An Existential Approach on the Immorality of Casual Sex

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Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 09:47 am
A short introduction: the body of this thread was prepared by for another forum. The original contained music links and much more vulgarity. The below is basically a copy/pasted and edited (yay censorship!) version of the original. So, if at certain points you are a bit confused as to why I referenced a song without a link, or why I chose a set of words...well...it was originally written for a different audience (most of whom are atheists and...to a degree...hedonists and consequentalists). You are all seeing a censored version. So, without further ado:

Alright, peoples...Shoot me again (Metallica song...may contain vulgar language, if you want to hear it, youtube it)...I ain't dead yet! Before I get to the thrust of the thread, though, I have to muse for a moment that whereas I've ripped on St. Anger with just about everyone else, I find that more and more St. Anger is the soundtrack of my life. It is not, of course, my favorite album. My favorite album is either one of the first three or Death Magnetic. Those are Metallica's best albums musically. Still...more and more, I find that St. Anger is increasingly becoming the most cathartic album for me. It is, I think, at least better than Reload. I'd rather listen to "All Within My Hands" than "Devil's Dance." The raw sound of St. Anger, the almost doom-metal like guitar riffs at certain points, the almost chaotic sound of it all...it somehow taps into my emotional state.

In any case, I once again had last night the existential angst that is The Unnamed Feeling (it contains vulgar language...if you want to hear the song, youtube it or something). You all know, my newfound friends, that I am as of yet still one who has never had sex with a woman. I've never had a real girlfriend. So great is the miserableness of my state that the one chick I was even ok friends with (a girl I hung out with last summer)...she wouldn't even sit directly next to me. Sad

In any case, my loneliness has ultimately produced in me, with the sure aid of my philosophical background, a certain existential way in me of thinking about relationships which can only be called Levinasean/Jaspers-esque. Of course, it should be no surprise to you that one who has never been in a relationship or had sexual relationships thinks so much about them both. After all, was it not this same loneliness which called both Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to writing?

Yet, last night between (not all at once) 12:30 in the morning till like 2:30 in the morning, there I was on the telephone with a certain girl I've had a crush on since my freshman year of high school (I'm in my junior year of college now) This girl is, alas, my Sweet Amber (if you want to hear the Metallica song, go to youtube...may contain vulgar language). So there I spoke with her, and guess what? She's having more relationship problems. Ha!

Of course, this all led to my suggestion that perhaps if she were to stop approaching relationships in such a vain way and...y'know...getting with a dude to whom she may be less attracted, and who though may be less able to offer her material crap...well...still nonetheless can respect this broad. I suggested that it would, and I love how poetic I am, perhaps "be a breath of fresh air for your urban lunges." I know. Just. Like. Virgil. :ninja: For some reason, though, she didn't seem all that interested (I didn't expect otherwise...though she did show me a certain lewd pic of herself in her undergarments, oddly enough. Confused

Whatever the case, the point is that somehow this all led to a dialogue on sex and relationships (that happens a lot with me). Her position was that I ought to first worry about procuring the sexual act, and then pursue a relationship with someone intellectually around the age of 30. My position was that this way of seeing things is entirely wrong. I don't see relationships as being based in sex. I see romantic relationships as being basically friendships in which two people have committed themselves to the other in an act of decision.

So I talked with her on the telephone, and she explained to me that thought it was better for one to lose his/her virginity to someone who isn't his/her first boyfriend/girlfriend. She, of course, disagreed with my view of relationships. Hers are generally based primarily on sex, and develop out of her sexual promiscuity. For her it's sex first, and then relationship.

Of course, I have to admit my wit here: "Sure...but I have to ask...how's that working out for you?"

"Right now? (Censored...a variation of a four letter word to the effect of 'not good')."

"How's that ever worked out for you?"

"(Censored...see above)."

"I thought so."

The circumstances of all this, of course, were freaking fantastic. It was almost as freaking awesome as Plato's set up to the Phaedo, in which Socrates sits within a prison cell, waiting for the hour of his death. This dialogue all happens directly after she frantically (while she's on the telephone) is searching for her a certain instrument of her lewdness, and directly after she consummates a certain lewd action. That miserable beast really loves that instrument probably more, I think, than she loves most people. I could almost hear, even as we speak, the saliva dripping from the lips of that disgusting swine as she caressed and hugged (I can only imagine) the instrument for dear life.

This all stirred me to righteous outrage. This was my answer, and now that I think of it, I think it's good enough to offer all of you too, my newfound friends:

The moment you approach another for casual intercourse is the moment that the Other person ceases to seem to you a person. That person becomes an object which you can manipulate to your own sick desires. Here is not "Joan," that woman, but rather "Joan," a walking set of genital organs. As Kant rightly points out, as Levinas stresses, and as Jaspers seems to hint at...people aren't objects. People. Are. People. And the moment you reduce another person to an object is the moment that you cross over into the most heinous of immorality and ethical abomination.

Approaching sexual relations in this fashion not only perverts the nature of the act (which is at least in part unitive), but it undermines the dignity of personhood and destroys the very fabric of social relationships.
People aren't objects. People are people.

Furthermore, in this same way of thinking we find the most miserable moral privation of fornication. "But I love my girlfriend," you tell me. "I respect my boyfriend," is the lie that you force out through your teeth. If you were not approaching this other person as an object at all, I tell you that you would marry that person first, for in marriage alone is there is a total unifying of persons. In marriage alone does one person fully receive another person into his own life...in marriage alone, whereby "two become one flesh."

But it stands, the Other for you is not another PERSON. The Other for you is not One who should be loved and respected...not in this or that way, nor because of this or that "aspect" of him...but as a total person. The Other is something, for you, to be reduced to objecthood.

And. I. Despise. You. For. It.

Here I stand in full appreciation of the sexual act and romantic relationships, and long for it "as the watchman awaits the waiting of day," and She (women in general) mocks me with the cruelest of scornful laughter which bites to the very bones of my soul like an enraged dog...and there you stand in "possession," so to speak, of all of it...yet not in awe of it, but with the prodigality and carelessness of a rich grandson.

I despise you all.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 02:04 pm
@Bonaventurian,
Bonaventurian wrote:
people aren't objects. People. Are. People. And the moment you reduce another person to an object is the moment that you cross over into the most heinous of immorality and ethical abomination.
If a relationship is honest, and no deception, manipulation, or trickery is involved, and no third parties are hurt by their decisions, then two adults can do what they want with one another, and there is nothing morally wrong about it. If two adults have decided that they want to treat each other like objects, then that's up to them.
 
Bonaventurian
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 02:06 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
If a relationship is honest, and no deception, manipulation, or trickery is involved, and no third parties are hurt by their decisions, then two adults can do what they want with one another, and there is nothing morally wrong about it. If two adults have decided that they want to treat each other like objects, then that's up to them.


I disagree. There's something seriously wrong about reducing The Other to an object. The Other isn't an object. The Other isn't a means. The Other is Other.
 
CarolA
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 03:57 pm
@Bonaventurian,
I agree with you Bonaventurian. One good way of thinking about any way we behave (whether it's sex or or general behaviour towards other people) is to imagine you are 100 years old and looking back over your life. Which action would you be proud of and which would you feel rather uncomforable with?
That doesn't mean a one-off sexual encounter is bad - sometimes a way of people comforting each other in times of stress: i.e. wartime, death of a friend. Or a holiday romance that you know wouldn't work in the "real world" for either of the parties.
But to just use someone like a convenience, it degrades the user and the used.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 03:59 pm
@Bonaventurian,
I think you are doing something completely artificial here.

First of all, we ARE objects. This is not mutually exclusive with being a person.

Second, you don't say WHY you feel it is immoral.

Finally, why is consensual, casual sex objectification in your mind? Physical intimacy requires trust to be consensual.

Also, are we not treating someone like an object if, instead of casual sex, we play a casual game of tennis?
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 05:50 pm
@Aedes,
The two people simply agree to be objects to each other for their own means. There is no lovey dovey 100% merging of means in marriage. There are going to be arguments, and rough patches. I think casual sex would tend to be more moral than marriage, and commitment, because I don't really know that many relationships are woven out of self interests that are meant to last for the couple's whole life(s). The casual sex is an act of compassion to either oneself (lol) or to the other and oneself, but more importantly, it fulfills the self interest to the extent that it was meant to fulfill, without exceeding it. That is all that matters; if both people are in agreement then everyone wins. The object (partner) is only considered an object defineably, relative to his/her ability to fulfill the self interest of the other. Mutuality does not get rid of the 'object', but it makes it more worth while, right? Also, compassion is without formality.
 
MITech
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 06:04 pm
@Holiday20310401,
I seem to agree with you holiday but what if you had a child then wouldn't marriage be appropriate. It would show that your child knows that you and your wife love each other. Marriage is like a symbol that lets the child know that there parents are happy. If a child had a mother and father that were not married would that effect the way the child thinks of there parents. Would the child think that there parents are happy with each other still?
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 06:20 pm
@MITech,
Fair enough, however it's only not redundant to elaborate on the implications of whether the child was an accident. In which case there is a huge ethical debate that arises here. I personally feel that if the female partner got pregnant then it's ultimately her decision to choose abortion. All the male can do is inform her of the situation. And I think abortion should always be open to the logical reasons of doing so. Imagine you're still in college or university and oops... But at the same time, the child is going to have a huge effect on the male who had better darn well stay in the relationship, else put the child up for adoption, which I don't advocate doing. So, obviously it seems that the male should have much say in the decision.

And, what if it wasn't the guy's fault. What if she wanted a child but he didn't and she was on top. Then what happens, huh?...
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 06:37 pm
@Bonaventurian,
Marriage isn't moral or immoral or amoral. It's a state of being. The things people do and the way they treat each other are what can be judged as moral or immoral.

Sex in marriage is not intrinsically more moral than casual sex, unless you have the not necessarily true assumption of mutual respect, love, cameraderie, etc. This exists in many marriages. But it is not inextricably linked to marriage. Sex in marriage can be very immoral if it's exploitative, manipulative, or (worse yet) a substitute for stronger interpersonal bonds (especially when children are at stake).
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 07:17 pm
@Aedes,
Well, what if one person of the couple does not really want to have sex but does it only out of the marriage because it is institutionalized.

And the change in state of being... can't that be described as moral or immoral; because that change in state of being is due to interaction with other people. Marriage is not a constant state of being anyways. It's only constant in it's legalities, which are (should be) irrelevant to the decisions the couple make. But that doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't end up affecting the morals.

So yes ok I see what you mean, lol, sorry. It is affecting the morality, not considered moral or immoral or amoral in itself, inherently ( I guess that's what you said...), but the process of it doing so... that can be considered moral or immoral, right?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 07:24 pm
@Holiday20310401,
There have been a few mystics who suggested that one must first know well sin before they can overcome the sin: and with that, they go on to drink excessively and womanize and all of that. Personally, I'm not a fan of that sort of philosophy, but in this particular case I'd suggest to you, Bonaventurian, that you might first come to know what you call a sin before you convince yourself that it is a sin.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 07:36 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401;41301 wrote:
Well, what if one person of the couple does not really want to have sex but does it only out of the marriage because it is institutionalized.
It is probably the minority of the time that both people are simultaneously in the mood, at least to start. But in a healthy relationship no one is having sex because of institutional obligation. In a healthy relationship, one partner may assent to have sex even when he/she doesn't really want to, because the desire to please the other, or the fact that one can get into it even if one didn't feel like it to start. Also, in a healthy relationship, the partner who is in the mood isn't going to impose it on a partner who really doesn't want to do it.

Quote:
And the change in state of being... can't that be described as moral or immoral; because that change in state of being is due to interaction with other people.
The choice to marry can be moral. That said, you can't anticipate every stress and problem of a lifetime together when you commit to marriage.

Quote:
Marriage is not a constant state of being anyways.
True, but in any instant it's still just a state of being.

Quote:
the process of it doing so... that can be considered moral or immoral, right?
Right. Morality applies only to choice.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 10:27 am
@Bonaventurian,
Consensual or casual sex generally implies that both parties treat the Other as an Object, in this case for sexual pleasure. One does not even need to ask for a name, or in some cases, see a face.
In a relationship which involves Love, one also acknowledges the Other's subjectivity; one likes the Other as a person and for its own sake, and builds a relationship.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 11:19 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;41432 wrote:
Consensual or casual sex generally implies that both parties treat the Other as an Object, in this case for sexual pleasure. One does not even need to ask for a name, or in some cases, see a face.
That can also be said for a game of tennis, in which the parties treat each other as objects for exercise, or for a competitive challenge, or to experience victory. And it's the physical capabilities of the opponent that determine the satisfaction.

So is that form of objectification any less immoral?
 
Kolbe
 
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 10:09 pm
@Aedes,
I will admit, on one of the rare times I left the house (for some reason my parents encourage me to go out drinking, strange world) I did go out and get very drunk. The next thing I know I'm sitting next to a girl who's trying to get me even more drunk, and we talk for a good while about nothing and everything, mainly a mutual friend. Then the whole scene flashes forward to me trying, and spending a good five minutes, to send a text replying, as she was asking me to find the house she was staying at. Next thing I know, I wake up next to her, complete uncertainty in what the f*ck happened, but at least I get a drink from subways out of it from one of her friends. The worst indicator is that she wouldn't look me in the eye in the morning.

Half of that was me getting off my chest, as this happened 6 months ago and I've told no-one the real story (nor really left the house much since), and the other half is saying that though casual sex may seem to some like it's just two people using each other, they really do it out of their own free will. Both parties are doing what they wanted to do at the time, under the influence or no, and they will have to live with the consequences of it. As to whether people are treated as objects in the process, that can be individual to each case, but the universal thing here is free will.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go :brickwall: for a while.
 
Insight phil
 
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 10:10 pm
@Bonaventurian,
to the OP.. Well done. Don't let these nihilists trick you.

I would disagree with a lot of what you wrote, but your ability to reason has led you to a higher level of understanding. Keep at it. =D
 
Mara phil
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 01:06 pm
@Bonaventurian,
I personally do not think marriage has anything to do on the subject of casual sex. It is simply meaningless in reality, you don't have to be married to another to truly be with them. I've known many people who have been together their whole life without being married and they seemed much happier then any married couple. Is that morally wrong? No, it is not because to say that is would just be a personal perspective. In reality morals varies from person to person.

What may be immoral to one may be moral to another, Isn't it all about personal perspective? If we are talking about majority morals which are simply pounded into ones views by the culture they were raised in can we really say we have any idea on if it moral or not?

So I say casual sex is nether moral nor immoral, It is simply an act that is done for many reasons that have no real evils to it. Besides is it not the top priority of human nature to simply have sex? Isn't that what it all leads up too in the long run anyways?
 
CarolA
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 04:05 pm
@Mara phil,
Mara wrote:
I personally do not think marriage has anything to do on the subject of casual sex. It is simply meaningless in reality, you don't have to be married to another to truly be with them. I've known many people who have been together their whole life without being married and they seemed much happier then any married couple. Is that morally wrong? No, it is not because to say that is would just be a personal perspective. In reality morals varies from person to person.


Surely if two people have been together for many years they are married! I have been with my partner for 15 years, we both refuse to go along with the belief that some "celebrant" reciting some words over our heads and making us pay for a marriage licence is going to "improve" our relationship. (Our laws do protect the property rights of any permanent relationship). But I would hardly call this a casual relationship! We are very committed to each other.
Kolbe - don't be too upset over what happened to you. I think we all do stupid things when drunk (and usually young). At least it taught you some life lessons and was probably not as harmful as trying to drive a car when you were smashed. In perspective, it was embarrassing for both parties, but at least you can feel that. That shows you have a soul!
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 04:19 pm
@Bonaventurian,
Perhaps you should wait until you experience something before you chastise and lecture others on the topic.

The central premise of your entire post, that the sexual act causes you to view your partner as an object, sounds entirely contrived from your pre-existing notions.

Sex, like any other shared activity, can be meaningless or intensely bonding, depending on how you viewed your partner beforehand and what was taken away from the experience.

I have had 12 sexual partners, of which only three were from a serious relationship. I can assure you from my experience, that sex can enhance the bond between a couple, nor does it necessarily result in disrespect of another partner.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 04:24 pm
@Bonaventurian,
I would also like to point out that, with the hideous manner in which marriage is conducted, one would be insane to not make sure there is some sexual chemistry between him/herself and their partner.
 
 

 
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