Sexual Norms and the Burden of Sexual Literacy

in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
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In this paper, I argue against the kind of "scientific objectivity" that attempts to maintain the facade of value neutrality on the grounds that since objectivity is impossible, the claim to it is necessarily hypocritical. The impossibility stems from the inextricability of sex and sexuality: Sex as a natural phenomenon cannot be separated from sexuality as a matrix of value-laden, historically situated ideas and emotions. It stems also from the fact that the intensity of the pleasure-pain continuum, which is indissociable from sexual activity, makes caring a fundamental component of our sexual being: To desire is already to value. And it stems finally from the fact that the psychic and somatic health that stands as the goal of the counseling and therapy-providing services is itself a value. My recommendation is that we take responsibility for the values that inform our professional behavior-if only to make them available for critical scrutiny.



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