Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Does how your partner views sex affect your view of the relationship?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

What makes you think that sex with someone, who does not meet your value standards, is casual?

You are what you are - objectively. The most important part of the act of sex is your motivation. Are you seeking the pleasure as a celebration of your life? Or are you seeking to nail the chick, so that you come off as impressive to mindless dolts?

If you would read what I posted, I'm asking a question of someone else who does not see casual sex as being immoral, not making a statement. I want to know what values they are gaining from it other than physical pleasure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 93
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

That said: In lieu of a proper match, and with proper (self) motivation, I do not see any harm to oneself. This means being honest with the other person too.

I have now several times and from several people been asked the question: "If both parties are honest, how is it immoral?"

I have a counter-question: If both parties are honest, how it it even possible?!?

If one is completely honest about casual sex with both oneself and one's partner, just what is left to be attracted to? What sort of passion could one muster if one did not blank out: "I don't love you. Your mind is of no interest to me. Your values are of no interest to me. You are only a body, which I am using to satisfy the urges of my body. You are nothing but a warm-blooded version of a blow-up doll."

How could a person of self-esteem let themself engage in such an act?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While technically true, this is not a very compelling argument, IMO. Any activity one does comes at the expense of other activities. By itself, this is nowhere near enough to show what is truly wrong with promiscuity.

I agree with you; in my post I gave 3 reasons why I thought casual sex was not good for you. Perhaps by themselves they are not compelling enough, but in most cases they all would apply. That is also the reason why, when you consider everything about it, I think it cannot be good for you in the long run.

I agree with you that the last one was the strongest and most compelling one, so thanks for highlighting it for me.

Besides that, I think the value of the act decreases the more casually you treat it. Or in other words, the more important something is to a person, the more closely they will guard it. Someone who treats sex casually cannot value the act as much as someone who does not do this. At least, they can say they value sex a lot but their behaviour is directly contradicting their words in that case. I think in this sense, by casually engaging in sex, you are making the act less meaningful when you do enter an ideal, loving relationship in the future.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is you who should be careful. As soon as Miss Rand learned the truth about the danger of nicotine - she quit smoking in an instant. Quiet impressive I may add.

Quite an impressive woman.

You missed the point. You can not separate motivation from an action (context from the subject). You

can from the sidelines, make a call that someone is engaging in a hedonistic act. But, until you know

the underlying motive and the full situational context, you are setting yourself up to make a mistake

in judgement. Some circumstances might be easy to make such a decision. Others are not.

Ayn Rand was profoundly opposed to the philosophy of hedonism.

Happiness is the purpose of ethics - but not the standard.

Here I can not fully comment as I do not study philosophies. I only seek correct answers.

Sex is:

A physically & psychologically invigorating experience IF it is the product of proper self motivation.

It can not be based on your partners valuation of you. In other words: You can not think; She values

me ... therefore I must have value. You must have an objective view of your own value. That you are

worthy, or maybe not, of the pleasure in any given circumstance.

Sex should not be:

A means to an image or status

A means of manipulation

A way to pass time ... a game (maybe hedonism falls under this)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The more important something is to a person, the more closely they will guard it. Someone who treats sex casually cannot value the act as much as someone who does not [treat it casually] ...by casually engaging in sex, you are making the act less meaningful when you do enter an ideal, loving relationship in the future.
treating [sex] as a physical act of two bodies rubbing against each other for mutual physical satisfaction - if you do this often enough - that is the only thing you will condition yourself to be able to experience in the act.
But even in engaging in "casual" sex, these risks can be avoided entirely. ~Sophia~, can a volitional being be "conditioned?"

Maarten, a grandmaster can play chess with an endless variety of people, and this doesn't affect the value she places on playing chess with a fellow grandmaster. Choosing to do something with less ideal people, in and of itself, doesn't necessarily mean that I can't value (and prefer) doing it with ideal people when possible.

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.
But "casual" sex is a response to values. Rand gives no argument as to why sex could not be important if done as a response to middling values.

Seeing the true value of sex, but asking why it cannot be treated casually on occasion is like saying you understand what rights are, but asking why one cannot steal on occasion. One cannot treat sex casually and then later expect it to be the highest celebration of one's values. One cannot switch one's principles with convienience. There are consequences to one's psychology and to one's overall happiness.
Does "casual" refer to the unstated minimum standard for moral sex? And these "consequences to one's psychology and overall happiness" are equally unstated and unvalidated as universal, are they not?

You don't say what principle is "casual" sex supposed to be violating, nor why a current "casual" treatment of sex would prevent a person from volitionally making it the expression of her highest values when an opportunity arises later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hunterrose,

I can only say to remember what I said before about acting on principle. You're asking why you can't just set up your own mentality and psychology to accept a life of crime, and then plan to "reform" later in life and live as an honest, creative businessman. For the same reason and in the same way that that is a bad idea, so is your proposal of treating sex casually and then expecting to make it an expression and celebration of one's highest values.

Speaking with you in this thread is like I'm trying to explain this to a being from Alpha Centauri that doesn't even know what sex is. I fear that your concept of this is just so far alien that I don't even know where to begin telling you what is wrong with your position. I wish you luck in finding your answers, but I give up trying to explain this to you.

[quick addition: I just want to be clear that I intend that last part 100% literally and am not using it as an insult or attack. I mean it: it's like you're not even from the same planet as I am on this topic]

Edited by Inspector
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Why does sex require love? Most of you have argued so on the basis of what it can be. But why must it? Intrinsically assuming that it does is a bit like Christians who tell me “you just can’t be happy without Jesus in your heart – regardless of whether you think you are.” What about the physical act of sex requires love? What about the people who rationally enjoy both kinds as different things?

By the way, hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure regardless of consequence. There is nothing wrong with rationality pursuing pleasure as an end in itself. We can pursue both short term pleasure and long term happiness as long as they do not conflict with each other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about the people who rationally enjoy both kinds as different things?

The kind of "enjoyment" derived from severing mind from body and blanking out the lack of values in one's partner - treating them as meat - is not something I would put the word "rational" to.

To answer your question, the physical act of sex does not require love as demonstrated daily by the millions of people who engage in it without love. It is only required if one wishes to be fully rational, selfish, and moral. In other words, if one expects to get the best out of it, just like with everything else in life where you will get the best out of it with the rational and long-term approach. Also, as with everything else there is the self-harm to be had with blanking out and evasion.

It is not possible to hold both views of sex for the same reason that it is not possible to believe in Objectivism and socialism at the same time: because the principles contradict. Either one holds the Objectivist view of sex as an integrated response of mind and body to one's highest values, or one is capable of "enjoying" hedonistic, casual, sex. Either one believes and acts as a man, or one believes and acts as an animal. As to why one can’t switch from one to the other, I explained this before when I referenced principles and why they cannot be switched at convenience.

You seem to be asking specifically why the two views are incompatible. Have you read the same passages at the beginning of this thread as I have? I don't see how you could possibly conceive that the Objectivist view could be compatible with "casual sex." With respect, David, I don’t understand how you don’t understand this.

Edited by Inspector
Link to comment
Share on other sites

By the way, hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure regardless of consequence. There is nothing wrong with rationality pursuing pleasure as an end in itself. We can pursue both short term pleasure and long term happiness as long as they do not conflict with each other.

Hedonism is physical pleasure as the standard for value and morality, not reason. What feels good is good. It's viewing pleasure as a goal, not as a consequence. True pleasure is a result of rational value judgements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Inspector, you are wrong on this matter, and in no way is Objectivist ethics incompatible with rationally choosing which pleasure(s) and happiness one wishes to pursue, which is not hedonism, and which also includes the pursuit of sexual pleasure.

In your earlier quotes, Rand proclaims that sex must be a celebration of values, that otherwise one is only "wriggling" while separating concepts from percepts. Bull. There is ample evidence to suggest that people may rationally pursue different kinds of sex, which may include the long-term sexual goal in the context of a romantic relationship, or not. Since there is no scientific evidence on the subject, one can only go by what one observes, and I think GreedyCapitalist's quote about Christians fits perfectly. You are just not providing evidence as to why the approach to sexuality should be different from any other value in life.

Lathanar, pleasure and happiness is both the goal and the consequence. Meaning, I live for pleasure and happiness, the goal, but I achieve it via rational value judgements, making it also the consequence. GreedyCapitalist specified that one must employ reason/rationality to achieve pleasure and happiness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since there is no scientific evidence on the subject, one can only go by what one observes, and I think GreedyCapitalist's quote about Christians fits perfectly.

We can observe many different behaviors involving mind/body split arround us - it does not make them right.

You are just not providing evidence as to why the approach to sexuality should be different from any other value in life.

That is the point - it should not be any different. The fact that this particular activity brings people great physical pleasure is the reason they are allowing themselves (or arguing for) bypassing the value judgements they normally do employ in every other aspect of their life.

pleasure and happiness is both the goal and the consequence

Yes, but not the standard of morality.

Ayn Rand did not say that you need to be in love with someone in order for a sexual relationship to be proper. She just said that sex is too important for a human being to be treated casually.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lathanar, pleasure and happiness is both the goal and the consequence. Meaning, I live for pleasure and happiness, the goal, but I achieve it via rational value judgements, making it also the consequence. GreedyCapitalist specified that one must employ reason/rationality to achieve pleasure and happiness.

Morally, you live for the pleasure and happiness you achieving from rational value judgements, not from physical pleasure. I was replying to David's line about hedonism, not the love in sex. I don't recall ever seeing Rand state there must be love in sex or that sex without love is immoral. Just that sex be discriminate and based on rational values instead of the physical pleasures obtained.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Inspector, you are wrong on this matter, and in no way is Objectivist ethics incompatible with rationally choosing which pleasure(s) and happiness one wishes to pursue, which is not hedonism, and which also includes the pursuit of sexual pleasure.

In your earlier quotes, Rand proclaims that sex must be a celebration of values, that otherwise one is only "wriggling" while separating concepts from percepts. Bull.

So just to be clear, you are acknowledging that this was clearly Rand's position, but stating that she was not correctly deriving her position from Objectivist ethics? In other words, you think she was wrong on her own philosophy?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't recall ever seeing Rand state there must be love in sex or that sex without love is immoral. Just that sex be discriminate and based on rational values instead of the physical pleasures obtained.

I too am specifically limiting the scope of my discussion as to whether "casual sex" can be moral.

As to the other points raised, Lathanar and ~Sophia~ have answered them to my satisfaction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't recall ever seeing Rand state there must be love in sex or that sex without love is immoral. Just that sex be discriminate and based on rational values instead of the physical pleasures obtained.
I guess I glazed over this, but actually, minus the "instead of physical pleasures obtained," it works for me. Maybe this isn't relavent to the thread, but what is the difference between "physical pleasures" and, well, "physical pleasures"? Meaning, if I rationally decide to pursue something for the sake of it's effect on my body, what is wrong with that? Isn't physical pleasure all the same, and the difference comes when I choose a certain one over another, rationally? As long as I never divorce my mind from the equation, there is no conflict.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are just not providing evidence as to why the approach to sexuality should be different from any other value in life.

I have in fact provided ample evidence on this. I have laid out plainly Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff's view of how a rational man treats sex (this is, you claim, not the Objectivist position, to which I will use your phrase: Bull). I have shown that it is primarily a spiritual, and not a physical, value. I have shown how, psychologically, one can either value it in an integrated fashion or a disintegrated one - and not both.

The point is that one can treat it in either the human way or the animal way, and receive the human rewards or the animal rewards... but not both. One must live by principles and they cannot be switched like hats. If you choose the path of the animal, you will be limited to the rewards of the animal... and since you are a man and not an animal, you will inevitably suffer as the feelings you are missing catch up with you. In essence, to act as an animal you are defying your nature. A is A.

Perhaps you are used to dealing with Intrinsic admonishments against promiscuity, and think that is the only possible objection. Think again: man has a specific nature as a rational animal, and to act in defiance of this nature will result in frustration; not happiness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I glazed over this, but actually, minus the "instead of physical pleasures obtained," it works for me. Maybe this isn't relavent to the thread, but what is the difference between "physical pleasures" and, well, "physical pleasures"? Meaning, if I rationally decide to pursue something for the sake of it's effect on my body, what is wrong with that? Isn't physical pleasure all the same, and the difference comes when I choose a certain one over another, rationally? As long as I never divorce my mind from the equation, there is no conflict.

So your idea of a rational value judgment is which physical act will gain me the most pleasure? That places the standard of your values, of your morality, as being whatever gives you the most physical pleasure, not rational reasoning. Choosing between two evils is not making a rational decision.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, my idea of "the most pleasure" is long-term happiness. Is there any greater pleasure? Isn't that the reason every rational person is living? I don't live to be rational, I live to be happy, and rationality is the best means to that end.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sex is a celebration of one's values - that is metaphysical.

The meaning of it being metaphysical is that man's sexuality will always be triggered by his values presented in another person (usually of the opposite sex). Metaphysical means that man has no choice about it, meaning that our brain is built this way to connect between those two things: sex (the desire for the physical act), and our values presented in another human being (of the opposite sex).

* Notice that animals have a similar mechanism for choosing their squeeze: They look for the strongest in the herd, the one with the biggest horns etc'.

For human beings our values can range from mere physical appearance (in the same way that animals judge), and to things like intelligence, honesty, independence, etc'.

If a man has no choice about having their sexuality triggered by their values, then people who's sexuality is triggered by physical appearance alone have a very poor set of values, one that resembles the basic values of animals.

I think that people who have no real understanding of morality would not actually consider it as a value in other people, which would only leave the physical properties as a value.

Another question that can be asked here though, is why can't people just respond to some of their values in other people as a sexual response? In other words, why isn't it possible to hold as values both physical beauty, and values of morality (independence, honesty innocence etc'), but have their sexual desire be satisfied on the basis of just one of those values (physical beauty)?

My answer is that it is possible, but the amount of enjoyment someone would get out of sex depends on how high on their hierarchy of values physical beauty lies. If it is on top of the list, it will be enough for them to have sex, but if it is lower (as it should be for rational people) then they will require other values in another person in order to enjoy sex.

Just to be fair, I have to say that I didn't reach those conclusions all on my own: I should Thank This blogger.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In other words, why isn't it possible to hold as values both physical beauty, and values of morality (independence, honesty innocence etc'), but have their sexual desire be satisfied on the basis of just one of those values (physical beauty)?

Because that would involve blanking out those moral/mental values which are missing or are wrong/evil.

people who's sexuality is triggered by physical appearance alone have a very poor set of values, one that resembles the basic values of animals.

Is the physical pleasure of the act* worth it when compared to the shame of debasing oneself by acting not as a man, but an animal? Observe that both religionists and hedonists view sex as an act of debasement: this is because, in the way they practice it, it is.

Done properly, sex is not an act of debasement, but a celebration of life.

(*when engaged in in this manner, sex isn't very pleasurable because it is primarily a spiritual, and not physical act.)

Edited by Inspector
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, my idea of "the most pleasure" is long-term happiness. Is there any greater pleasure? Isn't that the reason every rational person is living? I don't live to be rational, I live to be happy, and rationality is the best means to that end.

You do not gain moral pleasure from the physical actions you are chosing between, you gain pleasure from chosing the correct action to perform. That is what brings long term happiness, by making the correct decisions in your life that prolong it, not by doing what feels good.

Link to comment
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...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...