How to Think More about Sex, Alain de Botton

alain de botton

“Without sex, we would be dangerously invulnerable. We might believe we were not ridiculous. We wouldn’t know rejection and humiliation so intimately.”

I have a pretty clearly defined type: dudes who are smarter than me. In other words, Alain de Botton. This is one of the School of Life‘s portable paperbacks, a brief meditation on an everyday idea that we try not to think about too often, but could stand to devote a bit more time towards. I’m grateful Alain de Botton’s the one who wrote this, because, as I said, I have a pretty clearly defined type.

This doesn’t exactly read ‘Dear Penthouse.’ It’s a pop philosophy book, and it reads (shocker) like the rest of de Botton’s writing. That is, it’s a clear, accessible entrypoint into a whole world of dense philosophy on the subject. The crux of most of his writing is that humans might benefit from a bit more self-reflection. It’s broken into two major sections: the pleasures and the problems of sex. He references some of the classical philosophers when discussing pornography, which is interesting as he doesn’t really reference them elsewhere. Otherwise, I found his discussion of the concept of ‘sexiness’ fascinating, and it made me reflect on the brief roster of men who have used that term in reference to me (always in quiet, shy tones – why is that?). I’ve always found it a bit silly, but his discussion helped me see more clearly that “the specifics of what we find ‘beautiful’ and what we find ‘sexy’ are indications of what we most deeply crave in order to rebalance ourselves.”

In other words, there are some deeper reasons at play regarding my pretty clearly defined type. Heh. Thanks, Alain. I’ll think about that.

Books read: 3


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