Sex and relationships (ethics)

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‘Sex and relationships are matters of personal choice’

There are many concepts and issues surrounding the nature of sex, such as homosexuality contraception and marriage. Many theories and beliefs within sexual ethics adopt various approaches to understand explore and resolve issues that can arise form sex and relationships. These subjects are covered by utilitarianism situation ethics natural law and Kantian ethics, which seek to understand what is morally correct and guide or aid individuals to an acceptable choice. The issues that are focused on peoples relationships and choices should be considered a matter of personal choice because they involve the individual who had free will and autonomy, having the right to make personal choices in their life. Theories adopted by many Christian ethics such as natural law or Kantian ethics give guidance and protect people when facing dilemmas within sexual ethics, however these approaches tend towards a ruling authority over sexual matters, taking away the individuals preferences and overall choice of behaviour. Instead they offers methods that are strict and impersonal which in some cases do not allow the needed flexibility for matters to be decided personally. Other approaches like utilitarianism and situation ethics give each issue a personal based assessment, allowing each individual circumstance to be evaluated. Although problems may appear with individualistic approaches, when considering the nature of the law and acceptable moral conduct, they still more useful to deal with personal relationships and sex taking into account the human nature of our autonomous responsibility and behaviour in these matters.

Utilitarianism is a straightforward consequentiality approach based around the principle of ‘the greatest pleasure for the greatest amount of people’. To a certain extent, this approach focuses on the amount of pleasure that an action can bring and, in relation to sex, Mills’ approach could be seen to support having sex purely for pleasure. Apart form moral objections to this it also raises further issues concerning the spread of sexually transmitted infections or the abuse of the minority. R.M. hare’s approach focused on ‘preferences’ which considered the preferences of more than just the intervals, for example the preferences of a victim of a sexual attack not wanting their picture to be masturbated over as basic utilitarianism would have permitted this. An issue of preference utilitarianism is however that it veers away from personal choice and prejudice views may over rule personal choices in relationships, such as homosexuality. Other problems can occur when taking into account views on sex that seem simply wrong, such as a paedophiles preference, however the approach is democratic, taking into account the views of everyone which seems fair in a relativist approach. Utilitarian’s consider issues surrounding sex in a way which examines outcomes not moral imperatives. The Hedonic Calculus relies on predictions of the future which makes it difficult to judge situations, methods such as act utilitarianism seems to justify many unacceptable things such as **** while preference can seem prejudice in others. Utilitarianism successes in areas of difficulty considering these universal laws by…

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