A Comparison of Goldman's Liberal and Scruton's Conservative Views on Human Sexuality

Scruton and Goldman advocate for opposite views when it comes to human sexuality. While Goldman argues for a fairly liberal view, Scruton is more conservative in his approach. Goldman’s main argument is that “the desire for another’s body is, principally among other things, the desire for the pleasure that physical contact brings”. This means he believes sexual desire is solely the desire for the pleasure brought sexual acts with another. His title, “plain sex,” reflects this idea — sex is just sex, and doesn’t have to mean anything more.

Even so, Goldman acknowledges that it can be a part of romantic love, but doesn’t have to be this differs from Scruton’s point of view, which is that sex should be an object of love, not simply pleasure. His View is parallel to Kant’s school of morality, that humans should be treated as ends, not merely means. Scruton explains, ”Education should be directed towards the special kind of temperance which shows itself, sometimes as chastity, sometimes as fidelity, sometimes as passionate desire, according to the ‘right judgment‘ of the subject.

The virtuous person desires the person whom he may also love, who can and will return his desire, and to whom he may commit himself”. It’s interesting Scruton specifically mentions virtue because he believes sexual desire should conform with it, whereas goldman believes there is a distinction between the two, and they are not necessarily related. Because these two views are so different, it’s clear Goldman and Scruton would disagree when it comes to the issues of sexual promiscuity and prostitution.

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Because Goldman views sex simply as fulfilling a physical desire, he would support an individual’s decision to hook up or have a one- night stand; he believes sex may be for reproduction in nature, but its purpose in humans is for pleasure. On the other hand, Scruton would frown on sexual promiscuity because it is not virtuous.  It is using humans merely as a means to pleasure, and he believes sex should only be a part of romantic love. These views would likely extend to prostitution. Scruton would see it as immoral because there is no romance involved, whereas Goldman would see it as the desire for pleasure.

However, his judgment might be reserved because prostitution only involves physical desire by one person; the other is in it for the money and probably doesn’t gain much pleasure from the act. While I sympathize with both views, scruton’s is more convincing to me. I was raised in a fairly conservative family and was taught sexual acts should be reserved for someone you’re in love with. It’s important to recognize the difference between love and lust. While a one-night stand might be fun for the night, it’s not fulfilling in the long run and leaves more to be desired. I don’t think I could separate feelings of lust and love, so I agree with Scruton. On the other hand, I realize society is changing and “hookup culture” is becoming more of a reality. I don’t really care what other people do with their lives as long as it doesn’t affect me; my peers can do whatever they want and I’ll still treat them with respect. I just don’t want to hear about the crazy stuff they did over the weekend.

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A Comparison of Goldman's Liberal and Scruton's Conservative Views on Human Sexuality. (2023, Feb 22). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-comparison-of-goldman-s-liberal-and-scruton-s-conservative-views-on-human-sexuality/

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