Bentham’s famous defense (or should I say advocacy?) of homosexuality and other non-traditional sexual and romantic relationships — he describes them as the “eccentric mode” — is now available in its entirety, for the first time I believe. Here is a blog post about the new publication. It is a fascinating work throughout and homosexuality is central to his answer to Malthus and the dangers of excess population.
The full text is freely available here (pdf), about two hundred pages. Here is one typical excerpt:
Yet by such a multitude of those who would start with horror at the very mention of a gratification afforded to the sexual appetite in any eccentric mode, how compleatly dissolute and unlimited is the indulgence afforded to the appetites of which the organs of taste and smell are the instruments, and how enormous is the expence at and by which this indulgence is so constantly and regularly procured.By those by whom, to the pleasures of the table, no limits are attempted to be set other than those set, as above, by the allied considerations [of] self-regarding prudence and benevolence, why to the pleasures of the bed should any narrower limits be assigned? With what consistency can any difference be made in the extent given to the limits in the two cases? So much as to the question between the pleasures of the table taken in the aggregate on the one part, and the pleasures of the bed on the other.
Has Andrew Sullivan read this book? Through jstor, here is a related David M. Levy piece.