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Ayn Rand found masturbation to be of one moral value- sexual independence. Sexual desire can be owned independently. This admits that value can be attributed to sexual release unattached from the value judgement of any other human being. In other words, it is not necessarily immoral to enjoy sexual pleasure devoid of an emotional value based interaction with someone else.

Holding this premise, one can choose to either enjoy the sharing of sexual pleasure or the independence of sexual pleasure. Since both positions are amoral , any compromise between them must also hold the potential of amorality. If one chooses not to share, it makes no difference if the pleasure is in his own hands or at the hands of someone else who is mutually emotionally detached. It is still an emotionally solo sexual act.

Immorality is only relevant if another's negative values are the very values that increase one's pleasure. How is a hand job, externally given from a voluntary stranger, morally different to masturbation?

asked Jan 26 '11 at 03:42

dreadrocksean's gravatar image


edited Jan 27 '11 at 02:32

I like this question, as I find the official Objectivist writing on topics such as pornography, prostitution and casual sex to be somewhat scarce. Do you have a reference you can cite where it is stated that prostitution is evil? LP answered this question in a podcast but said only that masturbation should be sufficient, you don't need to share that experience with a prostitute. But I don't believe this really answered the questioner.

And, if masturbation and pornography are ok, shared masturbation is hard to condemn and seems equally justified.

(Jan 27 '11 at 08:53) la_phil ♦ la_phil's gravatar image

My moral view of pornography was not included in my post because of its irrelevancy. Prostitution is generally believed by Objectivists, and Ayn Rand herself, to be immoral. However in one of the answers here in this forum, to which I am addressing, it was criticized as evil. Even if I demote the adjective from 'evil' to 'immoral', the question still stands.

(Jan 27 '11 at 10:55) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

With all due respect to anyone granted the privilege you have in this forum, your answer reeks of evasion. 'Amoral' - because Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's official intellectual heir, quoted her ascribing 'sexual independence' as the moral value regarding masturbation. This would clearly make the action at least amoral. Your ignorance of this fact does not make it 'nonsensical' and does not relieve you from thinking without a quote from Ayn Rand.

(Jan 29 '11 at 11:18) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

I assume that the persons granted answer status by the officials of this forum are considered Objectivists. If this is true then 'evil' is, at least according to this forum, a premise held by Objectivists, therefore it is a contradiction for you to criticize my use of the word with reference to prostitution here. If one can own one's mind it is clear that one can own one's emotions. Since sex is generally the subject of interaction between 2 people, my use of 'independently' is rationally applied to masturbation. Masturbation is both solo and within the category of sex.

(Jan 29 '11 at 11:26) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

I will and have however changed the word from 'evil' to 'immoral' yet you evade that reply above to continue evading the question.

(Jan 29 '11 at 11:31) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

The CLAIM that something is evil is a premise.

The dictionary definitions of 'selfish' and 'morality' are different to Objectivist definitions. Why would you begin putting the general dictionary on a pedestal now? "Own" - The right to use and/or dispose of. I can use my mind or my emotion. I can dispose of my mind(suicide), my thinking (lose focus) or my emotions.

Instead of asking for an explanation, you assume that because you cannot understand it, it is generally so.

So, you are still evading. Please ignore my question instead of this. I will not argue with you any further.

(Jan 30 '11 at 15:09) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image
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The fundamental difference is one of intimacy. Sex acts that involve another person require granting a high level of physical intimacy to the partner -- access to parts of the body not normally given to strangers, communication about preferred or disliked techniques, etc. This issue does not arise in the case of solo masturbation, as we all start with maximum intimacy with ourselves.

One of the things that makes a romantic relationship unique and precious is that the partners share things with each other that they would never share with other people. Intimacy is the currency of romance, and it's too valuable to waste on strangers. Spending it on a purely physical interaction with a stranger lessens your ability to differentiate a romantic relationship from an emotionally platonic one.

answered Feb 01 '11 at 17:55

Kyle%20Haight's gravatar image

Kyle Haight ♦

Because to enjoy such a thing, your mind and body would have to be divorced, which is not the case for masturbation. Here is a relevant quote from the Ayn Rand Lexicon:

"Just as an idea unexpressed in physical action is contemptible hypocrisy, so is platonic love—and just as physical action unguided by an idea is a fool’s self-fraud, so is sex when cut off from one’s code of values . . . . Only the man who extols the purity of a love devoid of desire, is capable of the depravity of a desire devoid of love."

(By the way, don't take this answer as an endorsement of the problems with the way your question is stated that I pointed out earlier. This is an answer specifically to the last sentence of your full written-out question.)

answered Jan 30 '11 at 15:58

javert's gravatar image

javert ♦

edited Jan 30 '11 at 16:05

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Asked: Jan 26 '11 at 03:42

Seen: 4,303 times

Last updated: Feb 01 '11 at 17:55