Love manifests itself in many ways, and there are many kinds of love for which this is the case. One type of love is amorous love, and a common way it is expressed is through intimacy and sex. Though both expressions can be treated as a banal exchange, at their best they are sublime, memorable encounters. People are transformed, new possibilities emerge, and one becomes dedicated to following another. Kierkegaard is well-known for claiming that being in love is like a leap of faith; the evidence of love is never conclusive, as one never has direct access to another’s emotional state. Similarly, changing circumstances make it unclear whether what was in the past still holds now. As a result, one must at some point trust that love is real and not a trick.
Intimacy and sex are ways of trying to break down the barriers separating one another, to give a more complete picture of who we are, what we desire, and how we see ourselves in relation to others. Thus they often are connected with love, as they can help us to make the leap Kierkegaard describes. In addition, the more comfortable we become with intimacy and sex, the more willing we may be to open ourselves to acts of self-creation, which is important in many parts of life (since, in one sense, everything you do contributes to your creation). Intimacy and sex, assuming they are done right, prepare us for life. The more we help each other become comfortable with these acts, the more we help our society. Consider the following papers as you explore the role intimacy and sex play in your own life.
- Shui Chuen Lee, “Intimacy and Family Consent: A Confucian Ideal,” Journal of Medicine & Philosophy, August 2015.
- Victoria Browne, “Feminist Philosophy and Prenatal Death: Relationality and the Ethics of Intimacy,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society, Winter 2016.
- Natasha McKeever, “Love: What’s Sex Got To Do With It?” International Journal of Applied Philosophy, Fall 2016.
- Scott Anderson, “On Sexual Obligation and Sexual Autonomy,” Hypatia, February 2013.
- Talia Mae Bettcher, “When Selves Have Sex: What the Phenomenology of Trans Sexuality Can Teach About Sexual Orientation,” Journal of Homosexuality, May 2014.
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