Why the Function of Sexuality Is a Moral Purpose

My moral defense of sexual privacy me to a break-through in how to justify and defend principles of traditional sexual morality. I finally employed the improved way of thinking about sexual morality which I have been developing in these blog posts in the eight years since I published my book, Confronting Sexual Nihilism. *

In Confronting Sexual Nihilism, I faced a theoretical problem challenging all of us who, in the last analysis, morally condemn a wide range of sexual acts as frustrating the natural function of the acts in question. In general, though, frustrating natural functions is morally accepted and, indeed, morally required. So, why, select from the innumerable morally neutral natural functions of natural functions the procreative and bonding function of human coitus as morally significant? Note in passing, that the problem is not about selecting procreation and bonding as THE function or main function. The main functions of most natural systems are also morally neutral.

In my book, I tried to solve the selection problem in a theoretically unsatisfactory way. I made an empirical case with anecdotal evidence that if we regarded our sexuality as too trivial for moral control or too animalistic for moral control, we alienated our sexuality from ourselves as moral beings. Then, assuming that sexual alienation was a bad condition, I justified taking a stance that the function of human coitus was a moral purpose. I did not answer why sexual alienation was a bad condition needing moral correction.

The selection of procreation and male female bonding purposes of coitus as morally significant requires argument that these purposes are basic human goods. It is not enough merely to observe that they are natural purposes. I believe that after careful reflection on natural facts about human sexuality a persuasive case can be made that these purposes are basic human goods. However, because the arguments require reflection on natural facts, I concede that intelligent people may not be persuaded. This lack of persuasive power arises because the notion of basic human good is tenditious. Basic human goods are obligatory goods. This means that we ought to pursue them and ought never act to inhibit them. It is the obligatory goodness which some might not accept. Obligatory goodness entails the notion of intrinsically immoral act. Intrinsically immoral acts are those intentionally inhibitingbasic goodness.

The selection problem for naturalistic sexual morality is solvable. But not without hard work. There is theoretical work in moral theory to establish a theory with a notion of obligatory goods. There is empirical work of making a case that procreation and life long male female bonding are obligatory goods.

* A free copy of my book can be ordered at kielkopf.1@osu.edu