What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
38 views
38 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
71 views
71 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
111 views
111 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
96 views
96 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
123 views
123 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
171 views
171 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
125 views
125 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
264 views
264 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
208 views
208 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
217 views
217 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
248 views
248 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Bliss Signal Album Review
News
6 views
6 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018
476 Views

Academic Armchair: Between platonic love and internet pornography

Attempting to show readers how an “holistic approach” to matters of sexuality is a better one, Tanja Staehler and Alexander Kozin tackle most aspects of modern life in this article, aiming in their own words to define “the role of sexuality in our contemporary world”.

The contemporary world can be frightening in its opportunity, and this seems to be something reflected in this article.

We asked Tanja why she and her co-author called loss of sexual desire “one of the scariest prospects” we face, and whether she feels some students might be in danger of this happening to them.

“This statement pertains to the kinds of emotions that are basic to us as human beings, students or otherwise; and losing desire is a deep fear as it disconnects us from one of our main drivers, no matter how you want to interpret the nature of such ‘drivers’ (which can be interpreted in psychological, biological, or as we would like it, phenomenological terms- that is, in terms of our human experience).”

“Losing desire makes us numb, more prone to depression, boredom, loneliness.”

“But your question perhaps also implies a diagnosis of our times, and whether we in our times are particularly at risk. I would say, yes.”

The idea that we today are more at risk of things like mental illness due to our hugely interconnected world in which (it can be argued) real connections are lacking is not a revelatory one, but its ramifications if taken to be true are enormous.

Tanja is doing other research on this topic, which students will no doubt be just as interested in.

“Just recently, empirical research has given an estimate that 24% of young teenage girls suffer from depression, and social networks were thought to contribute to the change as well as to the gender effect.”

“One’s social media profile is yet another thing to worry about when it comes to being seen by others (as Sartre explores it), especially if you have doubts about yourself, which we all do (but teenage girls by and large more so).”

“If you take the effects of social networks and internet pornography together, I am quite worried about the future of erotic relationships. David Foster Wallace expressed a concern that virtual porn, once we have it, will be so good that we’ll not want to do anything else.”

This idea perhaps sounds like dystopian fiction, but- when the almost scarily rapid advancements in our technological capabilites are considered- you are forced to wonder. Could we as humans go the same way as animals like the notoriously sexually lethargic panda?

“When we are confronted with ever more ‘improved’ and engaging versions of social networks as well as porn, I am indeed concerned about our social relations and especially about our erotic relations.”

“We would feel ever more deterred from communicating with actual human beings, yet in the end all the more lonely and paralysed.”

As a small part of the article, Tanja and Alexander focus in on the “no-fap” movement. This online phenomenon encourages abstinence from masturbation, under the assumption that masturbation is detrimental to life.

We asked Tanja why she feels the movement, though strange to many, has gained so much traction online.

“I think it has gained such traction because of an emptiness and loneliness that many people feel, to which they originally sought porn as a remedy but which doesn’t work on a deeper level and in the long run.”

“But instead of exploring the problems and contextualising them in our existence as humans, there is a desire to find a ‘one-for-all’ remedy.”

“I am very confident that abstinence from internet porn helps for those who have been using it a lot and are experiencing erection problems.”

“But the problem with porn is a much deeper rooted problem which relates to modern technology and the way in which it seems to become more and more difficult for us to interact with and trust actual people.”

“I am worried that it can lead to a more desperate attitude and danger of harassment.”

While excessive masturbation is almost unanimously viewed as a negative thing, this extreme aversion to masturbation notable in groups like No-Fap seems to be almost as unhealthy in the opposite direction.

We asked Tanja whether she thinks this aversion is necessarily unhealthy, or if sexual habits are just something that shouldn’t be vigorously regimented.

“I don’t think an aversion to masturbation is unhealthy; in fact, I find that the social aspect of actual sex, that is, encountering an actual human being, is really crucial to what we understand by Eros.”

“In masturbation, this spark, the transgression to the actual other human being, as we call it in the article, is missing.”

This brought us on to the subject of Plato, whose work Tanja and Alexander focus on not insubstantially when talking about love, sex and life.

We were interested in why Tanja thought that responses to Plato- an inarguably archaic figure- can offer a good baseline for understanding contemporary relationships.

“Because ironically, Plato does not tell us that the response to the dangers of love is what we call ‘Platonic love’, as in, love without sexual component.”

“Plato teaches us about the ambiguity of love that we need to learn to endure and navigate — as if steering a chariot pulled by two very different horses, a good one and a bad one (a famous image from the dialogue ‘Phaedrus’).”

“The bad one is not sex as such; it is excess, irrationality, narrow-mindedness, self-destruction.”

Tanja and told us that students were instrumental in the process of writing the article. We asked about how exactly students helped with the research, and how she hopes students will respond to the article as it stands.

“Parallel to writing the article, we tried something we hadn’t done before and ended up doing in an ‘amateur’ fashion due to absence of funding: a video on the topic.”

“We prepared this video for the 2015 Being Human Festival, and it was scary as well as exciting (scary because completely homemade, exciting because we wanted to try this new medium, philosophical discussion on film).”

“I asked students from my first year BA Existentialism module whether they wanted to participate by answering four questions about Platonic love and internet pornography, and two of them indeed followed through to the final product.”

“They did extremely well, and I am very proud of them, which inspired me further to conduct the second half of the movie, a dialogue between Alexander Kozin, co-author of the article, and myself, about internet pornography and what an existentialist or phenomenological (by which I mean, based on our experience, and viewed within the context of our existence) approach to the topic might look like.”

“Then we had a viewing and discussion of that film as part of the Being Human Festival, which was a further interesting step in the process because it was a very intense, honest discussion at the front of Fulton A lecture theatre where we all sat on the floor and chatted.”

“I know that several of the participants from that discussion have gone on to do work related to similar topics (for example, a recent JRA project by Phin Jennings on Shame and Art, the poster of which can be seen in Arts A).”

You can read a blog Tanja wrote for the Being Human Festival website at the web address beinghumanfestival.org/from-platonic-love-to-internet-pornography/.

Since Tanja and Alexander’s project is still ongoing, we asked Tanja whether there is anything she finds interesting that isn’t present in the article in its current state.

“There is lots of additional work that is needed. Ideally, we would like to try understanding human desire, erotic relations, and sexuality very differently, with the help of words, speech, philosophy and literature.”

“I am also involved in research around ‘musical orgasm’ (apparently better called ‘frisson’) and food orgasm as the current discussion focuses on bodily symptoms (goosebumps and the like) but leaves out the actual experience, and omits something which we suspect to be very crucial: the social or interpersonal aspect.”

“The research on musical orgasms claims that musical orgasms hijack on mechanisms in actual sex in a similar way masturbation does.”
“That is an interesting connection to the porn project because it would imply that orgasm in masturbation is different from orgasm in sexual intercourse, which is difficult to believe from a physiological perspective but entirely plausible from an existential or phenomenological viewpoint.”

“If anybody wants to contribute to the ongoing research, there are several projects for which we are seeking participants, ranging from musical orgasms to sex after childbirth to a continuation of Phin’s JRA project on shame and art.”

These can be accessed through Tanja’s webpage: tanjastaehler.org

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
38 views
38 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
71 views
71 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
111 views
111 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
96 views
96 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
123 views
123 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
171 views
171 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
125 views
125 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
264 views
264 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
208 views
208 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
217 views
217 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
248 views
248 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Bliss Signal Album Review
News
6 views
6 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018
Name Changes Made Easier for Students
Campus News
9 views
9 views

Name Changes Made Easier for Students

Matthew Nicholls - October 18, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground
Arts
28 views
Arts
28 views

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground

Hal Keelin - October 18, 2018

Upon my transfer to Sussex University, I found Robert Cowen’s Common Ground a particularly comforting read. After nearly a year out from academic study, I was finally…

What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
38 views
Arts
38 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018

  All you need to know about autumn at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts If you have not seen the ACCA’s new autumn programme, you…

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
71 views
Arts
71 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018

In celebration of Black History Month, Sussex Student Union organised a number of interesting talks and events across October. One of these exciting opportunities was a chance…

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA
Film & Theatre
62 views
Film & Theatre
62 views

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA

Anonymous - October 10, 2018

At the outset, Mr Messier’s FIELD at once invoked The Matrix and Daedalus’ Boiler Room set.  The basic concept of this mixed media performance relies on transducer…

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development
Arts
95 views
Arts
95 views

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development

Kate Dennett - October 10, 2018

To commemorate to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I found it increasingly difficult to draw attention to just one book of relevance in recognition of this…

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective
Campus News
90 views
Campus News
90 views

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective

Chris Ahjem - October 9, 2018

Annually, the University of Sussex welcomes thousands of new students to our Falmer campus and every year the Student’s Union and Brighton based clubs and businesses increase…

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known
News
127 views
News
127 views

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known

Chris Ahjem - October 6, 2018

To celebrate National Badger Day here are 10 fun facts about our animal kingdom namesake Badgers can run up to 16-19 miles per hour which is the…

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
111 views
Arts
111 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018

This coming week marks the celebration of Libraries Week, an event solely dedicated to praising the work of libraries across the UK. This annual event is taking…

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
96 views
Interview
96 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018

The young star is often a tricky title to navigate. There are the big names, who explode into the world with noise, bright light, a big record…

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Lifestyle
126 views
Lifestyle
126 views

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
123 views
Lifestyle
123 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
171 views
Arts
171 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
125 views
News
125 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
264 views
Arts
264 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
192 views
Film & Theatre
192 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
208 views
Sports
208 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
217 views
Arts
217 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
248 views
Arts
248 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1304 views1
Campus News
1304 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Bliss Signal Album Review
News
6 views
News
6 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018

By Ryan Bridgewater CD/Vinyl/Download At first glance, the worlds of black metal and electronic dance music do not seem to have very much in common. The former…

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex
Campus News
8 views
Campus News
8 views

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex

Jessica Hubbard - October 18, 2018

A new Student Energy Project has started at Sussex. The project is run in collaboration with The Student Energy Project, the University Sustainability team and Sussex Students’…

Name Changes Made Easier for Students
Campus News
9 views
Campus News
9 views

Name Changes Made Easier for Students

Matthew Nicholls - October 18, 2018

The University of Sussex will now accept unenrolled deed polls as proof of name change to those who wish, granting more freedom and anonymity to those in…

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors
News
29 views
News
29 views

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

The court of appeal has quashed sentences handed to 3 fracking protestors calling them "manifestly excessive". Jail sentences of 15- 16 months were given to the three…

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit
News
29 views
News
29 views

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

Veteran human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, gave a talk on campus. Known for his work with the LGBTQ+ community, he spoke about free speech under attack and…

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’
News
20 views
News
20 views

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’

kenyon55 - October 17, 2018

The NUS has expressed its support for a national referendum on the final Brexit deal, also referred to as a ‘People’s Vote’. This came after Labour MPs…

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter
Campus News
24 views
Campus News
24 views

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

An open letter started by Sussex academics has gained over 1,000 signatures. The letter, entitled ‘Open letter from UK academics: The harsh sentencing of anti-fracking campaigners sets…

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes
National News
46 views
National News
46 views

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

Written by Danielle Ball Shocking witness statements have been heard from the fire crew and call handlers involved in the response to the tragedy The Grenfell Tower…

Renting Unaffordable for Young People
National News
34 views
National News
34 views

Renting Unaffordable for Young People

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

South East among the most expensive areas to rent as revealed by BBC research. Research carried out by The BBC has found that renting is unaffordable for…

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
54 views
Music
54 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Photo by Vojta Dvrocek Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger…

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur
Arts
60 views
Arts
60 views

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur

Olek Młyński - October 11, 2018

The newest film from the notorious Gaspar Noé was so critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival that the director himself could not believe it. Climax opens…

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100
Music
99 views
Music
99 views

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100

Ryan Bridgewater - October 5, 2018

Released 28th September Available on: CD/Vinyl/Download   The anticipation couldn’t have been greater when the final instalment in London nightclub Fabric’s legendary DJ mix series was announced…