Human beings have sexual needs that are expressed biologically as libido. This sexual instinct is believed to be absent in childhood but sets in during puberty (Finnis & Nussbaum, 1993). It is also during this period that human beings are irresistibly attracted to the members of the opposite sex. There is however situations where sex is performed between two men or two women and this may be considered to be morally wrong by some people.
Sexual instinct is believed to be triggered by the fact that man and woman were originally cut into two halves and hence always have the desire of uniting again. Freud notes that there are men whose sexual object is their fellow men as opposed to women and women whose sexual objects are their fellow women. The people of his nature are commonly referred as having 'contrary sexual feelings,' or as being 'inverts.' There are however three types of inverts.
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Absolute inverts are exclusively attracted to persons of their own sex and are not aroused sexually by persons of the opposite sex. Amphigenic inverts are either attracted to men or women. The contigent inverts may turn to persons of their own sex for sexual intercourse if they are unable to access normal sexual object from opposite sex. Inverts view their peculiar sexual behavior with varied opinions with some saying that it is natural while others may rebel against their inversion and view it as a pathological pressure. There are those who become inverts later in their lives after having a distressful experience with the normal sexual behavior.
Doctors initially noted that most inverts were suffering from nervous diseases and termed any symptom that was related to nervous disease to be due to degeneracy. This fact has since then been disapproved as there are normal people who engage in inversion. Male inverts use the excuse of the theory of bisexuality to justify their acts by saying that male inverts are individuals who have feminine brain in a masculine body. This again begs the question of why they would want to correct a psychological problem with an anatomical one. The theory of psychical hermaphroditism assumes that an invert has a sexual object that is opposite of a normal person. Many male prostitutes who avail themselves to inverts tend to imitate women in their dressing and behavior. This clearly contradicts the ideals of the inverts of being attracted to the opposite sex. In cases of homosexuality one of the male partner always assumes the role of a woman and this again clearly shows even the inverts are attracted to the opposite sex and hence proving that there is no point of homosexual relationships. Inverts that target children are described of doing so when they get an urgent sexual instinct that they cannot control or postpone.
Many philosophers condemn homosexuality and lesbianism by arguing that these acts undermine families and the social fabric. John Finnis who was a law professor probably gave what would be considered to be the most elaborate information on why homosexuality and lesbianism are morally wrong. His moral argument was based on Plato who was also a great philosopher in the past. He clearly said that it was morally wrong for an individual to use another person's body for personal pleasure or satisfaction, marriage is considered as a double blessing because it offers both friendship and procreation (Finnis & Nussbaum, 1993). The reproductive organs of a man and a woman are united for a common good of a favorable relationship in a heterosexual sexual activity. As Plato argues that heterosexual conjugal sexual activity as the only conjugal activity that is free from the shamefulness experienced in such activities such as masturbation and sodomy. Finnis continues to argue that man to man or woman to woman relationships are unproductive and destroys the personalities of the individuals involved.
Those who consider homosexual acts to be humane also insinuate directly that sexual organs should be used for the selfish gains of the individuals who engage in such acts. This would eventually lead to the instability of current and future marriages. Any community that is concerned with the future of marriages would therefore be compelled to discourage homosexuality and lesbianism.
According to Finnis, same sex acts do not actualize to a 'common good' as there is no biological unity between the two partners. He clearly thinks that same sex relations are nonmarital. Marital implies that a relationship that is adapted to friendship but also to procreation and education of children. Sexual acts bring the partners together to realize the values of others through body contact. According to Finnis, this is not achieved in sexual acts involving people of the same sex (Finnis & Nussbaum, 1993). In Classical Athens the Athenians who belonged to the upper class practiced same sex relationships that at times resulted in sexual conducts between males or females. A speaker who was addressing the Athenian Court in 346 BC mentioned that sex involving same sex partners was 'most shameful' and was contrary to nature. Such a partner is supposed to outrage himself. A man who allows his body to be penetrated by another man may be unfit in future to play any manly role in a marriage set up.
In Greece there were a lot of regulations regarding the relationship of a male to male. No citizen was allowed to receive money as a payment for a sexual act as that would amount to selling one's body to the highest bidder and this was punishable by treason. Men were also not allowed to entice young boys with gifts with a hope of having sex with them in return. Aristotle termed such acts as unmanly, and source of anxiety and shame. The Greek comedy uses homosexuality and lesbianism to poke fun to such acts as they are considered not aesthetically appealing.
Socrates describes the desire for sex as the greatest appetite. He proceeds to describe how it feels to fall in love with erotic language and other activities that exclude sex. Socrates also acknowledges the fact that the relationship between a male and a young boy eventually culminates to a cordial relationship where the boy eventually loves the penetrator for the gifts give in return including provision of basic education. This is contrary to Finnis' view of love as what exists only for sexual purposes. Plato's expresses the lovers' bodily desire as one that is god- sent and is good if such desires extend to the soul (Finnis & Nussbaum, 1993). Like Pausanias he advocates for a desire that does not eventually sop at the body of the lovers. Plato says that orgasmic gratification that one gets from a sexual relationship may derail from achieving wisdom. His reasoning here applies to all types of sexual activities without necessarily singling out homosexuality or lesbianism.
Ruse does not support Plato's idea that homosexuality is "unnatural," that eventually leads to the conclusion that this act is immoral since it is not biological in nature. Philosophers Aquinas and Kant also supported Plato's idea. According to Ruse condemning homosexuality as unnatural implies that such act would never be found in the animal kingdom. This is false because there is substantial evidence that shows that homosexuality exists in other species of in the animal kingdom (Ruse, 1980). Most animal that have been studied closely show some elements of homosexuality in their behavior.
Philosopher Kant was vividly against homosexuality his argument like Plato was based on religious biasness. A utilitarian approach to this issue was discussed by Bentham and Stuart Mill. Bentham argued that the utility of any act should be judges by the end product and not by the means. On the other hand Stuart argued that pleasures and happiness can be graded and some could be preferred to others. Bentham's approach seem to support homosexuality so long as the individual enjoys the act and if that is the case the said individual should endeavor to maximize the occurrence of such an activity for maximum enjoyment. Nagel describes homosexuality as incomplete sex as opposed to perverted sex. This however does not shed any moral light on homosexuality because sex does not qualify to be immoral because it is incomplete but whether it is able to bring the true happiness. Perversion may be considered to be bad but this does not necessarily refer to moral badness. What one might view as perversion may be viewed differently by others. If homosexuality is considered to be perversion by one person, another individual may not see it as perversion (Ruse, 1980). This again should not be interpreted to mean that those who consider homosexuality as not to be perverted are homosexuals themselves. It is only that they might not be disgusted by that act as those who consider it a perversion. It is therefore not clear to whether to consider homosexuality a perversion or not.
The idea of looking upon homosexuality and lesbianism as perversion depends on what an individual deems as immoral. The fact that these sexual acts are biologically unnatural may not from a philosophical view qualify them to be immoral acts. But again this depends on the moral ground or teachings of a particular society and the religion that is followed. To qualify a sexual act such as heterosexual relationship as being in accordance to nature may be taken to imply that animals also are part of nature especially to the Greeks (Ruse, 1980). A philosopher by the name Pausanias criticizes the males who seek sexual satisfaction from younger boys but praises those who seek deep spiritual and moral goals. When one has a strong interest for sex with women, it is a sign of preference of body over soul. Pausanias continues to convincingly state that a sexual act cannot be considered to be morally wrong or right by itself as this depends with the manner in which the act is done. Research has shown that not many religions consider homosexuality and lesbianism to be morally wrong and if one is to base this argument on a religious view, then Finnis was right in his arguments that these acts are morally wrong and should not be tolerated whatsoever.
It is generally bad to consider homosexuality as biologically unnatural because that alone cannot qualify to make the act immoral. As much as religion is considered to be against same sex relationships there is no philosophical theory that outrightly condemns these acts (Ruse, 1980). The feeling of homosexuality or lesbianism as perversion is not universal and should not be considered to be so. But this does not rule out the fact that majority of people consider man to man or woman to woman sexual relationships to be morally wrong. The advice would be to approach this subject with a lot of open mindedness.
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