Thursday, November 8, 2012

One Body: update on release date

I have an update from the publisher about my One Body Christian sexual ethics book. They are expecting advances on December 1, plus or minus a week, and the official release date right now is December 20. I expect your best bet for getting it soonest, unless you're a reviewer, is to preorder from Amazon.

To whet appetites, here's an excerpt on appetites from Chapter 3 on Desire:

Although anybody who is hungry desires food, one can desire food without feeling hungry—for instance, because one recognizes intellectually that one ought to eat at a given time. Hunger is thus a species of desire for food. As hunger, its content may be rather more vague than one’s desire for food. Thus, while one might desire to eat a particular food or with a particular person, hunger simply calls out for nutrition. It is relatively blind and may be more based in our animal biology than our intellectual faculties.

Likewise, we can try to distinguish libido from the desire for sex. Libido would be a biologically-based appetite for sex, and this would be a species of the desire for sex. A person can desire sex for a variety of reasons, and libido need not enter in at all. No valuation is implied here. Nonlibidinous desires for sex may sometimes be better and sometimes worse than libidinous ones: one might libidinously desire to fulfill the couple’s joint emotional need for union, or one might nonlibidinously desire to make a conquest, or one might libidinously desire to humiliate the other, or one might nonlibidinously desire to comfort one’s beloved.

Looking forward, we will see that the desire for real union in erotic love includes a desire for sexual intercourse. It does not follow, however, that libido is an essential aspect of erotic love. First of all, it is not clear that the desire for union has to be present for love to be there. Love is defined by action and will, and it may be sufficient that one aims at or strives for union (or maybe aims at or strives for union for its own sake), without one actually desiring it. Or it may be that desire is the same thing as one’s will being aimed at some goal, in which case all one requires for a desire for union is that one’s will be directed at union, and not that one have any libido.

Secondly, kinds of love are distinguished by the kind of union sought and by the aspects of the other person that are appreciated. With or without libido, one can appreciate the same aspects of the other person and seek the same kind of union. Of course, libido can make it easier to appreciate the other’s sexual aspects, and can make possible some particular ways of experiencing this appreciation and enhancing the experience of union, and, at least in the male, some libido might be a biologically necessary precondition for the full union (we could likewise imagine an animal that could not swallow when it was not hungry).

Libido can come and go, while a striving, aiming and/or desire for union remains. In fact, when libido is absent, a person might desire sexual union and therefore desire to have libido in order to better experience this union. Moreover, it seems that libido is not in and of itself the desire for union that is found in romantic love. For the desire for union that love includes is always a desire to unite with the other as with a person, whereas libido probably lacks this recognition of the personal element. It is, at most, a component of the way that a desire for love’s union may exhibit itself on a given occasion, though it never constitutes the whole of that desire, nor is it an essential component.


ChristianTrader said...

Updated info on when the kindle version will be available?

Alexander R Pruss said...

Email to the press sent.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Response: "We are continuing to work out the details on Kindle, and your book will be counted in our list available in that format."