An analogy will clarify the difference between morally evaluating something as good or bad and nonmorally evaluating it as good or bad.
This radio on my desk is a good radio, in the nonmoral sense, because it does for me what I expect from a radio: it consistently provides clear tones.
In some cases, of course, a particular sexual act will be wrong for several reasons: not only is it wrong because it is of a specific type (say, it is an instance of homosexual fellatio), but it is also wrong because at least one of the participants is married to someone else (it is wrong also because it is adulterous).
Such views are common among Christian thinkers, for example, St. and never relaxes his hold upon it except when intent on offspring, and then controls and applies it to the carnal generation of children . Further, and this is the most important point, sexual pleasure is, for a metaphysical optimist, a valuable thing in its own right, something to be cherished and promoted because it has intrinsic and not merely instrumental value. (See the entry, Philosophy of Love.) Of course, we can and often do evaluate sexual activity : we inquire whether a sexual act—either a particular occurrence of a sexual act (the act we are doing or want to do right now) or a type of sexual act (say, all instances of homosexual fellatio)—is morally good or morally bad.
Hence both persons are reduced to the animal level. Sexual desire is also powerfully inelastic, one of the passions most likely to challenge reason, compelling us to seek satisfaction even when doing so involves dark-alley gropings, microbiologically filthy acts, slinking around the White House, or getting married impetuously. On the contrary, sex may be seen as an instinctual agency by which persons respond to one another , vol. Pausanias, in Plato's Symposium (181a-3, 183e, 184d), asserts that sexuality in itself is neither good nor bad.
Given such a pessimistic metaphysics of human sexuality, one might well conclude that acting on the sexual impulse is always morally wrong. He recognizes, as a result, that there can be morally bad and morally good sexual activity, and proposes a corresponding distinction between what he calls "vulgar" eros and "heavenly" eros.
For example, suppose we are engaging in heterosexual coitus (or anything else), and that this particular act is wrong because it is adulterous.
The wrongfulness of our sexual activity does not imply that heterosexual coitus in general (or anything else), as a type of sexual act, is morally wrong.
The one who desires depends on the whims of another person to gain satisfaction, and becomes as a result a jellyfish, susceptible to the demands and manipulations of the other: "In desire you are compromised in the eyes of the object of desire, since you have displayed that you have designs which are vulnerable to his intentions" (Roger Scruton, , p. A person who proposes an irresistible sexual offer to another person may be exploiting someone made weak by sexual desire (see Virginia Held, "Coercion and Coercive Offers," p. Moreover, a person who gives in to another's sexual desire makes a tool of himself or herself. a man wishes to satisfy his desire, and a woman hers, they stimulate each other's desire; their inclinations meet, but their object is not human nature but sex, and each of them dishonours the human nature of the other.