Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Casual Relationships

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

A month or so ago a year-and-a-half long relationship that I had ended. So began the first time that I have been single in college- I am now a sophomore.

Without trying to be arrogant or boastful in any way, I find that I am having little or no trouble meeting attractive women. Girls who are obviously also attracted to me, as well. As I'm sure everyone knows, there is a prevailing attitude about casual encounters on college campuses- that is, it's no big deal.

My question is, is it? Should I, morally, be intimate only with girls with whom I am in a relationship? I feel I may be being overly vague- but I've tried to leave out details that are irrelevant to the topic.

Link to post
Share on other sites
My question is, is it?

Yes it is a big deal.

Should I, morally, be intimate only with girls with whom I am in a relationship?
The answer to that question depends on a very large chain of logic and many abstract ideas. It involves having a fairly complete understanding of human nature, of values and valuing, and the nature of romance. But the short answer is that sexual intimacy absent the values of a real relationship is a big mistake. (Though an all to common one)

I feel I may be being overly vague- but I've tried to leave out details that are irrelevant to the topic.

Then the only kind of answer I can give you is a vague, generalized one, which cannot take into consideration the details of your life. If it helps you, then great!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. Delaney- a good point. I suppose I feel like what I'm doing might be wrong, but then again it might not. I hoped to draw on the experience of like-minded people (objectivists) to help me evaluate the situation, seeing as I have little real experience with this of my own. By no means do I want anyone to "tell me how to live my life," but I don't think there's anything wrong with asking advice.

Inspector, I suppose that I lean mostly toward agreeing with you. I just have difficulty resisting the temptation, as well as convincing myself it's bad enough to stop.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Inspector, I suppose that I lean mostly toward agreeing with you. I just have difficulty resisting the temptation, as well as convincing myself it's bad enough to stop.

The point I've hinted at, and that Kevin has slammed down on the table, is that this is something that you have to learn yourself. That intricate chain that I described? You have to personally know every link of it, or you'll be fighting a fruitless war against emotions you don't -- and can't -- understand. My advice is worthless without the full knowledge of why it makes sense.

To get started, you should read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Also The Virtue of Selfishness and Philosophy: Who Needs It. Branch out from there to what interests you personally.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ask yourself why. That is the easiest way to come to an evaluation of an action you are considering.

The fact that you question the morality of a specific action means you have not gone through the necessary thought process that leads to the automatic evaluation of said action. In other words, you have a reason to believe that said action may be immoral. Explore this reason rationally. Action should be the result of a rational thought process, whether conscious or automatic, however this is not always the case. This may be because of some error or irrationality. So sometimes it's necessary to work backwards by asking yourself why. If you can work to an answer you will begin to be able to evaluate the situation and once and for all decide if it is moral. 'Moral' being a direct benefit to the furtherance of your life, in the context of you entire life, not merely in the moment. (All of this assumes a rational epistemology obviously)

Why do you want to engage in a 'casual' relationship?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gerosele, For a moment, put aside your ideas of morality and what you should do. Don't think from rule to action, but from action, to consequences, and only then, to rule. Consider the facts: what do you gain from the relationships you have? Do you have anything to lose? What aspects do you like? What aspects would you rather have different?

Meanwhile -- if you cannot see any real danger -- continue to gather concretes ;), and continue to evaluate how they fit into your life.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's my view on casual sex, which may not be very objective as there are many things that influence my opinion on this:

If you're having sex without being in a loving relationship with the people, what will the person you do love think of the sexual activities they (supposidly) earned from you?

If the US mint started printing off $100 bills and handing them out to anyone that came along, what would 100 US Dollars be worth? Nothing.

In my opinion, that level of intamacy is something you earn from eachother. If it's given away, it's worthless.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How casual are these relationships?

Do you mean, you don't intend to stay with these women for the rest of your life? Or do you mean having intimate relations with whoever happens to be on hand when you start to feel a bit turned on? Both can be termed "casual" relations.

I have what I term a "casual" relationship with my ex that involves no sex whatsoever. We are comfortable and relaxed with each other, and we simply recognize that our relationship is at least partially based on length of interaction, like with most family members, and that we owe each other a bit more respect than other more traditional friends. It works pretty well.

A friend of mine recently commented that attractive people don't have better relationships than anyone else . . . they just have MORE of them. Is it quality or quantity that drives the matter? I wonder at why unattractive people like me can generally find a mate on the third or fourth "try", while other people go through dozens of relationships and are never happy with anyone.

I have also noticed that once you get to know someone really well, assuming they have a good mind, they become attractive to you. (Has anyone else noticed this?) Perhaps your ability to get close to many attractive women is more a detriment than a bonus: have you developed any other method of selectivity regarding sexual partners?

Link to post
Share on other sites
How casual are these relationships?

I wonder at why unattractive people like me can generally find a mate on the third or fourth "try" . . .

U don't seem to be unattractive at all,from the photo and certainly your ideas.

Edited to fix broken quote--JMeganSnow

Edited by JMeganSnow
Link to post
Share on other sites
I have also noticed that once you get to know someone really well, assuming they have a good mind, they become attractive to you. (Has anyone else noticed this?)

Yes, I have noticed this. I have also experienced the reverse effect -- once I get to know someone I thought was attractive and they end up being idiotic they are so very unattractive afterwards.

Proves that attraction is predominantly mental.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I hoped to draw on the experience of like-minded people (objectivists) to help me evaluate the situation, seeing as I have little real experience with this of my own. By no means do I want anyone to "tell me how to live my life," but I don't think there's anything wrong with asking advice.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for advice when you use it to think for yourself and don't rely on others to make decisions for you. It sounds like thinking for yourself is exactly what you're doing, and I hope you aren't deterred from asking questions in the future. I hope you continue to use this forum as a place where you can ask questions about how the philosophy of Objectivism applies to your life. I'm confident you will find that Objectivism is a helpful, practical, satisfying philosophy. Welcome!

(Btw, please note that since it is a proper noun, and to show respect for the philosophy, the forum rules require that words like "Objectivists" and "Objectivism" be capitalized. Thanks! :) )

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, I have noticed this. I have also experienced the reverse effect -- once I get to know someone I thought was attractive and they end up being idiotic they are so very unattractive afterwards.

Proves that attraction is predominantly mental.

I've experienced the reverse effect TONS of times. Probably a good 75% of the hot girls I meet can't back it up in conversation. I can't say that it's gone the other way for me, though. If I find someone whose looks I'm not attracted to, but has a great mind, it usually just makes me want to be good friends. But, in my observation, men ten to be a little more hung up on looks than women (not a 100% rule, just a trend I've noticed).

Link to post
Share on other sites

You may be right, Dave. I wouldn't say "hung up on", though, that sounds very disparaging. There's nothing wrong with preferring attractive women, after all, attractiveness is a value. (A hard thing to say when it's bitten you more than once, heh, but true nonetheless.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ignoring for the moment that this thread isn't about me, but how exactly is that begging the question? I haven't made any arguments, I've just expressed some observations, and my own attractiveness/lack thereof isn't central to any of those observations. Assuming for a moment that I am a Hot Chick (I can't even think that with a straight face) my observations still stand.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ignoring for the moment that this thread isn't about me, but how exactly is that begging the question? I haven't made any arguments, I've just expressed some observations, and my own attractiveness/lack thereof isn't central to any of those observations. Assuming for a moment that I am a Hot Chick (I can't even think that with a straight face) my observations still stand.

I don't feel comfortable discussing this in public, so I'm taking it into PMs.

Edit: For the record, I want to point out that my suspicions of question-begging are largely based on past private conversations and inductions I've made about self-evaluations in general, rather than in this thread.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Being a college sophomore male myself, though now in a relationship, I can definitely understand where you're coming from. Last year I was single, and engaged in quite a few "casual encounters." You know how a back rub was different coming from your girlfriend than from a stranger? Well that's kinda how it turns out with sex and hooking up and all that.

I had quite a few "pimp" nights (successfully convincing a girl I needed "sexual healing," hooking up with two girls at once on the couch of a fraternity I don't know anyone in, etc) but to be honest, the only thing I really got out of it was a entertaining occupation of my time and a story to tell.

When you cheapen relationships like that, it can be dangerous if you don't recognize exactly what meaning you're giving it. When I got with some arbitrary girl, I knew that I was doing it just for kicks. A lot of my friends (predominantly female :lol: ) have trouble with that. If you attach some artificially constructed significance to an event, it can be psychologically troubling when that person doesn't feel the same way.

It's also important the the other person involved feels the same way you do. Last year, this Filipino girl who I'd been scoping out in my building came to a party that my friends were throwing. I somehow ended up naked on a futon with her a week later, and she said something like, "You're so much different than other guys, I've never had a nice boyfriend before" (possibly because, though unfairly beautiful, she was the dumbest person. Ever.). This was bad, because I figured that being naked on a futon a week after you met someone dispatched the idea of seriousness, but that was a bad assumption. RUN!!! Now she gives me a fake smile if I pass her on the street. I don't particularly mind, but it's not good to give people reasons not to like you. Be careful. And don't get the clap. I haven't had it, but I hear it's not very fun.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Donnywithana -- I'm not sure why, if you really didn't think that on some level your escapades would impress us, you would go into such detail on a public board. Let me say that they don't and that I highly discourage anyone else from doing the same. Besides, do you think any of these girls would appreciate you describing your encounters with them in such terms? On the Internet? You made some valid points, but you could have done so without the level of detail you subjected us to.

The only reason I'm saying this publicly rather than by PM, by the way, is because you're not the first one to do this. A few months back, we actually endured the spectacle of two guys vying for the title of "biggest pimp" while simultaneously condemning their earlier promiscuity.

You might also note that I have been very vocal in my opposition to the Puritanical streak a lot of people on this board have, so this is not me being prude or repressed. Rather, it's that while I'm happy you want to contribute your thoughts to this discussion, I don't want to picture you naked. Sorry.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Donnywithana -- I'm not sure why, if you really didn't think that on some level your escapades would impress us, you would go into such detail on a public board. Let me say that they don't and that I highly discourage anyone else from doing the same. Besides, do you think any of these girls would appreciate you describing your encounters with them in such terms? On the Internet?

Point taken, I appologize. My intention was to say that while doing those things is fun, context is an important consideration. The detail was unnecessary, and was not intended to do anything but illustrate that I knew where he was coming from. I didn't have to be that specific, and I appologize to anyone I offended.

The only reason I'm saying this publicly rather than by PM, by the way, is because you're not the first one to do this. A few months back, we actually endured the spectacle of two guys vying for the title of "biggest pimp" while simultaneously condemning their earlier promiscuity.

this is not me being prude or repressed. Rather, ...I don't want to picture you naked. Sorry.

It's alright, you don't know what I look like, so I can't be offended :yarr:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I have never nor do I anticipate ever taking part in a "casual relationship". It cheapens the idea of sex and romance for me to a degree where I could no longer respect it or myself.

"Indiscriminate desire and unselective indulgence are possible only to those who regard sex and themselves as evil."- Ayn Rand

" I would say that a selective and discriminate sex life is not an indulgence. The term indulgence implies that it is an action taken lightly and casually. I say that sex is one of the most important aspects of man's life and, therefore, must never be approached lightly or casually. A sexual relationship is proper only on the ground of the highest values one can find in a human being. Sex must not be anything other than a response to values. And that is why I consider promiscuity immoral. Not because sex is evil, but because sex is too good and too important." - Ayn Rand

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sex must not be anything other than a response to values.

I think this is where we run into a problem. Why "must" it be confined to that? Only certain paradigms will result in this conclusion.

I could disprove it this way. Safe sex promotes good health through release of positive hormones and neurotransmitters, elevation of heart rate, and pleasant stimulus. Sex is a great form of exersize, and helps individuals feel more comfortable with proxemics (personal space). This is an equally legitimate paradigm.

It's what someone values more (the preservation of sex as a symbolic act, or the positive consequences of sex) that help determine one's view on the subject. Just because Rand doesn't feel that sex should be "cheapened" doesn't mean that we "must" use it the way she wants us to.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I could disprove it this way. Safe sex promotes good health through release of positive hormones and neurotransmitters, elevation of heart rate, and pleasant stimulus. Sex is a great form of exersize, and helps individuals feel more comfortable with proxemics (personal space). This is an equally legitimate paradigm.

Those are values.

I personally don't think there's any reason why sex has to be a response to only a particular value. The values you do choose to pursue in a sexual partner are very revealing about you, personally, but there's nothing that says you have to be a puritan and only pursue one woman in your entire lifetime.

If you're pursuing a partner because it's good for your health, though, you better not tell her you love her and want to spend the rest of your life with her. THAT is lying in an attempt to gain a value and thoroughly immoral. If she wants to have sex with you for health reasons, well, you deserve each other. ;)

I can't say that it's gone the other way for me, though. If I find someone whose looks I'm not attracted to, but has a great mind, it usually just makes me want to be good friends. But, in my observation, men ten to be a little more hung up on looks than women (not a 100% rule, just a trend I've noticed).

This prompted me to ask around a bit, and I did find some guys that find women more attractive when they have a good mind, btw. Coolness.

Link to post
Share on other sites
This prompted me to ask around a bit, and I did find some guys that find women more attractive when they have a good mind, btw. Coolness.

That's good. I want to clarify that I do find a woman more attractive when they have a good mind, but it's never made me go from wholly unattracted to jumping in bed. I'll also add that physical appearance (to a very small extent) is also part of the criteria I use in choosing friends, male and female. For one, if you can't even look at someone's face without cringing, time spent with them can be really unpleasant. For another, how someone presents themselves says a great deal about their character, and I hold to the idea that almost physical ugliness is fixable with a little grooming and self-care, at least to the point of being average.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...