Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Categorical Imperative of Shagging

Shag so that your shagging may always be taken as an end in itself and not merely as a means to an end. This penetrating truth (no pun intended) represents the Copernican Revolution in Coitus, and is rooted in the fact that unlike other creatures that engage in sex simply for reproduction, humans are capable of enjoying sex as an end in itself. But the Categorical Imperative of Shagging takes the form of an imperative because we often find ourselves using sex for purposes other than sex. For example, many of us use sex as a means of gaining love. But as the common saying goes, you cannot use sex to buy love—particularly given the present rate of inflation. Another common misuse of sex is as a means of punishing your partner. However, the bedroom is not the place to get even or to play the role of the victim or victimiser.

We all have a duty to enjoy sex; and that involves knowing what we want and asking for it. But sadly, many of us are so out of touch with our own bodies that we have little idea what would bring us genuine sexual fulfilment. Then there are those of us who are aware of what they want, but are afraid to ask for it. Such individuals fall into two categories:

First, there are those of us who are afraid to ask for what we want because we fear that our partner would not only refuse but that he or she may condemn or ridicule us for our desires. However, sexual fantasies are like religious convictions, they are perfectly fine to have so long as we don't try to force them on others. Moreover, it never hurts to share your sexual fantasies with your lover since the worse that can happen is that they'll say no (or perhaps send a chain email to all your friends and family telling them what a sick, twisted pervert you are!). But the risk is worth it when you consider the possibility that they may actually say yes and you'll finally be able to act out that one fantasy involving a pair of salad thongs, cooking oil and a box of kitty litter (don't be coy, you know the one I'm talking about!).

Second, there are those of us who refuse to ask for what we want in a passive-aggressive attempt to spite our partners. (Passive-Aggression 101: First assignment, don't tell your partner what you want and when you don't get it, resent him or her for not being able to read your mind. Bonus points allotted for manifesting your resentment in totally unrelated contexts, especially disputes related to television remotes, credit card purchases or toilet seats.) When asked what they want, the connoisseurs of passive-aggression often reply with pouted lips: "even if I told you, you wouldn't give it to me!" (You can just tell I've been there, can't you?) But the truth is that these self-pity-party purveyors often only fail to get what they want because they refuse to ask for it.

Other misuses of coition include using it as a means of manipulation and control, using it as a means of displaying ownership or possession and using it as a means of paying off one's burgeoning student loans after making the mistake of entering a humanities discipline that offers little promise of financial self-sufficiency. But what all these misuses of sex have in common is that they all involve taking sex as a means to some desiderated end. But if Kant was right about anything (though chances are, he wasn't) then it is that an action can only be considered 'good' when our interest lies in the action itself and not in its anticipated consequences. Only then are we truly acting from duty.

Doing your sexual duty means taking responsibility for your own sexual fulfilment. This admonition should not be taken as a standing invitation to become citizens of Wanktopia. (That's what the discipline of analytic philosophy is for!) Rather, it is an invitation to recognise that sexual gratification must be taken as an end in itself, and not as a means to some end. It is an invitation to recognise that you (as a sentient sexual creature) deserve to experience sexual fulfilment and should therefore have the balls (or ovaries) to ask for what you want. It is an invitation to recognise that your partner (as a sentient sexual creature) also deserves to experience sexual fulfilment and that you have a duty to do what you can to ensure that they do. In sum, it is only when we choose to enjoy sex for its own sake that we fulfil our sexual duty and realise our full potential as members of the Shagdom of ends!