Is sex outside of.........

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Re: Is sex outside of.........

Unread postby SunXia » Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:13 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Clearly there are objective 'right' and 'wrong' when it comes to sex - not subjective at all. Rape is wrong. Spousal abuse (or any kind of abuse within a sexual relationship) is wrong. Human trafficking is wrong. Sexual use of children is wrong.

Maybe I should have been a bit clear on the consensual side of things as none of those are just sex those are abuse and abuse is always wrong regardless if it is sexual, physical, emotional etc If you are deliberately hurting someone that is wrong.

WeiWenDi wrote:Incest is wrong. Prostitution is wrong.

Well I think this is where we get into a grey area.

Incest usually comes from, in this day and age, abusive families and so in that instance it is inherently wrong of course. I also personally don't know how people can see relation and see sex but cousins are allowed to marry etc. I would argue that yes incest is wrong as it is your brother or mother or father or sister. However, there are people who have been adopted or fostered and fallen in love and had completely healthy children and marriages only to discover they are related. Is it fair to force them to divorce in that case, to deliberately separate a loving home? Doesn't really seem fair does it.

In prostitution there are many forms of it and its not always illegal, although agreed, in many places it is.

Sexual exploitation, human trafficking and forced prostitution are, of course, wrong and is a form of abuse. There are many that are forced into the trade and that is, of course, wrong also.

But there are happy healthy people who are happy to be prostitutes, happy to provide that service that people seek out. As long as it is in a safe environment and nobody is getting hurt then I'm not in the "its wrong" boat there as, while I would never do it, there are countries that regulate it and promote its safety. It is that persons body to do so with as they wish.

WeiWenDi wrote:I would even say (though this is certainly controversial nowadays) that divorce for any other reason than infidelity or abuse is wrong.

That is certainly a matter of opinion and is completely subjective as there are cases where people, no matter how hard they try, are making themselves and their children completely unhappy because the love is gone. And I know it seems impossible but there have been cases of marriages lasting decades and people feeling "I just don't love you anymore" and it happens.

WeiWenDi wrote:It's also clear that 'consent' is not an adequate marker of 'right' and 'wrong' when it comes to sex. Prostitution can be considered 'consenting', since taken in an analysis absent all considerations of relative power and social status, it is transactional in an exactly analogous way to the 'consent' model (and many sexual libertarians can and do say so outright).

A lot of prostitution is consenting and a lot of it isn't. When it is forced, as I said, that is very very wrong. However, there are some who enjoy that line of work. We often have sex workers on television arguing for prostitution as it makes them happy. I think, here its legal as long as you are not standing on street corners and brothels and things like that. You are also liable if you pay someone who is being forced into prostitution, for sex. Personally I think this is a building stone that can lead to safer places for people who want to be in this line of work. It don't think it is simple as saying every woman is forced into it and thus it is wrong.

WeiWenDi wrote:Even some kinds of spousal abuse can be considered 'consenting', particularly if the abused spouse is afraid or too emotionally entangled to leave or deny consent.
If you are scared of your partner in life then something is very wrong and people are very rarely scared without due reason. If you have been forced into the marriage then that is not consent, that is forced. If you have been abused to the point where emotionally you are unable to say no then that, again, is not consent as it comes from abuse.

As I said communication is key in relationship and honesty so that you can build a healthy relationship. If there is fear due to the actions of one of the party that's not proper consent and its certainly not a healthy relationship.

WeiWenDi wrote:What is absent from all of the above is exactly love, or at least love rightly considered. Sex without love is exploitation. It's exploitation of another person's body, for one's own selfish pleasure or reproductive faculties, no matter what other kind of discussion takes place.

If a person wants to have sex with someone they love an do so, aren't they using that persons body for things they want and desire too??

Each of us have desires, wants and needs and sex without love does not equal exploitation as sex without love is not about "just what I want and not you" as what exploitation is. Exploitation in terms of people is in regards to treating people unfairly in order to get what you want and while that happens, in many relationships and marriages, it doesn't always happen in the absence of love. If you have entered into a relationship openly honest about what you want and the other person is openly honest about what they want and if they are both compatible then there shouldn't be a problem. If you are lying to a person to get what you want then yes that is exploiting them but that is not always the case.

To use that argument, then having sex with a loved one can be exploitation too as you desire sex with someone you love and initiating it means you are doing something you want and desire. We all take what we want from the world a lot of the time, lust and desire can be every bit as compatible in an equal relationship as love. If you didn't want to be with someone you loved then you wouldn't be with them.

Shozuhn wrote:Sometimes it would feel really, really good to punch my boss right in the middle of her face. But I don't, because I'm not a wild animal.

I would like to think you also don't because that is assault and assaulting others deliberately is wrong.

Shozuhn wrote:I mean, if the risk of disease wasn't bad enough

This is a reason that safe sex should be promoted and not a reason to condemn others for having sex. There is always risks of disease in life this is why I would promote healthy lifestyles and doctor check ups even if you are not having sex.

Shozuhn wrote:to potentially bring a child into a situation where there isn't a loving family environment within which to raise the child is just wrong.

Again, a reason to promote safe sex. In fact, refusing to talk to teenagers about sex and telling them to deny themselves without giving a proper reason other than "sex without love is wrong" leads to rebellion, confusion and mistakes. Then that further leads to guilt and sometimes, teen pregnancy.

I have seen many children brought into the world through love and then their parents start hating each other and divide the family and the children often get stuck in the middle. My own niece and nephew were brought into the world in a loving relationship but their father hung himself and much of his side of the family have passed away but those children are still loved. Just because parents fall out of love or things does not mean a child does not benefit from experiencing love.

Shozuhn wrote:Or maybe I'm just old fashion... but I wanna be loved.

hat is entirely your prerogative, if it is something you want then go for it. But others should not be forced to be held to that if it is not something they want in life. You want to love someone and want to feel loved in turn and you will selfishly seek that out from a relationship. I'm not saying that it is wrong to be selfish as its ok to do in life what is right for you.

Its alright to sit back and say that its selfish and exploitative to want something that has nothing to do with love. However one can easily turn it around and say that getting what you want for any relationship can be selfish and exploitative including love as its clearly something you want in life and thus its selfish. Then someone can say "no its an equal partnership" but then why does a relationship not based on love but still based on honest understanding of one another have to be considered unequal?

There is no exact right way to be in an equal, healthy and honest relationship. As long as both parties are honest, willing and treated with respect then it doesn't have to be related to love or marriage.
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Re: Is sex outside of.........

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:15 pm

SunXia wrote:Maybe I should have been a bit clear on the consensual side of things as none of those are just sex those are abuse and abuse is always wrong regardless if it is sexual, physical, emotional etc If you are deliberately hurting someone that is wrong.


There's way, way more to it than that. Like I just argued, 'consent' by itself clearly isn't an adequate moral yardstick.

SunXia wrote:But there are happy healthy people who are happy to be prostitutes, happy to provide that service that people seek out. As long as it is in a safe environment and nobody is getting hurt then I'm not in the "its wrong" boat there as, while I would never do it, there are countries that regulate it and promote its safety. It is that persons body to do so with as they wish.


These 'happy, healthy people who are happy to be prostitutes' are essentially the safe and media-friendly front that the entire industry uses to hide its seamy, exploitative underbelly, and to legitimate itself in the eyes of politer society. Read up on the system in Germany: one of the few countries that ostensibly does have this regulation and safety in prostitution. Only forty-four women have formally registered under Germany's system, but hundreds of thousands more have been hoodwinked or coerced into it. It is absolutely disgusting what that country does to women - they are treated essentially as machines, as cattle.

Nothing can justify this system that's been put in place in Germany. Not even the few outrageously-privileged women who claim that their line of work is 'liberating'. They aren't just justifying the treatment of their own bodies - they are justifying the treatment of so many others who have it way worse than they do.

Pretty much the only humane model I can think of that neither legitimates prostitution nor further victimises prostitutes is Sweden's model, in which it's legal to be a prostitute, but it's illegal to pay for sex. That strikes me as a decent model.

SunXia wrote:Incest usually comes from, in this day and age, abusive families and so in that instance it is inherently wrong of course. I also personally don't know how people can see relation and see sex but cousins are allowed to marry etc. I would argue that yes incest is wrong as it is your brother or mother or father or sister. However, there are people who have been adopted or fostered and fallen in love and had completely healthy children and marriages only to discover they are related. Is it fair to force them to divorce in that case, to deliberately separate a loving home? Doesn't really seem fair does it.


I assume you're talking about this case, or a similar one?

Such cases are sadly becoming more common due to more and more children being raised in one-parent homes. Personally, I think they're tragic. Given that their marriage happened in ignorance, and because I don't think divorce should happen except in cases of abuse or infidelity, I don't think they should deliberately separate. You're right that to do so would be incredibly unfair on the individual level. But I'm not going to pretend such cases aren't problematic - it's not a good thing at all that people, even adults, don't necessarily know who their biological parents are.

SunXia wrote:That is certainly a matter of opinion and is completely subjective as there are cases where people, no matter how hard they try, are making themselves and their children completely unhappy because the love is gone. And I know it seems impossible but there have been cases of marriages lasting decades and people feeling "I just don't love you anymore" and it happens.


In this case, the cure is often worse than the disease it tries to treat.

I've had friends who had parents divorce, and who were incredibly depressed over the matter, or who ended up acting out in distressing ways - doing drugs, drinking, driving recklessly. One of them - actually a very good friend of mine for awhile, until I moved away - died in a car crash before he finished college.

I'm not sure divorce is in any way better for children than the marriages you're describing.

SunXia wrote:If you are scared of your partner in life then something is very wrong and people are very rarely scared without due reason. If you have been forced into the marriage then that is not consent, that is forced. If you have been abused to the point where emotionally you are unable to say no then that, again, is not consent as it comes from abuse.

As I said communication is key in relationship and honesty so that you can build a healthy relationship. If there is fear due to the actions of one of the party that's not proper consent and its certainly not a healthy relationship.


True, but consent and communication alone don't get you to 'healthy'. Again, in college, I knew of at least one upperclassman abusing an underclasswoman by doing the whole sensitive let's-talk-about-our-feelings routine in the beginning, and then dumping her for someone else while all the while pretending he was the victim of 'miscommunication'. Not to mention what happened to me. Emotional abuse is often very subtle, and there are all sorts of different ways for sexual predators to, to use Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky's famous term, 'manufacture consent'.

SunXia wrote:If a person wants to have sex with someone they love an do so, aren't they using that persons body for things they want and desire too??


Um, no. In a loving relationship - to put it bluntly - it's at least as important to me that my wife gets off enough, as that I do.

SunXia wrote:sex without love is not about "just what I want and not you" as what exploitation is.


Isn't that exactly what sex without love is? It's transactional. It's capitalistic. 'Here's what I want and here's what I'm willing to negotiate with you for it.' You're looking to get the best deal - you're not concerned in the first instance with what the other person wants.

That's not what sex with love is. Sex with love is a gift, not a transaction. And, like all true gifts, it's not something you just take back whenever you like. Marriage is institutionally best-suited to fulfilling that, in that it ensures that two people give themselves to one another without reservation, without time limits, without exceptions, without strings attached, in fair weather and foul.

Again, these are ideal types. There are exploitative marriages - even brutally exploitative ones - and there are long-lasting relationships outside marriage that end up being quite healthy. But again, marriage is the best, most whole and most thoroughgoing social context for such relationships to take place.

SunXia wrote:We all take what we want from the world a lot of the time, lust and desire can be every bit as compatible in an equal relationship as love. If you didn't want to be with someone you loved then you wouldn't be with them.


Lust and sexual desire aren't the same thing. It's the difference between wanting the best for someone and using them. To be blunt, it's the difference between making love to someone and f**king them over.

Sexual desire can be elevating. It can be transformative. It can be directed healthily. It can be shared. But the way 'lust' is used in its normal context, it is exploitative, grasping and degrading.
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Re: Is sex outside of.........

Unread postby SunXia » Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:56 pm

There's way, way more to it than that. Like I just argued, 'consent' by itself clearly isn't an adequate moral yardstick.

If someone is communicating honestly with another person and they both consent openly and honestly to something, if they both want it, I don't see the problem if their desires are compatible and they both honestly don't want strings or attachments.

These 'happy, healthy people who are happy to be prostitutes' are essentially the safe and media-friendly front that the entire industry uses to hide its seamy, exploitative underbelly, and to legitimate itself in the eyes of politer society.

Actually I see people on our political shows arguing against tighter and more illegal measures against them. There is no reason for these women or men to put up a front. But even if that was true, you cannot tar everybody with the same brush.

Read up on the system in Germany: one of the few countries that ostensibly does have this regulation and safety in prostitution

I have read up on them and a lot of the problems come from sex traffickers coming into the country from Eastern Europe and the stigma it presents. If society continues to stigmatize sex to being safe in only one way then of course there are going to be problems. In West Germany, tests proved that a very low percentage of prostitutes had diseases compared to non-prostitutes and yet there's still the social stigma of being "dirty".

However, things are changing and moving forward as things should. Often, this is a slow progress as citizens still try to cling to traditionalist views of the past. Even now when homosexuality is legal a equal marriage is happening, many citizens still consider it a stigma and still cling to their old fashioned views of those people. People can sit there and say outright "Homosexuality is wrong" and yet wrong to whom because in many places, there is nothing legally wrong with it. However, due to stigma and such, famous people tend to wait before revealing their sexuality to the masses because of the stigma still present in society. So in the same vein "Prostitution is wrong" well wrong to whom? To you? Fine that's your view. It's against the law in the US, again fine. But there are many places that it is not "wrong" legally. That isn't to say that the social stigma hasn't gone away so people hide their profession but in the act they still are not doing anything wrong.

Prostitution is as old as civilization itself, it is a commodity that people are willing to sell and people are willing to buy. It will never be done away with as even when its illegal, there will always be a market for it and all that does is force people to take it to the Black Market and that's when it becomes much more dangerous. Social stigmas do the same thing because people don't want to come forward because of judgement and won't want to register because of people in society stigmatizing them as dirty individuals. .

Prostitution as an act itself is not harmful but if it becomes harmful its usually because sex traffickers, pimps and other types of abusers have become involved. That's when the police need to step in and prosecute. Of course the models aren't perfect but neither are the models elsewhere where prostitution still happens regardless of laws.

I assume you're talking about this case, or a similar one?

I've actually never heard of that case, one of the cases I was reading was in reference to adoption and not a mother abandoning them. I'm shocked that neither of them knew their mothers surname and just knew her as "Maria".

Such cases are sadly becoming more common due to more and more children being raised in one-parent homes.

In such cases I think people should bee honest with their children when they reach an age of understanding and are able to handle it. I think its a fundamental duty as a parent, children would want to know. Even when they're adopted they still want to know.

My cousin was raised basically as a sister to me (three weeks between us) and her mother told her all her life that she wasn't wanted by her father. To be honest, my aunt is quite vindictive but I find this sad, that for almost 30 years she has believed her father did not want her. He recently added her on Facebook and she was in quite a dilemma before declining because her mother would be mad at her if she accepted. Maybe one day she will not fear her mothers wrath and speak to him but I'm glad she never dated any of her half brothers as her father was a widow at the time of her conception and she didn't know his name until my other aunt finally told her at 25 although we all knew.

I've had friends who had parents divorce, and who were incredibly depressed over the matter, or who ended up acting out in distressing ways - doing drugs, drinking, driving recklessly.

I have also had friends who did this and the major underlying issue here is that their parents denied the problem for so long they ended up hating and resenting each other even more that the divisions became irreparable even on a platonic level. Thus, the parents refused to be in the same room as each other for extended periods of time.

The thing with divorce is that if you allow it, it becomes so dirty and messy and the children are negatively affect by it. But children are also negatively affected if someone in a marriage is not happy about something and the other person refuses to leave. I have seen both sides of things happen where kids are traumatized so sometimes you have to step back and make decisions based on the family unit and what is best. Being forced to live in an unhealthy unit can cause more destructive ways later on. It always works differently for different people.

True, but consent and communication alone don't get you to 'healthy'. Again, in college, I knew of at least one upperclassman abusing an underclasswoman by doing the whole sensitive let's-talk-about-our-feelings routine in the beginning, and then dumping her for someone else while all the while pretending he was the victim of 'miscommunication'.

But I didn't just say communication and consent, I said honesty as well.

When you say abusing was he actually abusing her or was he abusing her feelings for him and thus exploiting those feeling to get his own ends. That is a case of "what I want" to be sure. In these cases we need to try and realize when a person is being honest or dishonest. If the person is known to do this sort of thing then yeah she was a bit naive to engage in a relationship with him.

However, there are always cases when someone will exploit others for their own gain and we as people have to try and realize when when can trust that person is being honest or not. I don't think the dishonesty and exploitative antics of some people should stop others having honest healthy relationships.

Emotional abuse is often very subtle, and there are all sorts of different ways for sexual predators to, to use Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky's famous term, 'manufacture consent'.

Well abuse is abuse and it is not what I am advocating here since we also know people can be forced into marriage or coerced/manipulated into marriage by proclamations of love or by being told that love will develop. Some cases and examples does not stop others from having healthy consensual relations.

Um, no. In a loving relationship - to put it bluntly - it's at least as important to me that my wife gets off enough, as that I do.

In any of the casual trusting relationships I have had they were very satisfying for both parties. It was never about "I want sex get over here now" it was always about communication about what "we" wanted at any given time. There was no greed here was mutual pleasure and enjoyment. That is not exclusive to "love".

Isn't that exactly what sex without love is?

No it isn't. To you, maybe, it is because you haven't experienced a healthy relationship without love or commitment. Many people enjoy giving pleasure as much as receiving pleasure and in the bedroom it is very important to them. It can be a mutual, healthy, equal experience.

You're looking to get the best deal - you're not concerned in the first instance with what the other person wants.

Who isn't concerned about what the other person wants? That's not something based on healthy, honest discussion. If you are attracted to someone and they to you but neither of you want a relationship based on love and commitment and you have a discussion about it and both of you decide to embark on a mutually enjoyable experience then what is the problem?

Every single relationship is based on the desires of both parties. If you want and desire Love and Commitment then that is fine and if you find another person who is attracted to you and wants the same things then you embark on a relationship based on that. It is still something that you want to do and Love and Commitment is something you get out of being in a relationship with that person.

But not everyone wants that. Certainly when I was studying at University I didn't want the "I love you" texts or the issues that come from a committed relationship. I had other things to focus on. But I enjoyed the feeling of being desirable to someone else and enjoyed sex which is nothing to be ashamed of. I met someone who lived on the same campus as me, we were both highly attracted to one another and used to flirt all the time. Through discussion and phone calls over several months we both discovered that we didn't want a relationship but we both wanted each other. After further discussion and open honesty we decided to embark on a relationship with no strings. We were sure neither one had romantic ideals about the other but there was a lot of tension building between us.

So we both got what we mutually wanted out of the situation. There was no exploitation or unfair treatment or lies. There was also no guilt if I went out and met someone else I was attracted to like there is in relationships. If someone told me they fancied me there was no need to hide it and there was no green eyed monster surfacing. It was a mutual thing that carried no strings for the future or when we were with other people. We both enjoyed our relationship and it came to a natural conclusion at the end of university as we both returned home.

We all engage in relationships because we all get something out of it; stability; love; pleasure; excitement; desire; joy etc etc. It may be important to you that your wife is pleasured but that is something you still want to do for her and it doesn't have to be any different in other types of relationships.

That's not what sex with love is. Sex with love is a gift, not a transaction. And, like all true gifts, it's not something you just take back whenever you like.

You can't take back an act of the past. Some can consider sex without love to be a gift as well.

To be blunt, it's the difference between making love to someone and f**king them over.

Who is, ahem, screwing someone over here? I have already stated that exploitative relationships are not healthy as any and all healthy relationships should be about what both of the participating parties want.

it is exploitative, grasping and degrading.

None of my relationships that were not based on love has ever left me feeling degraded or exploited in anyway. Some within society may attempt to degrade me to the "immoral lot" of their minds but that is alright, really. I do not seek their approval and I am not ashamed of exploring my sexuality in a safe manner that neither affected me mentally, physically or emotionally in a detrimental manner.

Many different relationships can be degrading. Not everyone wants or strives for the love and stability you clearly want and enjoy. Hell many marriages are not based on love and are still very happy. There's all sorts of people in the world and thus all sorts of couples and relationships and as long as people are safe, healthy and happy I think that diversity should be celebrated.
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Re: Is sex outside of.........

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:33 pm

SunXia wrote:If someone is communicating honestly with another person and they both consent openly and honestly to something, if they both want it, I don't see the problem if their desires are compatible and they both honestly don't want strings or attachments.


That's much, much harder to achieve than you make it sound. Not everyone is as capable of unplugging their emotions from their bodies as you clearly are, nor should they be expected to be.

SunXia wrote:I have read up on them and a lot of the problems come from sex traffickers coming into the country from Eastern Europe and the stigma it presents. If society continues to stigmatize sex to being safe in only one way then of course there are going to be problems.


Did you actually read those stories? The problem isn't just stigma. The way those women are treated - drive-through 'sex boxes', stalls where men can pay 50 euros for all the sex they want, women servicing lines of men without rest or time to clean themselves. It's utterly cruel, and it's degrading on a very basic level. These women aren't being shunned by society - they are being hidden from it, deliberately, except to the men who take advantage of their situations. And you want to focus only on the women who clearly have the most power and can set their own standards within a system that's rigged against everybody else?

SunXia wrote:Prostitution is as old as civilization itself, it is a commodity that people are willing to sell and people are willing to buy.


Yeah. So is every other form of slavery. I don't think I'm the one being a stick-in-the-mud traditionalist here, however much you try to tar me with that brush.

SunXia wrote:It will never be done away with as even when its illegal, there will always be a market for it and all that does is force people to take it to the Black Market and that's when it becomes much more dangerous.


That's a claim you have to prove, and it doesn't seem borne out by the available evidence. The black market in human flesh is still very much active and problematic in Germany and the Netherlands, and it runs all the more efficiently because it can operate under a legal guise. All it has to do is haul up a few of the abused girls, feed them a line to tell the police whenever they are asked how they are being treated (and the police very seldom ask), and it's back to business as usual.

SunXia wrote:Prostitution as an act itself is not harmful but if it becomes harmful its usually because sex traffickers, pimps and other types of abusers have become involved.


Yeah, right. Find me a place where prostitution happens where sex traffickers, pimps and abusers aren't involved - then we'll talk. But reality is quite different from these idealised situations. What looks like a harmless transaction from the safety of academia looks stunningly like exploitation close-up.

SunXia wrote:In such cases I think people should bee honest with their children when they reach an age of understanding and are able to handle it. I think its a fundamental duty as a parent, children would want to know. Even when they're adopted they still want to know.


Again, completely agreed here. I don't particularly believe in shielding children from information they need to know, or have a right to know.

SunXia wrote:The thing with divorce is that if you allow it, it becomes so dirty and messy and the children are negatively affect by it. But children are also negatively affected if someone in a marriage is not happy about something and the other person refuses to leave. I have seen both sides of things happen where kids are traumatized so sometimes you have to step back and make decisions based on the family unit and what is best. Being forced to live in an unhealthy unit can cause more destructive ways later on. It always works differently for different people.


All I can tell is that the ease of divorce in my own country has affected the society, particularly poor people, in incredibly unhealthy ways. Marriage is looked on as more and more of a risk and a liability than a safe space, and trust gets eroded between men and women. All sorts of problems crop up when that begins to happen - not least of which is greater incidence of rape. Statistically the most likely perpetrators of rape are the stepfathers and mothers' boyfriends of young women, sad to say.

SunXia wrote:But I didn't just say communication and consent, I said honesty as well.


For one thing, people aren't always rational - even if they communicate something, and even if what they believe they communicate is true, it might not reflect the reality of their situation. For another thing, for a certain kind of personality, they can be completely self-deluded about the impact their behaviour has on other people, or they can just be plain irresponsible, or they can just plain not care. The guy in this situation was very honestly being a jackass.

SunXia wrote:There was no greed here was mutual pleasure and enjoyment. That is not exclusive to "love".


Call it what you like.

But not everyone can divorce their emotions and mental commitments so easily from their bodies. And I find it distressing that the culture is pressing more and more people to do so who are not able to.

SunXia wrote:If you are attracted to someone and they to you but neither of you want a relationship based on love and commitment and you have a discussion about it and both of you decide to embark on a mutually enjoyable experience then what is the problem?


The problem is game-theoretical. Relationships with defined endgames generally don't work out in optimal situations for either party unless you change the rules. Game theory is broadly applicable to all such contractual relationships - once the term of engagement ends, people will look to get the most they can out of their situation and screw everybody else. No commitment means precisely that - no responsibility for the well-being of a partner, easily cast aside when they become a liability or just boring.

Only when interaction becomes iterated, with multiple engagements and no definite endgame - for example, in a serious and committed relationship - does constant cooperation, communication and honesty become an optimal strategy.

SunXia wrote:Who is, ahem, screwing someone over here? I have already stated that exploitative relationships are not healthy as any and all healthy relationships should be about what both of the participating parties want.


Well, for one thing, I find your attitude toward prostitution to be overly naive and unrealistic. The same sort of thinking that you're doing here was what led to the regimes in Germany and the Netherlands under which so many young women from Eastern Europe are now being treated like chattel slaves. There's a lot of room for exploitation in your view of the world, that quite frankly you seem blind to.

I'm not being pessimistic on this. Quite frankly, I have seen relationships (both married and unmarried) that can work and do work - but they generally only work when each person is willing to sacrifice something for the other absolutely, without expectation of reward. But these so often require the emotional and mutual life-building arrangements that you seem to dispense with as unnecessary.
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Re: Is sex outside of.........

Unread postby James » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:18 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Well, that's one big part of my point right there.

The follow-up from it, though, is that healthy relationships are never about 'what I want from them', really. Healthy relationships are never about 'me', about what 'I want'. The two healthy relationships I've been in were the ones that were about 'we', and about who 'we are' and can be. Sex is the same way. It's amazing when done for the right reasons with the right person. But it can also be incredibly destructive, in the long term, if it's done for the wrong reasons.

Also, marriage isn't a cure-all. It clearly isn't when it's done for the wrong reasons, and it clearly isn't considering the way we Americans do it (where half of all marriages end in divorce). But there are two valid ways of being sexual: the golden rule is monastic celibacy (sublimating all one's sexual urges into devotion and love of God); the silver rule is marriage (giving oneself without reserve to another person, in the creative and procreative image of the Holy Trinity).

I wouldn't pin the United States' divorce rate on sex before marriage. It certainly plays a role in a subset of marriages which are done 'for the children' (sex outside marriage is nothing new, as an aside, and nothing American—and in scenarios where marriage or acknowledgment was out of the question the outcomes were no more admirable). There are much greater forces at play, including simply that divorce is becoming far more accepted by American culture. We have far fewer marriages being maintained simply due to fear of being ostracized by friends, neighborhoods, church, or other observing parties.

I'd also disagree with a classification that governs when sex is accepted on religious grounds. But I certainly expect to meet disagreement there when discussing the subject with anyone who governs the subjects of sex and marriage on religious grounds.

I do have a thought on your comments about a healthy relationship, though. It's very easy to say a healthy relationship is never about 'me', for example. That sounds great, but in practice it isn't so realistic. If we're honest, many aspects of even a healthy relationship remain about 'me'—it's in how we handle those aspects that a relationship shines. You're not going to have a healthy relationship unless you're happy in that relationship, and being happy means looking after both you and them. Indeed, if you're not happy, you can't really look after them. That frequently means the presences of 'me' time in a relationship, or efforts to preserve one's happiness even in occasional disapproval from a partner. If your spouse, for example, does not want you to foster friendships outside a marriage, that spouse is wrong and is setting you up for a scenario where some concern for 'you'—a discussion and effort to preserve some of what makes 'you' happy—is going to play an important role in the survival and long-term enjoyment of that marriage. Unless you're married to some kind of saint, you've got to look out for 'you' in a healthy way, and you've got to let your spouse look out for her as well.

WeiWenDi wrote:All true, I suppose. But for me personally the costs of said mistakes and experiences has been relatively high. I realise that it might very well have been far higher, and I'm quite grateful that I 'got off easy', as it were. But those experiences did lead me to find that there is a remarkable amount of wisdom in the teachings of the Church that sex is something best left until marriage, a relationship sacramentally oriented to long-term trust, security and shared biological and social interests.

They can be extremely high! They can completely alter the course of life. And I expect there are many people, as a relative percentage, who found themselves in a position where they got off far easier than they might have otherwise. Hopefully they, too, turned it into a learning experience.

On a more personal note, I liken the 'no sex before marriage' solution somewhat to a person who finds themselves in debt and chooses to cut up all their cards and never take on debt or work with credit again. It is a solution to the problem, and it may be the right solution for that person, but it falls far short of another scenario where that person learned to manage their finances responsibly. My personal belief on what makes for a healthy marriage is one where you're effectively living as a married couple before you become married, that way you've already given yourself a very realistic expectation of what you're committing to. It's sacrilegious, sure, but when marriage is a thing that completely redefines a relationship, it necessarily introduces more risk to the decision—a greater probability that the marriage could be an unhappy one.

I'm quite comfortable with a personal choice here along the more religious lines—no sex before marriage. I become uneasy again, though, in how parents frequently choose to apply that belief to children. It's great to encourage it, but when that effort is reinforced by complete avoidance of the subject and a deliberate effort to negate an understanding of what sex is, how it works, how babies work, how babies can be prevented—it dramatically improves the probability of future sex outside marriage materializing in its most destructive form. Additionally, teaching that it is dirty, or shouldn't be enjoyed, or that it should only serve a practical purpose—common to some religious beliefs so might as well mention them as well—that messes kids up too, and has a negative impact on the possibility that sex will be a wonderful part of their future relationships.

WeiWenDi wrote:MDs, self-styled or otherwise, do feature prominently in the 'men's health' and 'women's health' magazines which are often found in supermarket register fronts. They may not be 'experts' in the strict sense of the word, but that is how they present themselves and that is how they are clearly meant to be taken by the reading public.

Oh, sure. But they're idiots. We've got plenty of those. And they're not experts. They've chosen to leverage their education in such a way that makes money doing the opposite of what that education was meant to accomplish.

It's fine to acknowledge that they're there, but I think it is probably best to reserve the label of 'expert' for people who not only research a given field, but understand it, and apply it properly, honestly, ethically. If someone's misapplying their knowledge, they have, in my mind, disqualified themselves from the 'expert' label.

WeiWenDi wrote:Well, for one thing, that's not a particularly fair reading of Lasch's argument at all - and here I just presented his jeremiastic conclusion. Lasch does have a penchant for reading the past with a certain degree of sympathy; I wouldn't say nostalgia, because if you read his actual books he does make careful note of the benefits modernity has brought, but merely questions the cost at which they have come. He has also done quite a bit more study into this subject, having been an academic historian when he was still alive, than either you or I have, so I tend to defer to his expertise on the matter.

More broadly, though, I think his general message is right. The change in advertising has been gradual and it has been subtle, but it is noticeable. You're right that it has always been tethered to insinuating itself into some particular need whether real or imagined, but what Lasch is reacting to is the technique with which advertising now does so, not particular examples of where it has or hasn't succeeded. Marketing has grown more and more adept at creating and then exploiting these psychological insecurities.

I cannot comment to Lasch's work as a whole. Only that second paragraph. The first I largely agreed with. The opening sentence is wrong, and the remainder, while drawing on truth, becomes an embellishment—a kind of romanticization of the past to set a platform for an argument pertaining to the present. Maybe out of context the whole point is missed or muddied, but that's my position. And I'm comfortable having it as someone who has enjoyed advertising as a part of his own professional education. My disagreement is strictly based on the many examples of these past advertisements I've interacted with (whether amusement, hobby reading, or study).

Maybe that's evidenced in the fact I agree with your second paragraph.

WeiWenDi wrote:Also, I don't think you can have it both ways the way you seem to want.

For a capitalist society like ours to be 'more open to and accepting of sexuality' in an uncritical way, means for precisely those drives and urges - formerly kept to the bedroom - to be placed in the eye of the market to be bilked for profit. That leads precisely to size-2 models in their underwear pouting and posing on billboards and magazine covers, which in turn drives the popular perceptions of body image, which in turn drives the demand for Disney princesses and Barbie dolls. The unattainable ideal is created for men to lust after, and for women to envy; the ideal in turn spurs consumer behaviour to chase after it. How is that not exactly what Lasch describes above?

I'm not trying to have it both ways here. I'm, rather, observing that there are pros and cons to both scenarios. Neither is completely good nor bad. As a society becomes more open and accepting of sexuality it stands to reason that the advertising industry becomes more accepting of it as well, and that leads to more influence on people.

Let's separate here, though, any belief that a greater acceptance of sexuality has a thing to do with society's idea of what sexy is. Or any belief that women (and men!) did not antagonize themselves over an image of what sexy is prior to advertising in its current form, or that this has anything to do with the United States. While the United States was far more prudish there were still strong expectations of what 'beautiful' meant and people still strived to attain those goals. This remains the same in other countries, and is most prominently a product of all that drives us to find a partner and any instinct inclining us toward sexual intercourse. The contribution that is playing a new role, whether through print, and then through movies and television (the likes of Walt Disney), or today through the internet, airbrushed and Photoshopped models, and unrealistic digital characters—that's the artificial contribution and it falls back solely on appealing to baser instincts.

Back to your reply, these factors which play into each other do just that. Barbie is a product of a, b, c, x, y, and z. Not a sequence of events that trace back to something so simple as society becoming more accepting of sexuality. And over time any of those factors continue to play upon others.

It is a cultural problem with roots simply in how we, as a given culture, choose to define 'beauty'.

In many ways this problem has very new contributing elements. It is a relatively new introduction to this problem that we can so easily change what a woman looks like. Computers have given us tools far exceeding the older practice if simply using models who have a very specific body time, and in turn feed into that old problem in new ways.

WeiWenDi wrote: :shock:

Huh?

I agree that there are incredibly creepy and irresponsible parents out there, particularly in America and particularly in the Bible Belt. But I don't think that the vast bulk of parents - even the conservative ones - would say that they are trying to prevent children from understanding sex. I think that's a fundamental misunderstanding of their position. I think instead they would claim that they are trying to contextualise sex within a moral framework that includes other aspects of adulthood.

If they support anything even remotely resembling the curriculum of abstinence only eduction while avoiding the subject as parents—a very common scenario—they are accomplishing exactly what I said. And for the sake of reply, please take note that I put 'while' in italics there. Supporting abstinence only eduction would not be such a bad thing if a parent took it upon themselves to provide their children with a thorough sex education. But they rarely do.

WeiWenDi wrote:Something that is 'fundamentally' - that is, at its essence and basis - one thing, by definition cannot be anything else. So you are saying first that sex is at its essence and basis a means of expressing and sharing in intimacy, and then saying later that it... doesn't have to be?

How are you defining 'sex' here? Of course it can be many things. Sex is an act, and its contributions and consequences (good or bad) relate directly to any number of other factors. Chief among them, emotional maturity. And here I'm defining sex as sexual intercourse between consenting adults.
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Re: Is sex outside of.........

Unread postby SunXia » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:26 pm

That's much, much harder to achieve than you make it sound. Not everyone is as capable of unplugging their emotions from their bodies as you clearly are, nor should they be expected to be.

That is true, as I stated, everyone is different and will want and act on different things. I know my own experiences have shaped my own life but I doubt that I am the only person capable of this since I have managed to find several men like me. I've also met women who claim the same but I have never entered into relations with them although more than one have wanted but I can only state that I know the men definitely shared the view.

The way those women are treated - drive-through 'sex boxes', stalls where men can pay 50 euros for all the sex they want, women servicing lines of men without rest or time to clean themselves. It's utterly cruel, and it's degrading on a very basic level

I agree with this, the treatment of these women is horrific and downright disgusting and honestly, more needs to be done to protect them. Those stories and stories like it sadden me greatly that people would treat others like this. Only in August, Eastern European girls were rescued from trafficking.

While I agree Human Trafficking is wrong and exploitation is wrong, I don't know how anyone could consider it right, I still don't think the entirety of prostitution should be made illegal. Here it is illegal to pay for sex from someone who is being forced into it and other forms of pimping and such.

However, I have also heard of people and know people who have had pleasant experiences with prostitutes who are not existing like the dreary brothels uncovered by the police in August.

And you want to focus only on the women who clearly have the most power and can set their own standards within a system that's rigged against everybody else?

I would prefer to focus on all problems to be honest. This debate came about with your generalized term of "Prostitution is wrong" which I would disagree with and say that "Sexual Exploitation is Wrong" or "Human Trafficking/Slavery is Wrong".

So is every other form of slavery.

Yes we agre Slavery is wrong, human trafficking is wrong.

I don't think I'm the one being a stick-in-the-mud traditionalist here, however much you try to tar me with that brush.

When I mentioned traditionalist views, I did it within the context of social stigmas and a changing society. I never once called you personally a stick-in-the-mud traditionalist no more than you called me immoral for enjoying sex outside marriage (although not for a long time because the condition in my womb has worsened from I was 13 to the point sex now hurts and aches and causes more bleeding than my usual 24/7 so I am glad I got to enjoy it while I could).

All it has to do is haul up a few of the abused girls, feed them a line to tell the police whenever they are asked how they are being treated (and the police very seldom ask), and it's back to business as usual.

And more needs to be done to combat this, to protect the basic Human Rights of the people who are victims of Exploitation and Human Trafficking. That is definitely a problem that needs tackled of course.

Yeah, right. Find me a place where prostitution happens where sex traffickers, pimps and abusers aren't involved - then we'll talk.

Well here is a debate between Lord Morrow and an independent escort Laura Lee. She is open about the working relationship she and others she is associated with have with the Police. She is open about he problem that there is with Human Trafficking and wants things to support them, but not at the cost of alienating people like herself from the authorities by prosecuting people whose money supports her financially.

For one thing, people aren't always rational - even if they communicate something, and even if what they believe they communicate is true, it might not reflect the reality of their situation.

That is very true however, I think as people we are bound to know if someone feels differently from what they say. I have had offers for "fun times" from people I suspected to believe themselves to be head over heels in love with me and have turned them down based on that fact, regardless of what they are saying. Of course some will be fooled and others will be foolish enough to get involved when their feelings are stronger than what the other person feels or wants and others will disregard the persons feelings and use them for sex. Yes people are not rational all the time but like any relationship, before engaging with it you should try to use some sound judgement and learn through engagement with the other person.

For another thing, for a certain kind of personality, they can be completely self-deluded about the impact their behaviour has on other people, or they can just be plain irresponsible, or they can just plain not care. The guy in this situation was very honestly being a jackass.

Oh I fully agree that there are many selfish people who will exploit others to get what they want and drop them at the first opportunity. And they're so chuffed with themselves that they don't care and are thoughtless to the other persons feelings. Its a sad reality and what those people are doing is unhealthy and destructive I fully agree with that.

But not everyone can divorce their emotions and mental commitments so easily from their bodies. And I find it distressing that the culture is pressing more and more people to do so who are not able to.

I certainly don't think everyone should do this and peer pressure or social pressure in trying to force people down a path they don't want to go on is very wrong. Every person wants different things and if you find someone who honestly thinks and wants what you do and you like each other, then go for it at your own pace.

I actually found my society I grew up in, arguably the Bible belt of the UK, to be much the opposite. That if you made a sexual mistake you could be ostracized even by friends. Or if you wanted to discuss it, you were condemned and forced to listen to lectures from teachers about how dirty sex before marriage was and they didn't care if you had made a mistake or not, they were basically telling you that you were little more than dirt.

Well, for one thing, I find your attitude toward prostitution to be overly naive and unrealistic.

I am well aware of Human Trafficking being an issue that needs to be tackled but I don't think its as simple as "Prostitution is Wrong".

Quite frankly, I have seen relationships (both married and unmarried) that can work and do work - but they generally only work when each person is willing to sacrifice something for the other absolutely, without expectation of reward. But these so often require the emotional and mutual life-building arrangements that you seem to dispense with as unnecessary.

Well I think I have stated time and again that each person is different and wants different things in life. Even short term relationships can be healthy for what the person/couple wants at the time of that relationship.

I have my own personal reasons for not wanting a relationship based on love and such at the time and building a life with someone when I knew I'd be returning to Ireland was certainly not on the cards.

If you want the stability of a long-term relationship and marriage then of course, those types of relationships will not be healthy for you and its those decisions about cutting off an unhealthy that we know is going nowhere where we want to build something lasting that are admittedly among the hardest for many people to do.

I will admit that I have been told that my views on feelings and relationships are weird. If I fancy someone and I know they are married or unavailable then I will not have them in my life. I find that incredibly unhealthy and unhelpful to do. If I find a friends fancies me then I will distance myself until they get over me and move on because I don't think its healthy for a friendship to have those underlying currents of forlorn feelings.
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Re: Is sex outside of.........

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:00 am

There's way, way more here to reply to than I have time for just this minute - I'll get back to it - but I did want to say one thing.

SunXia wrote:I actually found my society I grew up in, arguably the Bible belt of the UK, to be much the opposite. That if you made a sexual mistake you could be ostracized even by friends. Or if you wanted to discuss it, you were condemned and forced to listen to lectures from teachers about how dirty sex before marriage was and they didn't care if you had made a mistake or not, they were basically telling you that you were little more than dirt.


You may believe me or not, but I'm very sorry that this happened to you and that this was the context that you grew up in, and I totally disagree with it.

I don't believe in shaming people merely for having sexual urges. My own are difficult enough to control; I in particular shouldn't have any business going around telling other people how to live their own lives. (The corollary to that is: I don't want to see people get hurt in the same way I was, and in the same way I hurt others.) And yes, I would like to see a society where marriage is considered the baseline standard for relationships, and something which is 'normal' rather than aspirational, but telling people that they are 'little more than dirt' for choices they make apart from that, is clearly the wrong way to go about it.

Likewise, James, in a similar vein, I do think abstinence-preferable education is probably better than what is on offer now; but I agree with you that it's still an incredibly poor solution to a wide and increasing range of social problems.
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Re: Is sex outside of.........

Unread postby James » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:56 am

WeiWenDi wrote:Likewise, James, in a similar vein, I do think abstinence-preferable education is probably better than what is on offer now; but I agree with you that it's still an incredibly poor solution to a wide and increasing range of social problems.

As far as the United States is concerned, I'm firmly in the camp that it is the worst—by far, the worst—of the two general systems available to kids. One is largely religion-based and seeks strictly to discourage them from sexual activity before marriage while providing them with virtually no information about their body, what is happening to them, and how to be responsible if they decide to ignore what they're taught, and the other simply strives to teach them a little bit about those things while, for largely political (born of religious conflict) reasons, falls short in various ways.

We don't really have something that could be described as an abstinence-preferable education. It's 'abstinence only' for a reason. And an 'abstinence-preferable' system could be fantastic if it included a real education. Frankly, I think the kiddos are better off holding off for as long as they can (not until marriage—until they're older and more mature*) because while they're young, uneducated, and immature: that's when they can make those terrible, life-changing mistakes.

*But frankly, if some more specific goal/recommendation is deemed necessary for the purposes of education, marriage can be fine. When they'd become older/more mature they'd make their own choice anyway. Assuming there's much hope at all that they'll abstain until then, which is almost laughable statistically.

Mostly, I wish culture was such in the United States that more parents were comfortable educating their children.

And I'd love to see kids coming out of this education knowing basic details like what a condom is, how to use it, and simple truths such as even if they do use a condom (sans secondary prevention, such as birth control pills), there is still a not-insignificant chance of pregnancy. That way, when they do ignore the people in their lives asking/telling them to hold off, they can at least make it in a somewhat informed manner.
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Re: Is sex outside of.........

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:02 am

James wrote:I wouldn't pin the United States' divorce rate on sex before marriage. It certainly plays a role in a subset of marriages which are done 'for the children' (sex outside marriage is nothing new, as an aside, and nothing American—and in scenarios where marriage or acknowledgment was out of the question the outcomes were no more admirable). There are much greater forces at play, including simply that divorce is becoming far more accepted by American culture. We have far fewer marriages being maintained simply due to fear of being ostracized by friends, neighborhoods, church, or other observing parties.

I'd also disagree with a classification that governs when sex is accepted on religious grounds. But I certainly expect to meet disagreement there when discussing the subject with anyone who governs the subjects of sex and marriage on religious grounds.


Actually, I agree that divorce and sex-before-marriage are two very different problems, and actually given the way our current culture informs ideals of marriage it has created a sad situation where people who are manifestly ill-suited to each other marry too early and then break up because they find later they are incompatible. The only reason I brought up divorce was to enforce the point more generally that there are right and wrong ways to have sexual relationships.

James wrote:I do have a thought on your comments about a healthy relationship, though. It's very easy to say a healthy relationship is never about 'me', for example. That sounds great, but in practice it isn't so realistic. If we're honest, many aspects of even a healthy relationship remain about 'me'—it's in how we handle those aspects that a relationship shines. You're not going to have a healthy relationship unless you're happy in that relationship, and being happy means looking after both you and them. Indeed, if you're not happy, you can't really look after them. That frequently means the presences of 'me' time in a relationship, or efforts to preserve one's happiness even in occasional disapproval from a partner. If your spouse, for example, does not want you to foster friendships outside a marriage, that spouse is wrong and is setting you up for a scenario where some concern for 'you'—a discussion and effort to preserve some of what makes 'you' happy—is going to play an important role in the survival and long-term enjoyment of that marriage. Unless you're married to some kind of saint, you've got to look out for 'you' in a healthy way, and you've got to let your spouse look out for her as well.


I agree with this, but to a certain extent this looks like it gets back to the somewhat circular discussions I would have with Shik about egotism versus altruism. I'm definitely not saying we all have to be doormats! I'd also say that in general, though, people don't have to be told to defend themselves. Particularly not in our culture, where we are already told from every corner of the cultural fabric that self-defence and self-preservation are our God-given and constitutional rights.

There's a pretty wide gulf in practice between being a doormat and being an egotist, and there is a significant space between those two for a couple to negotiate. I was lucky, in the end, to have found an outstanding woman who understands and appreciates the value of 'guy time' as an analogue to 'girl time'.

But my point is what relationships are about. If the only value in a relationship is how my partner is servicing my needs, sexual or emotional or otherwise, that's not a healthy relationship for her. Likewise for me, if the only value is how I'm servicing my partner's. Relationships have to be built on something shared, something mutual that provides room for mutual growth, something where you're not just looking to get out something for what you put in. Not everything, mind you! But at least something.

James wrote:They can be extremely high! They can completely alter the course of life. And I expect there are many people, as a relative percentage, who found themselves in a position where they got off far easier than they might have otherwise. Hopefully they, too, turned it into a learning experience.

On a more personal note, I liken the 'no sex before marriage' solution somewhat to a person who finds themselves in debt and chooses to cut up all their cards and never take on debt or work with credit again. It is a solution to the problem, and it may be the right solution for that person, but it falls far short of another scenario where that person learned to manage their finances responsibly. My personal belief on what makes for a healthy marriage is one where you're effectively living as a married couple before you become married, that way you've already given yourself a very realistic expectation of what you're committing to. It's sacrilegious, sure, but when marriage is a thing that completely redefines a relationship, it necessarily introduces more risk to the decision—a greater probability that the marriage could be an unhappy one.

I'm quite comfortable with a personal choice here along the more religious lines—no sex before marriage. I become uneasy again, though, in how parents frequently choose to apply that belief to children. It's great to encourage it, but when that effort is reinforced by complete avoidance of the subject and a deliberate effort to negate an understanding of what sex is, how it works, how babies work, how babies can be prevented—it dramatically improves the probability of future sex outside marriage materializing in its most destructive form. Additionally, teaching that it is dirty, or shouldn't be enjoyed, or that it should only serve a practical purpose—common to some religious beliefs so might as well mention them as well—that messes kids up too, and has a negative impact on the possibility that sex will be a wonderful part of their future relationships.


Okay, here I'm going to ask you for a clarification, James. I haven't been that great about getting my meanings across to you recently or even reading you correctly (and I'm sorry about that!), so I want to be sure I'm doing it well here.

When you say 'a deliberate effort to negate an understanding of what sex is', what exactly are you referring to? I know that there are a lot of abstinence-only educational programmes that give students wrong information, as in scientifically wrong, about sex. And you're not going to get any argument from me on the undesirability of that. But somehow I'm getting the feeling that that's not the only thing you're referring to in this case? I could be wrong.

I have mixed views on premarital cohabitation; I was practically cohabiting with my wife before we married, and I'm not going to judge people who do it. It works for some people. It doesn't work for others. But my church actively discourages the practice as wrong (while not condemning or pronouncing as 'dirty' those who do it), and I can't say as I disagree with their reasoning given that increased cohabitation doesn't produce the measurable benefits it's generally expected or thought to have: increased marital happiness or decreased divorce rates.

Also, I agree with you that if a religion teaches that sex is dirty or shameful, or that it shouldn't be enjoyed, or that it serves only a practical function, then those religious teachings are wrong. My own Church upholds an ideal of celibacy as its golden rule; but it certainly does not view sex as something dirty. Rather, it sees it as a holy gift with a spiritual dimension, something that exists to be shared between a married couple.

James wrote:Oh, sure. But they're idiots. We've got plenty of those. And they're not experts. They've chosen to leverage their education in such a way that makes money doing the opposite of what that education was meant to accomplish.

It's fine to acknowledge that they're there, but I think it is probably best to reserve the label of 'expert' for people who not only research a given field, but understand it, and apply it properly, honestly, ethically. If someone's misapplying their knowledge, they have, in my mind, disqualified themselves from the 'expert' label.


There have been examples of such profit-motivated and scurrilous research in academia too, not just in the popular press - I truly hope such things are rare. But your point is well-taken.

James wrote:I cannot comment to Lasch's work as a whole. Only that second paragraph. The first I largely agreed with. The opening sentence is wrong, and the remainder, while drawing on truth, becomes an embellishment—a kind of romanticization of the past to set a platform for an argument pertaining to the present. Maybe out of context the whole point is missed or muddied, but that's my position. And I'm comfortable having it as someone who has enjoyed advertising as a part of his own professional education. My disagreement is strictly based on the many examples of these past advertisements I've interacted with (whether amusement, hobby reading, or study).

Maybe that's evidenced in the fact I agree with your second paragraph.


I certainly agree that cigarette and cola advertising were highly misleading, and in ways that are quite amusing today. But part of their charm or amusement factor, I think, is that we tend to look on them as being aimed at a more gullible audience, and I think that's part of what Lasch is getting at. Not that he wants people to be gullible or thinks they have to be, but he sees it as evidence that advertising has gotten more and more insidious as time has gone on, even though perhaps the results haven't been as dangerous as tobacco.

James wrote:Let's separate here, though, any belief that a greater acceptance of sexuality has a thing to do with society's idea of what sexy is. Or any belief that women (and men!) did not antagonize themselves over an image of what sexy is prior to advertising in its current form, or that this has anything to do with the United States. While the United States was far more prudish there were still strong expectations of what 'beautiful' meant and people still strived to attain those goals. This remains the same in other countries, and is most prominently a product of all that drives us to find a partner and any instinct inclining us toward sexual intercourse. The contribution that is playing a new role, whether through print, and then through movies and television (the likes of Walt Disney), or today through the internet, airbrushed and Photoshopped models, and unrealistic digital characters—that's the artificial contribution and it falls back solely on appealing to baser instincts.


a.) I never claimed that this was solely an American thing, though I did agree with the examples you provided of Disney princesses and Barbie dolls. Actually, I think Japan is a bit more egregious in this regard; you know I've snarked on Facebook about the portrayals of some of the DW characters (like Empress Wenming of Jin as a particularly, ahem, pneumatically-built blonde). But you're right that no country is immune from this.

b.) I'm not convinced at all that a belief that greater societal acceptance of sexuality can be so neatly separated from a society's perception of 'sexy'. Like you said - there are many factors at play that feed into each other, but I would still argue that one of the stronger ones in our culture is the psychological creation and exploitation of appetites through marketing.

c.) I think we're making the same point about the technological / capitalistic artificial contributions to the cultural standard of sexual attractiveness and desirability, and I think we're also in agreement that it's unhealthy.

James wrote:Back to your reply, these factors which play into each other do just that. Barbie is a product of a, b, c, x, y, and z. Not a sequence of events that trace back to something so simple as society becoming more accepting of sexuality. And over time any of those factors continue to play upon others.

It is a cultural problem with roots simply in how we, as a given culture, choose to define 'beauty'.


I agree with the first part - I'm sorry if it wasn't clear before, but I wasn't trying to give a simple one-way causal chain of events that result in and result from Barbie dolls. I was trying to sketch more broadly the way these various cultural currents from voices in the public sphere contribute to the ideal, and what results from it.

The second part I think is a bit too simplistic. Many men have a standard of beauty that can depart in key points from the Barbie doll norm, and many women have a standard of beauty that departs in key points from the He-Man and G.I. Joe norm. Not all voices in the market are, after all, equal.

James wrote:If they support anything even remotely resembling the curriculum of abstinence only eduction while avoiding the subject as parents—a very common scenario—they are accomplishing exactly what I said. And for the sake of reply, please take note that I put 'while' in italics there. Supporting abstinence only eduction would not be such a bad thing if a parent took it upon themselves to provide their children with a thorough sex education. But they rarely do.


Fair enough. I agree parents ought to be more involved in teaching children the basics of sex (along with a lot of other things). I might have some points to pick at here on the educational side, but that would be a topic for another thread.

James wrote:How are you defining 'sex' here? Of course it can be many things. Sex is an act, and its contributions and consequences (good or bad) relate directly to any number of other factors. Chief among them, emotional maturity. And here I'm defining sex as sexual intercourse between consenting adults.


So, then, what did you mean when you said, 'Sex is, fundamentally, a means of expressing and sharing in intimacy'?

Sexual intercourse is an intimate act; I was agreeing with you there. As per your definition, I originally took it that you meant that a certain degree of emotional intimacy is inherent to the act itself. I would have agreed with that also, but it appears that I may have been mistaken on that reading of your argument.

Because in the second paragraph you wrote, you completely backed off of that original statement and said that it doesn't have to involve intimacy, but only 'pleasure'. (From what reading I've done on the subject, I would argue that this 'pleasure', neurochemically speaking - the dopamine, phenylethamin and oxytocin pathways that form as a result of physical closeness and orgasm - are very closely related to relational fulfillment and habits.)

So, which did you mean?
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Re: Is sex outside of.........

Unread postby FoxWithWings » Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:28 pm

It really depends on who you ask. If you ask a Christian, they would say yes, if you ask an atheist, they would say no. Of course, that was a blanket description, but generally, this sort of thing is dependent on what sort of religion one follows, or if one does not follow a religion at all.

Personally, I do believe that sex should really be only between couples that are happily married. It's really not needed for intimacy anyhow. That being said, I have absolutely no right to say what people can do in the privacy of their own beds.
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