SEX OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE • What are the underlying issues? • Are sexual relations a matter of a contract OR • A matter of historical existentially grounded human beings? • The central issue for me is the vulnerability that occurs during intimacy. Reminder: This is a PHILOSOPHICAL discussion [religious precepts may base a prohibition of pre-marital sex on the bible, or other religious teachings.]
BELLIOTI: Sexual Intercourse between Consenting Adults is always Permissible He argues that Sexual Relations are contractual in nature • This means the act is morally wrong only if it involves • deception • promise-breaking • exploitation
Bellioti argues from a KANTIAN position 1. It is never right to treat another human being as a “mere means.” • To treat a person as a “mere means” is to make them into an object. • People are to be “equal subjects of experience.” 2. Sexual relations are CONTRACTUAL in nature. • This involves the notion of reciprocity = that none of us is self-sufficient • “voluntary agreement of both parties to satisfy the expectations of the other.”
Bellioti continued…. 3. Voluntary contracts incur a moral obligation to provide/fulfill that which they have agreed to. 4. And that promise-breaking and deception are immoral actions. • One argument against the contractual view is that the feelings of intimacy involved make the contract a bad model. • Belliotti replies that all this shows is that it “may well be” the most important contract that people make.
Bellioti continued…. • He says we need to be careful in assuming what the other has offered. • His conclusion: Sex is immoral if and only if it involves deception, promise-breaking and/or treating the other party as a “mere means” to one’s own ends.
Examples: • Rape is intrinsically immoral because the participation of one party is involuntary. • He argues that rape is possible within marriage. Because of lack of consent. • Bestiality raises the question of whether an animal is an object, or whether it has interests that are not advanced by the act. • Necrophilia is immoral because of involuntary participation • Some argue a dead person is an object • But we do honor requests beyond the grave – and also this “object” once was a person- so “it” is not a “mere object”.
Bellioti: Final comments • The role of religion: Belliotti is not providing a religious argument, but he notes that religious convictions have become part of society’s moral code. • Note: Remember that Kant has shifted the “command” of the moral law from God to human reason. On Belliotti’s analysis “teasing” without the intention to fulfill is immoral on his contractual view of sexual relations.
PUNZO:Sexual Intercourse Should Always Be Confined to Marriage • Punzo argues that sex is different from other human activities because it involves EXISTENTIAL INTEGRITY: • What does he mean by “existential integrity”? • He asks whether having sexual relations is no different from any other event-choice that we make – like choosing a dinner from a menu or which movie to attend?
Punzo argues that … 1. There is a distinctive nature to sexual relations that makes them different from other activities or relationships we engage in. It is a matter of CONTEXT • In sexual relations you give your bodies over – it is not a contractual relation
Punzo argues that ... 2. The reason we can say all human activities are alike is the acquisitive character of our society. • The contract model “works”, if this is the way we view human sexual relations – as a form of acquisition.
Punzo continued…. He believes that we need to face the nature of sexual relations “squarely” and directly. • The human self is historical as well as physical – the role of the past and the future. • This is an existential understanding of the human self.
If we agree that the human self is historical then • It is not possible to amputate our bodily existence from the most intimate expression of our selfhood. • To do this is a form of “depersonalization.” • Sexual relations are not simply a PHYSICAL merging, but a merging of the non-physical dimensions of the partners. • Without a commitment to marriage there is an amputation of their physical being from their historical being. • The union is “depersonalized” • Sexual union is not simply a matter of being honest [the contract model]
Marriage as a total human commitment Punzo makes a distinction between “pre-ceremonial” intercourse and “pre-marital” intercourse. • People can be “morally married” without a ceremony BUT • The ceremony is part of the “historicity” of the relationship – this acknowledges that they do not exist in a vacuum. • The marriage ceremony “roots” them in the world in which they live. [Hence the gay/lesbian desire for marriage.]