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A part of

Modern Sexual Taboos and Their Morality

By Punkerslut, 2002

[The article is in full in Ipce's Library 3]


A Few False Arguments Considered

Appeal to the Natural...

Appeal to Beauty...

Appeal to Obscurity...

Appeal to Design...

Monopoly on Love or Meaning...

Appeal to Religion...


The topic of this essay is modern sexual taboos and their morality. In the following pages, I will discuss the ethics and the reason concerning many things today which are detested by some: masturbation, homosexuality, prostitution, and other sexual taboos which are detested by many: Pedophilia, Zoophilia, Incest, and Free Love. 

The purpose of telling the story of Thomas Paine is to reaffirm the fact that we must consider proposals and arguments on the merit of their evidence and reasoning. We cannot accept a doctrine simply because it was taught to us by parents and society, no matter how delicate or sensitive an issue it may be. I understand there are some who may attempt to suppress freedom of thought. In May of 1812, Thomas Paine's book The Age of Reason was being sold by Daniel Isaac Eaton and he was imprisoned for 18 months. The crime was questioning the established religion. 


I brought up the case of Thomas Paine because he was a bold genius, daring to go where no one else had yet gone, and in some cases risking his own life in such endeavors. It was common opinion then that slavery was justifiable, just as it is common opinion today that Pedophilia is unjustifiable and one of the worst child abuses. 

We must base all of our opinions, both moral and scientific, on evidence and reasoning. In this essay I will question those arguments that are opposed to Masturbation, Homosexuality, Prostitution, Free Love, Incest, Zoophilia, and Pedophilia. The only thing that I can ask the reader is that he renders his opinions with the edge of reason and logic, compassion and reverence.

A Few False Arguments Considered

Appeal to the Natural...

One of the first arguments presented for the sake of opposing sex, or for upholding any dubious doctrine, is to make an appeal to naturality. They may say that because an action is either natural or unnatural that it is therefore damnable. However, what is natural or unnatural must first be defined. 

If "natural" is defined as the course of things in which they happen, then everything is natural, as everything has happened in its own course. Allow us to let the definition of what is "natural" to remain as a variable, for the sake of making some points. If a person was about to be murdered and the only way to save them would fit into what was defined as "unnatural," does that mean we should stop from saving that person? Or, if murdering someone would fit into what was defined as "natural," does that mean it would be permissible to murder that person? 

Of course, this is all dependent upon what "natural" is defined as yet it has thousands of definitions and remains vague and blurry. The question is, if something is natural or unnatural, does that actually have any impact on moral implications? Such as a murderer's actions being natural, would that mean that they were any less immoral, or a savior's actions being unnatural, would that mean that they were any less moral?

If we were to save someone's life, would whether or not it was natural or unnatural change the fact that we prevented suffering and ameliorated worry? Would it mean that we were vagrants, without thought or heart? Would it mean that we should have aided the person in their death, offering our betrayal to humaneness with a dagger? Would it mean that the tears on the face of this person were not to appeal to our sympathy, that their pains and agonies amplified through screams and cries were to be ignored, that affection was to be neglected -- all due on account of what is natural or unnatural? 

If someone were to torture another individual, would whether or not such is natural or unnatural change the pain inflicted on the helpless soul? If it was natural, would it mean that the torturer was just acting out his will and that his musings in death were to be ignored, just as the screams of the victim were to be silenced in our thoughts? All on account of the philosophical notion that what is natural or unnatural, does that mean that we ought to leave the victim to the unrelenting, slow, abusive torture of a man whose last interest is ending cruelty?

Whether or not it is natural to make someone suffer unnecessarily, it is still immoral. Similarly, whether or not a sexual act is natural, it has no relevance on whether or not the sexual act was moral or immoral. 

Can anyone truly confess that they think that unnatural suffering is worse than natural suffering, or vice versa? Certainly not. If someone were to respond to this argument by claiming that what is natural is equal to what is good, then the word "natural" is simply extra wordage. It is simply a synonym, and to ask if something is natural or unnatural is exactly the same as to ask someone whether something is ethical or unethical. 

If someone were to say, "That's ethical because it's natural," or "That's unethical because it's unnatural," it would be synonymous with saying, "That's ethical because it's ethical," or "That's unethical because it's unnatural." 

Therefore, to make an Appeal to the Natural does nothing, as what is natural or unnatural has absolutely no impact on whether or not an action is immoral, and what exactly natural is rarely comes to be defined.

Appeal to Beauty...

Another objection to a sexual act is the fact that its thought may be disturbing. Some people may find it disgusting that two people can consent to things which they find abominable. Although it is true that there may be no suffering exchanging in such a sexual act, they detest it on the grounds that it is grosteque -- at least, it is grosteque to them. 

The fallacy of this objection can quite clearly be seen: an action being ugly does not mean that it is immoral, just as an action being beautiful does not mean it is moral. If someone were to make the appeal that they detested a particular action because it was disgusting, it would best for them to imagine if someone wanted to limit them in their favorite action because it was thought to be disgusting. Suffering is suffering and misery is misery. Whether it is surrounded by the veil of beauty or the sheet of wretchedness, it is still contaminated with the same fact that such an action is painful, full of the things that make up the negative parts of life. Similarly, happiness is happiness and pleasure is pleasure. Whether with the label of "beautiful" or "ugly," such actions still exist to lift our hearts and to put new meaning into our lives. 

On no appeal to beauty can any action be condemned, otherwise we would find that we are censoring the pages in the book of humanity, depriving ourselves and others of the pleasure and happiness that can ease worries and pains.

Appeal to Obscurity...

Similar to the Appeal to Beauty, the Appeal to Obscurity is based not on contaminating an action with the title of "ugly" or "harmful to the eye," but rather, it makes the claim that such an action is obscure, odd, misplaced, and therefore should not be committed, in public or in private. 

This Appeal, though, just like the Appeal to Beauty, is flawed on the same grounds: whether or not an individual's actions are obscure and incomprehensible, or easily understood and simple, it has no grounds on determining whether or not such an action is ethical or unethical.

Appeal to Design...

Some may make the appeal that an act is immoral or unethical if it is using parts or tools that are not meant to be used in the fashion they are being used in. For example, a sexual relationship between two men would be immoral, because they were using parts of their body in a manner that they were not "designed for." 

However, this fatuous appeal suffers from its failure to remain consistent within any imaginable form of reason or logic. Who is to determine what something is designed for, anyway? If sexual organs are designed to be used for procreation, does that mean that their idleness is immoral as well, thus justifying rape? Since there is no evidence of a god, and thus no designer, does that mean we are not allowed to eat food, because it was not designed for that purpose? 

In fact, if you were to take my criticism of the Appeal to Naturality and replace the word "natural" with the word "designed," you would find yourself coming across the same errors.

If, for example, we were to erroneously decide through whichever method that medical tools are not desigend to be medical tools, does that mean we should abstain from using them when it comes to saving another's life? Or, if a knife is designed to kill, does that mean that it is acceptable to kill someone, simply because it has that design to it? Certainly not. 

Any sexual act that may or may not use particular appendiges that are or are not designed for such activity, it is irrelevant. As a humane, rational philosophy, it would be best to allow all that increases happiness, without causing suffering. By allowing sexual activity, this is accomplished. To make the claim that something cannot be done because it was not designed that way is to make an irrelevant, entirely foolish claim.

Monopoly on Love or Meaning...

Another popular argument brought up for the sake of limiting an activity is to make a monopoly on love or meaning. This argument is usually brought up in the following form: "The only way love or meaning could exist in a relationship is between a man and a woman. Therefore, any relationship that exists between a man and a man or a woman and a woman that is sexual has no true love or meaning, and therefore is unethical and immoral." 

The question now is, "If something lacks love or meaning, does that mean it is unethical and immoral?" If someone saves another from death, and does so without love or meaning, does that mean that they themselves are immoral for their action -- only on account of the fact that it may have lacked some particular sentiment? Or, if someone were to maim, murder, or rape another, and did so fully with the conviction of love and meaning, would that mean that such an individual could be moral, and even deserving of being praised, all based on the fact that they implemented love and meaning in their actions? I wrote it earlier, but it's true that misery is misery and suffering is suffering. Whether with or without the burden of meaning and love, it is quite irrelevant. 

As there are positive, moral actions that can be done without either meaning or love, and there are negative, immoral actions that can be done with meaning and love. However, whether or not there is love or meaning in them does not necessarily alter even slightly the fact that they are harmful or helpful.

Appeal to Religion...

Those who have followed my essays ought to be well aware of the fact that I have highly criticized religion for its failure to enact any proper morality or to obtain any morality. To quote one of my essays...


There are some theologians and religious writers who would have us believe that if Materialism were to destroy Supernaturality that we would have a world fill of anarchy, chaos, and disobedience -- a world where anything is permitted because there is no moral code. However, with the development of primitive superstitutions to world religions, we have seen quite the opposite. If a man says that he has god standing behind him, then he is not restrained by any moral code, as he may create the moral code in any arbitrary method that he wishes. He may allow, disallow, or even command rape. Whatever he wishes, it is his arbitrary decision, and from this we derive disobedience to religion from every individual who thinks it is wrong to harm an innocent creature. 

The development of religion did not cut back on the cruel and often disheartening behavior of primitive man. In fact, it condoned it in many degrees! The early Christians - as well as other religious followers - were commonly known for rape, theft, and murder, based on account that "they have already had their sins redeemed." 

To quote A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami...


He compared atonement to an elephant's bathing. The elephant may take a very nice bath in the river, but as soon as it comes onto the bank, it throws dirty all over its body. What, then, is the value of its bathing?

Similarly, many spiritual practitioners chant the Hare Krsna mahā-mantra and at the same time commit many forbidden things, thinking that their chanting will counteract their offenses. 

Of the ten types of offenses one can commit while chanting the holy name of the Lord, this offense is called nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhih, committing sinful activities on the strength of chanting the Hare Krsna mahā-mantra

Similarly, certain Christians go to church to confess their sins, thinking that confessing their sins before a priest and performing some penance will relieve them from the results of their weekly sins. As soon as Saturday is over and Sunday comes, they again begin their sinful activities, expecting to be forgiven the next Saturday. 
["The Nectar of Instruction," His Divine Grace, by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, page 3.] 
[Section quoted from "Civilization."]

This short section of the essay "Civilization" puts into question the very validity of defending an act, or prosecuting an act, on the foundation of religion. The ideas were better captured, however, in the essay, "Should Atheism be Defended?"


"Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work." [Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler.] The words of Adolf Hitler are etched on to history. He did what he did because he believed that faith was stronger than reason -- that blind acceptance of intuition and dogma held more value than open investigation with reason and logic. I do not believe that it was religion alone that convinced Hitler that the existence of Jews harmed Christ. 

It has also been his natural bigotry of being born in a Europe that was highly anti-semitic for over hundreds of years -- which of course is the result of Christian thought. Perhaps, though, Hitler found appeal in the institutions of prejudice of his time. When he was young, he was like the others of his class: patriotic and pious. He was like everyone else, as he shared on the same prejudices and the same bigoted fears. Like his comrades, he was also deeply religious. Christianity cannot be entirely blamed for the way Hitler developed. 

The point I am trying to make, is that by using religion as an argument for your side -- or by declaring that god is on your side and not on the side of your enemies -- an individual then becomes distant to reason and irreconcilable with logic. In can be said, in this respect, that religion is the origin of unsolvable conflicts. 

Compare science to religion. Science is not based on any unworldly power. It is based on natural observation and analysis. One can argue with evidence. There is no arrogant or haughty claim about how the ruler of the Universe feels about these subjects. It is pure reason-based claims. Religion, on the other hand, is unable of finding any objective truth. There have been thousands of religions all through the ages, and as men educated themselves they found themselves less in appeal to such old superstitions. 

The fact, though, remains: by using religion to defend your philosophical position -- particularly one which includes the murdering of millions of beings -- you inevitably make an inscrutinizable and unquestionable position, because rarely would anyone believing in a higher power desire to question those who call themselves prophets. 
[Excerpt from "Should Atheism Be Defended?"]

Those who assert that an action is wrong because it is opposed to some mystical, religious scripture are using flawed reasoning. As demonstrated above, an individual who claims that he speaks for god may create whatever moral code he desires. So we have it today that there are numerous religious codes from different religions and different sects. It certainly proves nothing, other than the credulous and unreasonable method of obtaining knowledge of religionists. 

An extremely simplified version of this idea can be seen here: One individual may say that god hates Homosexuals and therefore all Homosexuals are to be killed, but another individual may say that god hates Hetereosexuals and therefore all Heterosexuals are to be killed. Since both individuals are basing their knowledge on what the unseen had told them, both individuals are equally justified in making there claims.

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