Modern-day philosopher Alain de Botton has explored many of life’s intricacies—including love, religion and travel—but one of his most interesting philosophical forays has been into the subject of sex.
In his 2012 book, How to Think More About Sex, de Botton—who also happens to be the founder of London’s School of Life—delves into the dilemmas that often confound us about the topic. It’s not that we think too much about sex, he argues, but rather that we’re thinking about it the wrong way.
“Our culture encourages us to acknowledge very little of who we normally are in the act of sex,” he writes. “It seems as if it might be a purely physical process, without any psychological importance. But … what happens in love-making is closely bound up with some of our most central ambitions. The act of sex plays out through the rubbing together of organs, but our excitement is no boorish physiological reaction; rather, it is an ecstasy we feel at encountering someone who may be able to put to rest certain of our greatest fears, and with whom we may hope to build a shared life based upon common values.”
But our guilt and neuroses often cause us to be inhibited about revealing our true sexual desires, especially given that what one person might find appealing in the bedroom, another might find appalling. As de Botton puts it, sex is "an act of mutual reconciliation between two secret sexual selves emerging at last from sinful solitude."
While we highly recommend you add the book to your nightstand, you can read more here.