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Morality of visiting Strip Clubs

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Your statement is true IF the value sought is to actually be "sexually stimulated" in the end. As a person who has (in the distant past) gone with friends to a strip club, our goal by the end of the night was neither to get "laid" nor to go home and manually pleasure ourselves afterwards. Our goal was to go out and put back a few beers, enjoy the sights and then go eat after a long day of work, then just go to bed.

I smoked pot once but I didn't inhale. :)

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Well, now that we've dropped context, and ended up on the typical Libertarian sort of arguments with the men seemingly defending their right to go to strip clubs, to the death.

How about we get back onto the context.

I have no problem with strip clubs per se. The ethicalness of them is very much contextual.

I have no problem with men who go to strip clubs, even within a consenting relationship. Yawn... it's a boring ethical discussion, and not the one that was initiated.

The situation at hand does not appear to be that.

So, if the woman you loved and valued indicated to you that it very much gave her displeasure to have you spend your time in strip clubs, what is the ethics of this situation?

Would you:

a. get a new lover

b. tell her you won't go, and then go anyway

c. respect her wishes and find other ways to appreciate the female form

d. ? you tell me (or figureskater4life)

Note, I don't think writing this off as just pure jealousy is warranted. Rand sanctioned jealously when its clear that your rival isn't worthy of your lover. Maybe you can make the argument that this is not a rival, but then it's not so clear. Is every instance of a man going to a strip club healthy? Which ones aren't? and how does figureskater decide if this is one of those situations or not? Cuz if it is, then the guy ought to be taken to task, and/or dumped.

a, and c seem like reasonable responses, both. b is patently dishonest, and seems to be what happened in this case. So I think figureskater has a beef if only for the dishonesty inherent in b.

Edited by KendallJ
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Would you mind telling us how you would define (what you mean by) the word "cheating"? -- Thanks RS

Disloyalty to one's partner. A betrayal of the trust of a relationship; that is, the trust that one is interested romantically and sexually only in that partner for the duration of the relationship. That one does not seek or pursue romantic or sexual interests in anyone but one's partner.

All of that is implied in the term "relationship," to me. And the title of this thread is Morality of visiting Strip Clubs for Objectivists in relationships. All of you single guys who have been saying there's nothing wrong with it, etc, I suggest that you read the title and the question of the thread.

BTW, for a marriage, there are actually explicit vows for this sort of thing. I've heard something along the lines of promising to "stay true to (him/her) mind and body."

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I don't think people who go to strip clubs should be judged too harshly. Part of it is that a lot of people have their ambitions frustrated in life, and have boring office jobs, and these places let them feel like a king for a while.

If you tell me that a person goes to a strip club, it'll make me think he's a loser. If you then tell me that he has his ambitions frustrated in life, has a boring office job, and the strip club lets him feel like a king for a while--well, do you think that'll change my mind about him being a loser?

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One good reason why an Objectivist should not go to a strip club in the pursuit of sexual pleasure is that strippers will just tease him. He will get a better value at a massage parlor where he can get a good erotic bath, a relaxing rub down, and a happy ending for about the same money he would have spent on strippers.

I disagree: A truly moral Objectivist would go to a hooker in pursuit of sexual pleasure, according to your logic.

Your idea is blatantly "the good is what I desire". It would be the same mistake as saying that one would be immoral to not-steal something because one wants that object, and selfishness is moral.

You have to consider the nature of the desire in the first-place and the way to gratify it: both have to be rational. Both have to be moral.

Sexual pleasure gained from another person, for a rational person with understanding of morality, should be from that person's mind primarily.

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I disagree: A truly moral Objectivist would go to a hooker in pursuit of sexual pleasure, according to your logic.
I was referring to a hooker --- hence the "happy ending."

Your idea is blatantly "the good is what I desire". It would be the same mistake as saying that one would be immoral to not-steal something because one wants that object, and selfishness is moral.

I am saying that an Objectivist is a capitalist and should seek the best value for his money. It's a mutual exchange between willing adults --- what immoral about it?

You have to consider the nature of the desire in the first-place and the way to gratify it: both have to be rational. Both have to be moral.

They are!

Sexual pleasure gained from another person, for a rational person with understanding of morality, should be from that person's mind primarily.
I agree -- that's why I like strippers and hookers. It's an honest and open trade--unlike the woman who marries for money.
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I agree -- that's why I like strippers and hookers. It's an honest and open trade--unlike the woman who marries for money.

Malevolent universe premise big time! Do you think that those are the only women that exist in the world?

And this is also a second handish premise: Just because some women do something immoral does not make other women good, regardless of what they do (value by comparison).

And the reason why gratifying one's sexual needs by visiting a hooker is bad is because of what allows you to get pleasure from it in the first-place. The problem is not with the trade, but in the values that trigger that desire to begin with, and the evasion involved. Treating human beings as physical objects rather than thinking beings is evading reality. Human beings ARE NOT physical objects to be used like a sex-toy.

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Hmm. Well, I disagree. Not too much more to say on that.

Disloyalty to one's partner. A betrayal of the trust of a relationship; that is, the trust that one is interested romantically and sexually only in that partner for the duration of the relationship. That one does not seek or pursue romantic or sexual interests in anyone but one's partner.

I would say based on your definition that our disagreement lies largely in that, definitions. Yes, I would consider "oogling" other women against the spouse's wishes to be disrespectful, but for me "cheating" means going beyond merely looking at another woman, naked or not. "Cheating" in my view is when a person actually starts pursuing a romantic or sexual relationship with a person other than their significant other. I don't consider looking at a woman the same as pursuing a relationship (though it obviously can lead to one IF the person goes further) anymore than I would consider looking at a motorcycle being the same thing as buying or riding a motorcycle.

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Treating human beings as physical objects rather than thinking beings is evading reality. Human beings ARE NOT physical objects to be used like a sex-toy.
Actually I believe they do think and do have free will -- they then perform a sex act for money. It seems as though you think they are too stupid to make that choice.
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Hmm, I'm a little late tuning into this thread, but I thought this bit of the ARI's recent op-ed piece, by Keith Lockitch regarding birth control, seemed relevant to the discussion:

Consider that sexual desire is a response to personal values. For a rational person, it is not a desire for mindless, indiscriminate indulgence, but a feeling that results from the embodiment in one's lover of one's highest, most important values.

(http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=13367&news_iv_ctrl=1021)

I don't see how visiting a strip club could possibly fit into that correct summation of moral sexual desire. The two arguments that I would give the most credit to have been mentioned a few times:

1) That going to a strip club is moral just like paying to watch any dancer would be moral, and

2) That going to a strip club is not necessarily done for sexual stimulation but to be in a fun atmosphere

In response to the first I'll have to echo what's been said, in that if you want to watch a beautiful woman dance, and appreciate it purely for that reason with no lustful intent, then buy a ticket to the ballet instead of watching women degrade themselves in front of men who worship their bodies but not their minds, and emphasize this divorce of sexual values from personal values by sticking ones into these women's g-strings.

To the second, I have never been into a strip club, but I have been at a bar on the wrong night, when women were stripping, and found the experience incredibly negative. The faces of the men watching these women were animal, slobbering and mindless. It literally turned my stomach to witness. I imagine a strip club is no different, and therefore can't imagine how this is the type of environment in which one may have a good time.

edit: forgot an S

Edited by thejohngaltline
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"Cheating" in my view is when a person actually starts pursuing a romantic or sexual relationship with a person other than their significant other.

I would say that seeking to achieve any sort of sexual or romantic gratification from another woman is cheating, whether or not that becomes a relationship. Granted touching is worse than looking and other things worse than that.

It's a mutual exchange between willing adults --- what immoral about it?

Oh, boy. Here we go again.

This is very frustrating to me; having that question come up endlessly. Objectivism is not Libertarianism. Just because something does not involve force does not make it moral. And I am not in the mood to get into this discussion yet again.

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Is it me, or has anyone else noticed that discussions about anything related to sex are among the most divided among Objectivists (or perhaps to be fair, people who identify themselves as Objectivists)?

Yes, I can definitely identify with that statement. To be honest, I don't even like getting into these discussions. I don't ever learn anything new. It's always the same discussion over and over again. It always becomes so deep and personal. But I just can't stand to see subjectivist/promiscuous attitudes passed off as compatable with Objectivism (and the rare, but equally maddening closet Catholic/intrinsic)... so I end up getting drawn in.

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Is it me, or has anyone else noticed that discussions about anything related to sex are among the most divided among Objectivists (or perhaps to be fair, people who identify themselves as Objectivists)?

I think this is because the ethics of sex is one of the farthest up the chain of abstractions. There are a lot of prior ethical concepts that have to be integrated to come to the Objectivist view of sex, and hence a lot of places to go wrong. Given this fact, I think some of the quick condemnations in this thread are unwarranted - in complex issues, one doesn't have to be stupid or evasive to make a mistake somewhere. This subject is anything but self-evident.

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I think this is because the ethics of sex is one of the farthest up the chain of abstractions. There are a lot of prior ethical concepts that have to be integrated to come to the Objectivist view of sex, and hence a lot of places to go wrong. Given this fact, I think some of the quick condemnations in this thread are unwarranted - in complex issues, one doesn't have to be stupid or evasive to make a mistake somewhere. This subject is anything but self-evident.
I agree, and the Ayn Rand fans that believe there can be only one moral agreement between lovers should do more research into Rand’s life before stating their condemnation so emphatically.
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