Sex and OPAR


Michael Stuart Kelly

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I have a great deal of trouble reconciling the following passage from Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff with reality. I even find it difficult to reconcile it with Rand when I think about the Playboy interview and some other instances.

The passage is from OPAR, p. 344-345:

Sexual feeling is a sum; it presupposes all of a rational man's moral values and his love for them, including his love for the partner who embodies them. The essential meaning of such a feeling is not social, but metaphysical; it pertains not to any single value or love, but to the profound concern involved in all value pursuit: the relationship between a man and reality. Sex is a unique form of answering the supreme question of a volitional being: can I live? The man of self-esteem, using cognitive, conceptual terms, concludes in his own mind that the answer is yes. When he makes love, he knows that yes without words, as a passion coursing through his body.

Sex is a physical capacity in the service of a spiritual need. It reflects not man's body alone nor his mind alone, but their integration. As in all such cases, the mind is the ruling factor.

There is a biological basis of human sexuality and a counterpart in the animal world. But all animal needs and pleasures are transfigured in the context of the rational animal. This is apparent even in regard to such simple needs as food and shelter. Human beings, precisely to the extent that they have attained human stature, gain comparatively little enjoyment from the mere sensation of satisfying these needs. Their pleasure comes mostly from the accompanying emotions. It comes from the constellation of conceptually formulated values that define the needs' human satisfaction. Thus the joys of haute cuisine with special friends amid crystal and tapestries in a fine restaurant, or of beef stew and a glass of wine with a loving wife in one's own dining room, as against the act, equally nutritious and shielded from the elements though it may be, of chewing a piece of meat in a vacant cave somewhere. The principle is that a pleasure which was once purely biological becomes, in the life of a conceptual being, largely spiritual. The principle applies preeminently to sex. No human pleasure as intense as that of sex can be dominantly a matter of physical sensation. Dominantly, sex is an emotion; and the cause of emotion is intellectual.

Before I get into my own considerations, I would love to hear some of yours. (I am still shuddering...)

Michael

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Michael, you say you have difficulty reconciling this passage from OPAR to reality, but I’m not sure I understand the nature of your inquiry—could you be more specific? This is a very interesting and important topic indeed. [And thankfully, I have experience here].

Victor

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Well the "sex is an emotion" thing is a little dowdy...

I like that he at least mentions spiritual sex. Although, there are other kinds of sex.

I dunno, Michael. The tearing up meat in a cave, well... whatever!

I basically don't care for much of his writing, but for sure I"ve seen worse out of him.

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Well the "sex is an emotion" thing is a little dowdy...

I like that he at least mentions spiritual sex. Although, there are other kinds of sex.

I dunno, Michael. The tearing up meat in a cave, well... whatever!

I basically don't care for much of his writing, but for sure I"ve seen worse out of him.

Is this nit-picking syntax, but I never did understood the “sex is an emotion” statement? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that “sex is the expression [or can be] of emotion.”?

Still, I want MSK to specify how he has trouble reconciling the passage quoted with reality. I'm not challenging this, I'm just not clear.

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Here's a hint.

You are supposed to add the volitional and conceptual to the animal. You don't replace or "govern" (which in this double-speak, means "replace") the animal with the intellect. That is a mind-body dichotomy and not integration at all. (Check out Peikoff on this: "As in all such cases, the mind is the ruling factor.")

There's more, but that's enough for now. I don't mind where Peikoff is aiming at, i.e., making the spiritual most of sex and love, but I strongly reject castrating part of your identity (the animal part) to do so.

Read this excerpt carefully. Peikoff actually is calling on people to reject part of themselves (the body, unless it is "ruled" by the mind) while giving lip-service to "biology" to make it sound good.

Like I said, shudder...

Michael

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Michael,

Ah, this is a very good hint indeed, and I tend to agree with the direction you are taking this. I believe that too many Objectivists—following Peiokoff’s lead—tend to downplay the physical aspect of sex because they fear tumbling down from the ivory tower of pure ‘mind’ into the sewage below of pure hedonism [as they see it]. This is, I believe, a classic taste of an Orthodox maxim. And There seems to be a hint of a mind-body duality—or at least a strong favoring of one part and a lip-service to the other.

Angie I discussed this very subject once, and she said something that had a great deal of profundity. She talked about the sexual experience as being the most intense form of physical pleasure that a human being can experience. My critical antenna became alert. I objected, trotting out the classic Peiokoffian line of the “mind being a ruling factor” bla, bla, bla--and Angie, true to form, countered, in essence, with “Why are you favoring one over the other? Both are equally important.” Ding! This got me thinking.

Angie's argument can be summed up as this: Why put the physical pleasure—pure physical pleasure—on a lower rung than the emotional element—or alternately—why put the emotional element on a higher rung than the physical rung? Upon reflection, I said, “Wow, that sounds like total integration to me.” So I’m glad that she awoke this insight for me, shaking me from yet another dogmatic slumber. So much sway has been invested in treating Peikoff as her "intellectual heir" that it is assumed that anything Peikoff utters is also coming from the mouth of Ayn Rand herself.

I now believe that the marriage of both pure physical pleasure---as experienced with the person you love—the physical and the spiritual merged as equals—satisfies me as being correct.

In respect to this topic, let me draw attention to this passage from “My years with Ayn Rand”. Branden here speaks of his sexual relationship with Rand:

Branden: Nothing we could say or do could overwhelm the other. Nothing was too much. Whatever one gave, the other welcomed. Whatever one wanted, the other responded. We embraced sex as a person underwater too long embraces air.

“What’s happening to me?” Ayn would say. “You’re turning me into an animal.” And I would grin mockingly and answer, “Really? What were you before?” “A mind,” she would say.

-Victor

***

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Victor,

Bingo. One is not more important than the other if proper mind-body integration takes place.

But there is another consideration. Just the physical by itself is a good thing, not a "base" or "animal" thing (in the sense of scare quotes while making a face as if you are smelling something unpleasant). Added to the mind, sex is a great thing. But by itself, wow!

I get the impression from much Objectivist literature I have read that a roll in the hay for the sake of a roll in the hay is somehow demeaning. I say it is only demeaning if you really are in love with someone else at the time or you despise the person you are with. Otherwise, if that is what you want at the time, then go for it and be happy. Casual sex can be a marvelous experience if it is treated that way.

There is more, but later.

Michael

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Michael,

Stating it more fully, or from a different angle: Objectivism consists of a systematic integration of the five branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and esthetics—and as a fully systematic and integrated philosophy, it must be internally consisted—integrated--and not merely in regard to the five basis branches on the “outside.”

I look forward to what else you have to say on this subject.

-Victor

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I'm probably missing a lot, but this passage partly struck me as a little bit bombastic and psychologically ignorant. (That's, obviously, aside from the bits I agreed with, like, Michael, you said, identifying sex as spiritually satisfying.) Yes, sex is (or should be - my mostly virginal self wouldn't know. . . :lol:) a summation of values, but that's not all it can be or the only purpose it serves. If sex is SOLELY the affirmation "I CAN LIVE!", then what makes sex so special or even different than daily work or even a simple, gratifying conversation? Don't all a rational man's actions carry that same message? I'm almost tempted to say that Peikoff's statement, "As in all such cases, the mind is the ruling factor" is reversed; sex is, first and foremost, a physical act - it is the mind and values that take it to that next, much higher level. Plus, to say otherwise is to ignore all the other aspects of human life that "rational" sex can encompass - does it always have to be strictly, one-sided-philosophical, or can't it at times become more personal according to the individual partners? Say, for physical or emotional comfort, or, hell, sex for warmth or even for humor! Or maybe it's just that it's a physical act that feels really damn good - SO good, in fact, that you wouldn't want to share with anybody else than your best friend. Like sophisticated back rubs! You wouldn't want to give/receive a back rub to someone you hated (probably because they'd have really greasy, pimply, disgusting backs) - you would want to back rub with someone you liked and trusted, but the fact that you like them isn't what causes you to want a back rub in the first place.

It sort of reminds me of this one person I know who (at least in the past) didn't seem to really enjoy being in my company unless we were having some deep, utterly important, philosophical conversation. If I tried to tell them about my dog's latest escape, or the ridiculousness of last night's homework, or some stupidly hilarious yet pointless story, they'd assume a very polite - but very fake, insulting, and hurtful - attitude which more or less equated to "I try, but I really don't give a shit about you or your life unless your every action has blatant philosophical significance that I can then in turn apply to myself" - depsite what I had hinted to them on former occasions that some of the joys I get from associating with people I highly value were the seemingly insignificant or stupid conversations, or just simply sitting saying nothing, because it was everything unsaid that spoke the loudest - just the sheer joy at the knowledge of being in the presence of a Good Person, and that nothing "important" NEEDED to be said to reinforce that joy. In the same way, does sex always have to be unbearably intense, unfathomably revolutionary, and intimately focused on mental self-development, or can't it also be, at times, recreational, comfortable, and simply "fun?"

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Michael,

My point is that the “WOW factor” in sex is better if experienced with someone you love or else highly esteem—and to NOT divorce it from that base for a solely “but by itself, wow” consideration. The idea that you can have hedonistic [physical-only sex] and not involve emotional or psychological consequences is a fable. A lot of people just think they can divorce all mental aspects from sex and it will all work out. They think that sex doesn't have to be about values. That they can make non-A out of A if they try really, really, really hard. They rationalize that they are “valuing” the sexual act alone and therefore it’s acceptable. However, valuing something does not presuppose that it's a rational value. You can certainly build up a mesh of evasions and rationalizations about why you value someone. I am reminded of Francisco in Atlas Shrugged who explained how many people wind up with an utterly bungled sex life--emotionally speaking--unable to desire what they admire. These people are trying to invert cause and effect.

The point here is this: Sex is, by its nature, an expression of value, [however those values are conceived or what those values are]. But you have a psychological contradiction if you have sex with a person you don't value. Your body is saying, [in terms of its physiological drive alone] "I really value this”---and your mind is saying, "I don't value this." The inevitable consequence of a sustained practice of this sort is a profound spiritual/emotional dissatisfaction. A reminiscent look at ones sexual history and a moment of introspection should confirm this.

If the standard of having sex is for “the pleasure of it”---what can you discriminate on? Why, you have to pick someone--or something---as the case may be. If you hunt for someone that simply looks like they will be a good fuck [or some nice biddable sheep] what values are you choosing other than what you think will give the maximum amount of physical pleasure? I don't find indiscriminate casual sex to be immoral solely because it's not a response to values--it's also a matter of where the values being responded to are derived from. In this case, “the mind as the leading factor” is true, but it is unfortunate that too many Orthodox Objectivists feel it necessary to amputate the physical element from it all together or else "hold their nose" to it in a grudging acknowledgment, and attempt to soften it by referring to it as “biology.”

My personal experience of feeling dreadful [or ultimately feeling emotionally dissatisfied] after having sex with someone I didn’t value bear out this fact. And this was with a person for whom the exchange was one of mutual esteem, but not of sufficient weight from my end of it. So I can only image the emotional mess of the life of a “professional John” whose source of physical gratification is by hiring the services of a prostitute. To quote Any Rand: "Only the man who extols the purity of a love devoid of desire, is capable of the depravity of a desire devoid of love.”

Physical pleasure IS a value, but only in so much as it is a consequence of rational value judgments. In fact, I regard the physical pleasure of sex as so important that I don’t wish to dilute it by having sex with someone I don’t esteem or love. Sex based on mutual values, my admiration for their intellect, their moral character, because of intellectual/psychological visibility they are providing me with, because they recognize my own value like no other—this is where the physical WOW factor is at its premier best. Now we are talking about rational selfishness.

As it is, I fully understand the indissoluble tie between sex and spirit—which is the tie between mind and body.

-Victor-

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...I'm glad that [Angie] awoke this insight for me, shaking me from yet another dogmatic slumber.
There is no doubt in my mind. Angie is very good for you Victor. She is a woman who can shake your foundations. With her no holds barred exploration of reality and her authentic personal vision, she will show you things about the world and yourself you would not have noticed on your own. That's synergy. This is one of the great values in a highly conscious romantic relationship. It is also one of the important spiritual elements in great sex. No holds barred sex with someone who sees and values you deeply and authentically is the most intense physical/psychological/philosophical-- in a word, organismic-- experience in life. Rich is right about the power of sex.

Paul

Edit: Victor, I read your post above after I wrote this. It seems we said something in a very similar spirit.

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Michael,

My problem with Peikoff's perspective can be summed up right here:

...the cause of emotion is intellectual.
This idea is based on a mistaken understanding of human nature. While emotions are affected by the intellect, the causation is more complex than this statement implies. Rand and Peikoff have this wrong. What evidence is provided for this view of human nature?

Paul

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Elizabeth,

You got it. Full agreement. There is no "one size fits all" standard.

Victor,

I can't take any of your last post seriously if you are talking about some casual sex I have had in life. It is simply false in light of my own experience.

You are backsliding to the orthodox Objectivist myth of trying to judge all casual sexual encounters, regardless of context, as harmful unless they are... er... a mindfuck on top of a bodyfuck or whatever. To me, the real mindfuck is the attempt to set a standard to induce guilt when the juices flow on their own.

Sorry. The existence of the billions of dollars in the porn industry (where nobody is forced to perform, produce or consume, yet they move all that money and product) and the population boom in the world are both evidence I cannot blank out because of some theory of what "should be." The whole world engaged in casual sex is not completely neurotic. (Not to mention the entire animal kingdom and other sexual creatures.)

Sex by and of itself, including masturbation, is good. Period. (I stress adults when partners are involved.) When you add the mind and other values, sex just gets better. It never goes from being inherently bad to good all of a sudden.

When a person does harmful things to his life, like having sex against his convictions (even when the convictions are arbitrary), thus he feels strongly that he is doing wrong, then he might damage himself psychologically. Otherwise, I find no correspondence to reality with your contention that all casual sex causes psychological damage. It doesn't. Much more is needed for psychological damage to occur.

There is that magic word "context" raising its head again...

If you want to do Rand's fiction about this, think about all those years Hank Rearden slept with his wife, Lillian. Was that sex a good thing for Rearden or was it "unspeakable depravity"? After all, Rearden was a Rand hero and Lillian a Rand villain, so that went way beyond casual sex. That was sex without any love whatsoever in a steady relationship over years. Or do you think Rearden actually loved Lillian all those years? Maybe he was fooled at first, but not after time.

For the record, there is nothing wrong with establishing a "best" parameter for sex (which includes highest love value) and offering this to the person you love--and yourself during special times in life, like when you find the right person. That is shooting for the best life has to offer and this is something I do. But lying to yourself that there is some illness involved in all casual sex to emphasize such "best" is silly. (I also believe that we all have had casual sex at one time or another--without any damage.)

Like I said, a roll in the hay between consenting adults (who are not emotionally involved with each other) that did not go beyond that is simply a good time that happened (with emphasis on the good) and nothing more. And that is as it should be.

I agree that too much casual sex is playing with fire for a variety of reasons, but not because casual sex is inherently bad. I hold it is inherently good and can be bad only if added to certain contexts.

If you are wondering about my own personal choices, I am monogamous by nature when I am in love and I believe this is proper. When I am not in love, I am hard to get, but not impossible. Today, I give hardly any thought at all to casual partners I have had in the past, much less need therapy for having slept with them. Also, the existence of them in my past has not impaired my present love for Kat in any respect whatsoever. I was able to wait for her (in an exclusivity commitment) for almost 2 years at a distance with absolute serenity.

Michael

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My problem with Peikoff's perspective can be summed up right here:
...the cause of emotion is intellectual.
This idea is based on a mistaken understanding of human nature. While emotions are affected by the intellect, the causation is more complex than this statement implies. Rand and Peikoff have this wrong. What evidence is provided for this view of human nature?

Paul,

I fully agree with you. Neither Rand nor Peikoff offer any evidence whatsoever that "the cause of emotion is intellectual." Rand simply proclaimed this and they took it from there. (NB differs with Rand here.)

I do agree that some emotions are caused by the intellect and, for those, Rand's insights are quite valuable.

Michael

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M,

Whoa there on that Orthodox business, please. Yikes! LOL. You should know that I am apprehensive of the act of quoting Ayn Rand and trying to interpret how she would want someone to behave because Objectivism ordains it. Objectivism is not a religion and I detest the idea to treat Rand and her words in a way similar to the way Christians treat the words of Jesus Christ and his apostles or Muslims and the writings of Muhammad. Still, I agree with most of what she wrote and said. Among that is the idea that everyone should think for him or herself---based on Objective standards. But she did not found a religion. And it is this independent spirit that I find here at OL. :)

Morality is based off of reality, of course. Well, I have observed sex in a loving and romantic relationship as amazing and on an entirely different level than sex outside of such a relationship. But, I also observe casual sex, in certain circumstances, to be of value to certain people also. And it’s here that one always looks at the total context. I’m not saying, as a religious conservative would, that “casual sex is wrong—categorically—and let’s toss in, for good measure, pre-marital sex too!”

Now you know that I’m not saying that.

In regards to sex, I am merely reporting on my own experiences, my feelings and thoughts—prior to knowing about Objectivism…or at least its views in regard to sex. I have illustrated how a sustained practice of casual sex made me feel. They were my estimations--not Rand's. So I am not referring to an Objectivist dictate as to how I should feel.

But let’s take a look at a different context: someone who basically dis-values sex in their life--such as sleeping with people you despise, because you don't sleep with someone you admire; treating it as a physical act of two bodies rubbing against each other for mutual physical satisfaction--if you do this often enough over a span of years--that is what sex will become for you and that is the only thing you will condition yourself to be able to experience in the act. Again, the cry is for context, context. This example above is crudely drawn out, but I think you appreciate the point I’m trying to illustrate. Simply, it might be just this: Sex has just as much a certain identity as humans have.

Here's a more concrete example: I am sorry to report that I use to know someone in my club hoping who would sweet talk some randomly selected slut from the club [or even street] and bang her in the back ally—and all of this was driven by some macho code. I don’t want to even estimate the stature of the girls in which this man “conquered” them—to use his terminology.

To this question, I have heard it argued, as a counter-question: If both parties are honest, how is it even possible?!?

The argument—not mine, but serves the point I’m making---was this: If one is wholly honest about casual sex with both oneself and one's partner…just what is left to be attracted to? What sort of passion could one muster if one did not blank out: "I don't love you. Your mind is of no interest to me. You—as an individual person—are entirely interchangeable with anyone else. I happened upon you. Your values are of no interest to me. YOU—whoever the fuck you are—are nothing to me. You are only a body which I am using to satisfy the urges of my body. You are nothing but a warm-blooded version of a blow-up doll."

How could a person of self-esteem let them self engage in such an act over a period of years--from one partner to the next---and in the manner as illustrated above?

**

Now giving total consideration to what you say in the above post, what is your position in regards to hedonism then, in the realm of sex? That is, would you say it is consonant with what you express above and therefore you would endorse it as a philosophy? If not, why not?

-Victor

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If you want to do Rand's fiction about this, think about all those years Hank Rearden slept with his wife, Lillian. Was that sex a good thing for Rearden or was it "unspeakable depravity"? After all, Rearden was a Rand hero and Lillian a Rand villain, so that went way beyond casual sex. That was sex without any love whatsoever in a steady relationship over years. Or do you think Rearden actually loved Lillian all those years? Maybe he was fooled at first, but not after time.

If you recall, Rearden was pretty miserable about the times he spent in Lillian's bed. HE considered it a weakness on his part.

I get the impression from much Objectivist literature I have read that a roll in the hay for the sake of a roll in the hay is somehow demeaning. I say it is only demeaning if you really are in love with someone else at the time or you despise the person you are with. Otherwise, if that is what you want at the time, then go for it and be happy. Casual sex can be a marvelous experience if it is treated that way.

This concept is just bizarre to me. When you make love, you make love to a PERSON. To think of it any other way is dualism. You can't separate the mind from the body.

If you're not in love with the person, or at the very least, if you don't have a desire for the PERSON as opposed to the body, why bother? Why not just buy a blow-up doll or some other sex toy and use it? It's a lot less trouble.

And I can't imagine anything more demeaning than to be used as a blow-up doll by another person who doesn't regard you as anything personally.

Morality has nothing to do with it. It's a matter of personal revulsion.

Judith

Edit: Maybe "Morality has nothing to do with it" isn't precisely correct; I just don't think of it in terms of right and wrong, or of condemning people who think differently from me on the issue as "immoral"; I just think it's disgusting.

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Victor,

I am glad it's not all or nothing without context. (But you are right. I knew that from our other communications.)

In general we are on the same page. Hedonism to me starts with a person being uninterested in realizing his full potential--especially the potential of his mind. But hedonism/true love is a false dichotomy if it is either-or. There is a whole line of gradation between them if they are taken as extreme ends for a measurement.

That is why I don't agree with the contempt you express for casual sex:

"I don't love you. Your mind is of no interest to me. You—as an individual person—are entirely interchangeable with anyone else. I happened upon you. Your values are of no interest to me. YOU—whoever the fuck you are—are nothing to me. You are only a body which I am using to satisfy the urges of my body. You are nothing but a warm-blooded version of a blow-up doll."

I think you also see that this is not applicable to all cases, which is why you put it over a period of years. Frankly, I don't think this attitude is even applicable to many situations, since it only fits pure hedonists (and I have never met one). If I were to say something negative for the negative cases of casual sex, from what I have observed, it would be more along the following lines:

"I don't love you. I have a neurotic itch--like insecurity or an irrational script I need to play out--that needs to be scratched and your mind and body help me scratch it. After I do that, you may or may not be of further interest to me."

However, I have also observed a more positive attitude: "I am out for a good time and you are too. I see things in you that attract me, especially sexually, but I am not promising anything beyond tonight."

I see nothing wrong with this. I personally do not feel that my former partners in casual sex were the equivalent of blow-up dolls. They were human beings. If I had continued to have sex with them, things might have gone to the next level. I don't remember ever having sex to despise myself or get back at another woman, although I know people who do that.

I feel very sorry for your macho friend. He underestimates his mind. Curiously, I will now argue the other end in the case of the macho mentality.

I once read something interesting about profiles that explains the macho posture. Just as Rand and Nathaniel Branden claimed that the contour of the body which makes man the penetrator and the woman the penetrated has an ensuing psychological impact, there is another consideration that is equally important. Obviously, there will be exceptions as this is a general species trait (and there is the issue of homosexuality).

What I read was about the reproductive capacity. A man can have as many babies as the number of fertile women he can have sex with. A woman is limited to 9-month spans. As natural selection urges a species to higher survival values, this impacts a natural urge in people. (This urge is not exclusive, but merely one part of the whole picture of sexual/love attraction.) To satisfy this species reproductive urge, a man will wish to have sex with as many healthy (and usually good-looking) females he can find and give them all babies. The female will wish to seek out one healthy (and usually masculine-looking) male and tie him up so as to have one baby after another with him.

This explains why men are generally more promiscuous than women. (Once again, as a general, not all-inclusive, trait.) This reasoning made sense to me.

So, to indulge in some amateur psychology, I think part of the macho posture is a person giving in to this urge--i.e., not using his mind very much, but his automatic urges instead. This observation also is valid for the woman who tries to trap a man into marriage. There are other factors involved, but this urge is one of them that explains a lot.

I never felt this species reproductive urge very strongly in me (although it is there) because I also hold a high degree of selectivity and a host of other elements I have introspected on (both positive and negative). I used to say to my Brazilian macho friends that they exhibited the appetite of pigs: they would eat anything they came across and I wanted something finer. But even at my most Randroid stage, I was unable to make them feel guilty. Not even a twitch of guilt. I also observed that they were not neurotic at all and many constituted loving families. So I have to conclude that I have seen a healthy way to give expression to this urge.

The more I reflect on all this, the more silly Peikoff's proclamations about human sexuality and love get. Sometimes it is very pleasurable to chew on "a piece of meat in a vacant cave somewhere"--like on a rainy night when you are starving, for just one instance. I would say such an experience could even approach the religious (or great art) in intensity.

Michael

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Judith,

Morality has everything to do with it. When we think morality in the sexual realm, we tend to think of it where force is involved—such as rape and pedophilia. But of course there is a sexual ethic when it comes to “two consenting adults.” Eventually, the type of practices I was trying to indicate in my posts, catches up to you. This has nothing to do with being a dowdy prude—it is a matter of self-respect and standards.

-Victor

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Judith,

Maybe Rearden felt bad about being in Lillian's bed, but he kept going back. That's something to think about, even with Rand.

Also, I agree with your "I think it is disgusting" sentiment as a personal choice about using blow-up dolls. I would never use one and would feel pretty ridiculous doing that. But I don't think other people who use them are disgusting at all. I simply don't have a moral (value) opinion about them. It's their business, not mine. I think blowing up innocent people with bombs is disgusting, not how a person engages in sex, for a good moral contrast.

Please do not take my words to mean that a person should not strive for the highest. I am merely claiming that striving for the highest does not mean the need to condemn all the rest as "disgusting."

Human beings are wonderfully complicated creatures and one size will never fit all with something like sex and attitudes toward sex.

Michael

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MSK,

I guess I just autofilter the mind/body stuff out of LP's writing-- to me it's a given. It's the main reason I don't like much of his work, for what that's worth.

Integrating Physical/Emotional/Intellectual centers... it is not a top-down situation (mind down). Well, that will do, but it is heh suboptimal.

Yes, we should not have the horses pushing the carriage, either.

But there can be more of a continuous flow between intellect/emotion/body. And that takes work.

Sometimes it seems to me like it's assumed if you work the philosophical integration (that's head work), this osmosis will happen as far as emotion and physicality. It's just not a wholistic approach, taken that way.

Mind/body dichotomy? Try mind/body/emotion trichotomy.

As far as casual fucking goes, never really done it other than with someone with whom I have a deep, exclusive relationship. Sometimes that's what happens, someteimes that's what's needed. It's totally fun and good for you. Usually, for me, these turn into hyper-athletic "quickies," rather than long, tantric-style engagements.

I tend to prefer long form, but whatever happens is what's going to happen.

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...I'm glad that [Angie] awoke this insight for me, shaking me from yet another dogmatic slumber.
There is no doubt in my mind. Angie is very good for you Victor. She is a woman who can shake your foundations. With her no holds barred exploration of reality and her authentic personal vision, she will show you things about the world and yourself you would not have noticed on your own. That's synergy. This is one of the great values in a highly conscious romantic relationship. It is also one of the important spiritual elements in great sex. No holds barred sex with someone who sees and values you deeply and authentically is the most intense physical/psychological/philosophical-- in a word, organismic-- experience in life. Rich is right about the power of sex.

Paul

Edit: Victor, I read your post above after I wrote this. It seems we said something in a very similar spirit.

“Angie is good for Victor.” Paul, you have no idea what kind of an understatement this is. Angie is an absolute Angel. Now I don’t want to hijack this thread with some more Angie and Victor mush, which is readily available on the Love In Bloom thread...and almost everywhere else. LOL. But tying it back to this thread: Angie and I are still to meet, and therefore we are still to consummate our love for each other, and I can say with full confidence—well before the really of the eventual act—that I would trade in all of my casual sex experiences for one true encounter of this type. You see, I have very high standards and I’m a rather passionate person. ;]

Victor

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Angie is an absolute Angle.

Victor,

I can't resist. Would that be a right angle, or acute, obtuse, straight, reflex, congruent, adjacent, complementary or supplementary angle? I am also interested in your considerations of Angie's vertex, slopes, rays and end-points. How many degrees would be interesting, too.

:)

Michael

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