Sex Appeal: Six Ethical Principles for the 21st Century
Sex Appeal flows in an intuitive series of ideas and expresses thoughts that may be obvious, but seem to be seldom practiced. The six logical principles regarding sex for our era outlined in Paul Abramson’s book are not only interesting, but vital to a peaceful coexistence.
If you tried to make a personal guideline for sex using the golden rule, you might get a summation of Abramson’s leading principals: do no harm, celebrate sex, be careful, know yourself, speak up and speak out, and throw no stones. Doing no harm, according to the author, reaches beyond avoiding sexual violence and demands honesty between sexual partners. Abramson encourages readers to be honest with their partners about their history and their expectations. What better way to avoid the spread of STIs and the cliche (but true) image of teenage girls everywhere crying into their pillows, “But he said he loved me.” Every chapter in the book refers back to this idea and seems to spin on an axis around it.
To disarm readers who may assume Abramson is an advocate of having no sex, the author has included an entire chapter encouraging readers to celebrate the act. He argues, though, that the catch to celebrating sex may mean abstaining. For some, that could mean waiting until a certain age, or for others, avoiding it within a certain relationship. The author argues that to really enjoy the amazing experience of intercourse, one has to be mature enough to handle it, which, of course, brings us back to “do no harm,” but also leads into the next idea.
Be careful. When it comes to sex, you don’t even need your mom to tell you this one. Until people are practicing “do no harm” like it’s their job, orgasming comes second to playing safe. So in addition to not hurting others, we don’t hurt ourselves, and the best way to do that is to know ourselves.
“Speak Up and Speak Out” as well as “Throw No Stones” both pull out of the genitals and move into the brain. There’s a lot to understand about sex, Abramson points out, that goes beyond how to do it. These two chapters discuss fairness, protecting oneself and others, ways to avoid or deal with sexual abuse, and harnessing judgment and stigmas around sex—especially as they’re expressed in the US.
While it’s unlikely to happen, the book should probably be part of the curriculum of every high school sex ed class. Occasionally, explanations seem to drag on and some analogies comparing sex to soccer go just a little too far, but the points are valid, clear, and important. Much of what Abramson discusses in this short book may seem blatant to a sexually active adult, but to a young person, the insights (or at least the lessons attached to them) could be huge.