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why is sex for physical gratification wrong?

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The Wrath
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How could you do the part in bold, conclude you don't love them, and still want to sleep with them? If you're truly not evading anything and truly conclude they're not all that and a bag of chips, then on what basis are you deciding to have sex?

Based on mutual values, my admiration for their ability, their intelect, their moral character, because of intelectual/psychological visibility they are providing me with, because they recognize my own value like no other. All of those can be there without love.

Maybe I don't love them yet? Maybe they are what I am looking for and more but are unavailable for me to pursue a long term romantic relationship? Maybe they are not the best partner for life because they are much older or much much younger and thus at a different stage in their life or because they do not want to have children and I do? Maybe they do have a lot of qualities that I value but not enough for me to make them my life partner?

Proper sexual relationship need not be based on love. What it needs to be is based on values.

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Then sleeping with a sheep is discriminate sex.

According to you perhaps, not me. I explained why that isn't true, but I take it you don't agree. I agree that if we can't get past this, further discourse on this topic is futile.

Regarding quoting, I don't mind it per se, and I agree that it has it's uses. I quote sparringly from time to time myself. But in order to understand whether someone has truly "digested" the position they have read in some book about Objectivism, they need to be able to demonstrate by their own words and thoughts why they adopted that position and/or why that position is true without simply regurgitating the theory. In other words, the theory cannot be used to prove the theory.

Additionally, it helps to be able to demonstrate in real life why that position is true, and in all cases if the claim is that it is universally true. When I see evidence in the real lives of people that contradicts a proposed theory, I question the theory. This is typically the case when the topic of sex comes up on here.

Based on what I understand of Objectivism at this point, the issues of sex is the only one I can think of that I have any issues with. There is a fair amount of variation in the views of Objectivists as to what constitutes proper sex. These Objectivists vary in knowledge and experience from the quite reputable and long standing to the novice who just recently discovered the philosophy.

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Based on mutual values

What about those values which are not mutual? They are significant enough to say "I don't love you." These are not minor details. This is not a question of if the relationship won't work out for non values-related reasons. This isn't a question of whether that person is your life-partner or not. This is a question of sex without love. (which is OT from this thread, BTW)

How can one, without evasion of those values which are a problem, continue at that point?

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To start with, I am leery of the practice of quoting Ayn Rand and trying to interpret how she would want someone to behave because Objectivism is not a religion and I am loathe to treat Rand and her words in a way similar to the way Christians treat the words of Jesus Christ and his apostles or Muslims and the writings of Muhammed.

I was only quoting her to help determine what her view was. That's a separate issue from whether I agree with her or whether what she said was true or not, and whether it is consistent with the rest of her philosophy. But I understand your concern.

Edited by Bold Standard
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To you, what is the status of the pleasure one recieves as one burns ones brain into oblivion with narcotics? What is the status of the pleasure of a man hallucinating as his body wastes away in a disease-ridden gutter? What is the status of the pleasure of a zoophile engaged in his perversions?

In other words, at what price does that pleasure come? If it comes from some form of evasion, then is that a pleasure that a life-seeking rational man would desire?

You phrase this as though I'm advocating hedonism, but I don't advocate that. The status of the self-destructive behaviors you mentioned is that they are a pursuit of short-term (but presumably real) pleasure at the expense of eudaimonia.

I think it is conceivable that a pleasure obtained as a result of an evasion could actually turn out to be in one's rational, long term self-interest. It's only, if one is evading, he can not be sure that it will be, because he has closed off his awareness in that area.

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I made the following announcement in the strip club thread and I making it here as well:

I am closing this thread temporarily to give people an opportunity to step back and formulate their thoughts before continuing. I see that there is some intensity here and I would like to slow it down. I am not making any determinations about anyone's conduct. If anyone thinks that such determinations need to be made, feel free to address your concerns to the moderating team and we will address it accordingly.

[Edit: Thread reopened.]

Edited by Groovenstein
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Proper sexual relationship need not be based on love. What it needs to be is based on values.

These are different? If I love someone, then I value them and vice versa . . . they are simply different ways of saying the same thing.

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  • 3 months later...
These are different? If I love someone, then I value them and vice versa . . . they are simply different ways of saying the same thing.

They are not: but I guess it depends on the definition you're using for "love".

For me, romantic love is a result of someone having all of the virtues I seek. While I can admire someone for having just X Y and Z, and I can also feel affection for them, or non-romantic love, romantic love is only a result of someone having it all.

Do you have a name for this emotion that I'm talking about, or do you simply call it "strong romantic love", and take any emotion of affection for your man to mean "romantic love"?

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These are different? If I love someone, then I value them and vice versa . . . they are simply different ways of saying the same thing.

The difference is in the degree of valuing. Love requires more.

While I can admire someone for having just X Y and Z, and I can also feel affection for them, or non-romantic love...

I would not characterize lesser than love affection + sexual attraction as non-romantic.

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The difference is in the degree of valuing. Love requires more.

Can you elaborate?

I would not characterize lesser than love affection + sexual attraction as non-romantic.

Well... there certainly can be a good romantic relationship based on emotions of deep affection and admiration (especially the last). So those emotions can be romantic. But they are still not what I call "love". Actually I would rather use the word "in-love" to describe that highest emotion possible for someone perfect (though it is usually considered of lesser significance than love by most people).

We're a bit off topic here... So if it bothers you (it does bother me a little) maybe we can take this subject to another thread... of your choice.

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Ayn Rand said in the Playboy interview, speaking about instincts, "A man is equipped with a certain kind of physical mechanism and certain needs, but without any knowledge of how to fulfill them. For instance, man needs food. He experiences hunger. But, unless he learns first to identify this hunger, then to know that he needs food and how to obtain it, he will starve. The need, the hunger, will not tell him how to satisfy it. Man is born with certain physical and psychological needs, but he can neither discover them nor satisfy them without the use of his mind. Man has to discover what is right or wrong for him as a rational being. His so-called urges will not tell him what to do."

As I was reading this passage, I thought of an analogy that relates mans desire for food to mans desire for sex. Humans have urges for food, and trying to satisfy these urges by eating foods filled with saturated fat and cholesterol all day and every day will most likely satisfy your hunger urges, but in the long term this food will cause serious health problems. Fulfilling the desire does not mean you acted correctly, and with this example, he is not controlling his urges but letting them control him.

This is similar to sexual desires because people having sex with whomever just to satisfy these urges is doing the same thing as the man who is eating junk food constantly. The man who has sex with a beautiful bimbo(equivalent to the mindset of eating fatty cake all day) is acting whimsically just to fulfill his sexual desire. As Ayn Rand said, to satisfy the urges correctly man must use his mind, and this means acting according to rational values.

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This is similar to sexual desires because people having sex with whomever just to satisfy these urges is doing the same thing as the man who is eating junk food constantly. The man who has sex with a beautiful bimbo(equivalent to the mindset of eating fatty cake all day) is acting whimsically just to fulfill his sexual desire. As Ayn Rand said, to satisfy the urges correctly man must use his mind, and this means acting according to rational values.

An even better analogy would be eating nothing but zero calorie nurti-sweet synthetic fluff. The man will follow his urges and eat the sweet "food," only to discover that he hasn't at all satisfied his needs. He will only be hungrier and hungrier, and wonder constantly why.

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This is similar to sexual desires because people having sex with whomever just to satisfy these urges is doing the same thing as the man who is eating junk food constantly.

I think this requires a leap that has not been established. It may be true for some people, some time, but not all people, all the time. Satisfying a biological need such as eating can be done almost precisely by considering the ingredients in the food and some scientific information about the kinds of nutrients a person must have. A healthy person can stray in his diet quite often and still maintain a very high level of health and fitness.

Determining the "ingredients" that a person needs psychologically is an entirely different matter, and can vary to some degree from person to person. But assuming your analogy did hold, the man could "stray" sexually from time to time without doing harm to his "diet" or his "health".

In short, I think this analogy looks appealing at first glance, but fails on closer inspection.

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RationalBiker, I agree that my analogy was slightly flawed. After reviewing Inspectors tweak of my analogy, I think the way he put it is certainly accurate to a man seeking sex just for physical pleasure.

Perhaps for some men, some times, but not for all men, all the time. We remain in disagreement.

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Perhaps for some men, some times, but not for all men, all the time. We remain in disagreement.

I dont think it would be sometimes. I dont see how it could contribute to ones happiness at all considering its an act of degradation. Having sex only for physical pleasure is abandonment of rational values. Sex is no exception, ones decisions must be consistent throughout.

Maybe certain people who have sex for physical pleasure fake their own happiness better than others, but theres no way this type of sex could make them happy(based on Ayn Rands definition of happiness). For other certain people who act rationally the majority of the time, it may not be so obvious that their sexual lifestyle is hindering them. Although, they would be happier if they didnt commit these acts.

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Maybe certain people who have sex for physical pleasure fake their own happiness better than others, but theres no way this type of sex could make them happy(based on Ayn Rands definition of happiness).

That's especially clear, given Francisco's speech, the chapter in OPAR, etc.

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Having sex only for physical pleasure is abandonment of rational values.

On the same logic I can say that eating ice cream is abandonment of rational values, unless it also comes with a talking device to ask you questions as you eat, to add some spiritual values to the experience. Ice cream gives you pleasure, not necessarily happiness. And there is nothing wrong with it. (And I think the nature of the sexual experience depends on the context: masturbation is physical, sex is primarily spiritual because it involves another human being, with a spiritual nature).

Hmm.. I just might have stumbled on a deeper question here about ethics: happiness vrs. pleasure: Should pleasure be pursued if it is independent of happiness? I think so. I like ice-cream :lol: .

For me eating ice cream also brings happiness usually, because for me, ice cream represents something good spiritually. Just might be an artist thing though: I tend to see life as images tied to concepts*. Or maybe it has nothing to do with me being an artist, and actually be a key to the answer here.

*Images tied to concepts mean that when eating ice cream I will think about how it looks like from the side, what it represents, imagining it as a drawing.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm actually on your side of the debate, but I think RationalBiker has a point about our side not fully being established yet.

If you're asking "well why don't you do it then?" the answer is that I don't have a full answer yet.

Anyway, this post was a mixture of ideas. Hope someone here will find any of it useful despite the confusing manner of presentation.

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For me eating ice cream also brings happiness usually, because for me, ice cream represents something good spiritually. Just might be an artist thing though: I tend to see life as images tied to concepts*. Or maybe it has nothing to do with me being an artist, and actually be a key to the answer here.

In what way does ice cream represent something that is spiritually good? Are you referring to the fact that you had to have earned the money needed to buy the ice cream and because you earned the money doing something productive the money has value to you and therefore also anything you buy with the money has derivative value? Or did you mean something completely different from this?

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In what way does ice cream represent something that is spiritually good?

Eating ice cream represents a simple kind of pleasure, like slobbing your way in the streets or in nature in a sunny afternoon, or playing with a kitten, or spinning until your head is dizzy as a part of a game, or playing hide and seek, or going to an amusement park and having the time of your life on the rides, or watching streets decorated with Christmas lights, or buying pretty new clothes, or watching a rainbow.

It represents for me, those simple pleasures in life that kids usually experience and adults forget, but that are the indication of someone who sees the world as essentially good.

I love those simple pleasures the most: I think we talked about it once ("shopping the mall out", remember?). I love this light-headedness. I love the short skirt, high heals, huge earrings, ice cream on one hand a cell-phone on the other type of girl. You know, what some people would call a true "air-head". If you want an example of it: here is the perfect one Mariah Carey - Heartbreaker videoclip.

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:lol: Mariah Carey

*welcomes BaseballGenius to the forum*

*...wishes BaseballGenius didn't start out on a puritan sex thread :pimp:*

The man who has sex with a beautiful bimbo is acting whimsically just to fulfill his sexual desire.
I dont see how it could contribute to ones happiness at all considering its an act of degradation. Having sex only for physical pleasure is abandonment of rational values. Maybe certain people who have sex for physical pleasure fake their own happiness better than others, but theres no way this type of sex could make them happy(based on Ayn Rands definition of happiness).
That's a lot of claims.

Suppose I were to have sex with "beautiful bimbo" Mariah Carey. Why would this necessarily be:

  1. whimsical
  2. an act of degradation
  3. an abandonment of rational values
  4. a faking of happiness based on Rand's definition of happiness

While I don't agree that it would be wrong in the first place, I think other people who lean toward agreeing with your stance don't do so entirely because the above criticisms of "bimbo sex" are often made, but not often substantiated as necessarily being the case in every act of "bimbo sex".

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Hunter/whoever,

I'm going to dip my toe briefly into this again and suggest the following:

I think that the key to understanding "your side's" not understanding this topic is that you're being way too Empiricist about this. You're just looking at the act, of mindless sex, in total isolation. You think, "well, it would feel good, and you could be honest about it and not make anything of it, spiritually, etc. Where's the harm?"

Far, far too little thought is given to the question, "Well, what sort of mentality would it take to be attracted to a bimbo?" What kind of mind can look at a bimbo, knowing how vile and hated and spiritually worthless she is, still maintain a state of attraction long enough to go through with the sexual act? (the amount of liquor typically involved in such acts is telling)

What sort of mentality can separate the sexual act from the spiritual values it embodies? What kind of person can say on Sunday, "Bimbos are all I can find, so I will sleep with them as an animalistic act," and then say on Monday, "I will go out searching for a soulmate, with whom I seek to enjoy sex as the highest spiritual connection?" What kind of person can disconnect actions from ideas?

Look not for harm in the act; look for harm in the mind which thinks the act is okay.

I think that Ifat is starting to "get" this.

But, anyway, if this is nothing new then feel free to just ignore me; I don't really want to get into another "thing," here.

[Edit: added some more]

Edited by Inspector
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