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It seems like my bait hasn't worked, though. [...] You've got to respond to this outrageous idea!
This post really rubbed me the wrong way. Human sexuality is not an easy, cut-and-dry matter, so even assuming that your bolded statement and the other positions you imply are correct (if someone sleeps around he is necessarily blanking out reality and doesn't possess the superior virtues of a 12th-century Texan (??), and that a relationship must last one's entire life for sexual relations to occur), it doesn't do anyone good to take a condescending tone toward their ignorance on the matter. Again, assuming it is ignorance. And why would anyone want to interact with someone who insults him before an argument even begins (by calling him "casual")?

At any rate, I guess I'm up for the "punishment": would you please explain how engaging in casual sex, as it has been described in this thread as with people who share at least some minimal values, is morally impossible? I would like a clear, straightforward answer, please.

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I think a man never ought to sleep with a woman he does not intend to marry.

Can you imagine that, dear Casualist reader? A Texan from the 12th century somehow lost his way and ended up in London, and is posting on an Objectivist forum! And he's trying to take away from you everything you hold dear--namely, your license to sleep around with broads you don't hold dear! He's disputing the very foundation of modern society: the principle that "A is A" ends where your bedroom begins! Isn't that unheard of?! You've got to respond to this outrageous idea!

Why? I read all of the thread you posted that in. You didn't convince me there and your bait's unappetizing--if you seriously believe that sex between two people who value each other highly but not enough to marry is tantamount to casual sex and therefore immoral even after the lengthy discussion over there, then there's no point to arguing with you.

Edited by Adrian Hester
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I think a man never ought to sleep with a woman he does not intend to marry.

Oh, dear. Now you've done it. :lol:
Based on your statement that casual sex is not necessarily self-destructive "in the way that Myrhaf defined it" I assume you disagree with CF. If so, why?
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I think a man never ought to sleep with a woman he does not intend to marry.

Well, here, let me state my view with equal succinctness and equal lack of anything to back it up:

I think a man ought to sleep with whomever he wants to, provided he takes into account the full context of his life and goals and is willing to bear all the consequences.

But, of course, this assumes a number of things about this man, namely that he knows what his goals are and understands the context of his own life, that his willingness to bear consequences does not involve self-sacrifice, and that his wants are rationally motivated. I think the terms casual and serious refer to emotional commitment and do not contain a moral designation of *type* of commitment: I use this definition here for casual in this context: seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned. I posit that a man couldn't actually "get it up" if he were truly indifferent or apathetic. If you're using the *other* dictionary definitions of casual, the moral significance is even *less* clear, because most of them amount to "accidental" or "irregular". Can you *accidentally* have sex with someone? This would tend to imply that you weren't responsible for it, like you tripped coming down the stairs and your pants caught on the railing and you landed on a coworker wearing a really short skirt or something.

Anyway, there's only ONE definition that seems to sort of apply here, and that's this one: without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing. Well, if I'm going to have sex with someone, I'm pretty definite and serious about it. Note that this doesn't prescribe *what* your intention has to be. Is the *only* serious or definite intention you can have towards a member of the opposite sex the intention to marry them? Hardly. I consider marriage to be a joke institution anyway: it's a legal contract that changes your next-of-kin status. I'm less than thrilled to imagine someone declaring: "Honey, I want to be able to visit you in a hospital room and automatically have custody of the kids in case you give up the ghost, okay?" Bah. "I want to wake up next to you in the morning." Is way more serious and definite in my book.

I also see relationships as being quite a ways down in my hierarchy: they are adjunct to my life, not the center of it. Since having a romantic relationship *at all* is a totally optional value, who gets to dictate to me what how I should act about it? If you went around saying that since your career is your central purpose in life (and definitely something you should take *very* seriously, oh, and it should be focused around your HIGHEST and MOST IMPORTANT values, TOO) thus you should never change jobs or enter into a job that you don't intend to keep for the rest of your life, people would rightfully call you a cretin. Oh, but taking a bad job just to pay the bills can lead you to misery and pain and it'll make you incapable of engaging in a truly deep and meaningful relationship later down the road. It'll cause irrevocable psychological damage!

Some people step directly out of college and into their dream job. Good for them. Some people work slowly towards that end for years. Good for them, too. Likewise with relationships: some people can just dive in and make it work right off the bat. Other people work slowly towards that end over the course of several relationships. It all depends on the context of your life. The end result is the same, and any student of causality should be able to tell you that if the result is good and valid, the means of getting there must also *necessarily* be good and valid, the moral being the practical. Some of us just prefer the stairs to the elevator.

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Based on your statement that casual sex is not necessarily self-destructive "in the way that Myrhaf defined it" I assume you disagree with CF. If so, why?

I'm sorry but from this point forward I refuse to even entertain the term "casual sex" in the way that Myrhaf mis-defined it.

Aaaanyhow, where do I differ from CF? If memory serves, I don't think I do... I think he's using a very simplified version of his position or is perhaps just being a bit of a tongue-in-cheek "troll." I think I'll wait for him to get into the details and/or exceptions (if any) before I comment.

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Some people step directly out of college and into their dream job. Good for them. Some people work slowly towards that end for years. Good for them, too. Likewise with relationships...

I don't agree with this kind of analogy. One does not enter a loving relationship with one's job. Your job is not a person who seeks to be intimate with you. To compare one's love life with jobs, food, or any other kind of value in which you can harmlessly go for the less-than-optimal on occasion without suffering anything but for the moment is nonsensical. Sex is not food. It is not a job. It is not anything else that I can think of; as far as I know it is unique.

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It is not anything else that I can think of; as far as I know it is unique.

Sex is not "unique", it is identical to pretty much any other joy in your life. In my experience, the rush I get when I finish a chapter in a book or bring a plot line together is *better* than sex, and it's certainly more important in the scheme of my life. So why should I place *more* restrictions on sex than I do on my writing?

I'd never tell myself "you should never start a novel if you don't intend to finish it". That's a sure recipe for writer's block. I tell myself, "I like this idea, I'll work on it and see whether I can get it to develop." And I sure as heck develop a relationship with my novels, projects, what-have-you. I'm upset and let down when they don't work out. I'm very happy when they do. The only difference is that novel ideas I like come along a lot more frequently than people I like.

The only appreciable difference between sex and other big values like food, sleep, and career is that you don't need sex: you're not going to die without it and there are alternatives. This actually knocks it down to the rung of lesser values, like owning a boat or a house.

There we go. "You should never buy a house unless it's the house you intend to live in for the rest of your life." There's your analogy.

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I don't agree with this kind of analogy. One does not enter a loving relationship with one's job.

Not to speak for the Dragon Lady, but if I understand her correctly, her point isn't that they are both relationship (are trying to construct a strawman?); her point is that they are both values. Try as you might, you have no ground on which to establish that sex or a relationship should be a higher value to someone else than whatever is their highest value.

I think you communicate well why YOUR relationship with your wife is YOUR highest value and why sex to YOU should be a certain way, but that does not make it universally so for everyone else.

I really don't understand why it is so difficult to recognize that values are heirarchial and that each person's individual heirarchy of values is not identical nor should be.

To quote Matus1976 from the "Does everyone have the potential for greatness?" thread;

As Johnny notes, many of the 'greatest' of particular fields in the world end up abandoning 'normal' social conventions. Newton, on his death bed, was reported to have replied, when asked what his greatest achievement was, was that he died a virgin.

Assuming this is true, do you think Newton should have valued sex and a loving relationship more than he did? Did he live an immoral life for not pursuing someone to love as highest value over his "career"?

I certainly wouldn't want my greatest achievement to be virginity, but apparently Newton's mileage varied.

But certainly if one man can live a moral, happy, productive life without sex and a relationship, then another man could live a moral, happy, productive with sex involved but at a lower value than say his job or some other value in his life. There is nothing about sex that makes it HAVE TO BE approached one particular way in order for it to be moral and enriching for a person's life though it is understandable that YOU may have to approach it a certain way in order for it to be fulfilling for YOUR life.

To compare one's love life with jobs, food, or any other kind of value in which you can harmlessly go for the less-than-optimal on occasion without suffering anything but for the moment

But one can go harmlessly (or even beneficially) for the less-than-optimal sexual encounter like other values. At least that's the point under discussion.

I'm sorry but from this point forward I refuse to even entertain the term "casual sex" in the way that Myrhaf mis-defined it.

Okay, can you answer the question sN asked then as applied to his definition rather than disagreeing with his use of the term? It sounds as though there is still disagreement as to exactly how to define "casual sex" so it would be far more important to address the question based on how he described what he meant rather than quibble over his use of the term.

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Sex is not "unique", it is identical to pretty much any other joy in your life. In my experience, the rush I get when I finish a chapter in a book or bring a plot line together is *better* than sex, and it's certainly more important in the scheme of my life. So why should I place *more* restrictions on sex than I do on my writing?

Now now, be careful. Someone might pull out their happiness meter and claim they are happier than you because you should value sex more than do. :lol:

Edited by RationalBiker
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I agree with Inspector. The jobs one takes out of college are often times due to necessity. Their options only reach so far. Some people get their dream job because it is available to them and they take it. Some take lower jobs because it is all that is available to them at the time, and they have to survive. Relationships are not like this. Just as JMeganSnow said, there is never a need to be in any kind of relationship, so the relationships that one does accept are a complete revelation of their participants' values. To get to the "dream job" that is the ideal partner, one does not have to first work towards it though lesser jobs, or lower people.

Preferring to take the stairs is like saying that you prefer to sleep with people less worthy than the kind of person you actually want to be with, just for the sake of it. But unlike stepping stairs, the previous relationship or sexual encounter did nothing at all to get you to the next one, so you're not actually gaining anything by accepting something lower than what you want. It's more like saying that you'd rather waste a part of your time getting where your going on less significant encounters, than actually putting that effort towards finding what you really value.

It's not about "restriction". One shouldn't need to "restrict" themselves relationship-wise. Depending on what you value, you will be naturally inclined to accept certain people as partners, based on their values. The fully rational, Proud man simply will not be attracted to or interested in the prospect of a relationship worth less than he is to himself. Restriction is what one feels when they tell themselves they have higher values than they actually do.

Your analogy of "working on" something to see how far it can "develop" implies that anyone could or should get with anyone else, if they sense there may be a potential for it to become something significant. But one can't and shouldn't try to see potential in everything or everyone. The proper initial state to identify another person is "unknown." Only after the value of a person has been identified can one rationally pursue a relationship with them. Whether or not one has correctly identified the aspects of another person's character is another issue.

Relationships are completely unique. The difference is that in regards to everything else in life, you have the ability to change, or attempt to change what is around you. I.e. you can "work on" your situation in any other respect regarding life. The one thing you can't volitionally "work on" is another person, and the person you're involved with is what defines a relationship. A relationship can only be sincere if what attracts you to the other person is who they already are. Believing that you can "work on" a person or change them is evasion, in that you're blinding yourself to the fact that they're not really what you want.

The only appreciable difference between sex and food is not that you don't need sex--there are lots of things that one doesn't need the he pursues anyway--it is that you cannot attempt to control the satisfaction you get from a relationship or sexual encounter. You can change your Christmas dinner for the better by replacing water with Egg nog, but you cannot tweak your partner. Proper relationships are a means of experiencing happiness--your reaction to the person you're with for who they are. Because you cannot modify who you are with, because a person is not something you can change at whim, the person you are with should be among your highest values. (I understand that people can and do change, but if that happens in the context of a relationship, it should be incidental, not the result of volitional actions by one partner towards or against the other).

We are not talking here about whose apartment the couple should live in, whether or not they're going to own dogs, or whose vacation choice is better, etc... One can mean "working on" a relationship as learning how to better deal with those situations, etc., and I assume this is how you meant it. But those things are circumstantial, not relevant to the current discussion. And despite the effort you may have put into working on previous relationships in this sense, being fully capable of handling any kind of relationship situation as a result of that work or experience might make things in your current or future relationships smoother, but it will not change who your partner is. A relationship can only be as ideal as the person with whom you're engaging is to you.

Another quote!: "A man may love a woman, yet may rate the neurotic satisfactions of sexual promiscuity higher than her value to him. Another man may love a woman, but may give her up, rating his fear of the disapproval of others (of his family, of his friends or any random strangers) higher than her value. Still another man may risk his life to save the woman he loves, because all his other values would lose meaning without her."

That last certainly doesn't sound like a relationship or the sex that comes with it are among "lesser" values.

In fact, I disagree with this line entirely:

The only appreciable difference between sex and other big values like food, sleep, and career is that you don't need sex: you're not going to die without it and there are alternatives. This actually knocks it down to the rung of lesser values, like owning a boat or a house.

Because it is not needed in any way, it is fully a representation of you. This is certainly a higher value than something you can't control, like the need for sleep, food, etc.

"'Value' is that which one acts to gain and/or keep. The concept of 'value' is not a primary; it presupposes an answer to the question: of value to whom and for what? It presupposes an entity capable of acting to achieve a goal in the face of an alternative. Where no alternative exists, no goals and no values are possible."

And to RationalBiker: I don't think anyone has necessarily said that one should not place "career" above romantic interest. (Although, if another person embodies the values that make one pursue said career in the first place, I don't know why they would, as that person likely also embodies more of their values, as well). Perhaps Newton was proud of dying a virgin precisely because he did value "sex and a loving relationship" so much. Maybe even more than his job. Perhaps he valued it so much that he refused to partake in it with anyone that didn't live up to his standards for it. (I'm guessing it was probably a religious thing for Newton, but I don't think it's an inapplicable example).

Edited by cilphex
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And to RationalBiker: I don't think anyone has necessarily said that one should not place "career" above romantic interest.

What I said is that it may be moral to value the career more than the romantic interest. So we may be in agreement here.

Perhaps Newton was proud of dying a virgin precisely because he did value "sex and a loving relationship" so much.

This would be true if you use a definition of value other than as is defined in Objectivism. A value is something that one acts to gain and/or keep. Or in other words, it makes not sense to value 'sex and a loving relationship" so much that you are proud that you never achieved or tried to obtain either. He acted to gain and/or keep (he valued) his viginity, not the other way around.

Edited by RationalBiker
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Ah, now I see. In that case, I don't think it's necessary to say that he should have valued sex and a loving relationship more than he did, but that that would have been the natural result of him having departed from whatever irrationality lead him to value virginity for virginity's sake.

And yes, I would consider valuing virginity for virginity's sake irrational. It's tantamount to denying the expression of oneself, putting (in this case a very high) value on the repression of who you are.

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the rush I get when I finish a chapter in a book or bring a plot line together is *better* than sex

That rush that comes from being satisfied with yourself, from having that sense of achievement, from feeling pride, is very different than sex. You may not value a certain value as much as another and thus do not devote as much or any time to pursuing it but in this case you can't say *better* because you are comparing apples to oranges.

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#1) I haven't been single in about 15 years so the thought of being out there again is both exciting and a little frightening. It seems like so many people are into casual sex these days, but, of course, I want more. I want the whole package, the real deal. But what if I don't find the real deal for awhile? I still have sexual needs and desires. Would it be so horrible to fulfill those needs with another willing partner as long as we both get something productive and not destructive out of it? I don't think so, but I'm not sure.

K-Mac, it is possible to go very long times without sex and still be very happy. I know because, as I have told you before in the chat, I am 25 and a virgin, and, as I have also told you in the chat, a very happy person. So, I don't think not having sex will necessarily lesson your happiness. Though obviously I do think meaningful (read romantic love) sex will increase it.

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I think a man never ought to sleep with a woman he does not intend to marry.

I disagree. If he loves her deeply he is justified in having sex with her regardless of whether or not he intends to marry her. Intent to marriage can morally come later. Or not at all.

That rush that comes from being satisfied with yourself, from having that sense of achievement, from feeling pride, is very different than sex. You may not value a certain value as much as another and thus do not devote as much or any time to pursuing it but in this case you can't say *better* because you are comparing apples to oranges.

Actually, one can rationally say, "I like the taste of apples more than the taste of oranges." Or, "I like the texture of apples more than oranges." Since the pleasure we get from eating is directly derived from the texture and taste of food, one can therefore rationally say they value apples more than oranges. That is simply saying the pleasure one gets from apples reaches greater heights than the pleasure one gets from oranges. Now, why can one not rationally say that the pleasure one gets from finishing a chapter in a book is reaches a greater heights than the pleasure one gets from having sex? That, I think, is The Dragon Lady was saying. I also think one can rationally say that.

As a side note, did you know that a lot of writers say that finishing their book/novellete/short story brings them a ephoric pleasure similar to that of sex? Do you think they are wrong to say that? If so, why? And if not, then why is it wrong for The Dragon Lady to say as she did? Personally, I don't think either is wrong. I know from personal experience that finishing a chapter brings in a rush of pride and pleasure like none I have ever felt before. No pleasure and pride I have felt has ever come anywhere near it. Mind you, I haven't had sex but I cannot compare it, but I can say my fantasies and personal efforts don't bring me a pleasure that reaches the same heights.

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And yes, I would consider valuing virginity for virginity's sake irrational. It's tantamount to denying the expression of oneself, putting (in this case a very high) value on the repression of who you are.
So in your opinion not having sex is repressing the expression of oneself because everyone should want to have sex? "Who you are" cannot include a person who does not desire to have sexual intercourse or someone who values something much higher than having sexual intercourse?
That rush that comes from being satisfied with yourself, from having that sense of achievement, from feeling pride, is very different than sex.
Why, and how so?Aside from that, Dragonmaci offers a fitting rebuttal. One certainly can like one different experience better than another.
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In my experience, the rush I get when I finish a chapter in a book or bring a plot line together is *better* than sex, and it's certainly more important in the scheme of my life. So why should I place *more* restrictions on sex than I do on my writing?

Because then maybe it'll get better than writing...

/you asked...

Edited by Inspector
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But one can go harmlessly (or even beneficially) for the less-than-optimal sexual encounter like other values. At least that's the point under discussion.

And disagreement. Since, I disagree.

But certainly if one man can live a moral, happy, productive life without sex and a relationship, then another man could live a moral, happy, productive with sex involved but at a lower value than say his job or some other value in his life.

I've addressed this already. Yes, there are other levels at which it can be enjoyed. (But this is not without its caveats) And there are levels on which no rational man would enjoy it.

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It's not about "restriction". One shouldn't need to "restrict" themselves relationship-wise. Depending on what you value, you will be naturally inclined to accept certain people as partners, based on their values. The fully rational, Proud man simply will not be attracted to or interested in the prospect of a relationship worth less than he is to himself. Restriction is what one feels when they tell themselves they have higher values than they actually do.

Exactly so.

What I find is that most people who make errors in this are reversing cause and effect. They view sex - sex as such as an end and a goal to which they strive. Since "sex," by itself, is seen as the goal, people look to define the minimum value in their partner so that they can seek this "value" of sex-as-such anywhere and everywhere they can find it.

But sex is not, in this sense, an end in itself. Sex is a consequence of the recognition of value in another; as Leonard Peikoff put it in OPAR:

Sex is a physical capacity in the service of a spiritual need. It reflects not man's body alone nor his mind alone, but their integration. As in all such cases, the mind is the ruling factor.

(Note that it is not a physical capacity that is enhanced by a spiritual need. It is a physical capacity in the service of a spiritual need. That spiritual need is the goal, the prime motivator, and the setter-of-the-terms.)

The cause and the purpose in a relationship is not sex; it is the mutual recognition and admiration of value in another. Sex is the consequence of this recognition - it is the reward and the physical manifestation of the values in play, and is rewarding only in proportion to these values (or, one's capacity to evade or pretend them; but I hope I don't have to explain how that is a fool's game).

The error in play here is the exact same error that the hedonists make in regard to all pleasures. They reverse cause and effect, setting the physical pleasure itself as the end goal, thinking that it should or even can be (successfully) pursued while ignoring the causes that give rise to it. And if you do understand the source of pleasure and, out of benevolence and passion for truth (or to keep them from leading the unwary down a self-destructive path), try to warn people that a backwards pursuit is self-defeating and won't lead to happiness - well, then prepare to get called a "puritan" who wants to "deny" and "restrict" them.

Of course you're not - any more than you are if you tell a hippie to put down his bong - but that won't stop the insults.

Oh, and be prepared for prudent predator style arguments, too.

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Allright, I'm going to jump into the fray here, because I see where the two arguments are starting to develop and I'm not sure I like the basis for either. The two arguements I see shapipng up are (and please clarify if I'm mis-stating, that's why I reflect them here).

a. Relationships can't be looked at like other values because relationships have some unique character to them that precludes you comparing them to other values like food. Inspector, cilphex, Cap Forever, etc.

b. Relationships fit into value heirarchies just like any other value and as such middling levels of importance about sex are acceptable and are based on contextual analysis. Jenni, RB, etc.

I disagree with the arguments put forward by both sides at this point. My particular take on this is that sex is serious business. But it's reasons for being so are conceptual and abstract, a lot like the reasons for choosing and liking art (I'll use this as the comparator throughout because I think it works better than other values like food).

As such, I expect to see choices among different people in different contexts that can be sincere, and still vary in maturity level. And, when I think about how abstract ideas form and are concretized I expect to see people trying to exercise their judgement and learning from their experiences as part of the process of abstraction.The arguments for uniquenss I've heard so far are poor in my estimation. Cilphex's "you can't work on another person" is an irrelevant characteristic. I haven't actually heard a reason for this from Inspector yet, and Cap Forever's marriage assertion was not backed up either. The relevant characteristics about it are that it is:

a. an expression of abstracted concept of value

b. the fundamental action that expresses this one of selection, of choice.

c. it does involve another person, more specfically it is reciprocal in order to function.

I'm not sure I understand the values heirarchy argument put forth by RB and Jenni either, and it feels like they're confusing value with priority in their analysis.

Sex is not "unique", it is identical to pretty much any other joy in your life. In my experience, the rush I get when I finish a chapter in a book or bring a plot line together is *better* than sex, and it's certainly more important in the scheme of my life. So why should I place *more* restrictions on sex than I do on my writing?

Ok, see, here is the issue. This analysis breaks down when you realize that you're already putting severe restrictions on your writing. Are you saying that you get that sort of rush when you produce any sort of work? You write something that is crap and you get a rush from it? I am going to bet that the emotional response to you work is highly restricted, in the abstract. My question for you is why do you refer to sex as being restricted as if any sort of sex will give you same rush as any sort of work? The rush you get from work is the expression of an abstracted idea, and you choose to do certain types of work and not others because of it. In that sense it is identical to the choice of a partner for sex.

And from RB,

Not to speak for the Dragon Lady, but if I understand her correctly, her point isn't that they are both relationship (are trying to construct a strawman?); her point is that they are both values. Try as you might, you have no ground on which to establish that sex or a relationship should be a higher value to someone else than whatever is their highest value.

But you can't get away from the fact that sex or a relationship is an expression of value as such, right? I'm just not sure how the selection of a certain level of importance of sex doesn't in the process desctroy the nature of that act as a value, as such.

I can see how choosing a certail level of relationship at a certain point in time might be as full of an expression of value as one is mature enough to understand, but once one understands what sort of expression of value it is, then one doesnt' go back and express less than this simply out of a sense of priority, does one?

This is sort of like saying that marriage is a lesser value for me even though I know that it can be a higher value for some, so I'll express that value by entering into a casual marriage. One expresses that value by not entering into such a thing at all. At least that is where I'm at. One has friends instead, and there are things you simply don't do with friends that you'd do with a spouse. I think sex is analogous.

Now to the other side of the argument.

Relationships are completely unique. The difference is that in regards to everything else in life, you have the ability to change, or attempt to change what is around you. I.e. you can "work on" your situation in any other respect regarding life. The one thing you can't volitionally "work on" is another person, and the person you're involved with is what defines a relationship. A relationship can only be sincere if what attracts you to the other person is who they already are. Believing that you can "work on" a person or change them is evasion, in that you're blinding yourself to the fact that they're not really what you want.

No this is completely wrong expression of the uniqueness of relationships. No you don't change the other person and can't. What you work on is your ability to select rationally from among the possible choices. To that end, one needs to select and experience to understand how their abstract value choices affect the concrete outcomes. I think you're misunderstanding Jenni's point.

Expressing value in relationships is like walking into an art gallery and selecting. One learns by selecting, experiencing the emotion that a particular piece elicits and integrating back into what it means to our value judgements. And as one learns better what paintings elecit those emotions, they become more selective about what they choose to go see. This is how I look at this process.

Being casual about sex is going back to the same gouche galleries once you know what good art looks like.

The difference between art and relationships is not that you can't change the piece of artwork, but that the artwork loves you back so to speak. It's reciprocal.

So those are some initial thoughts. I have more but I'll get this post up as I have to get to some other things today.

(Note that it is not a physical capacity that is enhanced by a spiritual need. It is a physical capacity in the service of a spiritual need. That spiritual need is the goal, the prime motivator, and the setter-of-the-terms.)The cause and the purpose in a relationship is not sex; it is the mutual recognition and admiration of value in another. Sex is the consequence of this recognition - it is the reward and the physical manifestation of the values in play, and is rewarding only in proportion to these values (or, one's capacity to evade or pretend them; but I hope I don't have to explain how that is a fool's game).

Now that I completely agree with. It is the abstract value, the spiritual one that is the core.

I find that I've become more integrated in body and mind along these lines that that fact becomes more important, and I find my body reacting much more strongly when the spritual need is met, and quite weakly in fact when an attraction is just purely physical. Which belies the conventional wisdom that it's all hormones. It is far from it.

I take most people's sincere desire (when the desire is sincere - as a believed expression of some sort of value) for casual sex as simply spiritual immaturity.

[edited to get back my line breaks]

Edited by KendallJ
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"Who you are" cannot include a person who does not desire to have sexual intercourse ...?
I think it can, but not rationally (barring someone who might have a physiological reason). However, I mean this in a very specific way, so I should clarify. A healthy and rational adult would have a desire to have sex, at least as expressed thus: I wish I could find a person who was my ideal, and be in love, and have sex. An absence of desire in this aspiration sense would be unnatural. I think humans need friendship, love and sex -- in the sense of "true friendship", "true love" and "good sex".

So, whether Newton was being rational or not would depend on the reasons behind what he said. It also might go to the second part of your question, about relative value of sex, which is a separate issue.

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I think it can, but not rationally (barring someone who might have a physiological reason). However, I mean this in a very specific way, so I should clarify. A healthy and rational adult would have a desire to have sex, at least as expressed thus: I wish I could find a person who was my ideal, and be in love, and have sex. An absence of desire in this aspiration sense would be unnatural. I think humans need friendship, love and sex -- in the sense of "true friendship", "true love" and "good sex".

So, whether Newton was being rational or not would depend on the reasons behind what he said. It also might go to the second part of your question, about relative value of sex, which is a separate issue.

Snerd,

That's a great point. I dont think it's optional in exactly the way that you put it. In the same way that art is not optional. Man has a need to concretize their metaphysical value judgements in art, and what you've said in fact is that the same is true in concretizing their metaphysical value jdugements of other people, and to be in return so concretized.

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Kendall,

That was a great post, and great analogy.

Re. optionality, I think it's a human need, as is friendship. As you say, that does not mean anyone and everyone should be my lover or friend. However, if you're getting at what I think you're getting at, I agree that it does mean that one has to be realistic about one's options. If one hypothesizes living in a time and place where every other person is of zero value, I suppose one might champion abstinence. Fortunately, but not surprisingly, reality is much better than that!

Again, I love your analogy. To say that reading is so much of a value, that one can get value reading Kafka would be one side of a dichotomy; to say that one ought only to read Rand would be the other. Personally, I think Agatha Christie can be great fun, even if I know she doesn't offer everything I want in a book.

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