• Agustino
    8.8k
    So to be free from the obsession with sex that some people (but probably fewer than appears) have is certainly to be looked for. But celibacy maintained through gritted teeth, as it were, is not any kind of freedom, and maintains the obsession far more strongly than having a sexual relationship.unenlightened
    The thing is, if someone is sexually obsessed - then celibacy or no celibacy, he's likely to be just as obsessed, because it's a problem of his mind, not of anything else. It's a mistake if a celibate sexually obsessed person thinks that engaging in sex and leaving his celibacy will actually cure his sexual obsession - in fact it's likely to lead to potentially serious psychological trouble as his core values suddenly change, and this sudden movement tears the entire sense of self apart. Sex cannot cure sexual obsession, and neither can celibacy for that matter. That's what reason is for, as for example cognitive behavioural therapy or Stoicism teach. Now reason doesn't advocate either for indulgence of the sexual appetite, or for its prohibition but rather will proceed to identify what matters for the person - ie, why are they sexually obsessed, and what are they really looking to gain from sex that becomes all the more elusive the more or less sex they have? Now this is an individual struggle for everyone to one extent or another, and it's probably most intense when one is around 16-19 - after that age I found that it's not that relevant anymore. In either case, the most important point I have to make is that indulgence isn't any better than celibacy in such cases.

    The problem is precisely the dependence and enslavement one has towards their sexuality - the fact that their reason, and other faculties are twisted, and re-directed towards the achievement of sex. The person governed by lust gets that prestigious job IN ORDER TO have sex. He goes to that club IN ORDER TO have sex. And so forth. Now indulgence will clearly not make any difference, as it will be no different than continuing to allow the faculties to be enslaved by one's sexuality - this would basically result in the practical worldview that all that matters in life is having sex. Celibacy on the other hand would lead to inner turmoil. I've spoken to a monk about this who expressed the fact that he's been a virgin his whole life, and he has no regrets about it - he expressed that life is to be lived without regrets - the one born without arms and legs shouldn't complain, and neither should the one who doesn't have sex for whatever reason, whether this is medical, social or anything else. This monk I spoke to came from a very rich and strict family, and he explained how, due to his circumstances, he simply never got the chance to have sex because he wouldn't relate much with most other kids as a teenager. But he learned that the mind makes a mistake when it enthrones any one aspect (other than God) as supreme.

    Now most people are sexually obsessed - and this includes many celibates as well as most who engage in sex. This is just a fact. They undertake actions for the end goal of having sex - they direct their faculties, including reason, towards the achievement of their sexual aims. Now how one handles the struggle (and please note that handling the struggle isn't a way to resolve it) - whether it is through abstinence, or through indulgence makes less of a difference. What is of importance is that they solve the problem - they dissolve their obsession.

    Now there is a possibility to have sex without obsessing about it, but probably very very few people do this. That would be the "innocent" person who never does anything to have sex, but if sex is there he engages in it, otherwise he doesn't. The person who simply takes no steps towards fulfilling such a desire, but just goes after what is ready at hand. But this is so rare it's hardly worth mentioning.

    For me, for example, after breaking up with my second girlfriend I just had an insight into the matter - people go on wasting their whole lives running after sex, and in the end they lose even that. How sad and miserable to waste your time gaining something only to inevitably lose it later - and you have to take such big risks for such petty gains. For me, the central tenet of my life is never to lose. It doesn't matter if I win or not - losing is the problem. That is the essence of who I am. So in my case, everything revolves around that - gain as much as you can, but be more careful about not losing anything than you are about gaining something. I also found that it's harder to recover from losses while gains don't make life much easier. So that is let's say a methodological principle of my life. Now I'm not much sexually driven anymore, because I've realised that what I really desire is intimacy and a big, large, stable family. So the sexual drive itself is pointed towards this overarching goal - sublimated you could say in Freud's language. So opportunities to have sex simply don't interest me much - I simply don't desire them, because what I really desire cannot be found there. Someone like me is a practical celibate until marriage. But I've achieved this freedom from the oppression of my sexual drive by understanding what it was really pointed to - by reasoning and seeing what it is that I really and truly and actually wanted.

    I think we have ample reasons to think that promiscuous sex is immoral, with the exceptions, as I mentioned above, being so rare they're hardly worth mentioning. In addition to this, I think it is evident that most people are sexually obsessed, regardless of their sexual practices (whether this is indulgence or celibacy or in the middle). We also saw that neither celibacy nor indulgence can cure such an obsession. Rather it is therapy - reason - that can aid a person who faces such a struggle to find a cure. Often what I found out is that the most promiscuous people also don't want to be promiscuous deep down - they regret being like so, but simply for some reason don't stop. So indulgence isn't going to cure their struggle - it may make it worse. Celibacy too can't cure such a struggle, which originates in the mind and not in the external world.
  • Bitter Crank
    4.3k
    One aspect of celibacy... In the west it grew out of medieval thinking and practice and about monks, nuns, and priests being "married to God'. This period followed something like a thousand years, give or take a couple of weeks, where clergy were married and where nuns and monks were fewer in number, less cloistered, and so on. Celibacy became part of a more rigorous spiritual practice.

    Monks, nuns, and priests became in time the workhorses of the church -- running schools, hospitals, orphanages, universities, and so on. Having a celibate workforce which resided in-house was tremendously advantageous for the church, whatever the costs to the individuals were.

    And there were costs.

    Life in the convents, monasteries, and priests' residences could be pretty dreary. The orders of nuns, monks, and priests were vastly reduced during the 1960s and since. The orders didn't empty out so that the formerly professed could have sex (though many of them did marry). They left because the orders had become too dissonant to the spiritual and psychological health of its members -- and not merely sexual needs.

    So, while celibacy could be an advantage, could be a blessing, it could also be part of a repressive system under which the very well educated, hard working, devoted professed members chafed to the point of being ready to leave--and they did.
  • Agustino
    8.8k
    So, while celibacy could be an advantage, could be a blessing, it could also be part of a repressive system under which very well educated, hard working, devoted professed members chafed to the point of being ready to quit.Bitter Crank
    I agree to this, but then again, full life-long celibacy isn't for everyone. Furthermore, there are difficulties in practicing celibacy - people expect it (or sex) to be a cure of all problems, but it isn't.
  • Posty McPostface
    1.9k
    It is not for me to tell you whether you are miserable or not, or obsessed or not, or indulging in a sense of superiority or not. Or even being ruled by a fear of relationship - that is a possibility too. But comments elsewhere eventually drew me to read this thread, which I found rather sad and unenlightening, so I thought to make some contribution to the rather overheated conversation. Good luck to you in your abstinence, and there's no need to justify it to me or anyone here.unenlightened

    Maybe I need to feel special? Maybe I want to be closer to God? It might be that I want to be an angel when I die... Who knows these things? Rarely reason precedes emotions, which is not to say that reason can't steer emotions or limit their scope. Forgive me, I have a fetish with reason over emotions. Perhaps I'm a German at heart?


    I try and be a philosopher as I am one at heart. My love for knowledge overrides my desire for sex. Something tells me it's overrated, senseless, trivial, and a waste of time. I have not only done this to 'sex'; but, also to my social life, and other areas of my being. There is nothing more enjoyable, for me, to do on a Friday night than to read some philosophy or think about what Wittgenstein would have said something so fascinating.

    Or even being ruled by a fear of relationship - that is a possibility too.unenlightened

    Now, that is an interesting hypothesis. I suppose it can be true to some degree. Doesn't bother me though. Strange, eh?

    But comments elsewhere eventually drew me to read this thread, which I found rather sad and unenlightening, so I thought to make some contribution to the rather overheated conversation.unenlightened

    It may be sad; but, it is true. And that it is true is an affirmation of my petty and rather uninteresting life, which is fine by me.
  • Agustino
    8.8k
    I have not only done this to 'sex'; but, also to my social life, and other areas of my being.Question
    Well it is important to understand yourself and what you want or desire to be honest. I've done similar to sex and to my social life, simply because most of the people I can be around I don't find sufficiently interesting or worth spending time with. But say, if you could spend time with Wittgenstein talking, would you not? Of course you would! So your problem is merely the fact that the vast majority of people around aren't at your level. There's nothing wrong with that, and I'm not saying this to suggest you're superior or they're inferior, but you just have to accept that this is who you are, and these are your desires. It's not, as some others may be telling you, that you're missing out because you're not spending time in community etc. indeed, you would be missing out if you spent time in such worthless company. You're just looking for a different sort of community, and a different sort of people than you currently find today. But that's fine - there are others like you, who are also struggling with the same problems.

    I agree that sex in and of itself isn't worth pursuing. If all one wants is the release of orgasm, then they could resort to masturbation. If someone wants something more than orgasm, they're unlikely to find it in most relationships today or in most people. So it's something that would take time to develop - maybe years. You also need to associate yourself with the right people - for example in a religious community you may find a woman who would even be willing to be in a relationship without any kind of sex (if that's also what you want - in other words a woman sharing your values - would you say no to such a relationship? What if she also enjoys spending her Fridays reading Wittgenstein and contemplating?). You could also find her in a club - theoretically - but practically speaking very unlikely. So you need to steer away from mainstream culture and towards religion and philosophy, especially more ascetic communities. You need to become affiliated in areas where your probability of finding someone similar to you is greater if you do indeed feel a need for community.

    People go crazy when they're no longer able to withstand the narrative that society and the rest of the world imposes on them.

    Now, that is an interesting hypothesis. I suppose it can be true to some degree. Doesn't bother me though. Strange, eh?Question
    Well why do you think it should bother you? Your fear is perfectly normal - you fear you'll stumble over some person who is sex-obsesssed herself and who will make your life a living hell, and pull you down into petty jealousies and the like. What's wrong with that fear? I mean who wouldn't be afraid of that if they shared your values? That fear is useful - it's keeping you away from all the bad relationships you could end up forming.

    It may be sad; but, it is true. And that it is true is an affirmation of my petty and rather uninteresting life, which is fine by me.Question
    "petty" and "rather uninteresting" are value judgements. Is your life petty and rather uninteresting to YOU or is it petty and uninteresting to unenlightened? If you lived as unenlightened advocated, would you like that kind of life?

    Sometimes you go to the doctor for abdominal pain, and they press you in the lower right quadrant and they ask - does it hurt here? And you say - no, not really. And they go like - are you sure it doesn't hurt? Be careful and tell me again if it hurts. And then you actually start to perceive some pain - because the indication from the person you see as a source of authority is that you should feel pain - you are conditioned just like Pavlov's dogs. So you say "Ah yes, maybe actually it hurts a little" - and that's how you get misdiagnosed for appendicitis, even though nothing was wrong with you.
  • unenlightened
    1.7k
    is it petty and uninteresting to unenlightened?Agustino

    No, it isn't. If it were so, I wouldn't be talking about it. You might also notice, but seemingly haven't, that I have carefully refrained from advocating a way of life. I know we agree about a great deal on this topic, but nevertheless, please try to reign in your tiresome habit of derogatory innuendo; this is a serious matter.
  • Agustino
    8.8k
    No, it isn't. If it were so, I wouldn't be talking about it. You might also notice, but seemingly haven't, that I have carefully refrained from advocating a way of life. I know we agree about a great deal on this topic, but nevertheless, please try to reign in your tiresome habit of derogatory innuendo; this is a serious matter.unenlightened
    :s Why do you think it is derogatory? I haven't meant it to be derogatory at all. You may have not meant things that way, but clearly that's how Question took it, at least from my perspective - hence my comments.
  • Agustino
    8.8k
    I know we agree about a great deal on this topicunenlightened
    I don't know that actually, you've certainly never expressed agreement :P
  • unenlightened
    1.7k
    I don't know that actuallyAgustino

    Yes, you don't know it because you are argumentative and do not read carefully or charitably. Instead you impute views that have not been expressed. Rather than looking for the common ground, you fasten on the differences and assume they are global. You fabricate an enemy where you could have an alliance. This makes discussion unpleasant and unproductive, and indeed, I am too busy denying your endless straw men to leave much space to develop any expression of the common ground.
  • Agustino
    8.8k
    Yes, you don't know it because you are argumentative and do not read carefully or charitably.unenlightened
    I think I try to read as it is written. If I want to clarify something, then I will state it no? I wouldn't leave it merely as a possible way of interpreting my statements would I?

    This makes discussion unpleasant and unproductive, and indeed, I am too busy denying your endless straw men to leave much space to develop any expression of the common ground.unenlightened
    Well instead of denying, wouldn't it be easier to say "Umm you're mistaken about disagreeing with me there in such and such a way, because actually I agree with you in such and such a way"?
  • Agustino
    8.8k
    For example, when you state:

    So to be free from the obsession with sex that some people (but probably fewer than appears) have is certainly to be looked for.unenlightened

    The "probably fewer than appears" suggests you don't think sexual obsession is a problem for most people - at least it does so to me unless by probably fewer than appears you mean 99.9% instead of 99.99% kind of thing (I chose the percentages just for illustration) but then why bother to state it? So if you do think that most people aren't sexually obsessed, then I think you're making a mistake. I think what is considered normal in today's society is in fact a certain level of sexual obsession. So I don't mean my interpretations to be uncharitable, but it seems to me that this is what your writing is suggesting, and if so, then I would disagree. I mean it doesn't take much looking around to see how much attention of all kinds people pay to sex - an extraordinary amount of attention. They don't talk much about eating or drinking - but sex is a favorite topic. That certainly seems quite obsessive. Even our advertisements are full of it.
  • unenlightened
    1.7k
    I mean it doesn't take much looking around to see how much attention of all kinds people pay to sex - an extraordinary amount of attention. They don't talk much about eating or drinking - but sex is a favorite topic. That certainly seems quite obsessive. Even our advertisements are full of it.Agustino

    People are terribly conformist, and the media work hard to convince us that we should be wanting grab women's pussies if we are real men. But actually, few of us do. Politics, sport, work, money holidays, food, even children and pets dominate my interactions with folks both face to face and on the net; sex is hardly mentioned, for all its pervasive presence in the papers and television and film. But your friends seem to be different. Perhaps I live in a little island of rectitude, but I have been propositioned once by a woman of the streets and that aside, I cannot remember having talked about sex with anyone but Mrs un to any significant degree in twenty years, excluding the odd philosophical comment or joke that is hardly obsessive. So I speak as I find, that the folks I come across are by no means obsessed with sex, but have much more interesting things to obsess about, much to the chagrin of the media, no doubt.
  • Agustino
    8.8k
    But your friends seem to be different. Perhaps I live in a little island of rectitude, but I have been propositioned once by a woman of the streets and that aside, I cannot remember having talked about sex with anyone but Mrs un to any significant degree in twenty years, excluding the odd philosophical comment or joke that is hardly obsessive. So I speak as I find, that the folks I come across are by no means obsessed with sex, but have much more interesting things to obsess about, much to the chagrin of the media, no doubt.unenlightened
    Well you are describing a world that is different from the world as I know it. Quite possibly because of our age difference. The younger generations who are currently <40 are obsessive about sex to a large degree. I think that your generation wasn't so influenced by the media as future generations were - the effect of the media has grown tremendously with the increase in technology. If you look at today's millennials who are currently in their teens, you'll see a lot more sexual obsession than you probably saw in your own time as a teenager. I certainly do in comparison to when I was a teenager.
  • Agustino
    8.8k
    And I don't know. In addition to that it might be rural vs urban differences, and also whether you work in the corporate environment or not - because I can tell you for sure that in them corporations there's a lot more of sex-talk, especially among the men.
  • unenlightened
    1.7k
    Possibly age is a factor, and location a factor, but my own children are not far out of their teens, and though they live in the city, they seem to be more interested in travel than orgies. Also, as Mrs un is a private tutor, we have contact with young families, not just other old fogies. However many caveats I make to my own experience, I cannot arrive at a figure close to 99%.

    Ah, great minds! I see you have just posted about the urban rural thing.

    I would suggest that the corporate environment is a place where folks conform their talk to the corporate needs, which are to promote sexual insecurity in order to sell more make-up, room fragrances to cover, I mean eliminate, the smell that you cannot smell because you've gone "nose-blind", or the kind of car that the babes will love you for ( it also magically eliminates traffic).

    So I agree with you that there is a lot of pressure, particularly on the young, who are most ignorant and susceptible, and I agree too that there is probably an increase in sexual obsession. But I'm also pretty confident that it is still a minority sport in practice, even if schoolboys and executives like to brag.
  • Agustino
    8.8k
    However many caveats I make to my own experience, I cannot arrive at a figure close to 99%.unenlightened
    I didn't mean to suggest the actual figure is 99% that's why I said I give the figures of 99.9% and 99.99% merely as examples to illustrate the point I was making there. But I do believe a majority (meaning more than 50%) amongst the younger generations are sexually obsessed. At least this has been my experience so far. We as a society though - as illustrated by our culture, what we see on television etc. are definitely sexually obsessed though >:O

    Ah, great minds! I see you have just posted about the urban rural thing.

    I would suggest that the corporate environment is a place where folks conform their talk to the corporate needs, which are to promote sexual insecurity in order to sell more make-up, room fragrances to cover, I mean eliminate, the smell that you cannot smell because you've gone "nose-blind", or the kind of car that the babes will love you for ( it also magically eliminates traffic).
    unenlightened
    Yes, but being interested in money :P I always live close to that environment, even though I'm not exactly part of it anymore, and since I switched my field, I work in IT and for myself, nowadays my clients are much smaller businesses. I never understood why people interested in money are interested in sex - this hasn't always been the case, it's a very recent phenomenon. The likes of Rockefeller back in the Standard Oil days were definitely not the playboys of the time... These folks are interested in money because it gets them sex, instead of being interested in money for its other uses - seems quite stupid to me.

    So I agree with you that there is a lot of pressure, particularly on the young, who are most ignorant and susceptible, and I agree too that there is probably an increase in sexual obsession.unenlightened
    Okay I agree here.
  • Posty McPostface
    1.9k
    People are terribly conformist, and the media work hard to convince us that we should be wanting grab women's pussies if we are real men. But actually, few of us do. Politics, sport, work, money holidays, food, even children and pets dominate my interactions with folks both face to face and on the net; sex is hardly mentioned, for all its pervasive presence in the papers and television and film. But your friends seem to be different. Perhaps I live in a little island of rectitude, but I have been propositioned once by a woman of the streets and that aside, I cannot remember having talked about sex with anyone but Mrs un to any significant degree in twenty years, excluding the odd philosophical comment or joke that is hardly obsessive. So I speak as I find, that the folks I come across are by no means obsessed with sex, but have much more interesting things to obsess about, much to the chagrin of the media, no doubt.unenlightened

    One can make the case that sex is idolized and hence many people are not "living up to" their expectations about sex. Ever notice the Viagra commercials? Why are so many couples basing their marriage on the sexual performance of their respective partner, as absurd as that sounds!

    For example, why is pornography so littered over the internet? Seemingly because people can't satisfy their own wants for their perfect version of sex and start searching/fantasizing for their favorite videos online, rather hopelessly.

    I find it somewhat paradoxical that I (as a not trained psychotherapist) would have to make the case to a trained psychotherapist that sex makes the world go round. Perhaps, you have concluded through the many years of experience with people, that they don't really care about 'sex' as it is hyped up to be? Then next logical question, is then, what the hell is wrong with society if there is a disconnect between the individual and social 'operant' behavior?
  • unenlightened
    1.7k
    I find it somewhat paradoxical that I (as a not trained psychotherapist) would have to make the case to a trained psychotherapist that sex makes the world go round.Question

    I'm not a therapist of any stripe, but only a psychology graduate and interested layman.

    Ok, let me be clear; sexuality is important, and if it didn't have importance to the psyche, the species would go extinct. The same can be said of eating and breathing, but it does not entail that everyone is obsessed.

    Now, the media are not the psyche. The media are obsessed with sex amongst other things, and I do not deny it at all. The media distort the psyche, and the history and ecology of this stretches back to Freud and the beginnings of the Science of Psychology. This probably needs a thread of its own in which I will fulminate at length against the scientistic psychologies, and expose them as the Great Shaitan. Suffice to say that science deals in objectivity, and when you study people as objects you learn only how to manipulate them. Out of this 'science' comes propaganda and the advertising industry both of which are injurious to mental health.

    So yes, people buy viagra, watch pornography and a simple example of the distortion that results is the current fetish against female hair. Shaving the genitals in particular is an aesthetic dictated by graphic pornography that has become mainstream. What was done for the benefit of the camera has become a sexual norm, despite the discomfort and increased risk of STDs and other sores and infections.

    But even such a distortion, though foolish and unnecessary, does not amount to an obsession. It is the dearest wish of the media to convince you that everyone is getting it or thinking about it all the time, and if you are not, you need to buy - something or other.

    It is not true and you are being manipulated. Resist!

    I might start a thread on all this sometime, but this one is long and rambling enough, so I think I'll stop here.
  • Agustino
    8.8k
    what the hell is wrong with society if there is a disconnect between the individual and social 'operant' behavior?Question
    The only reason why, I would hypothesise, that there is a disconnect between the individual and society is that the individual has constraints which he must play under - for example, he can't just have sex with any other woman because then he'll be considered a promiscuous man and less women would be interested in him. But - if he could somehow remove those constraints - he would most certainly give into his lusts. If, for example, he had sufficient power, such that women would be guaranteed to surround him anyways. So the individual has reasons to fake decency. But in culture, there is no reason to fake anymore. There the fantasies of the individual are allowed to run free. Sexual advertising works because people salivate like dirty dogs watching it. They fantasise about it day in and day out, otherwise why would they advertise like this? Because it works! They know that secretly this is what most people want.

    Ok, let me be clear; sexuality is important, and if it didn't have importance to the psyche, the species would go extinct. The same can be said of eating and breathing, but it does not entail that everyone is obsessed.unenlightened
    Ehmm this sounds kind of fishy - especially since you compare it to eating and breathing. What do you mean? If I don't eat and breathe I die. If I don't have sex, I also die? :-O This is what I mean when I say that you sometimes sound exactly like the media, at least to me. It seems - and I may be wrong, but your language sometimes certainly gives me this impression - that you have adopted some of their principles.

    But even such a distortion, though foolish and unnecessary, does not amount to an obsession. It is the dearest wish of the media to convince you that everyone is getting it or thinking about it all the time, and if you are not, you need to buy - something or other.

    It is not true and you are being manipulated. Resist!

    I might start a thread on all this sometime, but this one is long and rambling enough, so I think I'll stop here.
    unenlightened
    This is interesting. I agree that the media and business interests want you to be sexually obsessed. But the only way they can pressure you into it is because they know that this is who, at heart, you really are. If you aren't like this, then they wouldn't be able to pressure you (but most people are - hence why they use the strategy). The reason why most people are pressured is precisely this. If they weren't pressured, they'd close that damn TV and never watch any movie again on it. But they don't do this. For example - I never watch TV (and because it's full of sex is one of the many reasons why I don't watch it). Most folks aren't like me. Sure someone can avoid being sexually obsessed if they are like me and don't open that TV. But if they are people who open the TV - they almost can't avoid being sexually obsessed because they see sex everywhere, so their brain will naturally think that sex is some very important God that must be worshipped, and life without it becomes unthinkable.

    If we live in a sexually obsessed society, then we're more or less sexually obsessed ourselves, unless we severe links with our society. This would mean things like not watching TV, being careful who your friends are, being careful where you work, and so forth. It's really ridiculous if you think about it >:O

    Even going through the city I will see some sex-related advert. It's crazy! >:O Honestly if you stop and think about it, it's actually really fucked up. I never realised actually in how many places one encounters sex. Even when you go to the supermarket, you see the big condoms section and see posters of young women, etc. >:O No wonder that some of us are getting disgusted by it!
  • Posty McPostface
    1.9k
    Now, the media are not the psyche.unenlightened

    Such blasphemy! How can you NOT watch your favorite puppet regurgitate some narrative that was passed down to him from the 'aliens' at the very top?

    Suffice to say that science deals in objectivity, and when you study people as objects you learn only how to manipulate them.unenlightened

    Ahh, a Marxist interpretation of capitalism bellows the mob! The free markets know what is best for you!

    It is not true and you are being manipulated. Resist!unenlightened

    Shouts the crazy at Hyde Park. Resistance is futile! Consume, procreate, spend.
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