“The Body as a Sexed Being” by Merleau-Ponty

Topic: Psychological Issues
Words: 317 Pages: 1

The human body is wired to fulfill basic needs, such as to evolve and reproduction, which is essential for the species to survive and thrive. Despite the continuously expanding religious, cultural, social, and intellectual context of individuals’ affection, sexuality remains the ancient intentionality for people to attract each other (Merleau-Ponty, 2012). This paper aims to discuss how human psychological perception of sexuality influences their health and well-being, based on The Body as a Sexed Being chapter by Merleau-Ponty from the reading.

According to the chapter, sexuality is beyond instincts because it requires representation in the mind and involvement of multiple organs and the nervous system rather than stimuli for a specific zone. Indeed, Merleau-Ponty (2012) claims that normal perception is when “the visible body is underpinned by a strictly individual sexual schema that accentuates erogenous zones, sketches out a sexual physiognomy” (p. 158). The absence of an internal mind and physical representation of sexuality and lack of erotic comprehension makes a person asexual and might result in mental health disorders.

Moreover, The Body as a Sexed Being chapter explains how sexuality is explored from the psychoanalysis perspective. Sexual desire results from mental, physical, and psychological stimuli that influence behavior on conscious and subconscious levels. Merleau-Ponty (2012) states that “sexual disorders of neurotic patients express their fundamental drama in an exaggerated form” (p. 162). Consequently, psychoanalysis assists patients in retrieving the causes of their physical and mental deviations.

The Body as a Sexed Being chapter provides valuable insight into how sexuality is interconnected with physical aspects and psychical perception. Various disorders occur when an individual has deviations in recognizing their sexual needs or experiences trauma. Understanding the body from the sexual context involves exploring the hormonal, nervous, and mental reactions that trigger certain desires and behaviors. Humans need to consider sexuality beyond the intellectual and cultural contexts that are developed control rather than make one’s life fulfilling.


Merleau-Ponty, M. (2012). The body as a sexed being. In Phenomenology of Perception (pp. 156-178). Taylor & Francis Group.

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