The Androcentrism of Desire

in Erotic Attunement

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780226811383
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226811376 | DOI:
The Androcentrism of Desire

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This chapter reviews the history of Western, androcentric visions of power and sexuality. The bulk of this chapter argues that it deserves denunciation as a system of domination and subordination. It indicates that removing eroticism and sensuality from relations between unequals was impossible. The assistance of Bernadette Brooten, David Halperin, Thomas Hubbard, and David Konstan is considered. The textures of “normal” sex through the lens of the potentially or absolutely abnormal—same-sex relations—are explained. To the legacy of Clement of Alexandria's and Paul's act-centered, self-concerned view of sex, Augustine of Hippo added a lasting, misogynistic tendency to treat others as objects and as “dangers” to one's virtue. Despite their thoroughgoing misogynism, Augustine's and Thomas Aquinas' theologies were fundamentally erotic, driven by desire for the good.

Keywords: power; sexuality; eroticism; sensuality; same-sex relations; Clement of Alexandria; Paul; Augustine of Hippo; Thomas Aquinas; misogynism

Chapter.  9846 words. 

Subjects: Ethical Issues and Debates

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