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May 05, 2005



I don't think the analogy holds, because I don't see sexual pleasure as being as unrelated to reproduction as talking is to eating. Why do we want sex so badly in the first place? Why do we pair-bond over it? Does this really have nothing to do with reproduction? I can't see into the mind of God, but it all looks awfully interrelated to me.

But my point, really, wasn't that pleasure isn't a reason to have sex, but that the pleasure serves a larger purpose. That purpose may never be fulfilled for a given individual, but somehow that seems psychologically different than saying it's there as a form of personal expression. A while ago you were lamenting that your teens' parents seem more focused on themselves than their kids, and somehow the attitude that sex is there to serve my feelings and only incidentally to create more people seems like a nascent form of the same problem.


I have no problem, Camassia, with the notion that pleasure serves a larger purpose. One larger purpose is that pleasure connects us to our Creator in thanksgiving. Why must the larger purpose always be outer-centered? Christians eat communal meals, and we are communal people -- but we also eat alone, sometimes standing over the kitchen sink, and we don't condemn that solitary pleasure.

For me, it's not an either/or; it's a both/and. Pleasure is both a delight for us, and a way of bonding us more closely to another human being. Why must acknowledging the goodness of the former weaken the importance of the latter?


Well, first maybe I should ask you this: why did you feel the need to invent a new term for sex? Using a different term than everybody else implies that you're trying to redefine or reframe it somehow, and calling it "genital expression" sounds like you're framing it so that personal expression is the most important thing about it. Maybe I'm misreading you, but that doesn't sound very "both/and", it sounds like you're putting that function at the top.

Thanks for your kind words about my post, btw.


Camassia, I'm borrowing the term "genital expression" from many progressive Christian ethicists.  Witness this paragraph from Dignity USA:

We believe that we remain fundamentally sexual at all times, whether we choose to be genitally active or genitally abstinent. We find that the more sexuality is integrated into the totality of our lives, the more joyful and peaceful is its genital expression. Thus, we are Christians both at prayer and at play. We are equally the temple of the Holy Spirit when we worship and when we make love.


You know Hugo, I had the same reaction as Camassia when I read the words 'genital expression'......hmn..


I have some thoughts on this issue that I'd like to share.....But it will have to wait till tonight.__

I loved your post! And yes, I read it all!

Great posts....


I'm seeing reactions to the associations of words rather than to their literal meanings.

I suspect that a lot of the people objecting to "genital expression" see the word "expression" and think of artsy-fartsy statements about expressing oneself.

I saw the phrase and thought of genetic expression, the process whereby a DNA sequence becomes a phenotypic trait.


Well, I'm not religious so I don't care about "purposes". To my mind, the mouth was designed for swallowing and language was a side effect that overwhelmed the original purpose. Orgasms don't need a reason. I generally reject the idea of "reasons", though. That's why I'm puzzled by the entire debate about whether the clit evolved or was a happy side effect--who cares? The important thing is that if you want to be in my bed, you recognize that it's important to me.

Pietro Armando

Catholics do it better, and more often!


Thanks for providing the link, Hugo. It is helpful to know that the term "genital expression" exists in a larger context. I am still unclear on what your response is to Camassia's point that that the term, when used as a substitute for the everyday word "sex", gives primacy to the personally expressive aspect of the sexual act by virtue of containing the word "expression." Are you comfortable with not just asserting the significance and existence of the expressive aspect of sex but of elevating that aspect over all others? Because if you are not comfortable with arguing for the primacy of self expression in the sexual act, I'm unclear on why you choose to use a term that has that value judgment coded into it. To me, the term "genital expression" has much more baggage likely to confuse discussion than the everyday term "sex."


The pleasure is there to trick us into having babies and reproducing. Pure biology.


Camassia, I'm borrowing the term "genital expression" from many progressive Christian ethicists

You know, just one teensy weensy bit of evidence from the Bible, from the words of Jesus himself, would go a long way to convince folks that these "ethics" are not being invented out of whole cloth to justify simple fornication. I'm not asking for much, really. Just a wee bit more than "we believe" and "we feel".


1. I really think that plain old "sex" works just fine. I've never seen any virtue in acidemic neologisms.

2. Intentionally or not, your post title sounds dirty.


"One larger purpose is that pleasure connects us to our Creator in thanksgiving."

Hugo, you have a very traditionally Jewish view of sex. Or as Ben Frnaklin said (and this is also very Jewish although I have no idea where Franklin got it from), "God invented wine because he wants us to be happy."


My trackback seems to still be nonfunctioning, so I'll tell you I wrote a longer response to your post here.


I think Hugo's got us on this one.__The clitoris and the orgasmic response derived from the manipulation of this part of the female anatomy has nothing to do with reproduction.__Except for the obvious, most females will want to continue with intercourse after an orgasmic response to the manipulation of the clitoris. __And then we have babies! Nature is preety amazing . The clitoris is a organ designed for foreplay, its function is to get the female aroused to such a point that she will want to mate.
So Hugo, you are right! Camassia, you are right too!


No, I don't think Carnassia is right, in that she's engaging in a fallacy whose Latin term escapes me at the moment. 'Does this really have nothing to do with reproduction?' as a means of attempting to prove the opposite--that it has everything to do with reproduction.

Look at animals; do they need pleasure to reproduce? Heat cycles would seem to be far more efficient, if the goal is to insure reproduction at a fertile time.

Eating is an excellent analogy because while we need to eat, food and eating serve far more important purposes than mere nutrition. Nobody would suggest that Catholics eat the Host in order to satisfy hunger or meet nutritional needs. A Passover seder is not really about filling your belly.

That is to say, like eating, sex has a social function that as is important as the biological need it meets. Otherwise, we'd be having those efficient estrus cycles.

(The clitoris, btw, is explained nicely in Why Men Won't Ask for Directions.)


I realize that the shape of this question is different to a person of faith, but there's a difference between a trait existing in order to help us survive, and a trait becoming widespread because it helps carriers to survive.

Our capacity for reason exists only because it has helped us survive. Does that make it perverse to play board games, or comment on blogs? I won't get eaten by a predator if I stop participating in this debate. Does that make this an unnatural conversation?


Isn't the answer to the pleasure issue found in the fact that both parties can be giver and receiver of pleasure which bonds (unitive) the true lovers and which may result in a greater pleasure if no immpediments are placed there or present, a baby (procreative), another person to hug and love and hold.

Humanae Vitae everyone.


I have no idea which article this should have been trackbacked to:

Sex and Marriage and Hugo/Camassia Discussion

As someone who is a worker with our church's youth group, I tended to be more interested in the original question. Of course, I looked at it from the whole "paramedic disaster" thing.

I did leave out the story of the ambulance response to the young teen couple where the girl had a "seizure." Fortunately, the responding unit happened to have both a male and female paramedic to explain things....

Include me Out

I used to have a Chrisitian boyfriend who thought the primary God-given purpose of sex was pleasure.

He was a chronic masturbater.

Dr.P.C. Sarkar

Well, for one who has been fascinated with oral sex since the time I became sexually mature, and more importntly, discovered the pleasures of oral sex,it is clear that the actions of the tongue on the female clitoris is extremely erotic for the female and is a guarantee for a quick or a series of orgasms for the female. For the male, the pleasure is largely psychological, may be even troublesome, if the female does not keep her private parts clean or odor free. Howver, as a side effect, the musky odors of a female's genitals can serve as a powerful sex stimulant to many men. Morever, since th eclit often vanishes under the folds of skin, the action of the tongue not only covers the clitoris, but generally covers the entire vagina, the perianal region and the anus as well (in most cases). Hence, a particularly strong stomach may be required to lave the tongue on entire area, covering the clit, the urethra, the vagina and the anus,. each with its secretions and accompanied odors and tastes.
On the othe hand, the action of a tongue on their vaginae, whether by a male or female is highly stimulating to most women and an orgasm (or serios of orgasms) is guranteed. Furthermore, the woman is more relaxed and receptive in such oral attentions, as she cannot become pregnant and also sexually-transmitted diseases are rare in this manner of sexual stimulation.

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Also- It's important to keep your focus on the person(s) you are giving head to. It can be easy to just let your attention float off while you go through your practiced routine motions. Great head incorporates FOCUS~ENERGY~INTENTION.

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