PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Friday, May 29, 2015

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Is sex more than a massage? + News

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Is sex more than a massage?

This seeming direct title for a philosophy topic betrays a key
fundamental philosophical question of causality: does a chain of causal
events actually require physical contact? In my very short essay I will
argue that sex as practised by animals including human beings, is a very
primitive and backward form of reproduction. Other biological entities
have developed more advanced forms of reproduction that are more
successful than that performed by humans.

In the meantime Ruel has sent us a link to his essay, details below, but
first news about a book presentation today Friday at the Centro
Segoviano Cronicas de un Real Sitio by Eduardo Juarez more details at
this link:

Hello Lawrence,
Here is the link to the very short essay I wrote on Sunday's topic:


Is sex more than a massage?

Today we all know that the function of sex is to facilitate
reproduction. And the functional objective is to keep a balance between
attracting non gene related mates and selecting the best possible mate
to create a healthy progeny. In other words sex should be an activity to
attract a selection of mate/mates who are not related to one but not too
scare making one to opt for the first mate that present themselves.
Nature solves this problem in many ways, but two general broad options
which I will call: the competitive outcome or the intelligent strategy.
I'm not going to go into other forms of procreating such as the dividing
cell organisms, or creatures who can change gender depending on

But what about the meaning of "massage", what do we mean by this? In our
context the literal meaning would be to use gentle physical contact to
arouse one partner or one's self. Usually for sex to happen there must
be some form of physical contact; this is a necessary condition if there
is to be a causal chain of events to bring about the desired effect. Of
course, as I shall argue later on, today we do not need the sex act for
the purposes of procreation. A more valid meaning for us would be
whether sex is more than just a carnal physical act; something more
profound besides being a special type of physical perception?

Animals, including human beings, belong to the competitive outcome
group. The peculiarity of this method is that although males and females
tend to equal out in a population, the supply of "willing" females (i.e.
saying "yes" to a mate) is much, much, lower than males willing to mate
with females. And this is understandable since the risks involved for
the female are much higher than the risks the male faces. Hence, a
competitive race begins to qualify for consent by a female. Basically
there is a typical arms race process that can lead to serious problems
in a social gathering or society many times based on aggression and
display of force.

For example, in humans, such an arms race might lead to rape or
manipulation of females not to mention aggression by males towards each
other. We know the issues. However, what seems to be a key difference,
although this scenario is also present in animals, is that in most
species of animals rape (maybe a surreptitious sexual act when the alpha
male is not looking) is usually committed for the purpose of
reproduction. Whereas in humans it seems that rape is for sexual
gratification and is the predominant reason for rape.

Having said that, during times of war, especially during ethnic wars, it
is very common for one group to use rape to increase their ethnic
presence in the enemy group. No doubt this behaviour is considered as
war crimes and crimes against humanity. In human beings, therefore, what
started as a biological function has gathered the mantel of morality and
ethical principles even though the lofty ethical principles are not
always reflected in practice.

What is clear though is that in humans sex is both a means to access
reproduction and a means for pleasurable gratification. And over time
the intellect in humans has become stronger and more important than just
only mechanical force; meaning that we gain more pleasure from sex as an
arousal than for reproduction. Today with technology we can even bypass
the sexual act for procreation. And moreover sexual gratification can be
enjoyed without the risks of child bearing. Indeed today we are prepared
to let others take care of our reproductive needs, but not yet our
sexual needs (remember you've seen this new business idea here first!)
hence the quest for safe sex.

And childbearing is a huge risk. The modern equivalent of child bearing
risks is that females today are evolving in such a way that natural
child birth would be impossible for many (see for example: Women risk
losing ability to give birth naturally article from the Telegraph link

On the other hand, by being more promiscuous we have created an even
more frantic arms race in sexually transmitted diseases; thus creating a
different set of problems. It is also true that separating the pleasure
side from the reproduction sex has become a very powerful commodity
which today involves billions and billions of Euros and many thousands
of people working in the industry.

For human beings sex has become more than just a massage, but the
original problems have not gone away; demand is still much higher than
supply, risks are no less serious today than in the past, and ethics is
not always present in reality. The evolutionary processes has now
reached the stage where the perfunctory function of sex is being made
easier with technology and the gratification function of sex has replace
the importance of sex as a means to reproduction.

Having said that, the competitive outcome method of sexual reproduction
is still primitive by comparison to the intelligent strategy of sex.
Apart from actively having to seek a partner, the sex act under the
competitive outcome strategy requires that both parties to the act be
present at the same time.

The second group based on an intelligent strategy seems to me, at least
at face value, to be more successful, and the intellectual part is
sophisticated enough that there are hardly any moral issues involved.
But as I said before there are many variations of the sex act for
reproductive purposes, and one of the most successful, if not the most
successful, is the reproductive sex practiced by plants. Plants must
surely head the category of intelligent strategy form of sex, with
flowering plants being at the top of the list. By intellectual strategy
I mean using "rational" strategies and methods to minimise risk and
maximise reproductive chances. Of course, we do not really know whether
plants engage in arousal sex, but we do know that they engage in
reproductive sex.

Flowering plants have practically achieved the impossible in sex. First,
unlike humans, who have to go and seek a mate when they are ready for
sex, flowering plants just have to advertise the fact that they are
ready for sex and their collaborators will come willingly; no rejections
here. Even more importantly, they make the collaborators do the hard
work of the sex act, whilst they enjoy their surroundings and their
procreation they get insects and birds and humans to do the sweating
part of the job. For example they press gang other creatures to do the
intercourse part for them by attaching their pollen to their fur, or
trousers or skirts and pollinate other plants somewhere else. This
guarantees non-shared genes reproduction.

Today flowering plants are so successful at reproduction that they have
enticed human beings to dedicated their labour and large swaths of
fertile land for the sole purpose of plant reproduction.

And now, flowering plants have a more developed sense of morality than
humans. For example, if someone damages, destroys or takes flowering
plants from someone's garden, a nursery or a public garden they are
liable to be prosecuted as a criminal. Orchids have got this moral game
right down to a tee; forests have even press ganged large numbers of
people to fight for them and their survival. How many people do you
(metaphorically) know and are working on your behalf to protect your
right to have sex and procreate; indeed how many people are
(metaphorically) working on your behalf so that you have a sexual enounter?

Moreover, flowering plants have no moral qualms of displaying their
sexual organs for everyone to admire and touch (even dogs are not as
advanced as this); no burning in hell sort of preaching here, unlike
human beings. By comparison, human beings are still a far distance away
from reaching the equivalent of "cave dwelling civilization" for plants.
Basically plants advertise their sexual organs for all to see and to
attract possible collaborators; so called "civilized" human beings
punish and disapprove the exposure of genitalia in public. Basically
human beings are supposed to make life and death decisions without first
seeing what they are getting entangled with.

For flowering plants, sex is very much more than just a massage; for
flowering plants sex is an art form by creating some of the most visual
and olfactory amazing organs imaginable. This is demonstrated in the
numerous paintings in museums, private collections and images in the
public domain; people just love flowers. But flowering plants go beyond
our imagination of what is success in sex. Flowering plants have managed
to mesmerise human beings and to make them offer their (i.e. plants')
sexual organs (the flower) as a form of appreciation to other human
beings and as adulation and reverence to the gods at high altars in
temples of worship. And what's more successful than having one's sexual
organs revered even by the gods?

Women risk losing ability to give birth naturally

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813 <>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Is sex more than a
massage? + News

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