Existential Analysis 24.2: July 2013
Being Sexual: Human Sexuality Revisited
Presentation, 17 November, 2012
Society for Existential Analysis Annual Conference
This first part of a two-part paper seeks to develop an existentially-informed
approach to human sexuality that was initially presented in an earlier paper
by the author (Spinelli, 1996). In doing so, it will focus on an existential
response to three key assumptions regarding human sexuality that have
dominated contemporary sexological thought: namely, the links between
sexuality and biology; notions of normality and abnormality; and the link
between sexuality and personality or identity. Further, it will seek to address
various questions and concerns raised by those who commented on the
original paper as well as by other authors who have approached the question
of human sexuality from an existential-phenomenological perspective. In
particular, it will consider the issues regarding the defining of human
sexuality and the question of choice as understood by existential thought.
Relatedness; Merleau-Ponty; being sexual; existential choice.
NOTE: Where necessary, I employ the acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender) which is intended to emphasize the diversity
of alternatives to being sexual heterosexually. I am aware that this initialism
is ever-expanding such that ‘Q’ (for queer or questioning), ‘I’ (for intersex),
‘A’ (for asexual), ‘P’ (for pansexual) and a second ‘T’ (for transvestite)
are becoming increasingly common additions. For the sake of brevity, I
have elected to keep to the most common acrostic though my hope and
intent is that it will be seen to embrace all possibilities.
A somewhat lengthy but all too necessary preamble
Those readers of Existential Analysis who have followed the various
strands of my writing on existential phenomenology will by now, in all
likelihood, have surmised that they form part of an...