Heh, heh. The purpose of sex is to get what you want. Just kidding. Without reading the replies, I think it's animal instinct so we can reproduce. Now, it may be for bonding, and well, pleasure.
Across the animal kingdom, the ultimate purpose of sex is procreation. But it evolved to be pleasurable (or a compulsion) at least for one party involved, in order to motivate the behavior. The pleasure aspect applies to established mating partners as well as outside that, the latter which I frown upon, as uncommitted sex tends to be socially and emotionally destructive. I have been reading a book that makes a case for casual or group sex helping social cohesion in some environments, but the modern world doesn't seem to be that environment. I don't know if I can call sex "meaningful" in and of itself, but it can help bolster emotional intimacy, which is meaningful. Some of that is via effects on hormones, I suppose. Sex can have health benefits, too, though the health risks seem much higher to me. Extended periods of celibacy probably are not healthy physiologically and psychologically. Maybe that falls under the category of religion-encouraged behaviors that in a way make (or made) sense on a social level, like by preoccupying genetically unfit people with extreme religious devotion instead of having them reproduce.
I'm late to this party, but I think sex for humans is like food. There is a primary purpose to each, being procreation or sustenance, but having higher brain functions and creativity than other animals allows us to also derive pleasure from it as well.
Just as having gourmet restaurants that serve only enough food to feed a gnat but the food is supposedly devine, sex and sexual pleasure have purpose but can also be extremely entertaining.
I don't think sex should be reserved for marriage. I'm glad both myself and my wife had experience with others and each other before getting married. I can only imagine the frustration of building up sex to be this special thing between married partners and then one or both of them suck at it, parden the pun.
Sex is definitely meaningful as a physical bond between partners. There is no other way to be as close to each other than when literally physically joined. It does mean alot more and feel different when you are married however. I get greater satisfaction with sex during marriage than I did outside of marriage, but it was still good before.
I have no problem with sex outside of marriage. Yes, it evolved for the purpose of procreation but that doesn't mean it can't be used for pleasure between consenting partners. Of course the partners have a responsibility to be, well, responsible and make sure they are free from disease and use whatever needed protection to prevent unplanned pregnancy.
In the real world, it often doesn't work like that, and it probably would be more effective to discourage casual sex than to encourage "responsible" forms thereof.
The problem is the leftists have made it our business.
We have to pay for the offspring of other people's sex because of the welfare/entitlement state.
We have to pay to take care of other people's Veneral diseases thanks to socialized medicine.
I can't stand the pro-life left that tells me hands off my body, but then I should pay for whatever happens because of what you do with your body.
Sam, if you are still checking responses to your seven-month-old post....
First, some context. I see many "leftist" policies as soft-headed and many "rightist" policies as hard-hearted.
Your analyses above are incomplete enough to qualify as hard-hearted.
For instance, with your We have to pay for the offspring of other people's sex because of the welfare/entitlement state, you are remarking on a soft-headed leftist policy.
What is your rightist remedy?
Many rightists insist that abstinence-only sex education works (It doesn't reduce teen pregnancy.) and oppose comprehensive sex education (It does reduce teen pregnancy.)
And so, without reducing teen pregnancy, you want to replace a soft-headed leftist policy with a hard-hearted rightist poliicy:
Your policy: don't pay for the offspring of other peoples sex. Do as the ancients did, put newborns out where they will die of exposure and be eaten by animals. Or do as less ancient people did: make unmarried mothers homeless.
Your second statement above. Will you ignore sexually transmitted diseases and let infections spread? Will you imprison infected folk until they die? Or, like my very angry kid brother, execute them?
Your third statement above. I've never heard anyone on the left tell people to keep their hands off their bodies.
Awesome topic James, I agree with much of what is already written here, but here's my perspective:
- Sex is the most important act we perform; creating and raising the next generation of those who are like us is the most important thing we can do in life; it is, obviously, the preservation of the species, but most important, it is the preservation of those who are most like us...and that matters.
- In my mind, performing sex with someone only for pleasure with no intention of a long-term relationship is like treating that person like trash; if you're willing to have sex with someone you should be willing to raise children with them, and that means you should be in it for the long haul and ready to start a family.
- I am neutral on homosexuality and agree with those who say it is a choice; however, I am strongly against same-sex marriage for two reasons:
-- First, marriage is subsidised by taxpayers. Marriage and the taxes that subsidize it are an investment in the next generation; understanding that not all investments actually pay off (some are unable or unwilling to procreate). Love and sanctity are bonuses (for us sanctity means synergism; being greater than ourselves; being part of the long line of humanity), but we support traditional marriage not for love and sanctity, but as an investment in the next generation. Marriage is the best environment in which to create and raise children, even if the marriage does not last. Same-sex marriage is not an investment in the future. When same-sex marriage is allowed, logically, all government and private subsidies toward marriage should end.
-- Second, it is simple math. Widespread same-sex marriage is a quick path to declining populations. That may sound good to some, but the problem is it will decrease the wrong populations. Those who are comfortable, and educated, and have the potential to bend space and time to save humanity will be the most likely to enter into same-sex marriages...and those are exactly the people who should be procreating. Additionally, those of Northern European descent seem to be the most likely to enter into same-sex marriages. So, just as the abortion atrocity has impacted primarily those of African descent and lower-income people, the same-sex marriage atrocity would impact primarily those of Northern European descent and higher-income people. Ever notice that you don't see demographics for the same-sex marriages. Who is trying to kindly wipe us out so they can keep all the wealth to themselves? They've got theirs, why would they want competition? But that is another topic for debate.
Thank you for following, and I am eager to study other perspectives. :)
Sex has the potential to remedy the aloneness each of us knows.
Why do we have eyes? To see, of course. There is no value statement in this, it is just fact.
Why do we have ears? To hear.
Why do we have noses? To breathe and smell.
Why do we have mouths? To eat, drink, and breathe.
Why do we have sex organs? To procreate and for pleasure.
What part of seeing, hearing, breathing, eating and sexuality is bad or evil, or dirty? The notion of such things is a construct, created in the minds of human beings and always implies power over or submission to. The fact of sexuality has no valance, no hierarchy, and no coercion involved, unless placed there by some notion learned. Rape is a violation of sexuality and represents power over, not power with.
Each of us has these attributes for a reason or reasons. The purpose of pleasurable sex is that it enables procreation, whether that is the purpose of the act or not. It is up to the mentally healthy, mature adult to know the difference between power over and participation with another in mutually pleasing ways.
Hetero- or homo-sexual activity exists as part of nature and has no valance assigned to it, except as the human mind creates notions of good or bad, right or wrong, decent or indecent.
Human sexuality is a personal or shared experience intended to bring pleasure to both; if it does not, it is coercion and harmful.
Uh-oh, Joan, are you saying "our reason for having eyes is to see"? That eyes have a purpose?
I would have said, "I see because I have eyes", I hear because I have ears; I breathe and smell because I have a nose, etc.
I'll take the "see/eyes" item apart and check it more closely:
1) A random mutation produced a nerve cell that was sensitive to light,
2) This sensitivity conferred an evolutionary advantage, and
3) Very slowly, an ability to see evolved.
More later, I have to run. What say you?