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I think Peikoff once said that you don't necessarily have to love people with whom you have sex. Does this mean that it's not immoral to have friends with benefits according to Objectivism?

asked Feb 24 '12 at 00:29

catmap's gravatar image

catmap
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To answer this question, you have to ask: "What is sex about?"

Is sex just a pleasurable pastime? No.

While, in early sexual life, getting sexual experience without being in love is perhaps of some value, this is to be weighed against the spiritual cost of attempting to separate the sex act from what it inherently expresses: the joy of living, and of being as close as possible to a particular person.

Having sex with a "friend" means you are limiting the spiritual closeness but still seeking the physical closeness. It's an attempt to separate the mind from the body; of limiting the soul's desire, while simulating great desire physically. It's dishonest.

Sex, properly, is an expression of your soul's desire.

You are better off trying to find someone you want to have meaningful sex with. Yes, there are contexts where a meaningful sexual connection can arise with only limited long-term potential (such as meeting a very nice person on a month-long vacation which must end), but seeking out limited-potential sexual relationships in one's daily life is a corruption of the sex act.

answered Feb 24 '12 at 12:22

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦
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edited Feb 24 '12 at 12:25

John, stop me if this is a premise for another question, but how does an Objectivist define terms like "soul" and "spiritual"? I only ask because these terms are more commonly used within a mystical context.

(Feb 24 '12 at 22:10) JK Gregg ♦ JK%20Gregg's gravatar image
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The terms "soul" and "spiritual" refer to "human consciousness" and "regarding human consciousness" respectively. A man's soul is his consciousness, in all its aspects.

The idea that the soul is mystical, and that spirituality is mystical comes from the religious traditions. According to Objectivism, there is nothing mystical or unnatural about the soul or spirit.

(Feb 25 '12 at 09:15) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

"While, in early sexual life, getting sexual experience without being in love is perhaps of some value, this is to be weighed against the spiritual cost of attempting to separate the sex act from what it inherently expresses: the joy of living, and of being as close as possible to a particular person."

I agree, but I see this more as an argument against one night stands with random strangers, and not against sex with very close friends with whom you share important values. The only difference between such a friend and a girlfriend/boyfriend is that the little extra chemistry isn't there.

(Feb 26 '12 at 22:05) catmap catmap's gravatar image

I can't make a direct reference to what Peikoff said.

As I see it, the "friends with benefits" notion is just a safer alternative to one-night-stands. The "logic" is: you want sex, you have friends, why not use your friends for sex, rather than people you don't know yet? FWB is a way to make sex more convenient.

A friendship, is, by definition, not a romance. FWB is for people who want convenient sex, without the "messiness" or challenge of romance. Since sex is fundamentally an expression of romance, FWB is a corruption of it.

It's a slight improvement on the one night stand.

(Feb 26 '12 at 23:51) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

I think I found the question, but I am having trouble finding which podcast it is from: "Is it proper for teenagers to have sex when they are not in love?"

I did find two other ones: http://www.peikoff.com/2008/02/25/what-is-the-difference-between-love-and-rational-sex-2/ http://www.peikoff.com/2011/05/02/are-%E2%80%9Clovers%E2%80%9D-also-%E2%80%9Cfriends%E2%80%9D-or-does-%E2%80%9Cfriend%E2%80%9D-belong-to-a-very-different-category/

(Feb 27 '12 at 01:02) anthony anthony's gravatar image

John, - Can you differentiate FWB from Masturbation? - Can you two sexually incapable people have a romantic relationship?

(Nov 21 '14 at 00:55) Epistemology Epistemology's gravatar image
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It's unclear if Peikoff said that as a statement of fact (it's true that you can have sex with someone you care nothing about) or he was making a moral statement.

Anyway, it is irrational to sacrifice valuable time that could be spent finding someone of value to love by spending it with people you do not value.

answered Feb 24 '12 at 03:15

Humbug's gravatar image

Humbug
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"it is irrational to sacrifice valuable time that could be spent finding someone of value to love by spending it with people you do not value."

I agree, but you can still value someone even if they're not an irreplaceable value (love). Don't you value your friends?

(Feb 26 '12 at 22:12) catmap catmap's gravatar image

Yes, one values one's friends. And, of course, if one has severely limited time left on earth, sex with friends might be the best you have time to achieve.

Immorality exists in a context. So, if you have the time, you should seek out romance rather than mere sexy friendship.

(Jul 25 '12 at 09:21) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

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Asked: Feb 24 '12 at 00:29

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Last updated: Nov 21 '14 at 00:55