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People who are sexually promiscuous make me mad

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For me it is really about whether someone is selecting partners they 1) greatly value for more than just physical reasons and 2) intend to have a serious relationship with. Later as one spends more time with the person, they might discover new information that lets them know it's not going to work out. Moving on from that and finding a new partner is not a moral failing - if anything, it's a moral virtue.

I agree but do not think life circumstances would very often allow for large numbers. Even in the scenario that you indicate, I count 1-2 relationships in high school, 1-2 in college, 1-2 in gradschool, 1-2 out of school...so 4-8 relationships over the course of 10 years, that were not worth hanging onto while you learn the ropes? Sure, I'll buy that, but when someone tells me 16 ,20, 40 then I call bullshit on their having been selective. Even in the most extreme life situation, say an active duty soldier who's getting transferred every 6 months. I wouldn't blame him for being less selective, but if he was honest, I also wouldn't expect him to suggest that he was being selective.

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You still have not provided an objective validation. How many people, and in what time span is "promiscuous?" How "high" must a persons value be before it is not being promiscuous to sleep wi

Yes, lots of easy sex that doesn't hurt anybody, and is so cool. Been there, done that, ... and wish to this day I hadn't. A couple of my quick thoughts on a very deep and wide subject: The

How so? Do you mean that because I have loved and had sex with others in the past, all my future relationships will be lesser than they could have been? That's certainly not how I value things.

It seems implicit in your statements that the best goal is to find a "soul mate", a sort of "the absolute highest possible that will ever be attained." Marriage does seem to be the only proper goal of romance in the standards you mention, that "perhaps marriage material" is the standard you advocate to judge when sex is perfectly moral.

I don't mean to suggest that. I do however think that if you are approaching dating from the perspective of seeking someone of high value, it is unlikely that it would mesh well with seeking someone for a short term. If they really are someone you care for deeply, then they are also someone you would want to keep in your life indefinitely. Almost anyone you're slightly attracted to could be enjoyable for a few months so if sex is relegated to the purpose of being cheap fun for as long as it lasts, than standards don't need to be high, and are not, regardless of what kind of spin someone tries to put on it.

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I generally agree, but I do not see it as a dichotomy. One can be more selective or less, and its is uncommonly rare, and I would argue, unrealistic to think that someone who has 15 or 20 partners has been reasonably selective.

The question is what level of selectivity is promiscuity? Number of partners is AN indicator of selectivity, but little to do with the essentials of concepts here. If the worth of a sexual encounter is based upon the value seen in another, what we should be trying to identify is what exactly is a too loose of a standard. Now it's pretty easy to explain why extreme lack of selectivity is bad, and call that promiscuity. But to what level does that lack of selectivity extend? There needs to be some kind of abstract principle to use, not merely some numbers, otherwise we get into a kind of rule utilitarianism where you opt for following some rules just because they tend to work well. Sure, context matters, but since the context is sex in human life, any principle of selectivity will apply to all people, save for circumstances which arise once a century. If promiscuity is what indicates when there is insufficient valuing to justify a sexual encounter, it's valuable to develop an abstract principle to use. Something more than your very loose rule/measurement of number of partners. Too many contexts can be applied, rendering your measurement ultimately useless on an abstract level.

Aside from questions about promiscuity, another question to ask is how to even decide when there is sufficient valuing to justify having sex. Answering that question would mean that anyone having sex BELOW that level of valuing is being promiscuous.

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Aside from questions about promiscuity, another question to ask is how to even decide when there is sufficient valuing to justify having sex. Answering that question would mean that anyone having sex BELOW that level of valuing is being promiscuous.

This. Picture a guy who's had only three lifetime sexual partners, but they've all been sloppy-drunk one-night stands. I don't know if I'd call it promiscuous, but it's pretty freakin' sad.

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I almost think that what standard one should have for sex might need to be figured out "on the fly" so to speak -- as one has romantic relationships and gains some experience.

I have very little experience with romance and sex. I'm a virgin, and haven't been on a date in nearly 3 years -- I'm 20 years old and entering my fourth and final year of college this fall (before grad school that is). When I try to think about how well I would need to know someone in order to be comfortable having sex, how long I would need to know them, how "good" or high a value they need to be, etc. I feel like I am (at best) trying to come up with standards rationalistically, without any experience to base my thinking on. I'm not saying that you have to have sex with a bunch of people to figure out when it is appropriate, but that maybe you really need experience with romance in order to decide. A rule like "need at least 6 months of dating" or "on the 3rd date", without any basis in experience with dating and relationships, seems arbitrary. Even in the context of a given relationship, any rule based on time seems arbitrary at best.

Can you come up with a standard with such limited experience with relationships? And what sort of inductive evidence might be needed? I've been trying to work out if it is even worth my time to date in my last year of college, because any resultant relationship probably wouldn't last past the end of next summer. Would the (quite probable) "expiration date" for a relationship make it immoral to have sex (since I know I won't be spending my life with them, that they won't be an irreplaceable value at any point in the future, and so on)?

I would really like to here what the standard is for it being permissible to have sex with someone, which, I presume, is also the same standard for promiscuity? If you have sex with someone who doesn't meet the standard for sex to be permissible/good (or when you don't know whether or not they meet the standard), does that automatically count as promiscuity, or does promiscuity have other elements as well (like number of partners, or a certain degree of low standards)? I tend to think that even madkat's example of a man who has only three sexual encounters but all of them drunk one-night-stands is promiscuous (even though that is a relatively limited number of partners). To me, promiscuity denotes not having an appropriate standard for who is worthy of sex. And the real question is what that standard actually is.

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I love the psychologizing that goes on in sex threads. :)

Probably related to the psychologizing that goes on when we evaluate potential partners.

It is probably salient to add that there is unlikely to be ONE standard of sexual selectivity and that different individuals can be more or less selective depending on their individual context (with the standard of good being their psychological health/happiness).

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I dont believe sex is wrong, immoral, bad, sinful or whatever the labels are that can be placed on it to be viewed in a negative way. I believe sex is a great expression of ones values that they see in their partner and share love making together. But where i live, the country i was raised in (England) and im sure its the same in the U.S, sex for sex's sake is typical and thought of as "nothing wrong with it". For me, to have multiple sexual partners going from one to the other says low self esteem. Im watching a show right now on TV called big brother, basically then take a dozen people from the public and lock them in a house for 14 weeks and see how they cope. One of the discussions was how many partners each had sexually in total, "somewhere under 50" was the majority of answers by the housemates and saying how 5 or 6 a year isnt a bad thing. To me this is disgusting and i could never accept being in a relationship with someone who gives away the most intimate way to express themselves loosely

Am i wrong here or are my views shared with other objectivists such as yourselves?

I have been struggling with this question myself. I have not had much experience dating as I had been married for 20 years and recently divorced. I met a man a few months ago, a tall handsome saxophone player. We met after a concert he performed at in the parking lot. I was quite stand-offish but he was friendly and wanted to know what we were doing after the concert. My friend invited him and the others over for a drink so they came. We didn't sit together or talk much but at the end of the evening I saw him to the door and to the front garden. He said he found me very attractive and kissed me. I went away for a couple of months but we said we would be in touch when I returned.

After our first meeting I felt I had gathered a strong first impression of him. . an attractive wonderful musician, strong silent type with lots of confidence. So when I returned we began dating. He seemed quite smitten with me. I was slower to warm to him but I was beginning to. He kept asking me if I still liked him. We went out hiking and for a few meals. I invited him back to my place. After a few dates he wanted to have sex but I said I wasn't ready. He seemed fine with that. Then I began to warm to him more as I got to know him. . we finally had sex but I think it was an expression of what we valued in each other.

Neither of us had committed to each other though nor had we told each other about how we valued each other. . I think we were both romantically attracted but neither of us considered we were in "love". We have since had a breakup for what I think was his fear of commitment. He never referred to me as his girlfriend, just his "friend". After I had sex with him he seemed to begin backing away and when I told him how much I was beginning to feel for him he said, "oh oh, be careful". There were other factors involved including his getting sick so it is quite confusing.

I am saddened and bewildered because I think we may have missed a golden opportunity. Was it wrong to have sex with him after about one month? I really don't know. Other's comments are welcome.

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I am saddened and bewildered because I think we may have missed a golden opportunity. Was it wrong to have sex with him after about one month? I really don't know. Other's comments are welcome.

What can be so wrong, to search for someone to appreciate , and be appreciated by, then to take that leap of intimacy, and then discover it's a no-go? The sadness is a rational response to the loss of a potential value in your life, I think.

But the real value is already in you.

Real self-esteem will bounce back from hurt and disappointment (without negating or denying it), and yours - if I can be so bold - seems healthy underneath its bruising.

To the next golden opportunity!

Edited by whYNOT
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What can be so wrong, to search for someone to appreciate , and be appreciated by, then to take that leap of intimacy, and then discover it's a no-go? The sadness is a rational response to the loss of a potential value in your life, I think.

But the real value is already in you.

Real self-esteem will bounce back from hurt and disappointment (without negating or denying it), and yours - if I can be so bold - seems healthy underneath its bruising.

To the next golden opportunity!

Thank you for the vote of confidence whYNOT. I forgot to mention that my saxophone player is 55 and has never been married. On one of our first dates he told me that someone told him once to never admit that he'd never been married. I replied, "I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, maybe it means you have very discriminating taste and have not met the right person yet."

Alas, I am healing now but I will look forward to the next golden opportunity. Gayle

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Thank you for the vote of confidence whYNOT. I forgot to mention that my saxophone player is 55 and has never been married. On one of our first dates he told me that someone told him once to never admit that he'd never been married. I replied, "I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, maybe it means you have very discriminating taste and have not met the right person yet."

Alas, I am healing now but I will look forward to the next golden opportunity. Gayle

Hi again,

I wonder ...it's a shot in the dark here, but I'm getting the picture, and if I'm being presumptuous, then I apologize in advance.

There is a type of man (and, rarely, a woman) who is what they call 'commitment phobic', as you know.

That's only a partial truth, however.

Whatever the combination of experiences, psychology, character, and conviction, that make him, he can often be a very good guy .

The good one I call an 'honest loner', for want of a better term.

It's not that he doesn't see the value in togetherness, marriage, and all that it entails; it's that he also has, intermittently, a higher value in his time alone.

The dilemma when he tries to keep a relationship going, and disappears into his own world of work and thought, causes discomfort to his partner, and ultimately pain to both.

The HL seldom evades this reality, in himself or to his lady, so he finds it impossible to lie and cheat - but he knows going in, that he will not be able to nurture and sustain his woman and their relationship, long-term. As a result, he makes leaving noises from early on - attempting to soften the blow for her.

Yes, he is discriminating, as you say. And no longer promiscuous. If he ever was.

He also is often connected to the arts, and of introspective nature.

How do I know all this?

:D

Let's just say, on behalf of all the HL's out there, to the women who have offered them warmth and intimacy, shared their thoughts and feelings, and even a hint of the promise of love, I pay my ultimate respect and deepest affection.

You are unforgettable..

Gayle, I wish you all the best.

Tony

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Hi again,

I wonder ...it's a shot in the dark here, but I'm getting the picture, and if I'm being presumptuous, then I apologize in advance.

There is a type of man (and, rarely, a woman) who is what they call 'commitment phobic', as you know.

That's only a partial truth, however.

Whatever the combination of experiences, psychology, character, and conviction, that make him, he can often be a very good guy .

The good one I call an 'honest loner', for want of a better term.

It's not that he doesn't see the value in togetherness, marriage, and all that it entails; it's that he also has, intermittently, a higher value in his time alone.

The dilemma when he tries to keep a relationship going, and disappears into his own world of work and thought, causes discomfort to his partner, and ultimately pain to both.

The HL seldom evades this reality, in himself or to his lady, so he finds it impossible to lie and cheat - but he knows going in, that he will not be able to nurture and sustain his woman and their relationship, long-term. As a result, he makes leaving noises from early on - attempting to soften the blow for her.

Yes, he is discriminating, as you say. And no longer promiscuous. If he ever was.

He also is often connected to the arts, and of introspective nature.

How do I know all this?

:D

Let's just say, on behalf of all the HL's out there, to the women who have offered them warmth and intimacy, shared their thoughts and feelings, and even a hint of the promise of love, I pay my ultimate respect and deepest affection.

You are unforgettable..

Gayle, I wish you all the best.

Tony

Hi Tony,

Thank you for the vivid insite and your kind words. I'm getting your picture too and I really appreciate this exchange.:D I don't regret being intimate with him and I don't consider the time we were together a waste. I only wish I had known how locked his door was before I began dating him because of how much I value a close relationship (for me that means being a very important factor in someone's life) and how deeply it has affected me since we parted. I did find him to be an honest man.

He said his two sisters suggested to him its time he found someone to share his life with. . which sort of gave me the idea he was considering their suggestion. At one point I asked him if we were "going steady" because he would call me often and want to get together. He said he had never had a "normal" relationship but then we agreed we wouldn't date anyone else but I don't think either of us would have anyway.

I think for me its not a matter of even living together but just to have a dedicated good friend who can witness my life would hold great value for me. He said he still wants to be my friend. So that brings me to the next question... is it possible to be a friend to someone and still have romantic feelings for them or is that a prescription for more heartache?

I often wonder if being an Objectivist heightens the emotions because of the nature of the philosophy.. to critically and thoroughly analyze and identify reality.

My best to you Tony,

Gayle

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Hi Tony,

I think for me its not a matter of even living together but just to have a dedicated good friend who can witness my life would hold great value for me. He said he still wants to be my friend. So that brings me to the next question... is it possible to be a friend to someone and still have romantic feelings for them or is that a prescription for more heartache?

I often wonder if being an Objectivist heightens the emotions because of the nature of the philosophy.. to critically and thoroughly analyze and identify reality.

My best to you Tony,

Gayle

Gayle,

Your last thought first:

Yes, I completely agree..

It has happened a few times, someone comes up and says - Oh, I hear you're interested in philosophy. So I'm sure you must be smart and logical, but haven't you lost touch with your feelings, your inner self?

All I could do is just look at them; I mean, how to convey to a stranger you are not a robot, and it's not just 'philosophy' - it is THE philosophy for life? And that my philosophy has radically increased my awareness of existence and self.

(Next time I've decided to reply something like - the more I reason, the more conscious I become; the more conscious I am, the more I value, and feel and care.)

A little pretentious, maybe.:)

Your statement is more precise -- "Objectivism heightens the emotions because of the nature of the philosophy ..."

Anyhow, the "lightning rod" or "barometer" of your view of reality Rand called them. Emotions can be one's best friend.

"A dedicated good friend who can witness my life" is brilliantly put, I think. That 'visibility' in friendship and romantic love is a wonderful statement of confidence, and esteem in oneself, when equally perceived by, and possessed by, one's partner.

The tricky bit you bring up is the romantic feelings accompanied by friendship.

This has been absorbing me for a long while. I wonder if I'm 'rationalizing' to believe it is completely possible in this unconventional sort of relationship we are discussing.

Potential heartbreak vs. supreme fulfilment. High risk and high reward.

Is one defying reality, eating your cake and having it?

Or, isn't it the true identity of love, to have both...with freedom?

I do know this: that there are not many excellent, thinking 'souls', of high integrity around, so I don't ever want to discard those I do know, and simply move on.

If you ever find a solution to this conundrum, let me know asap.

B)

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Gayle,

Your last thought first:

Yes, I completely agree..

It has happened a few times, someone comes up and says - Oh, I hear you're interested in philosophy. So I'm sure you must be smart and logical, but haven't you lost touch with your feelings, your inner self?

All I could do is just look at them; I mean, how to convey to a stranger you are not a robot, and it's not just 'philosophy' - it is THE philosophy for life? And that my philosophy has radically increased my awareness of existence and self.

(Next time I've decided to reply something like - the more I reason, the more conscious I become; the more conscious I am, the more I value, and feel and care.)

A little pretentious, maybe.:)

Your statement is more precise -- "Objectivism heightens the emotions because of the nature of the philosophy ..."

Anyhow, the "lightning rod" or "barometer" of your view of reality Rand called them. Emotions can be one's best friend.

"A dedicated good friend who can witness my life" is brilliantly put, I think. That 'visibility' in friendship and romantic love is a wonderful statement of confidence, and esteem in oneself, when equally perceived by, and possessed by, one's partner.

The tricky bit you bring up is the romantic feelings accompanied by friendship.

This has been absorbing me for a long while. I wonder if I'm 'rationalizing' to believe it is completely possible in this unconventional sort of relationship we are discussing.

Potential heartbreak vs. supreme fulfilment. High risk and high reward.

Is one defying reality, eating your cake and having it?

Or, isn't it the true identity of love, to have both...with freedom?

I do know this: that there are not many excellent, thinking 'souls', of high integrity around, so I don't ever want to discard those I do know, and simply move on.

If you ever find a solution to this conundrum, let me know asap.

B)

Tony,

Can lovers be friends and visa versa? I think you've coined the million dollar question . . "is one defying reality, eating your cake and having it?" . . and you are quite right.. at what cost? I have also been looking for the rational moral principle here.

I don't know if you listen to Peikoff Podcasts but he had a couple of podcasts on the topic of lovers and friends (search "relationships) on May 2 and April 25. I wonder what you would think of Peikoff's opinion. The jury is still out for me.

Unfortunately, many do pidgeon-hole Objectivists into cold analytical non-feeling anti-humans but now we can be armed. :)

As far as thinking people of integrity go, yes I agree they are rare and precious. Many souls choose just to "blank out".

Best, Gayle

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