Looking at sexual behavior as rationally as I can, I come to the conclusion that safety and consent are the only things that make sex moral or immoral. Because of this realization I tend to be far more casual about sexual encounters than probably anyone I know. Of course, this leads me to be branded a slut- in a good-natured teasing way among friends (though it still kinda hurts), and in a cruel way by other people. Even among my more sexually liberal friends, promiscuity is, for the most part, seen as something negative, and I find this puzzling; this view contradicts statements they have made regarding the morality of sex.

Input? Is there, in fact, anything wrong with satisfying my desires in any safe, consensual way that I can? Why the divide between what my friends say they think and how they act on this subject? Are there other things you can think of that affect the morality of sex?

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Which reminds me how confused I am when couples break up after years together over subjects that should have made them not get together in the first place, such religion, vegetarianism, procreation hopes, and politics.

If people were upfront and firm about their beliefs and did not shy away from discussing these topics under the guise of "oh I don't like to talk about politics", our divorce and parentless children rates would be much lower!
Most of my best female friends are sluts...ethical sluts, that is. I bear the honorable badge of being a male slut, also with ethics. You and I and people like us are annoyances that jangle the nerves of a national neurosis about sex, which is mostly maintained IMHO by men. This neurosis manifests itself by men who try to seduce women and, when successful, brand them as whores. Those men degrade and make fun of women who like sex. But I noticed when I was in Australia, men there make fun of women who DON'T like sex, calling them professional virgins and other such names. Personally, I like women who like sex, regardless of whether they're having sex with me. Ethical sluts are the champions of the female gender.
Goodness gracious me, I really do like this post. The phrase "ethical sluts," the alliteration of "nerves of a national neurosis," and the great praise of "Ethical sluts are the champions of the female gender." I like being a champion of something.
Thank you Maggie. If you're a woman who enjoys sex, and if you understand the male mode of feeling about sex, and if you take delight in helping a man drain the fluids that cause his discomfort and sexual pressure, then voila! you have joined the ranks of what I call Champions Among Women. Overseas, I ran into many "happy hookers" who loved men, loved, sex, loved their profession, and delighted in making men come. I guess, as part of our national neurosis about sex, we must have very few happy hookers in the U.S. Personally, I've never met any here. However, I have met a lot of ethical sluts who are very happily promiscuous and whom I've liked enormously.
I'm with you. Great post. Makes me feel more valiant ;)
I'm curious if the idea of Monogamy is actually just stemmed from the misogynistic(I don't know the female eqivalent of a misogynist if there even is one) parts of our culture. The cave man(cave person?) part of the brain that makes us want to pee on and/or name everything. They think that you must have sex with them and only them.

It's the relationship version of putting a label on them saying "property of..." Combine this with the natural and irrational part of humanity that thinks that if you disagree with them it means that your opinion is wrong.

I for one like to be monogamous, but have no delusion that it's for everyone. I just feel that I can only feel true intimacy with others over a long period of time. So I don't think I could ever be an "ethical slut" but perhaps one day I might be sold on the idea of polyamory.

P.S. -If golden showers are your thing, I'm not passing judgement. I simply meant peeing on things as a euphamism to imply ownership, not a blast against those who enjoy urination as part of their consentual sex acts.
I've yet to find a single shred of evidence demonstrating that humans were monogamous before the last couple of millenia. And even in today's society, people on the marry/divorce/marry/divorce bandwagon (whether contractually married or not) are not monogamous in truth. They aren't "mating for life". People on the bandwagon are simply a little dreamy about the illusion of monogamy for humans.

In nature, pairs of birds who are considered monogamous are not monogamous sequentially with different partners, they are monogamous for life. I think humans have amply demonstrated that the "for life part" simply does not mesh with reality :)

Very very very few humans can claim to have had only ONE single sexual mate in their entire life. (excluding people who had only 1 encounter because they're asexual).

IMO as a society, we've been trained, been pounded into our heads, to NOT let ourselves get intimate easily. That, just like faith, is a very hard imprinting to break for most people.
I think another part of the problem is that monogamy is the "default" assumption when entering a relationship, and that you must discuss it with your partner if you feel otherwise.

This could lead to hurt feelings if your with a partner you percieve as "sleeping around" when its possible that they never wished to be exclusive in the first place.
True dat.

I find that most people find discussing politics/sexuality/religion/children to be TABOO in the first weeks of getting to know someone, so that by the time they get to know the person (or perceive they know the person), THEN have sex, by then they're hooked. The sales pitch has worked, now 2 people are together, without really knowing each other, then the sales pitch falls to the wayside, and then people struggle to "make the relationship work".

Makes me sad. I say sex, discussions about politics/religion/sex/children/food preferences outa be the very first discussions people get into. Maybe then, can two people truly say they are compatible enough.

Taboo derives from an old Polynesian word tabu that meant rule. Equivalent in our society to our rule of law. But us moderns have transformed it and now countless taboos exist which have absolutely no foundation in law or biology. Such a shame.
The only problem is that often makes a date feel like a job interview. Most people wouldn't talk about these subjects with acquaintances or coworkers, or anyone they don't know very well, and a new date is someone you don't know very well. On dating sites (at least OKCupid) you can often see how someone feels about a lot of these subjects...I worry a little that there will be nothing to talk about later, but so far I've been on some good dates and we've found things to talk about, and I've been able to stay away from people who think homosexuality is a sin, abortion is wrong, women are required to shave their legs, etc.
Noah, until very recently it was not possible to know for sure whose child a woman carried. Women needed a man's help during late pregnancy and through the early part of her child's life or both mother and child could die. Only through the promise of monogamy could a woman secure the assistance of a man. It showed to him that the child was his, so that he would assist her.
Otherwise we are like chimps. When a new more powerful man became dominant, he could kill the children of the old Alpha male. That way his offspring would have no competition.
Look at today's news stories of infanticide. "The mother's boyfriend was minding her child and killed him." Over and over again, we read about these cases. Our culture and technology have changed over time, but have we?
Tho your account is true for some human groups in the last 10,000 years, it is by no means true of all. Women did, generally speaking, lose a lot of power to men since agricultural days. But agriculture was not the custom of all human groups, and to those who weren't, monogamy was actually rare. Even within agricultural groups, there have been matriarchal societies, polyandrous societies, and polygynous ones. But lets say for the sake of conversation that we have 10,000 years of female subjugation through sedentarisation...

On an evolutionary scale, 10,000 is merely a pimple. Biologically speaking, our evolutionary history predates agriculture, predates us painting on cave walls, it even predates us diverging from chimps 5-7 million years ago.

Female subjugation is NOT a biological fact, it is a mere social artefact of a technological lifestyle.

As for "killing" other's offspring, tho this on occasion happens, killing of own offspring happens just as much. Even in lion prides at the changing of the guard, it was once thought that the new male would kill off any previous young offspring. But since genetic studies have demonstrated that there is very little "killing of others offsping" going on, in lions or in other species. Infanticide by non biological fathers is more a social lore rather than a biological fact.

Tomorrow, if we decided to undo social norms regarding behaviour of females and males, within a couple of generations, leaving biology and reproduction to do their thing, females would regain their proper place in human history, beside men, instead of subjugated by men. It is all a matter of social norms.



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