kant’s relationship with his man-servant. They were supposed to have been in a life long closeted gay relationship.

  4. Lol! No, I won’t write like Kant. And if I start, please take the Prolegomena and hit me with it ;-).

    My original idea, toward the beginning of the semester, was to have a singles workshop or support group. This morphed into the feminist club since I don’t think I have energy to start two things. But maybe, it can be a part of the club (edited out “later” because I always found that unclear in Kant’s writing). Actually, if I am involved in the feminist club, it will be part of it… We could read Marie Edwards Singles Manifesto.

  5. You’re right about that. Hopefully in the near future the information about alternative sexual lifestyles will balance out our current conceptions of sexuality. I think if more people just knew about, for instance, asexuality and what it actually means they might be less prone to generalize certain situations. I never knew what asexuality entailed until you mentioned it, to be honest. ( I used to confuse it with celibacy). Actually, when I looked up the term, I found out my favorite illustrator (Edward Gorey) was asexual. Random!

    This is why you need to write a couple of great books to explain all this stuff to people. (And don’t use big, obscure terms to further confuse us. . . don’t pull a Kant!) I have probably learned more about sexuality in the last couple months than I have about philosophy. Maybe I should start paying tuition to the Rachel School of Singles Education?

  6. I love that ad!

    I don’t think any of the people participating in the discussion saw Kant’s virginity as pathological but there’s plenty of “research” out there that tries to portray lack of sexual experience as pathological. That’s one thing asexuals have to struggle with, for example… And some of the myths singles, especially men but also women, face have to do with their perpetual horneyness.

  7. Although the past couple of days we have joked a bit about the guy, I doubt any of us see his decision to remain virgin as being a ‘pathological’ one. It’s quite rare to run into a lifelong virgin and so people naturally become rather intrigued and inquisitive regarding the subject. We similarly joke about hyper-sexuals (like Sartre) just because it is out of the ordinary and we’re constantly beaten over the head with normative standards of sexuality. Whenever behavior deviates from the ‘norm’ people tend to respond curiously and might even revere the outstanding subject in awe. One of my favorite musicians, Morrissey, was famously celibate up until he was almost fifty (which is awesomely rare in popular music!) and up to this day fans and critics alike still discuss it. I think many of us wish we had control over our sexuality and so when someone actually succeeds we tend to wonder about it. (Whether regarding celibacy or hyper-sexuality) (This is of course excluding asexuals who don’t have to suppress or attempt anything, lucky. . .lucky). We <3 Kant!

    (Off topic, I found this 'Ads by Philosophers' on this blog I always read. It's pretty cute:
    "Kant: "SWM, 56, university professor, virgin, just finishing big book, looking for expanded social life. Hobbies include walking around town, starry-sky gazing, rational self-governance. I do not enjoy liars, promise-breakers, dogmatic slumbers, doing the morally right thing (but I do it anyway, out of respect for duty) or travelling. Seeks woman (Konigsberg area, please) for non-exploitative relationship based on mutual respect for our rational natures."")

    Ha ha!

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