For the scholastics: Help out Deist on why homosexuality is wrong

This is for the scholastic philosophers, those who follow in the footsteps of Averroes and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Consider the mouth. Its final cause is to eat, allow us to breathe and serve as a means of communication. There is no doubt at all that this is its purposes, from how it functions and from the tongue’s construction, and its shape.

Consider also the genitals on a man. There is no doubt that’s its final cause is to deliver sperm into the vagina of a female. It is made quite well and integrated with the human body of a man to do just that.

Yet at the same time it seems I can use my mouth for other things, than what it is ordered towards. I can use it to hold nails. I can make music with it by whistling. I can even store things inside of it, if I feel inclined to. I can use my tongue to count along my teeth. Etc, etc… It seems that I can always use my intellect to use my mouth for purposes it isn’t specifically ordered towards, and none of these are in any way the primary use of the mouth, but that doesn’t make doing any of these morally wrong.

Likewise a mans genitals, can in fact be used to sexually stimulate another man. This produces a mutual pleasure, which is quite enjoyable, subsumed within a desire to make the other one feel well. This is not the primary purpose of the genitals. They’ve subverted the intended purpose of the penis, and this doesn’t appear to be different than the case with the mouth.

Yet why is it not morally wrong to hold nails with the mouth, whistle, count on your teeth or blow up balloons. But it is wrong for two men to sexually stimulate each other with their genitals.

I expect an objection: Some might point to scriptures and tradition. God threatens infinite pain if you do one thing, but He doesn’t threaten infinite pain if you do the other. I agree with that. But I’ll ask you to count out scripture and tradition here. I am not talking about consequentialistic ethics here. I’m talking about the virtue based ethics of scholasticism.

Argue as you would argue with a deist, who doesn’t believe in the Catholic Church: Why is it okay to whistle and hold nails with the mouth, or otherwise subvertive purposes, but it is wrong for two men to use their genitals to please each other?

  1. Remember there are minors reading this forum, keep everything PG.

  2. Whistling or holding nails in the mouth are not contrary to the mouth’s purpose. They are not necessarily the intended purpose for the mouth, but they don’t go against the intended purpose. But the male sex organ was specifically meant for the female, and so to be used with another male would be contrary to its intended purpose.

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You are quite right. I’ll make some edits.

Could you elaborate on this. Because it seems you can use genitals to cause pleasure quite successfully. That’s not the intended purpose of those genitals, but it can be subsumed within a desire to please another person. How is that counted as contrary, while whistling is counted as just another purpose.

Oral sex is still sex. Sex outside of marriage is not acceptable. A man cannot marry a man in the church therefore is forbidden. Easy

I agree. That’s Church doctrine. I am not contesting that. I even said so in the opening post. I am specifically asking what naturalistic moral arguments in the tradition of Aristotle, that can show why one can subvert the purpose of other parts of our body, but that for our genitals something far more restrictive is the case.

What makes an “act” to be a “human act” versus being an “animal act”? ( )

Human acts are “human” because of a knowing about the act. The act is not “complete” simply because of its material presence. Some of the things we do are simply “animal acts”, such as blinking, where we do not imagine blinking as a thing to accomplish, nor do we regard it as a successful accomplishment when we actually blink our eyes. But a human act is when material being is ordered to match an “idea”. (full description at the link)

What is the “doer” actually “knowing” at the feeling of “satisfaction” - is it the “mind of the flesh” defining an activity that the body then “mimics” to get a “good feeling”, or is it the “mind of the spirit”, with a different end, where the “good feeling” is as a signal that where a husband and wife “know” that they together are “on the way to reaching the different end”?

If it is the “mind of the flesh”, the post satisfaction question is, “Is that all there is? I need more, better, longer…”.
If it is the “mind of the spirit”, true joint “knowing”, there is the knowing of success that remains unending, for the “good feeling” was just a signal to “know”, not a goal.

This is the Scholastic, the Aristotelian, the Thomistic answer your requested.

John Martin

There are immoral things you can do with your mouth too, like bite someone, swear, smoke crack, etc. It’s not that you are doing something that is different from the intended purpose that makes that something immoral, but that you are doing something that is SOOOO different that it is an abuse, and that abuse ultimately comes from your heart, not your genitals.

Holding the nails in the mouth isn’t contrary to the nature of a man, though chewing metal nails or eating them simply because one likes the feeling would be, knowing full well that it is detrimental to his ends.

The key point is whether the use is either consistent with or neutral towards the ends of the faculty and person. Neutral use is not disordered. Contrary use is, and a perversion of the end.

It is this precise distinction that I was curious if there was a clearer explanation of. At the moment it seems we start with conclusion “This is wrong” and then backtrack and say “Therefore there’s a special case here”

But I’m asking you to explain it to a deist. Not a convicted Catholic.

Again, subversion is the key word here. Holding nails in the mouth when fixing something isn’t a subversion of the ends of eating/nutrition.

If homosexual acts were intensely unhealthy, like smoking crack, then that would in fact be a good argument. However it would be an argument no stronger than that against smoking, gun ownership, or eating unhealthy foods, which doesn’t appear to be that strong.

Again, define contrary use. It isn’t clearly elaborated when something is merely ‘neutral’ use or ‘contrary’ use. A homosexual man has in mind the sexual pleasure of his partner. Satisfying his partners needs. I’m speaking of course of an ideal here, but Naturalistic morality starts with ideals.

In the sense that it prevents them. Of course not. Neither is homosexual sex in principle. Two men being with each other in no way prevents them from getting women pregnant. Now if homosexual sex made a person permanently infertile, it would seem this would be a good argument.

One of the natural ends of man as a rational animal is reproduction, and the sexual faculty is intimately a part of that. Sexual activity is naturally ordered towards the unity of spouses and procreation, and the use of the sexual faculty for purposes contrary to the ordering of both of these is a perversion. This is why masturbation is a sin but touching yourself to bathe or use the lavatory or for medical examination is neutral. Those are not a use of the sexual faculty at all and are in fact neutral to it. Using the faculty of eating, which is ordered to one’s nutrition, to intentionally consume products that are gravely harmful to one’s health, such as indigestable materials that will harm one’s organs or poison, is therefore also a grave perversion. But holding nails temporarily in one’s teeth isn’t a use or misuse of the faculty of eating, and is in itself neutral in regards to the nutritive ends of me as an animal.


You cannot find a valid argument against homosextual act. You cannot find a valid argument in favor of heterosextual act either. What is the purpose of heterosextual act? To populate. What is the purpose of populating. Nothing. We are just coded to do this or that, to like this or that, etc.

I think I understand you better now. You see the lips as being in service to the purpose of eating, and talking. True, but you give them a pass on holding nails because in doing that you don’t in fact pervert the use of eating. You’re not eating the nails.

You argue that the pleasure of sex is uniting two couples for marriage. That’s why its there. So if someone uses their genitals for sex, in order to unite with someone of the same sex as themselves, they’re perverting the use of that pleasure.

That’s a good response, I accept that. Thank you. I’ll think about it.

Thank you for participating, but in this thread I’m specifically asking scholastic philosophers. I’m not seeking nihilist or absurdist answers.

Yes, that’s the gist of it. The couple is ignoring the other half of the primary end of sex, which is the procreative end. Even the unity aspect of it could be taken as being there with the intent of uniting the couple more closely in the long term for child rearing, too. But I digress.

And any further discussion would have to move into the exact unitive purpose of sex, and whether that can be had independently of procreation. That’s beyond this discussion though. I consider the question I posted in the beginning answered.

Thank you. This made things more clear for me.

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To ask some to enter this debate and not bring in doctrine is a bit like asking someone to play football without the throwing arm, none the less, I will put in my two cents. My heart goes out to anyone who live with SSA, let me say that first and foremost.

There are certain forms of cancer that increase with disordered sexual acts. STDs are always a risk for all folks that engage in sex outside of marriage, and they are becoming harder to treat in some cases. There is a high rate of mental illness and suicide with people who partake in disordered acts.
Sex for the sake of sex is addictive and like heroin for example, it can demand more and more to achieve the same result for many. This can lead to damage for oneself and others.

And… I bet if I looked hard enough, I could find someone who accidently swallowed a nail.:thinking:

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