Thursday, August 05, 2010

Piglets and Stones

Sexual desire is a response to the other as perceived, not as anatomically described. It is the response to a person, perceived as the bearer of rights, responsibilities, and awareness. The other is not a means to my pleasure, still less something against which to scratch the itch of my lust. The point was made by Socrates, as recorded by Xenophon: 'Socrates...said he thought Critias was no better off than a pig if he wanted to scratch himself against Euthydemus as piglets against a stone.' We recognise in that picture of Critias' lust not true desire, but one of its infantile perversions. Yet this is the way in which desire is invariably represented by sexologists - in 'functional'terms which totally misrepresent its intentionality. The goal of sexual desire is not orgasm; nor is it 'sex', however described.

Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy, Penguin (1996) p. 470.

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