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Sexual Desire and the Phenomenology of Attraction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 November 2014

University of Guelph


Developing Thomas Nagel’s 1969 paper, Rockney Jacobsen argues that sexual desires are for activities that are taken to affect states of sexual arousal in certain ways. I argue that some sexual desires are for activities that are taken to affect states of phenomenal attraction (phenomenal states associated with sexual attraction). Unlike sexual arousal, phenomenal attraction cannot be assuaged; thus, there are no activities that can satisfy phenomenal attraction-based sexual desires. This explains why sexual activities are so varied and numerous, and possibly how so many activities are able to affect sexual arousal.

Poursuivant une idée discutée part Thomas Nagel, Rockney Jacobsen soutient que les désirs sexuels ont pour objets des activités que l’on croit affecter les états d’excitation sexuelle de certaines façons. Je soutiens que certains désirs sexuels ont plutôt pour objets des activités que l’on croit affecter les états d’attraction phénoménale (états phénoménaux associés à l’attraction sexuelle). Contrairement à l’excitation sexuelle, l’attraction phénoménale ne peut être apaisée; il n’existe donc aucune activité qui puisse satisfaire les désirs sexuels phénoménaux basés sur l’attraction phénoménale. Cela explique pourquoi les activités sexuelles sont si nombreuses et variées, et peut-être aussi comment autant d’activités sont en mesure d’affecter l’excitation sexuelle.

Copyright © Canadian Philosophical Association 2015 

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