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Being able to select in regards to art and partners is the result of already knowing your values. It is not the other way around. One does not select, then find out.

This I definitely agree with! Sex is not a means of learning values, it is a means of expressing them. It can teach values, but only in a negative way: bad sex and bad relationships can teach what one ought not to do. But good sex and good relationships are possible only if good values and good premises are already in place. You can't accidentally have a good relationship, and if you do have bad premises, then you won't learn anything about them from the sex itself. (you may learn from your partner in other ways)

"Casual sex" is worse than spiritual immaturity.

Indeed! I find a lot of people who advocate it are definitely mature enough to know better, so it is not simply immaturity but willful immaturity.

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In order to make a comparison more/less you have to be comparing things which cost you the same currency, or provide similar benefit.

Well, I would say that in order to make a valid comparison about something (anything really) is that you have something about the things that are being compared which is similar, something about the things which is different, and a context purposeful for the comparison. For instance, you can't compare two red M&M's and say one is better than the other. They have nothing different about them that makes the comparison valid. However, when viewing two different acts of pleasurability (where pleasurability is the similarity - in this case finishing a book and having sex) one can make a valid comparison within the context of which the prefer or value more. I know at least that I'm capable of doing this and that's all that really concerns me. :confused:

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...but these little refinements do not touch the essence of my position, which is that sex is your token of esteem for the one person of the opposite sex that you love the most--and as such is diametrically opposed to the Casualist approach.

Sex is a proper response to a person you value highly--you needn't be convinced that she's "the one" for it to be moral and a great value to sleep with her, only that she is of great enough value to you and there's no one available whom you love more. (And how much is "great enough"? There has to be a commonality in values and virtues to a substantial degree--one could probably make a case that the exact degree is a reflection of personal values that vary somewhat among rational men.)

Perhaps a better version of the one-line summary would be: "You ought not sleep with someone you intend to leave." For if you're going to leave her, that means she's no good; in other words, that you don't really value her, for a value is something you act to gain and keep.

First, you mean, gain and/or keep. Second, what is the value you gain from a sexual relationship? It's primarily the emotional connection, bonding, sharing, and mutual pleasure in a situation of mutual respect and admiration of which sex is the natural expression. Even if you know a relationship is not permanent, you still will have gained lasting value from it. Perhaps you mean only a situation in which you know that it's a one-off deal, a one-night stand or a one-week menage, if you like--something entered into with a definite foreseen limit to it as opposed to a situation in which you're pretty sure the relationship will end but not after a definite span of time, say when you two have grown further apart or one of you finds someone greater or you eventually reach a point in your lives where your careers take you different ways. Even if you know there's a definite term to the relationship, I'd say there are some cases in which it's moral--some came up in the thread you linked to, so I don't see the need to rehash them here.

Could you honestly say "I love you" to someone you don't really value? Could you honestly kiss a person you don't love? Could you honestly have sex with a person you don't want to kiss? Explaining why you're giving yourself to someone you don't think you belong to amounts to explaining why you think A is not A; for a man of integrity, an act declaring someone to be his supreme value cannot coexist with a view to discard her.

You're begging the question. The issue under discussion is whether it's moral to have a sexual relationship with someone you love (to whatever degree, not only the level you seem to have implicitly set it at, the highest level of romantic love) but know you are unable or unwilling to have a permanent relationship with; whether it's long-term or short-term is probably not that important. In any case, the metaphors you use are misleading: "giving yourself," "someone you don't think you belong to," "discard." The question is not whether it's moral to pick up a lover like a toy you know you'll discard, but whether it's moral to join yourself with another sexually when you know fairly clearly that you'll eventually separate again. I'd say that for a man of integrity, an act declaring someone to be a great or a supreme value most certainly can coexist with a recognition that the two of them might eventually separate. --And in any case, I'd say the act declaring someone to be your highest or truly supreme value is marriage, not sex. You shouldn't get married with the intent of divorcing later, but it's begging the question to say that the same must then be true of all proper sexual relationships.

Edited by Adrian Hester
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Perhaps a better version of the one-line summary would be: "You ought not sleep with someone you intend to leave." For if you're going to leave her, that means she's no good; in other words, that you don't really value her, for a value is something you act to gain and keep. Could you honestly say "I love you" to someone you don't really value? Could you honestly kiss a person you don't love? Could you honestly have sex with a person you don't want to kiss? Explaining why you're giving yourself to someone you don't think you belong to amounts to explaining why you think A is not A; for a man of integrity, an act declaring someone to be his supreme value cannot coexist with a view to discard her.

Definitely a better way of putting it, (of course I would say so, given that I've put it that way myself). Naturally, of course, it excepts those you leave for reasons other than value-difference. If you're going off to war to die and leave for that reason, then it isn't to say that you don't really value that person. But I think you agree with that.

The key here is both honesty and integrity in relationships. The error - the moral error that people make in "casual" type relationships is in the evasion of the full nature of one's partner. If the relationship is not permanent - and the nonpermanance is due to a value-difference, then how other than evasion could one engage in it in the first place?

You could say, "Well, Inspector, what if one makes a mistake in judging one's partner?"

Well first of all that is not the kind of relationship that is under discussion. We are talking about ones where you know ahead of time that it cannot last and that you are incompatible. The immorality of this is that the only reason they last at all is because of evasion.

But in the interest of completeness, yes one can make mistakes and those are not immoral. One can also be willfully careless, which most certainly is immoral.

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@RB: I think we're crossing wires here. I'm not debating the contextuality of values; I am debating the nature of sex.

Perhaps we are because I am debating the contextuality of values with sex being one particular value. I leave the debate over the "nature" of sex to you. I don't see that sex has a "nature" in itself that is separate from how any given individual (rational or otherwise) chooses to use to benefit his life. Yes, in some instances there may be negative consequences to having sex, both biological and psychological, but these are not the same for everyone.

So whatever "nature" sex has to you is probably tied up in how you value it, how much intimacy you attach to it, etc. etc.

This reminds me somewhat of people who claim the purpose of sex is procreation. I disagree with that as well. A rational man decides what purpose sex has in his life.

The question, "Why cant you sleep with your friends?" is as odd to me as the question "Why can't a french kiss a waitress as a tip?". My answer is well you can, but why choose such an action of such odd nature to express that particular value with?

It's odd to me that that's odd to you. :confused:

Seriously, it might not be odd at all between two different friends neither of which are you. I'm not really concerned with what anyone in particular finds odd, I'm concerned with whether an act of sex would be moral in various circumstances. Oddity does not determine morality.

At any rate, based on your position I would say it would be immoral for you to engage in casual sex so I would advise against it in your case.

Edited by RationalBiker
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I'll preface my comments below by saying I agree with most of your posting. The questions below are to see if we see completely eye to eye.

The key here is both honesty and integrity in relationships. The error - the moral error that people make in "casual" type relationships is in the evasion of the full nature of one's partner. If the relationship is not permanent - and the nonpermanance is due to a value-difference, then how other than evasion could one engage in it in the first place?

Judging from what you have said elsewhere in this thread (and indeed in your post), I assume here "value-difference" means a difference in fundamental values--valuing contradictory things or adhering to opposite philosophical ideas or political ideologies, say. You say going off to war rather than staying at home is not a value-difference, and I assume you'd say the same would be true of a significant age difference, a difference in careers, or a difference in wanting children or not (to choose the three most obvious examples).

We are talking about ones where you know ahead of time that it cannot last and that you are incompatible. The immorality of this is that the only reason they last at all is because of evasion. --(Bold mine.)

Again, "incompatible" as it stands is a bit vague for me. I take it here as meaning having incompatible fundamental values, not the little incompatibilities like differences in your senses of humor or artistic tastes, or even different energy levels or ways of expressing emotions, all the little differences in sense of life and personality and such that can play havoc with relationships.

Edited by Adrian Hester
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To answer RB's question about this, there are certain levels of maturity which are unsuitable for sex at all.

I'm not sure which question of mine you are addressing with this because I haven't been talking about having sex that is destructive of values or any such non-sense.

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Your discussion of sex and intimate relationships in light of the continuum of relationships in general also helped. IN that continuum, sex need not be present along every point, and I think that those who would argue the values "heirarchy" as it relates purely to sex have to address why it must be so that sex show up at all manner of points along that heirarchy.

Using this analogy, I'd argue that sex *can* legitimately show up at a number of different points on the hierarchy, but not *all* points. Anyone that's met me in person knows how exceedingly picky I am about relationships. You may notice how I am exceedingly careful to place my arguments in a precise delimited context as a result. I don't eschew *all* restrictions, I simply refuse to accept pointless, arbitrary ones revolving around a ridiculous legal arrangement that has no benefit to me whatsoever.

That and I don't give any credence/importance to what anyone claims they "intend" to do, so I fail to see how it matters in deciding the morality of an action. Your personal context, interests, values, etc. *are* important and must be treated as so. An arbitrary decree regarding marriage takes none of these things into account and so should be thrown out summarily.

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But are they actually arguing that? I'd have said they were arguing that there's some point in the middle of the range of possibilities between sex with your ideal life partner and sex with a commie tree-hugging unwashed granola grubber where sex stops being moral and becomes immoral.

That is correct, at least for me. Thanks for pointing that out.

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What do you mean by that exactly? Didn't he say he had not had sex yet?

I'm saying that by your admission (by virtue of the way you view comparisons) that you can't make comparisons in the same way he (or I) can. You require more stringent elements in how you compare things whereas he (and I) seems to be capable of making comparisons about experiences that are different in some respects but similar in others. It does not have to be limited to sex and (insert other activity here).

Edited by RationalBiker
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But value is an "abstract concept" (assuming I'm taking your meaning of that phrase correctly): A value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep. The nature of the value is abstracted away, whether productive activity or sexual pleasure or anything else.

I have never said that those two are not types of values. What I disputed was the notion that it is proper to compare the benefits as they are completely different. One can not make up the benefits derived from productivity by having a lot of sex, neither one can make up the benefits derived from having sex (which I mentioned in my previous posts) by increasing productivity. And, thank galt, reality does not requre man to choose. Such restrains do not exist.

I disagree with the notion that sex is a lesser value in man's life, like owning a boat. It is not in the same category and it is of much higher importance/significance. (if it is not within one's reach - that is a totally different story)

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I assume here "value-difference" means a difference in fundamental values--valuing contradictory things or adhering to opposite philosophical ideas or political ideologies, say. You say going off to war rather than staying at home is not a value-difference, and I assume you'd say the same would be true of a significant age difference, a difference in careers, or a difference in wanting children or not (to choose the three most obvious examples).

Right.

Again, "incompatible" as it stands is a bit vague for me. I take it here as meaning having incompatible fundamental values, not the little incompatibilities like differences in your senses of humor or artistic tastes, or even different energy levels or ways of expressing emotions, all the little differences in sense of life and personality and such that can play havoc with relationships.

Right, unless those non-fundamental differences add up to a overall inability to stand that person. The problem with temporary affairs - casual or otherwise - is evasion of your actual evaluation of that other person. Of the attempt to gain a value - a relationship and the pleasures of sex - by means of kidding yourself into thinking something about someone.

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Aren't you settling for a lesser value when you listen to Rush when you could be listening to Rachmaninoff?

Let's take this to the extreme to make the difference very clear. Imagine that there is an island community where for some obscure medical reason people often get an itch in the middle of their backs that can only be relieved by somebody else scratching it with his fingernails. Due to this fact, people routinely ask whomever happens to be nearest to scratch their backs. Scratching the backs of strangers, and being scratched on the back by strangers has come to be accepted as an everyday fact of life and isn't considered anything special. Now, some people are clearly better scratchers than others, and everyone tends to have his favorite scratcher, but when your favorite scratcher is not near you, you'll settle with any random stranger--after all, the important thing is to relieve the itch, and there isn't all that much difference between the best and the worst scratcher anyway.

Ellsworth Toohey would have you believe that having sex is just like getting your itching back scratched. Don't believe him. Sex is something special, and there is as much difference between potential lovers as there is between the noblest and the most evil of men. Sex is the closest you can get to another person, the highest degree of intimacy it is physically possible to attain--and for this reason it is the ultimate recognition of value you can give to another. While asking a fellow islander to scratch your back merely implies that "You're the best scratcher who is currently within a thirty-foot radius of me," taking a woman to the limit of intimacy says: "You're the best of all women I ever expect to have known in my life." If you value women at all, and if you're cognizant of the vast range of good and evil possible in women, this is not the kind of statement you will want to make casually.

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I'd say the act declaring someone to be your highest or truly supreme value is marriage, not sex.

Well, I guess preferences vary. I don't know how others feel, but if the girl of my dreams were to choose between marrying me and having sex with me, I'd say I'd feel much more honored if she opted for the latter.

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Ellsworth Toohey would have you believe that having sex is just like getting your itching back scratched. Don't believe him.

Don't worry about that. I 'believe' what RationalBiker observes and reasons out with his own mind. :confused: This is why I don't necessarily accept Capitalism Forever's reasoning, or Inspector's or KendallJ's, etc. etc. This is not meant as a slight to any of you as you are all people whom I have developed a degree of respect for. Never the less, I have not yet seen the reasoning from you guys that compels me to abandon my own.

The question is, do you believe what Ayn Rand tells you to believe because she tells you to believe it, or because you have reasoned it out in your own mind and came to the same conclusion. My assumption is generally the latter largely because Ayn Rand doesn't (or rather wouldn't) tell you to believe anything, she tells (or would tell) you to think for yourself.

Sex is the closest you can get to another person, the highest degree of intimacy it is physically possible to attain--and for this reason it is the ultimate recognition of value you can give to another.

As I've said before, I recognize that it is that way for some folks.

I think I've helped this thread get close to 100 so I may sit back now and see if anything new comes out of this thread that hasn't already been in previous threads.

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I have never said that those two are not types of values. What I disputed was the notion that it is proper to compare the benefits as they are completely different.

Then it is not proper to make a benefit comparision between buying a car and a computer to decide which one you want more, which is not at all true.

One can not make up the benefits derived from productivity by having a lot of sex, neither one can make up the benefits derived from having sex (which I mentioned in my previous posts) by increasing productivity.

No said you could. All that was said is that you can compare how much benefit you get from each. That can be done.

And, thank galt, reality does not requre man to choose. Such restrains do not exist.

I am not sure what that is meant to mean....

I disagree with the notion that sex is a lesser value in man's life, like owning a boat. It is not in the same category and it is of much higher importance/significance. (if it is not within one's reach - that is a totally different story)

Speak for yourself not others. Each man has a different hierachy of values.

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Then it is not proper to make a benefit comparision between buying a car and a computer to decide which one you want more, which is not at all true.

That is not an equivalent comparison. I am not interested into explaining this further (your exchange idea was also mistaken).

All that was said is that you can compare how much benefit you get from each.

How much of what exactly?

Speak for yourself not others. Each man has a different hierachy of values.

I never speak for others.

For a rational, healthy person, with good self esteem, positive body image - sex is a natural value - a value one would want to pursue in a rational way. We are talking here what is good for a man. Sex is good, is a positive, and it does not come at the expense of other values. It increases man's happiness which actually has a positive effect on man's productivity. There are even studies that show that it has positive health benefits.

I can't believe what is that I am defending. I am shocked.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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How much of what exactly?

That depends on each person's heirachy of values. That is the point.

I never speak for others.

Wrong, you have been doing that. You have been saying that no one can value finishing a chapter more than sex. That is speaking for others.

For a rational, healthy person, with good self esteem, positive body image - sex is a natural value - a value one would want to pursue in a rational way. We are talking here what is good for a man. Sex is good, is a positive, and it does not come at the expense of other values.

I am not saying that it isn't good, or that it comes at the expense of other values. I am saying each man values it to a different degree. Valuing sex less than another man is still valuing it, maybe even still valuing it a lot. Valuing it less than another man does not mean not valuing it at all.

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Speak for yourself not others. Each man has a different hierachy of values.

This is precisely what I was referring to above, with "There is a difference between giving a low priority to pursuing relationships in one's life, and having a cheap attitude toward sex." A man's priority for sex in his life can vary. His view of sex, however, is tied to his nature as a rational, conceptual being and does not change with the context of what optional choices he makes.

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This is precisely what I was referring to above, with "There is a difference between giving a low priority to pursuing relationships in one's life, and having a cheap attitude toward sex." A man's priority for sex in his life can vary. His view of sex, however, is tied to his nature as a rational, conceptual being and does not change with the context of what optional choices he makes.

Sorry, but I am not sure what you are trying to say. Perhaps you could rephrase it?

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Sorry, but I am not sure what you are trying to say. Perhaps you could rephrase it?

The priority of relationships in a man's life depends on his context. The importance of sex and the nature of sex vis a vis a rational, conceptual being does not. The question of the importance of sex as such doesn't change with a man's hierarchy of values. The hierarchy will tell you to go into painting or medicine. It won't change the fact that productiveness is your goal.

Sophia said simply that sex was important, in the sense of its meaning. This does not change with hierarchies, as you implied. It is a fundamental, like saying that productiveness is important.

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The priority of relationships in a man's life depends on his context. The importance of sex and the nature of sex vis a vis a rational, conceptual being does not. The question of the importance of sex as such doesn't change with a man's hierarchy of values. The hierarchy will tell you to go into painting or medicine. It won't change the fact that productiveness is your goal.

Sophia said simply that sex was important, in the sense of its meaning. This does not change with hierarchies, as you implied. It is a fundamental, like saying that productiveness is important.

Actually that is not was I was saying. I was talking not about the importance of sex or its meaning. I am talking about how much a man values having sex. That is not quite the same and to say otherwise is equivocating.

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