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Friday, January 9, 2015

Part 4.5: Thinking Sexually

One of the criteria I offered for judging whether a machine was capable of human thinking in my expanded Turing test is sexuality. Sexuality I said is required for thinking.  Can a machine think like a human? Only with a self-conscious body that can be shared.

Thinking is corporeal. Thinking is using the self-aware body to fashion artifacts (words, drawings, images, symbols) to communicate with other conscious bodies. It is physical intercourse. And it is reproductive. The human body is inherently oriented to other bodies while aware of its sexuality--its masculinity and femininity or combination.

But I suggest that what we call in common usage "the sex act" is only one of the ways we exercise our sexuality and physical intercourse. By "sex act" we usually mean using penis, testicles, vagina, clitoris, and breasts of ourselves and of others to effect that wonderful feeling of tension and release called orgasm. But that act is hardly the fullness of sexuality as demonstrated by many who are very sexual even after they have lost or forgone the use of their "sexual organs." Indeed, most sex counselors insist that the primary sexual organ is not between the legs but in the skull.

When sexuality is reduced to the sex act it is trivialized and pornified. When we use another simply to  "get off," we dehumanize. Sex becomes diminished and "dirty." I do not mean to disparage the sex act, including "getting off," in any way. Nor do I want to condemn giving pleasure to oneself or to and with others. But to be truly sexual, that pleasure will be a communication, a sign of mutual giving and respect in which all who engage are free initiating conscious actors and no one an object of another.

In true communication, the boundaries between bodies fade as when I, though seated in the audience, allow my self to dance with the dancers on stage, participate in the unfolding drama by taking on the actor's persona, listen to the poet by traveling her style down the path of her words. I am conscious of those as sexual activities. It is just as when two lovers lie naked with one another and feel their bodies mingle and become as one, whether or not they perform "the act."

My writing, my photography, my sketching, my engaging in jazz or a great film, my acting on stage are bodily activities meant to communicate consciousness to consciousness with other bodies. So indeed are the hug, the handshake, the arm around the shoulder, the holding of hands, the personal words of comfort.  The distortion of sexuality is not its aggrandizement, i.e.. seeing sexuality in all things human and especially communication,  The distortion comes when the communication is forced and so violates another private space or when it is only oriented or reduced to "the act."

It has been noted that when we were fetuses we were a combination of male and female until the genes and hormones started sorting things out. And as we age we begin to go back to that union of male and female. As I age, my body changes in its ability to do "the act" with the frequency I had when younger. But that does not at all diminish my sexuality masculine and feminine, nor my need to give and get intimacy especially through friendship.

I do not need viagra to be sexual. I am sexual to my very soul.