The fundamental moral law for male sexuality tells us that a man should not intentionally seek an orgasm except in sexual intercourse having the possibility of conception with a woman to whom he is committed to care for while providing for any children resulting from that intercourse. Call this the paternal principle.
The focus is on male sexuality. I am most familiar with it because I am a man and male sexuality is the most troublesome in human sexuality.
The paternal principle tells us that masturbation, homosexual relations, uncommitted relations with a woman and, of course, adultery are morally wrong. Men who regularly engage in these immoral sexual acts are with respect to sexuality not the kind of men they ought to be.
Why is this so? The answer is a brief statement that brings out the main points. Much more can always be said. But we need to see the main points before elaboration in a long essay or book.
Consider male sexuality. Its core action is the distribution of sperm. The purpose of sperm dispersal, or orgasm, is procreation of human beings. That’s what we would say about the sexuality of other male animals. We cannot deny that this purpose is a great good for human beings. Hence, the procreative function of male orgasms ought to be promoted and ought not be inhibited.
Yes, this judgment that procreation is a great good is a moral judgment. Making moral judgments is part of common sense and this discussion is at the common sense level.
Besides the great value of sexuality we are well aware that it is troublesome. Anybody can make up a list of the joys and sorrows of human sexuality; especially on the part of males. Evidence of this is that sexuality is restricted by all sorts of customs and rules; amongst which are moral rules. Human sexuality, as we know it, is a morally restricted activity.
Using our capacity to think morally to restrict our sexual behavior may have evolved as one way to control some of the harm of unrestricted sex. Even if the cause of making moral restrictions on sexuality is harm prevention, it does not follow that the reasons in our moral thinking justifying the restrictions is the harm they prevent. As will be shown the reasons are based on promoting the great good of sexuality and restricting that which inhibits this great good.
The question at issue is what are the fundamental moral restrictions. We are not asking whether or not it ought to be morally restricted. Morally unrestricted sexuality would not be human sexuality as we know it. Furthermore, asking whether it ought to be morally restricted already places sexuality under moral considerations. We cannot evade thinking morally about our sexuality. Even those who hold that the only moral restriction on sexual activity is the free consent of those involved are thinking morally about sexuality.
The paternal principle clearly tells us how to promote the great good of human sexuality along with condemning what frustrates that good. It offers men a clear standard for deciding on the morality of their primary sexual action. Think of the chaos of possibilities deviations from it allow.It does not leave room for seeking special circumstance which may permit following sexual inclinations, which are all too frequent, contrary to the good of sexuality. Looking for special circumstances permitting deviations from protection of the good of an activity are rationalizations which undercut the purpose of moral restrictions on the activity. All alternatives to the paternal principle make room for considerations which allow violations of the protection of the good of sexuality. For the paternal principle says exactly what its good is and condemns whatever inhibits it.
So the paternal principle does exactly what is needed for moral restriction on male sexuality. That’s probably why awareness of it is a cultural universal, even if not followed or ignored in many cultures.
I am earnestly seeking readers who will develop this line of thinking about morality and sexuality to extend it to female sexuality along with guidelines on how to apply it to improve the human condition with regard to exercise of sexuality.
The above line of argument was presented in Chapter IV
of my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism , Tulsa 2014.
See Book Web Page for information about the book. These blog posts are in effect work towards a 2nd edition. I have not changing the basic line of argument in my book. But in these blog posts I am developing better ways of expressing my argument by staying with the language of common sense and removing topics and language which could at best be of interest to professional academic philosophers. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.
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