PRIDE | Are we having “Trophy Sex”?

“A sex trophy should be functional, and shaped like a dildo, yet decorative.”

– Jarod Kintz.

        Before there was Redtube or PornHub, there were Des Beaux Arts. For centuries, men would commission art works showcasing their mistresses, or favorite prostitutes as their nude subjects, for it was thought that no woman with a gram of dignity in her body, would dare to expose herself. Such is the case of several master paintings made throughout the history of art. It hadn’t been until the emergence of the artistic movement Rococo during 18th century France, that patronesses of recognized societal status would commission themselves as the subjects of nudes, for they would be found dressed with the garments of aesthetic elements and mythological allusions, as we see with François Boucher’s “The Toilet of Venus” (1751), commissioned by the Marquise de Pompadour. Posing as the Goddess of beauty “Venus” seemed like a great excuse to be naked, right? Quite clever, if you ask my opinion.

        But as mentioned previously, before Rococo came around to save the day for married women throughout the world; men commissioned works featuring their collection of mistresses, (La collection des side-bitches) to be showcased to other fellow men in private collections. As is the case of the famous painting made by the Renaissance master “The Venus of Urbino.” (1538) commissioned by the Guidobaldo II della Rovere, the duke of Urbino. The Venus of Urbino was intended to represent his wife Giulia Varano (Le Main bitch), awaiting for her husband. But in fact, the model was Angela de Moro, a highly paid courtesan of the time. Rumor has it that Angela de Moro, was perhaps the Duke of Urbino’s favorite mistress (The main Side-bitch). Truth or false? Who knows?

        We are all familiar with the term of a Trophy Wife simply defined as: n. An attractive wife, serving as a status symbol for the husband. However, 21st century Hook up culture has made it possible to have a list of Trophy women; men’s collection of the victims conquered throughout their sexual life. This, interestingly enough, does not solely apply to men but to women as well. 21st century self-proclaimed feminist and independent young bachelorettes can often be found guilty of showcasing their collection of  Trophy men, “Boy Toys”,  finding themselves unconcerned with their happiness, goals, hopes or dreams. Yes. I’ll admit to it as well. Forgive me lord, for I have sinned.

        Modern day feminist women are quick to fight against female sexual objectification, but could it be that 21st century hook up culture has also slowly, but surely sexually objectified men? Dating apps like Tinder, have made it a trend for women of all ages to go out on Friday nights and compete over taking home the hottest guy at the club, only to give him a fake number the next morning.  Moreover, some women go as far as dating men for superficial qualities extending from physique, to job, societal status, College major, and when asking about their personality it probably goes as far as: “Oh my God, yeah he is super sweet! he bought me flowers. I think I’m going to marry him.” Key words: BOUGHT. ME. FLOWERS. Let that sink in. Simply put, her marriage criterion would have probably been met by anyone willing to do the same for her. So the question is: Does she actually love you, the person dwelling inside? or could it be possible that she is playing to be a real-life Barbie doll, and are you simply filling up the role of Ken, in her pink mental utopia? Finding yourself slowly and steadily becoming one of her collectable Kens, one of her potentially disposable, Trophy Men.

        Now that we have all confessed to the sin of Sexual Pride or Vainglory, here at the Sexual Confessionary, the question remains: Has commitment phobia in modern day society given birth to “Trophy Sex”? and if so, Does “Trophy Sex” emerge as a result of mutual gender sexual objectification? I believe that after a while of mastering the art of seduction and becoming a master-level sexual hunter; after having enough collectable Ken or Barbie heads hung on your wall, enough “Venuses of Urbino” hanging in your private collection (La collection des “Dick Pics” or “Nudes”), there comes a moment when the master hunter must turn the weaponry in, admit to his or her own humanity, recognize all wins and loses, wave goodbye, bow and retire from the game. For a real master of the game, knows when the time has come for his sun to set. A real master of the game understands it’s best to walk home waving good bye through the golden gates, than be kicked out through the back door. The former sexual hunter, now filled with the maturity empiric knowledge has granted him or her, will now begin his quest towards finding not “The Golden Pussy” or “The Divine Dick”, but for a person of bone and flesh with a mind and a soul, worthy of loving and capable of loving in return. The quest for love, begins with a change of attitude.

      According to Dante Alighieri’s “Struttura della Divina Commedia” the seventh deadliest sin is pride, vainglory, for it represents the abuse of our intellect, our rational ability; that which places us above the beasts and closer to the creator. The sexual hunter can find himself guilty of the sin of Pride, for he has employed psychological maneuvers and tricks to seduce and capture the objects of his desire. Pride is to deny everyone else’s humanity, and only acknowledging our own. Redemption from Pride can only be brought by the Seventh Heavenliest Virtue of all: Humility, for it recognizes everyone’s humanity.

      Love is often compared by many contemporaries with baseball. A baseball player can win “The Home Run Derby” by scoring 10 or 20 home runs, and possibly be chosen to play in the All-Star Games; but as it is true for both baseball and love, only passion for the game (Love) and acknowledgment of other individuals, of other players, as part of one whole humanity, of one team, can grant you a taste of the glory that comes with winning a World Series Championship. If you are guilty, as I myself am, of the sin of Sexual Pride, remind yourself that it is never too late for redemption, for life is filled with second chances. If you’re humble enough to love someone else’s humane perfections and imperfections, as they have chosen to love yours, in the game of love my friend, you might have just earned yourself your very own and well deserved World Series Championship ring, with a carving celebrating the “Greatest Comeback in Baseball (in The Game of Love’s) History.”

GREED | The Game of Love: Selfish or Selfless?

“I love you, Dominique. As selfishly as the fact that I exist. As selfishly as my lungs breathe air. I breathe for my own necessity, for the fuel of my body, for my survival. I’ve given you, not my sacrifice or my pity, but my ego and my naked need. This is the only way I can want you to love me.”

Ayn Rand. The Fountain Head.

          Love, in my regard, is a game whose comparison is most closely related to a “House of mirrors”, where you will attempt to find in others the reflection of yourself, of your values and virtues. In short, you will strive to find the reflection of yourself that appeals to you the most. I argue that we can find traces of our personalities identified with every individual that we encounter, since human nature is one, and one alone. However, as the objectivist philosopher, Ayn Rand argues, men are born with free will. Altruistic love, selfless love, is based on the idea that we must love everyone in our surrounding, and that in the name of such love, one must sacrifice, one must work and suffer to satisfy the pleasures and whims of the person subject of your love. I disagree.

“To say ‘I love you’, one must learn to say ‘I’ first.”.

-Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged.

          I can only speak for myself, as I am the person I know the best. Call me a narcissist, for having a high regard of myself, but I believe that a man should be, and is by nature, entitled to self-esteem. In fact, it is true that human beings are lonely beings. So, question: How do we find companionship amongst an existentially lonely humankind? I argue that it should be done selfishly. Ayn rand suggests, Love should be handled as a business deal, in which the currency are a human being’s values. It is only after spending time analyzing ourselves, and raising awareness of our own values and virtues, that we can then discriminate from humankind those individuals whose value system, mirror our own. I, for example, could never love an altruist. In fact, I tried, but I couldn’t find myself identified with the individual. Phrases such as “You are my happiness”, or “Baby, I just want to please and serve you.” do not mirror my value system, for I am individualistic, not altruistic.

In the painting “The swing” made by the Rococo french painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1767) clearly see two men competing for the attention of the woman on the swing. I would argue that the man swinging the woman is an altruist while the man on the floor is individualistic, for he chooses to flirt with the woman disregarding the efforts of the other man to seduce her. The woman on the other hand is also individualistic, for she does not mind receiving the benefit of the company and the efforts (the swinging) of the altruist man, while seducing and gaining the attention of the man of her choosing; a selfish, individualistic man: A man of self-esteem.

“To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of love—because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.”

– Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged.

          I do not believe in altruistic love; Simply because, I take selfish pleasure in loving, and caring for the person of my choosing. Compared to a child and his favorite toy. In respects to love, however, I believe that our only mutual benefit from the other person we choose to love, should only be their companion. “I’ve given you, not my sacrifice or my pity, but my ego and my naked need.” The person of your choosing should not be neither “your savior” or “your charity project” nor “Your only door towards happiness”; as it implies that you are yet to develop self-actualization, and self awareness of your own values.

 “It is an act that forces them to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and accept their real ego as their standard of value. They will always be attracted to the person who reflects their deepest vision of themselves, the person whose surrender permits them to experience a sense of self-esteem. Love is our response to our highest values – and can be nothing else.”

-Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged.

           For one, they should be that one individual whose possession grants you a sense of self-esteem, a sense of achievement, a well-earned price. And lastly, the person of your choosing should be that one individual to whom you have willingly exposed your fears, your failures; in short, your soul. These two individuals, will then find themselves in complete and utter intimacy, for when sexuality comes about, they will lay in a both physical and metaphysical nakedness.

“Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

– Genesis 2:25

As Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they will not hold shame in their physical nakedness, for they are mirrors, reflections of each other’s metaphysical reality, of each other’s virtues, of each other’s souls. For your own heart’s protection, for your own well being, and to guarantee your success in the game of love, in the “house of mirrors”, being selfish, individualistic, in short, being greedy is a must.

LUST | The Dilemma: ‘To sex’ or ‘Not to sex’.

Crimina Carnis Contra Naturam

“But, in fact, a person’s sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions. No matter what corruption they’re taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which they cannot perform for any motive but their own enjoyment. An act that is only possible for the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces them to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body. They will always be attracted to the person who reflects their deepest vision of themselves, the person whose surrender permits them to experience a sense of self-esteem. Love, is then, our response to our highest values and can be nothing else.”
(Atlas Shrugged, Rand. 453-455)

        Sex, a concept whose definition mirrors an individual’s values and perception of human nature, unquestionably presents immense difficulty when attempting to define or entrap it in standard measurements.  However, there are functions and attributions to sex that remain constant to every individual. The father of modern-day economics, Adam Smith proposed his “Invisible hand principle” stating that human beings always act on their self-interest. Based on this premise, I argue that sex is not an act of selflessness unison, but rather it’s complete opposite. Sex, understood as nothing more than the appetite for enjoying another individual. The same way we have an appetite for food and water, we also have an appetite for human beings, also known as sexual appetite. The question then arises: Is there a way of satisfying our sexual appetite without trespassing the bounds of morality or when satisfying these, are we condemned to always incur in Immanuel Kant’s Crimina Carnis contra Naturam, Crimes of the flesh against our human nature?

Morality, defined as “the degree to which something is right and good.” Is in other words, the moral goodness or badness of something, and it plays a vital function in everyday human activities. Because no man is an island, men are born with the innate condition of being societal beings, and this implies that there are rules and parameters that a given society or community establishes to guarantee its self preservation; these including the sublimation of satisfying human desires, including sexual appetites. Sexual appetite, or Lust, is considered by western religion to be one of the 7 capital sins, the reason for this being that sexual appetite reduces a human being, with all of it’s intellect, greatness and potential; to be nothing more than a mere object of desire. Someone who has merely sexual inclination for another is unconcerned with their happiness and will even be willing to plunge them in great depths of misery, simply to satisfy their own self-esteem and appetite.

As the enlightenment philosophe Immanuel Kant proposed in his Lecture on Ethics: of the duties to the body in regard to the sexual impulse, in this type of interaction, a person who is the object of someone else’s appetite is exposed to the risk that once this is appetite fulfilled, the individual is casted away as one casts away a lemon that has been sucked dry. In this sense, both individuals have “partial” rights to each other, for by not acknowledging the humanity of the other party, and reducing each other to be objects of indulgence; they have rights to nothing more than the sexual organs of the other; it is impossible for a person to be both the proprietor and the property, he is either or, not both. As Kant proposes, a man’s desire for a woman is not directed towards her because she is a human being, but solely because she is a woman. Her humanity is of no concern to him, for it is her sex the sole object of his desire. In this logic, these individuals incur in the lowest of human interactions for they do not interrelate as human beings but as things, and can thereby be used as such by anyone else.

In this way, humanity is sacrificed to sexual appetite. It is to dishonor someone else’s human nature, by making the other’s humanity an instrument of their lust, placing them at the level of animal nature. The Enlightenment philosophes praise reason as the sole element that distinguishes and separates men from the beasts and satisfying the desires of the flesh, incurring in Crimina Carnis Contra Naturam, at the expense of someone else’s humanity degrades human kind to a state of equality to the beasts, for it represents our inability to rationalize through our natural impulses. 

Nevertheless, sexual appetite is after all a subject of human nature. However, there is a way in which a human being can enjoy another one within the boundaries of what is considered moral. It is possible to use someone as an instrument of one’s service, to use someone’s intellect, sex, powers and body and yet not incur in immoral interactions. Just like in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract, in which the citizen has the duty and responsibility to obey the government and this must in exchange serve and protect the citizen; One can have full ownership of the whole person, by granting that person the same rights over the whole of oneself. This is obtained when someone dedicates himself or herself to the other, dedicating not only their sex, but also their whole person. As proposed by Kant, in this type of interaction the two individuals become inseparable, for their joys and misfortunes, victories and failures are shared mutually. In a utilitarian view, by handing over the rights of one’s whole self to the other and in return obtaining the full rights to them, one gains oneself back again; for I now have identical rights to the person to whom I have given myself as property, and these individuals are now part of a unity of will. One doesn’t just have partial rights to their sex, but to the entirety of their being: their power, abilities, intellect and their humanity are now all found at your disposition, at expense of yours. In this case, sex, argued as the appetite for enjoying another human being, becomes a moral interaction if and only if, one doesn’t simply enjoy another individual’s sex, but everything else that compiles them. 

Another question arises: what happens when one of the parties grants full rights to the other person, but this one in return only grants partial rights to themselves? Is this a moral or immoral interaction? For starters, one of the parties is acknowledging the humanity of the other and as a way to request rights of the person subject of their love, the person offers rights over himself or herself, and based on what we have discussed, this is within moral boundaries. However on the other hand; the other person has no intention of granting rights over himself or herself, but yet demanding rights of the other individual and utilizing their abilities to their service, and yet manage to not place themselves at the other’s disposition. This then becomes an unequal interaction and is then considered to be immoral.

In the painting “Leda and the Swan” (1741) The rococo painter François Boucher succeeded in portraying a rather graphical depiction of the greek mythological story of Leda, wife of the king of Sparta Tyndareus, being seduced and later having sex with the god Jupiter shaped as a swan. This story for one becomes a true representation of the capital sin of Lust, by incurring in both adultery and zoophilia (cross-species sexual activity, or sexual orientation, between human and non-human animals) Crimina carnis contra naturam, immorality, bestiality in its highest expression.

Just as previously discussed, one of the parties is reducing one of the individuals to nothing but a mere instrument of their service and desires. As proposed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract, when either the citizen or the state incur in a breach of contract, it grants the state the right to punish the citizen, or the citizen is granted with the right to rebel against the regime. Likewise, in this type of interaction, when one of the parties fails to meet the terms on their end, a breach of contract has been incurred and the other party, king Tyndareus, can then choose to remove all rights granted to the other individual, to Leda, and hence terminate all interactions.

However, there is an aspect of human relationships that must not be overlooked. Nature does not grant humans equality in intelligence, strength or beauty, and this also including the capacity to altruistically care for another individual. In other words, humans do not care or love others in the same measure, for every person is a universe of their own. For this reason, it is inevitable that in human relationships one party will demonstrate love and compromise with a greater measure than the other. This type of love is further discussed in Viviana Baldo’s literary recreation and analysis of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book “The little prince” In a dialogue between two characters, the little prince and the rose:

“ (…) And thus, love will never be a cause of suffering. When we love we give without asking anything in return, just for the pure pleasure of giving. To love is to trust that no matter what happens you will be there, not because you owe me anything, not with selfish possession, but to be there, in silent companionship. To love is to give you a place in my heart for you to stay as a father, mother, brother, son, a friend and have certainty that in yours there is a place for me. Giving love does not deplete love; on the contrary, it increases it. The only way to repay such love is to open your heart and let yourself be loved.”

         Human relationships tend to be seemingly unequal. In this case, the truly honest and only moral manner to be reciprocal to someone willing to demonstrate love in great measure is to allow oneself to be loved. This type of interaction finds itself within moral boundaries as both parties recognize each other’s humanity and assign each other’s value beyond their sexuality, and thereby these two individuals find themselves in mutual ownership.

Though sexual appetite will always remain to be part of our nature. People limit themselves when speaking of these vices, for a reason: because it creates a sense of familiarity, tolerance for them, and perhaps even suggesting the individual engages in them. We must then hold shame towards our human nature to a certain degree, rather than fully embracing it. We must study and understand our human nature, so it may be then tamed under reason, mutual respect, and empathy for others; this way we will prevent ourselves from incurring in any Crimina Carnis Contra Naturam. It is only through the sublimation of our animalistic desires that one day we can make ourselves human beings worthy of having someone become ours, to have someone not simply grant us the right to penetrate their sex but to enter their spirit; and if in our regard, the person worthy of our companionship, in exchange, we will willingly allow them to enter our lives, minds and spirits and inevitably, become theirs as well.