Thursday, 8 January 2015

Sexual bulimia - pathology is normality for modern sexuality

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Bulimia nervosa is a common disorder - endemic and 'normal' in some groups - in which a person gorges on food, then induces vomiting: it is a matter of insatiably wanting to eat food; but to avoid nourishment.

Although this is understandable in a world where food is abundant and obesity is more of a problem than starvation; biologically, bulimia is a perversion of appetite - utterly to separate eating from nutrition. Its implicit goal is continually and unrestrainedly to gorge on whatever food takes your fancy - and yet be thin.

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Sexual bulimia is a common disorder - endemic and 'normal' in some groups - in which a person gorges on sex but eliminates fertility: it is a matter of insatiably wanting to have sex; but to avoid having children.

Although this is understandable in a world where sexual stimulation is abundant and the appetite for sex exceeds the supply; biologically, sexual bulimia is a perversion of appetite - utterly to separate sex from conception. Its implicit goal is continually and unrestrainedly to gorge on whatever sex takes your fancy - and yet be sterile.

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Thus to be a gourmet but thin, to be polymorphously promiscuous but sterile this is the modern ideal - to gratify and amplify proximate instincts without restraint or limit; while denying and extinguishing the ultimate goal and purpose of these instincts.

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Bulimia is still generally regarded as a misfortune, if not a disease; but when it comes to sex we have not merely normalized but aggrandized pathology into the ideal.

Yet conception is as basic a biological need as nutrition - indeed, at the margin more so; since conception is more proximate to reproductive success than is prolonging survival.

Modern society has become numb and blinded and in an aggressive state of denial with respect to the objective, biological pathology of modern sexuality and reproduction - we have come to love disease more than health, death more than life.

This is what it is to live in a world without God.

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4 comments:

alexi de sadesky said...

Wow! Bruce, you really have a gift for putting things in plain and simple perspective. Thanks for taking the time to put all this out there. The effort is much appreciated by this reader. Thanks.

Boethius said...

This is similar to the pre Vatican II Catholic position.

You should read Pius XI encyclical Casti Connubii.

Bruce Charlton said...

@B - Indeed, but that theology (at least in some forms I have read) develops a chain of inference on this and other premises with which I do not agree - for example, the idea that all sexual acts should in principle be capable of conception.

I consider that a reductio ad absurdum which should lead to a re-examination of premises and procedures; rather than a necessary inference from valid *and complete* premises and procedures.

In other words, this principle of sex linked to procreation is important, but is not a *sufficient* premise from which to derive human sexuality - therefore contraception and non-procreative sex are not *ruled-out*.

Many devout Mormons practise contraception and also *choose* to have large (but economically autonomous) families - this proves that contraception is compatible with exemplary family attitudes and life.

http://mormonfertility.blogspot.co.uk/

However, in practice, the use of contraception may in some/ most situations prove unworkable.

In most societies there probably needs to be a normative doctrine of sex as in its and general practice essence procreative.

zippycatholic said...

Bruce:
...the idea that all sexual acts should in principle be capable of conception

That is not the Catholic doctrine. The doctrine is that licitly completed sexual acts are always the kind of act which, when not naturally or accidentally infertile (the majority of sexual acts are in fact naturally infertile even among young couples who do not contracept), generates children.

So for example there is nothing illicit about a post-menopausal woman marrying, etc. Catholic doctrine permits naturally/accidentally sterile acts (which again are the majority) but does not permit deliberately mutilated (contracepted) acts - even when those mutilated acts accidentally produce children. The doctrine addresses the kind of act, not the fertility of the particular act.

Just clarifying the actual doctrine, not making an apologetic argument for it.