What Is a Feminist Philosophy of Sex?
Feminist philosophy is a discipline rich in its diversity of speculative argument and practical politics. Both ancient and contemporary traditions in the philosophy of sex can be characterized by speculative and critical inquiry into the nature, meaning, and value of sex and sexuality. A feminist philosophy of sex acknowledges that women compose a diverse group whose members vary by such features as race, class, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual preference, age, and physical ability. This chapter outlines a framework that describes women's sexuality both as a function of women's sexual oppression under conditions of individual and institutionalized male dominance and as a function of women's sexual liberation under those same conditions. Such a framework defines a dialectical and variable relationship between the politics of gender and the erotic possibilities of sex: a woman's gender circumscribes her sexuality within the framework of dominance and submission constitutive of Western cultural conceptions of masculinity and femininity; in opposition to sexual oppression, sexuality informs gender with potentially liberating strategies for transforming women's sexual exploration, sexual pleasure, and sexual agency.
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