Erotic AttunementParenthood and the Ethics of Sensuality between Unequals

Erotic AttunementParenthood and the Ethics of Sensuality between Unequals

Cristina L. H. Traina

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226811383

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Heightened awareness of the problem of sexual abuse has led to deep anxiety over adults touching children—in nearly any context. Though our society has moved toward increasingly strict enforcement of this taboo, studies have shown that young children need regular human contact, and the benefits of breastfeeding have been widely extolled. Exploring the history of love, desire, gender, sexuality, parenthood, and inequality, this book probes the disquieting issue of how we can draw a clear line between natural affection toward children and perverse exploitation of them. The author demonstrates that we cannot determine what is wrong about sexual abuse without first understanding what is good about appropriate sensual affection. Looking at topics such as the importance of touch in nurturing children, the psychology of abuse and victimhood, and recent ideologies of motherhood, she argues that we must expand our philosophical and theological language of physical love and make a distinction between sexual love and erotic love. Taking on theological and ethical arguments over the question of sexuality between unequals, the author arrives at the conclusion that it can be destructive to completely bar eroticism from these relationships.