Michael Warner The Ethics Of Sexual Shame Analysis

Decent Essays
“The Ethics of Sexual Shame” by Michael Warner explores how sexual autonomy can be realized for all people. Warner recognizes this in history, and points out the trend in regards to societal sexual ethics, in which a tendency of absolutism and prejudicial sexual norms are dominant in one’s society. Because of this, sexual minorities struggle with shame and stigma that result in crushing their freedom and sometimes dignity. Warner argues that people need to defy the values that build these sexual hierarchies and accept all forms of sexual experiences, even if it is not what you prefer. In this assignment, I will discuss Warner’s primary focus on the need to push against stigma and shame to allow people to be free to realize their sexual…show more content…
In defense of Rubin’s sexual hierarchy, Warner argues that people often turn to sex that is natural. The idea is that “good” sex, like the heterosexual sex in marriage, is natural, while other forms of sex are not. Shame should only be attached to the “unnatural” kinds of sex. Warner argues that the problem with this is that sex has actually changed over the course of time. Forms of sex that are considered bad today were once popular in the past, and the other way around. This statement suggests there is no universally natural kind of sex, and normally people do not know what sex they like until they have it. This can conclude that there is not an innate kind of sexual preference either. People need to and should be able to explore different kinds and types of sex and sexuality in order to learn their preferences. After discussing how sex can have different meanings throughout history, Warner discusses the state of sexual shame in America today by mentioning the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Warner notes how discussion of Clinton’s impeachment focused more on his sex life than it did on laws Clinton had broken, because sex is by definition humiliating and therefore was used as a weapon against Clinton. In addition, the case on Bill Clinton shows just how much people like talking about sex, especially if it means shaming someone else for it. This suggests that, contrary to popular belief, we are not very repressed in our society. There are not restrictions against talking
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