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Chris S

I would agree that the definition of sex can vary from person to person. But what I think is far more important that the semantics of whether 'sex' occured is the understanding of what any act means to a person you are participating with. If you know (or even choose not to find out) that a person regards certain acts as being emotionally meaningful when you regard them as casual, that is unethical. Sex can be a loaded prospect with meanings of emotionally involvement and implications of love and commitment. If, after the fact, one says "well I don't define what we did as 'sex' per se" one would being doing their partner a great disservice.

Chris S

on second glance, it may be that you are trying to say something similar.

c4bl3fl4m3

Interesting discussion.

I think I would be upset if me and my partner had different ideas if we just had sex or not. That is, if they were a partner I really cared about and saw multiple times (one night stands don't count) and I think it would depend on the specific instance of sex. The "first time" with them? If I thought we did and they thought we didn't...

you know, I think I know what the problem is... it's NOT about "we had sex"/ "we didn't have sex", but rather I would be hurt if I thought we had shared something emotional/intimate/special and they just thought it was a blowjob. But that doesn't have to be genital sexual acts (oral, anal, penile/vaginal, etc.) to have that kind of feeling. It could be something as simple as role play. (Hmm... I think I just figured out something that was plaguing my relationship with my ex back when we were together.) It's the whole putting "we shared somethign special" onto sexual acts that could cause pain if the other person said "we didn't have sex" and didn't follow it with "but we still did something special".

My main thing with the whole "did we have sex? yes? no" thing is... what do I count for STD purposes? I mean, every act I do is safer sex, so what counts and what doesn't? When the clinic asks me how many partners I've had, do I include the woman I fisted with a glove on 1 time at the club? What should count as sex for partner count purposes for STDs? (I'm always afraid I'm going to forget an experience when I'm doing my count at the clinic.)

Oh, and Greta, I totally didn't forget about the 8 things meme or the long reply I wrote to that Blowfish article. I've just been hella busy lately and every day I'm like "I'll finish it tonight"... and then it doesn't happen. But TONIGHT! I swear it! (That and I'm having a hard time coming up with thing #8. But I have been thinking about it.)

Ethyl

Ooh ooh, I completely agree! I just got done reading Michael Shermer's "The Science of Good and Evil," which makes the case for a system of personal ethics based on "fuzzy logic." Fuzzy logic as percentages of "black" or "white," "yes" or "no." Trying to figure out what is right or wrong when the choices are binary has gotten us into a heap of trouble as a species. It's not an exaggeration to say that the entirety of human existence is gray areas. Trying to go through the chaotic weird fun roller coaster ride of life with binary notions of "good" or "bad" or "always" or "never" or "yes" or "no" just can't work. Apples and oranges.

This probably applies even more to sex -- I can't think of sometihng that is more personal, situational, and all around mucky! Trying to slap binary labels on sex, well, that just seems to be an idea doomed to failure.

Anyway, I highly recommend Shermer's book. FWIW, I feel that fuzzy logic and provisional ethics can be a great way of looking at how to deal with the world. For those who think it sounds boring, you might like to know that it does talk quite a bit about sex ;)

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