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Safe Sex

The same “technological stance” that underlies masculine science extends even to attitudes toward lovemaking and sexual behavior. It may be a moot question whether the objectification of woman or of nature came first—another question for the detached male mind. But the fact that they are intimately linked should inspire curiosity about this connection and its implications, both in regard to sexuality and science. For, in making love with woman we have the same choice as in our inquiry of nature: to allow ourselves to be overcome and transformed by the mystery of the experience or to remain in control and to protect an established identity. One attitude surrenders control and leads to union; the other maintains distance and leads to use and abuse. One is a stance of opening, softening, dissolving; the other, of hardening, closing, reasserting fixed boundaries. As with nature, woman can be considered a resource, used to please oneself or to demonstrate technical prowess while nominally pleasing her. The superficiality of lust, as portrayed in the sexualizing ethos of the media, is a defense against the softening in surrender that woman importunes. The physical intensity of the sexual act may in itself seem overwhelming, enforcing a surrender, at least in orgasm. But against the primal longing to be overcome stands always the compulsion to remain in control, intact. The very distinction between self and other may blur in sex. One is then neither an object for the other, nor the isolated subject one took oneself to be. Neither knows in a fixed way what either is: the unknown subject confronts the unknown object. But in detached or controlled sex one retains the same identity, at the price of also limiting the identity and meaning of the other. Sex is mechanical when the whole point is to keep things predictable, circumscribed, chasing known pleasures with known strategies. Safe sex indeed!

RELATED TAGS: [technological stance, sex and science/technology, science of sexuality, sexual materialism/attitude, sexual resource/dominance, masculine (attitude toward) sexuality, spiritual union, woman as resource, compulsion to control, mechanical/safe/detached sex, It/It (relationship), I/thou (relationship), orgasm as surrender/loss of control, monogamy, possessiveness, consumer sex, sexual consumerism, fear of commitment, playing the field, meaning/challenge of the other]

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