sexual morality, viewing pornography destroys sex, hypersexualized society, modesty and intimacy, sexuality dimension

 Morality in the Sexual Dimension

By Iván López Casanova

Asghar Farhadi’s The Traveler won an Oscar for the best foreign language film in 2017. The plot begins with a stranger who sexually assaults the protagonist’s wife. When he is finally discovered and asked why he did it, he simply responds, “I fell into temptation” which is really an understatement to Western ears.

The ability to recognize temptation in matters of sex indicates that there is some awareness of good and evil, and that there exists an ethics of what is right and what is wrong. But it is necessary to remember this precisely when every day we wake up to a new scandal of sexual abuse by someone with professional, economic or political power who blackmails those who have to prosper in these areas. How disgusting!

Immorality of Pornography

Byung-Chul Han, a Korean philosopher based in Germany, has a timely reminder for us. He criticises the way that society understands “transparency” where the exercise of coercion leads to the alienation of the body itself. According to him, there is a lack of morality when the exercise of freedom of another person is restrained by exerting one's position of power, and “it is (equally) obscene to pornographically put one's body and soul before the gaze." He says: "The body is objectified as an object of exposure. It is not possible to live in it. It must be exposed, and it must be exploited." 

Han claims that along with personal intimidation, there is an “environmental violence” that comes with such an understanding of transparency which "makes suspect everything that is not subjected to visibility. And this is precisely what their violence consists of”. To be consistent, should we also not include the fashion trends that openly exhibit our undergarments as an expression of spontaneity?” 

This Eastern thinker has something interesting to remind us: "The exposed society is a pornographic society. Everything is turned outward, uncovered, stripped, undressed and exposed. The excess of exposure makes everything a commodity". This means that although the pornography user may believe he is original and rebellious, yet in practice he is merely following without critically evaluating on his own the dictated cultural trends that have been designed to sell to the public. 

All of which would eventually end up at the bottom rung of pornography. Han concludes: "Porn not only annihilates eros but also sex. Pornographic exposure produces an alienation of sexual pleasure. It makes it impossible to experience pleasure." This ultimately deals with the exercise of sexuality and brings us to the next point of personal ethics and its importance. What I am going to suggest would run contrary to most mainstream views and opinions.

Overcoming Hypersexualization in Adolescence 

In general, theories often claim to defend a type of sexuality without paying too much attention to the moral limits. These same theories would often end up infringing on the freedom of others by forcing reality into the previous scheme. Where the erosion of certain moral values like modesty is still exercised and preserved, it is frowned upon as an outdated cultural tradition that has to be abolished. Does this not lead to a hypersexualization of society, whose bitter fruits we see every day?

In Dictionary of Adolescence, Joseph Nauori and Philippe Delarouche observe that "in the adolescent, sex is shrouded in great modesty. Too many adults forget it." Anyone who has dealt with these adolescents for many years or examined them in a doctor's office would be able to understand the words of Nauori and Delauche. As medical doctor and parent, I can vouch for the truthfulness of their wide and timely insight. 

Ludwig Wittgenstein, a philosopher of logic and language, said: "If a person tells me that he has been in the worst places, I have no right to judge him, but if he tells me that it was his superior wisdom that allowed him to go there, then I know that he is a fraud." 

The Song of Solomon (8, 7) also has something to add: " If a man were to give all the wealth of his house for love, his offer would be utterly scorned. " In short, in buying it or adulterating it, one has already separated it from ethics.

Original Article in Spanish