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Morality of Casual Sex Analysis using Philosophical Theories of Ethical Conduct
Casual sex is sexual activity done for pleasure with no other attachments. In most instances, people indulging in casual sex are not in a romantic relationship and they have no emotional attachments to each other. Unlike prostitution, casual sex does not involve money payments though sometimes they can be made. This form of sex is very common in the world today. A perfect example of casual sex is a one night stand. This research paper sets to analyze why casual sex may be ethically problematic. The paper will also show why sometimes the act may be considered as immoral. The aim of this paper is to provide an insight on the morality of casual sex by the use of sexual ethics.
The Reasons as to why Casual Sex may be Ethically Problematic
Philosophical theories of ethical conduct are used to analyze why casual sex may be ethically problematic. Different approaches are used to guide how human beings behave in each theory. The theories are divided into three main categories. The first category is the consequentialist theories that justify the morality of an act by assessing its outcomes. The second category is the non-consequentialist theories that justify various actions based on the intentions of the people involved in these acts. The last category is the agent-centered theories that focus more on the action’s impact on the individual ethical status rather than the action’s morality. Under the consequentialist theories, there are three main approaches. The first approach is the utilitarian approach that entails choosing an action that will produce the most good to the most people (Ryu, Han and Jang, 424). The second approach is egoistic approach that entails choosing an action that will produce the most good to the individual involved in the action. The third approach is on considering an action that will produce the common good to most people in the society. This approach entails choosing an action that will be ethically acceptable by the society so as to bring the most good to the society as a whole.
An Analysis of Ethicality of Casual Sex using Consequentialist Theories
Using the utilitarian approach of consequentialist theories, casual sex is ethically problematic. This is due to the nature of casual sex that is only aimed at sexual pleasure between the people indulging in it with no attachments. Casual sex affects the majority of people negatively. For instance, when married people indulge in casual sex it can lead to divorce if their spouses find out. Сasual sex partners may also have emotional trauma relating to the incident of their actions (Beres and Farvid, 379). For example, people who meet up in a bar and hook up with the intentions of forming romantic relationships, but end up having one night stands without creating emotional attachments may always feel guilty afterwards, as the act was unintentional. Casual sex can also lead to contraction of sexually transmitted diseases. This is because most of the times casual sex is unplanned and because the people involved in it have no emotional attachment to each other and may not care much about the other partnerю They may not take protective measures like using condoms when indulging in the act which increases the chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Casual sex therefore affects the general society adversely in most of the cases. Based on this it is evident that casual sex produces the least good for the large number of people, which is against the utilitarian approach of consequentialist theory.
Based on the egoistic approach of consequentialist theory, an action should produce the best good for the individual involved in the act. Casual sex being driven mainly by sexual pleasure does not produce much good for the people involved. People involved in casual sex benefit from the act only through the sexual pleasure. However, one may end up getting hurt in case he/she develop emotional attachments towards the other partner where the feelings are not mutual. This is a common phenomenon, especially for the ladies who get involved in casual sex for several times, and develop romantic feelings to men they have sexual contact with (Beres and Farvid, 379). This may lead to emotional distress to the emotionally attached partner. The individuals, involved in casual sex when they are still in other romantic relationships, may break up with their partners or lead to divorce in the case of married people. This shows that when the egoistic approach is used to justify the morality of casual sex, casual sex is ethically problematic since it produces the least good for the individual.
Using the common best approach, the consequentialist theory sets to justify the morality of casual sex by looking at how it affects the general society. For an act to be morally right, it should produce the best good of the whole society. Casual sex has had various serious negative impacts on the general society. To start with, teenagers indulging in casual sex may experience psychological distress later in life (Vivancos, Abubakar and Hunter, 847). Such situation happens because they indulge in casual sex for the wrong reasons. For instance, teenagers may have casual sex to fit in the group of other teenagers who may be involved in the act. This is clearly peer pressure and therefore the individual may highly regret the act later. Such psychological distress may lead to suicidal cases. This reduces the young population in the society, which leads to economic deterioration in the society. This shows that casual sex does not produce a common good for the people in the society and therefore when this approach is used to assess its ethicality, it turns out to be ethically problematic.
An Analysis of Ethicality of Casual Sex using Non-Consequentialist Theories
The first approach used in the non-consequentialist theories is Kant’s deontological approach. This approach stresses that the ethic of an action is determined by the individual’s intentions when doing it (Gray, 1800). In casual sex, people indulge in it for varied reasons. The main drive for casual sex is sexual pleasure. However, people seek this sexual pleasure in casual sex for varied reasons. To start with, people who fear commitments may use casual sex as an ideal way to satisfy their sexual needs. This is because unlike romantic relationships, in casual sex one needs not develop any emotional attachment to the partner. This intention can make casual sex ethically right or wrong depending on the perspective in which it is viewed. For instance, using the religious perspective, this intention makes the act absolutely wrong as one should not intend to have sex with someone who is not his/her spouse. However, the intention can also justify the morality of the act on another perspective since the individual only seeks to have to have sexual satisfaction with no other ill intentions.
Another intention of an individual indulging in casual sex could be to revenge on a cheating spouse. An individual may be suffering from psychological depression after realizing that his/her spouse is cheating on him/her. The person may seek revenge by indulging in casual sex with a stranger. When people are indulgent in casual sex for such an intention, this act turns out to be ethically problematic (Vivancos, Abubakar and Hunter, 847). This is because its intention is to hurt someone else which may also end up hurting even the individual indulging in it. Therefore, it is evident that by using the deontological approach to assess the ethicality of casual sex, casual sex ethicality totally depends on the intention behind it. Therefore, when people indulge in casual sex for the right reasons, it is ethically right. However, when it is done with the wrong intentions, it becomes ethically problematic.
The second approach used in the non-consequentialist theory is the right approach. According to it, an action is right if it does not violate the rights of the people affected by it. Using this idea to evaluate the ethicality of discussed issue, it can be said that casual sex is morally right. This is because the parties involved in the casual sex have a mutual agreement and there is no form of coercion used to make one submit to the act (Beres and Farvid, 379). However, in some instances, the act can violate the rights of an individual involved in the act, which makes it morally problematic. For instance, when an individual indulges in casual sex and forces his/her collaborate in doing things that they have not mutually agreed on he/she violates the rights of the partner. For instance, when a man forces a woman who they are involved in casual sex together to give him oral sex without her consent, this turns to be forced sex which is a violation of human rights. Therefore, according to this approach, casual sex becomes ethically problematic if it violates an individual’s right.
The other approach used in the non-consequentialist theory is the approach of divine command. The ethicality of an act based on this approach depends on the religious doctrines. It is based on a supreme being’s will. When evaluating the ethicality of casual sex based on this approach, casual sex is ethically problematic. This is because, according to religious doctrines, sex should only involve married people. Any form of sex outside marriage is termed as a sin (Lamb, 94). When married people have casual sex outside marriage this is termed as adultery, which is a sin. Since casual sex is only driven by sexual desires with no emotional attachments, it falls under the forms of sex that are not permissible by the religion. Therefore, when one judges the ethicality of casual sex based on the approach of the divine command, it can be termed as an ethically problematic act.
An Analysis of Ethicality of Casual Sex using Agent-Centered Theories
The first approach used in the agent-centered theories is the virtue approach. According to it, the ethicality of an act is based on its conformity with the moral principles. Virtues define the dignity of a human being as a social being. Based on this approach, the ethicality of casual sex can be evaluated based on how the act conforms to the moral principles. Human beings are expected to possess self-control unlike other animals. Human beings should, therefore, be in a position to control their sexual desires. People indulging in casual sex represent low self-control (Beres and Farvid, 379). For instance, when a person meets a stranger in a social setting and indulges in sexual activity with the person the same day before developing any emotional attachments, this is seen to lower the dignity of that person. Virtues dictate that one should hold his/her body with dignity and should not allow bodily desires control him/her. People indulging in casual sex are viewed by the majority of the society as ones with low dignity which makes casual sex ethically problematic when evaluating it using the approach of virtues.
On the second approach the agent-centered theories is the feminist approach. This approach focuses mainly on how an action affects women and other marginalized people in the society. It stresses that for an action to be ethical, it must demonstrate a lot of care to the marginalized people. Using this approach to evaluate the ethicality of casual sex, the act can be viewed as ethical or non-ethical based on the perspective in which it is viewed. For instance, when casual sex is viewed as a way of a man to find sexual satisfaction by using a woman as a sex object, the act becomes ethically problematic (Beres and Farvid, p. 382). However, when the casual sex is aimed at providing sexual satisfaction for both the male and the female involved without objectifying the female, the act is termed as ethical. Therefore, by using this approach to assess the ethicality of casual sex, it can be ethical or non-ethical depending on the form it takes.
Factors that Contribute to the Immorality of Casual Sex
During instances when casual sex is immoral, it can be termed as either good non-moral or bad non-moral. A good non-moral sex provides pleasure to the people indulging in it, but it is not morally acceptable. A bad non-moral sex on the other hand does not provide sexual satisfaction to the parties involved and still it is not morally acceptable. One instance when casual sex is immoral is when one of the individuals indulging in it is married and is, therefore, being unfaithful to the spouse (Vivancos, Abubakar and Hunter, 847). Another instance when it can be termed as immoral is when it violates the human rights of an individual, for example, forcing someone to do something that he/she is not willing to do. Casual sex is also immoral when an adult indulges in it with an underage person. The fact that casual sex is driven entirely by sexual desires lowers the dignity of the individuals involved in it therefore makes it immoral.
This research paper has critically analyzed the ethicality and morality of casual sex. It has provided a general insight on why casual sex may be ethically problematic by using three main philosophical theories of ethical conduct. The theories include the consequentialist theory, the non-consequentialist theory and the agent-centered theories. Under each theory, the ethicality of casual sex has been analyzed by using the various approaches under each theory. The research paper has also highlighted the various factors that contribute to the immorality of casual sex. The paper evaluates the morality of casual sex by the use of sexual ethics. Casual sex has both its positive and negative sides. However, since the negative side out do the positive side, people should avoid casual sex as a form of sexual activity.
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