Making Love with Lingis…Again.

To find oneself in love is to find oneself not free but captivated.

 Eroticism is suspect to the ethical mind.  Orgasm is pleasure in the breakdown of laws, action, responsibility, conscientiousness, and consciousness.  Sensuality is transgressive.  In the bodies denuded, sexual excitement surges in the meltdown of built-up structures.  As our bodies become orgasmic, the posture collapses, the manipulative diagrams of the limbs soften, legs and thighs roll about, fingers and hands move in aimless, unendingly repetitive caresses, allowing themselves to be stroked and crushed.  Our lips loosen, soften, glisten with saliva, lose the train of sentences; our throats issue babble, giggling, moans, and sighs.  Our sense of ourselves, our self-respect shaped in fulfilling a function in the machinic and social environment, our dignity maintained in multiple confrontations, collaborations, and demands dissolve; the ego loses its focus as center of evaluations, decisions, and initiatives.  The psychic structures with which we screen, filter out, and channel the superabundance of outside stimuli that flood our senses at all times are shattered and the stimuli flood us pell-mell.  The structures by which we fix an inner ego identity and censor out a whole underworld of unconscious drives and cravings buckle and crack; in sexual excitement the gates of the lower dungeons are opened and feral drives and cravings bound up and overwhelm our conscious intentions and purposes.  Our impulses, our passions, are returned to animal irresponsibility.  The pleasure and torment in contact with the nonprehensile surfaces of our bodies, our cheeks, our bellies, our thighs, irradiate across the substance of our sensitive and vulnerable nakedness.      

Alphonso Lingis, “The Immoralist,” in The Ethical, ed. Edith Wyschogrod and Gerald P. McKenny (Blackwell Publishing, 2003), pp. 205, 211-212.

Evolution, Sex, and Cephalopods

A recent study in the journal Biology Letters attempts to find out what the “costs” are of having sex, particularly with a view to squid sex.  Here’s an article summarizing the study’s findings.  There are a few interesting points here. 

Dumpling squid have sex for approximately 3 hours at  a time, and they have sex frequently throughout their year-long life.  Basically, that means that a dumpling squid spends most of its life having it off, getting busy, etc. 

The costs of this extensive sex-life are quite high.  3-hour mating rituals are exhausting, as indicated by the slow swimming of squid after sex.  When you’re tired from that much lovemaking, it’s hard to do a lot of other evolutionary tasks, such as finding food, avoiding predators, and perhaps most interestingly, it makes it harder to find other mates.  Furthermore, the short lifespans of these squid could be due to the fact that they exhaust themselves from such high-intensity sex. They are getting busy for so long, it’s killing them.

If it makes you too tired to find food, avoid predators, and pass on your genes to other mates, then why have sex for so long?  Because it’s good! 

Evolution is clearly not oriented toward survival of the fittest.  The important thing is not fit survival.  The important thing is survival of the sexiest.  Survival is only a value insofar as it facilitates sexiness.  We don’t have sex to survive, we survive so that we can have sex, exorbitant and exhausting intercourse.