2023 Abstracts Stage 2

To what extent does asexuality occupy a space of resistance in relation to Western culture and adjacent values?

This essay tackles the question as to what the function asexuality embodies within or against Western culture. In recent years, the sexual orientation of asexuality, characterised by a lack of sexual attraction towards others, has been increasingly made aware, leading to a deeper understanding of human sexuality. Yet, it remains to be concluded whether this new understanding of sexuality can be incorporated into the Western perception of asexuality. Or whether it inadvertently functions as a challenge to Western culture and adjacent values. Utilising both academic and philosophical works- such as Bogaert, Plato, and Freud- providing a range of varying views directly or indirectly dealing with the object of asexuality. By analysing these sources, asexuality is demonstrated to have expanded one’s understanding of human sexuality, the progression of attraction and arousal. This immediately stands in opposition to the high value and pushing of sexual relations of the Western world as the path to happiness, validating the argument of asexuality’s function as an enlightening, inoffensive resistance to Western culture.

2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Sexuality as a commodity: Emancipation or Oppression? An investigation into OnlyFans and its effects on women’s social emancipation.

My aim of this project was to investigate the impacts that the platform OnlyFans has had on the sexual emancipation of women. I did this by providing an analysis of Pier Pablo Pasolini’s work on sexual emancipation and capitalism, thereby applying these concepts to the context of OnlyFans. I discussed the works of Rae Langton and Martha Nussbaum on objectification and pornography and applied these concepts to the concept of OnlyFans.

I discovered through my research and analysis of Pasolini and OnlyFans that OnlyFans can have a detrimental effect on women’s sexual emancipation in a capitalist society as it contributes to consumerism. The concept is that consumerism perpetuates the concept of ‘false tolerance’, introduced by Pasolini in his work Trilogy of Life Rejected. This is the idea that the lower classes and minorities are encouraged to be sexually emancipated, however, it is in fact all a commodity. This means that OnlyFans contributes to consumerism and therefore, does not actually emancipate women, but uses their bodies as a commodity.

In the context of objectification, Langton and Nussbaum provided an understanding that tradition pornography objectifies women and denies them of their autonomy. I concluded that because OnlyFans is done completely autonomously by the women who created the content, OnlyFans does not objectify women to the same severity as traditional pornography. Therefore, suggesting that OnlyFans is a healthier and safer alternative for women to traditional pornographic material.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Sexual Promiscuity & ‘The Great Masturbator’: An understanding of the nature and ethics of this behaviour.

Object: Salvador Dali’s “The Great Masturbator” (1929) Painting. Dali’s history as an artist confused and disturbed by sexual behaviour and promiscuous acts is represented by the strange surreal distorted imagery surrounding the sexual act. Examining Dali’s strange and disturbed history with promiscuous behaviour encourages us to ask the following questions:
-What is the nature of sexual promiscuity?
-Is sexual promiscuity ethical?

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

What are the implications of actors playing roles with a different sexual orientation to their own?

This research paper seeks to answer the research question of “what are the implications of actors playing roles with a different sexual orientation to their own?”. To do this the objects of Armie Hammer’s performance as Oliver in Call Me By Your Name, and Rupert Everett’s Performance as Sir Arthur Goring in An Ideal Husband are applied to Sartre’s notion of authenticity and Butler theory of performativity. Sartre’s notion of authenticity is used to assess the implications to the authenticity of an actor’s performance when playing a character with a different sexual orientation to their own. Butler’s theory of performativity is used to assess the implications that performativity has on performances, specifically performances where actors play roles where their sexual orientation is different from the character they play.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

An Exploration of Female Sexuality

Let’s talk about sex. Does it make you uncomfortable? In this project, I explore the progression of attitudes towards sexuality through the different generations, where these attitudes came from, and how these attitudes developed.

Through George Bataille’s book, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality, I explore where the taboo of sex may have begun and what impact this had upon attitudes towards embracing female sexuality. I also use Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Philosophy of Right to discuss the issues surrounding freedom of sexuality.

Through conducting my own research and analysing various books, articles and journals, I will reveal how our society is embracing the conversation surrounding sexuality.

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

BDSM, Power and Self-mastery: the strength of submission

Does power equate to dominance? Is there a strength in submission?

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Sexuality in the modern era is a social construct

Michael Foucault
– The repressive hypothesis
– Changes in sexual practices over time
– Mode of power within society

Theodore Adorno
– Enlightenment
– Culture Industry
-Standardisation of sexual categories

Do sexual categories define individuals?
Has sexuality always existed?
How does sexuality function within society?

2015 Abstracts Stage 3

To Commodify or Not to Commodify? That is NOT the Question

An investigation into the reciprocal roles of power and language in determining a fair agreement in “commodified sexuality”.

Is ‘commodified sexuality’ an accurate description of modern day prostitution? To discuss whether the implications of ‘objectification’ are metaphysically possible when one sells their sexual services for a price To analyse the power strategies present within sex work from environment to language Determine which effect of power is the most dangerous to the sex worker.

Project Outline
Identify confusions within the terms of commodity and commodification Emphasize that sex work involves labour, not the mere ‘selling of one’s body’ Identify a separation of a sex worker’s sexuality occurs through use of Karl Marx’s alienation Stress the limits of consent using Immanuel Kant Argue that the most powerful power structure is utilised without conscious thought: language

Philosophers & Key Texts
Martha Nussbaum: Sex & Social Justice (1999)
Sexual Objectification

Karl Marx: Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, 1843-44, Vol. 3 (2005) & Capital (1961)
Alienated Labour

Immanuel Kant: Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (2007)
Categorical Imperative
Sexual Contract of Marriage

Jürgen Habermas: The Theory of Communicative Action (1981)
Ideal Speech Arrangement

2014 Abstracts Stage 3

Philosophy in the Boudoir. The taboo of sex: an evaluation of the significance of sexual discourse in society

Why has society repressed sexual discourse and what does this mean for an individual?

Foucault and Beauvoir explore the historical repression of sexuality and the classifications of the Enlightenment and scientific discourse. Individuals have not been able to express their sexuality publicly, as discourse of the erotic was under taboo.

How can we liberate society from the consequences of sexual repression?

Marquis de Sade asserted the importance of sexual liberation to combat all social repressions. His pornographic works, despite being violent and cruel, are fundamentally pivotal in the emancipation of sexuality from the private realm.

What was the result of the sexual revolution for sexual emancipation?

The 1960s sexual revolution is said to have begun with the publishing of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and had a major impact on sexual liberation, specifically for women, as prohibitions on discourse were protested.

What impact does the culture industry have on sexual liberty?

Adorno’s writings on mass consumerism in our capitalist society explore the limits of sexual liberty as in the public realm as they begin to cater only to the needs and desires of our consumer society

2009 Abstracts Stage 3

Erotic Attraction and Sexuality: a Genealogical Study

Is there a transcendental taxonomy of sexuality? Are we being exposed to a sexual ideology? Will heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality satisfy the variety of sexual orientations which exist? These are the questions which I wish to answer in my study of erotic attraction and sexuality. Throughout time differing sexualities and sexual traditions have surfaced. I want to discover why these paradigms exist, and whether sexuality is a wholly social construct. Included in the differing epochs of sexuality are the Mesopotamian obsession with fertility; the Ancient Indian tradition of linking sexuality with spiritual fulfilment; the Greco-Roman belief in sexual status and the activity and passivity of agents; the great repression of the Middle Ages, leading on to a great enlightenment erotic liberation; and finally, the problems of sexually transmitted infections, specifically HIV and AIDS. The philosophical concepts which I will be using are the Neo-Marxist concept of reification, as explained by Adorno, and the Foucauldian notion of disciplinary power. When reading both Adorno and Foucault, it becomes apparent that both are distrustful of apparent truths, particularly those which have descended from capitalist society. Both see the progress of science as something which presumes particular values, and which can be used as a form of knowledge domination. Is sexuality included in this discourse, or is sexuality a metaphysical truth?

2007 Abstracts Stage 3

Sexuality and Desire

The main focus for this project will be on the work of Michel Foucault (see photo), looking at sexuality in terms of the discourse and power structures which have created and moulded it. Ultimately, I wish to use sexuality as an example of discourse which permeates our deepest pleasures and desires. These desires in turn are what create our identities and govern our relationship with the world. There is therefore a need to differentiate between animal (or biological) desire and social (or discursive) desire, the former being the framework within which the latter exists. Foucault’s work stresses the importance of our awareness of discourse and the violence through which it is enforced and subsequently the need to live with a critical attitude which he calls ‘the art of not being governed.’ Bibliography: Michel Foucault – The History of Sexuality: 1, Didier Eribon – Insult; the Making of the Gay Self, Georges Bataille – Story of the Eye, Deleuze and Guattari – Anti-Oedipus, Destricted (DVD)

2007 Abstracts Stage 2

SODOMISE ME: And other erotic transgressions

The philosophical basis of this project will be focused predominantly on the works of Bataille and Sade including Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom and Bataille’s Eroticism. This project aims to investigate eroticism and taboo in terms of the sexually grotesque in order to explore the place of erotic transgression in past and present society. I will do this by elaborating on key themes such as death, sexual perversion and cruelty. Chuck Palahniuk’s Guts represents a modern comparison to Sade’s text, using Bataille’s reflections from Eroticism I will conclude by assessing the significance and purpose of taboos within our society today.

2006 Abstracts Stage 2

Sexual Abuse: a Punishable Crime?

Aims: The main aim of this project is an attempt to come up with a universal law that could be used in the treatment of sexual predators if there is one. I will look at whether sexual abusers are deserving of punishment. I will attempt to understand the motivations of the abuser. Look at the impact that the attack has on the victim. I will look at a range of punishment theories that could be universalised for one set rule for all abusers. Questions that need addressing: Why do paedophiles consider sex with children as acceptable behaviour? Why and how do sex offenders believe what they do is right, and how do they justify their actions? Can child molesters be cured? Or is it impossible? Is it to risky to let them out? The victim is affected for life so why shouldn’t the attacker pay for life? Key Sources. Michael Foucault: ‘The History of Sexuality’ Volume 1, Ernest Van Hagg ‘Punishing Criminals’, Barry M. Maletzky ‘Treating the Sexual Offender, Ann Wolbert and Burgess ‘Sexual assault of Children and Adolescents’.

2005 Abstracts Stage 3

Promiscuity as the Masculinization of Women: Masculinization as the Complexification of Nature

Place: The Suit, as an image, as an androgynous construct Aim: My intention is not to assess the concept of promiscuity from a moral standpoint but more to suggest that it has been illustrative of the move away from what is essentially feminine to a world where women themselves in terms of what is masculine and how this gendering is representative of our move away from nature towards into an age of complexification Masculine and feminine: towards an age of androgyny? What is masculine? What is feminine? Indoctrinated definitions of gender through the ages from Plato to present day, the implication of gender classification on social constructs Promiscuity I will initially focus on the idea of promiscuous behaviour, how and why there has been an increase in women partaking in this behaviour (if this is the case) and the social ramifications of this. The issue is the promise of sex totally free of reproductive consequences, a myth that has served men not women. Our sexual culture which promotes pleasure over responsibility has ignored the reproductive capability of women’s bodies. Pose the question do, and if so why do women replicate men, instances of masculine behaviour, women at work etc why is success viewed in male terms, i.e. mothering undervalued, all the traditional female roles considered irreverent in modern society Masculinization. From Greek thought there has been a separation of culture and nature into male and female categories. Since the mechanical age we have become first mechanized and then manufactured, our bodies are commodities Promiscuity could be predicted as the result of a complex system, a particular way of handling material objects, everything has to be consumable. Promiscuous behaviour ultimately an expression that has been mechanized and commodified until it has become transparent. It is because we have become separated from nature that women have become masculinized, progression away from nature.