The intentional view is plausible in that sexual desire can be quite complex and that its complexity is not captured well (or at all) by the pleasure view, given that human mentality infuses our most basic urges and appetites
Perhaps not. For example, if X wants to masturbate, X is not being led by blind instinct like a cat in heat; X can be thinking, “I look forward to enjoying the sensations of rubbing my clitoris with my favorite vibrator as I fantasize about having sex with my neighbor. ” In other words, “sexual desire can be focused or selective at the same time as being physical” (Goldman 1977: 279).
One problem is the difficulty of defining “sexual pleasure” (see below), which this view needs to do to be complete
But whether the intentional view is at odds with the pleasure view depends on our goals. If the latter is meant to capture the “essence” of the phenomenon, https://besthookupwebsites.org/men-seeking-women/ the two are compatible with each other; if our goal is a detailed description of the depth, complexity, and variety of the phenomenon, the pleasure view falls short. Given that definitions are not usually meant to convey the complexity of what they define, we should not expect a definition of sexual desire to be a full-blown theory sexual desire, while agreeing that it is a complex phenomenon.
This does not mean that the pleasure view of sexual desire is correct, only that its aim or strategy need not be misguided. Indeed, depending on how it is stated it might be wrong. For example, if the pleasure view conceptually ties sexual desire to sexual pleasure obtained through the touch of another person, it would be dualistic and might implausibly render many sexual desires as nonsexual, such as some masturbatory desires, voyeurism, and exhibitionism. Furthermore, the touch of another person’s body implies that zoophiliac desires are nonsexual. Necrophiliac desires would also be nonsexual if “person” refers to a living person. A non-dualistic definition-“for bodily pleasures, period”-avoids such implications (Soble 1991 and later editions of the essay, the last being 2013a; Halwani 2018b: ch. 5).
Even a non-dualistic pleasure view might face difficulties stemming from understanding desire in terms of what it seeks (sexual pleasure). But there might be additional problems. First, not all sexual desires are for sexual pleasure: a couple might have sex to have a baby, even though the act is pleasurable (Jacobsen 2017: 33; see also 1993). Second, our sexual partners would in principle be dispensable if there are other ways to attain the pleasure. This objection is not moral-that we use our sexual partners as mere instruments-but ontological: sexual pleasure cannot be the only or common goal to all sexual desires otherwise the agent would be indifferent between the available ways of attaining sexual pleasure. Since this is not true, sexual desire is not solely for sexual pleasure (Jacobsen 2017: 33).
Given that the pleasure view understands sexual desire in terms of an object (pleasure), we can describe it as “object-based”. An alternative is the “feature-based” approach, which defines “sexual desire” in terms of “sexual arousal” (Jacobsen 2017). Sexual arousal is a state we find ourselves in-it is basically the state of being turned on or horny, manifested in erections, lubricated vaginas, flushed faces, and “tingling earlobes” (Jacobsen 2017: 35; cf. Shaffer 1978). Because this state is enjoyable, we often induce it in ourselves: we think about sex in order to be sexually aroused (Jacobsen 2017: 34–35). “Sexual desire” is then
a subject’s desire for something-some activity, person, or object-in virtue of the effect that it is expected to have on the subject’s own states of sexual arousal. (Jacobsen 2017: 36)