Sexual Ethics

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  • Sexual Ethics
    • Premartial and extramarital sex
      • Premartial sex: sex before marriage.
      • Extramartial sex: sex outside your marriage where at least one party is married to someone else, adultery.
      • Religion and marriage
        • Public event where commitment is declared and promises are made.
        • Intended for companionship, raising children and fulfilment of sexual desire.
        • Intended to be lifelong relationship 'till death do us part.'
        • Covenant relationship (Sacred)  where from that day onwards the two individuals are one mind and body.
      • Issues around premarital sex
        • Cohabitation: increase. 1950s-60s 5% of couples cohabited, trial, alternative.
        • Contraception: available more freely. Sexually active allows risk of pregnancy/sexually transmitted diseases.
        • Secularisation: idea that sex shouldn't occur outside marriage influenced by religious teaching.
      • "This is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and they become one flesh" Genesis
      • Issues around extramarital sex
        • "Do not commit adultery"- ten commandments, Jesus teaches us that divorce is allowed when adultery has occurred.
        • Is extramarital sex allowed when a couple agree to an open marriage?
        • If a person who is in a cohabiting relationship have an premarital/extramartial sex?
        • Religious teaching on monogamous marriage evolved. Old Testament David and Solomon had multiple wives.
    • Homosexuality
      • The law on homosexuality
        • 1957-Wolfendent Report recommends homosexual acts shouldn't be illegal.
        • Hart Devlin Debate in 1960s saw to law/lords disagree on recommendation. Devil argues homosexuality should be illegal as its part of common morality. Hart disagreed and argued that society should enforce 'minimal morality'.
        • "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any number of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others" Mill
      • Religion and homosexuality
        • Leviticus 18:22, men should 'not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a women'.
        • City of Sodom destroyed by God in Genesis book- one crime is homosexual.
        • Christian who follow Natural Law ethic, primary precepts of reproduction governs thinking on sexual ethics- rule out homosexual relations.
        • "neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters, nor adulteres, nor men who have sex with others...will inherit the kingdom of God" Corrinthians
      • Issues around homosexuality
        • Distinction between act and inclination=gay Christians required to be celibate?
        • Is gay marriage a spiritual one, should churches allow them?
        • Adopting children as gay couples
        • Issues around toleration and free speech.
        • Can homosexuality be cured?
    • Considering Natural Law
      • Applying Natural Law
        • Natural Law centre for human flourishing- fulfil telos and purpose.
        • Aquinas' Natural Law hold primary precept-reproduction (key to human flourishing).
        • 1) Reproduction: telos/purpose of sexual act,reproduction. Rejecting homosexuality.
        • 2) Marriage: natural law important in marriage-order. Catholics-sexual intercourse in marriage.
        • 3) Divine law: 'do not commit adultery' ten commandments, rules out extra martial sex.
        • 4) Real and apparent goods: purpose of sex is reproduction. Pleasure through premarital, extramarital and homosexual relations apparent good. Right reason on telos leads us to reject ideas of natural law.
      • Assessing Natural Law
        • Focus on reproduction and preserving life is good and prevent us assuming casual view of sex.
        • Natural Law linked to belief in God, based on human reasoning.
        • Natural Law assumption about purpose of sex. Sexual relations equally have other purposes.
        • Idea of doing whats natural been used by homosexual is unnatural, cannot be a case, homosexual inclinations part of people's nature.
        • Natural Law legalistic in approach and not kept pace with modern technological development e.g. contraception.
    • Considering Situation Ethics
      • Applying situation ethics
        • Fletcher provided middle ground between religious and legalistic attitudes and modern secular antinomianism.
        • 1) Agapge: unconditional love. Premarital sex, Fletcher distinction between casual and promiscuous sex within the context of a loving relationship.
        • 2) Criticism of religious ethics: critical of religious theories like natural law. Difficult to see how the rejection of homosexuality is the most loving thing to do.
        • 3) Extramartial sex: may be a situation where it can be the most loving thing.
        • 4) People centred: Key to Fletcher's thinking are ideas of relativism and personalism. What's right depends on the situation.
      • Assessing Situation Ethics
        • Situation ethics help draw a line between casual loveless sex and sex in a loving relationship.
        • Situation ethics helps draw a line between casual loveless sex and sex in a loving relationship.
        • Sexual ethics- person centred relationship.
        • Situation ethics overlook religious commandments on sexuality.  Too flexible for Christians and ignores God's commandmnets.
        • Helpful in extreme cases.
    • Do religious views still have a role in modern sexual ethics?
      • Religion as a negative force with no continuing role in sexual ethics
        • Christianity and islam gave women more rights. Many aspects of sexual ethics may be cultural.
        • Religious ethics offer a valuable caution against modern liberal caution where sexual ethics has no other rules but consent
        • Some evidence that marriage linked to happiness and better educational outcomes for children.
      • Developing a more uanced conclusion on religion
        • Christianity+religion mixed phenomenon, Natural Law and Situation Ethics are different.
        • Christianity provides framework past- securing rights and stability. However, society no longer requires framework.
        • Perspective of Christianity can be useful as one voice, not one authorative voice.
    • Considering Utilitarianism
      • Applying utilitarianism
        • Pleasure: Bentham's utilitarianism, pleasure. Utilitarianism liberal, permit premarital sex and see homosexual relationships=heterosexual.
        • Tolerance: Milron-harm principle that gov should be interesting with others if theyre being harmedsuggesting sexual behaviour should be permitted.
        • Consent+prefernce: singer respect for different preferences of ersons is important in determining overall happiness.
        • Evidence: aim to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, ope to evidence. Recept reports show moral happiness=married couples, might adjust view.
      • Assessing utilitarianism
        • Progressive and modern. Not dependent on outdated religious ideas.
        • In topics where there are private/varied to areas, it's helpful and flexible.
        • Focus too much on majority pleasure-justify ****.
        • Suffering+pain includes mooutrage when banning homosexuality. However, Mills calls it the tyranny of majority-majority force his view
    • Considering Kantian Ethics
      • Applying Kantian Ethics
        • Kantian Ethics focuses on fulfilling one's rational duties.
        • Key to understanding duty are to test categorical imperative, idea of universalising rule and ensuring people are treated with dignity and respect.
        • 1) Freedom means rational content is important.
        • 2) Homosexuality: cant be universalised as human dies out, people should be ought to be free to express this.
        • 3) Marriage: give rights so sexual relations don't 'degrade human nature' by treating others as an object. Rules out premarital sex.
      • Assessing Kantian Ethics
        • Require that a person is respected, prevents a casual attitude to sex.
        • Secular theory- prove attractive.
        • Emotional and personal feelings=bias.
    • Is sexual behaviour private
      • Sexual behaviour is personal and private.
      • As long as there's consent- there should be no other ethical constraint. Contraction view.
      • Mill: society enforce minimal morality: only have law about what harms others. Consensual sex permissible.
      • Sex cannot be a totally private/personal matter
        • Two people involved-not private/personal.
        • Families+children affected-some would argue sex should be subject to societal norms.
      • Ethical theory: antinomian, modern approach, remove link between sex and love would cheapen sex.
      • Feminism
        • Women lag behind men-childcare and career breaks.
        • More likely than men to suffer domestic violence or revenge ****. Suggests sex cannot totally be private.

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