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Is it immoral to have sex in front of your children?


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#1 Mr Rayon

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 03:24 AM

If two people are married and have children, is it ethical for them to have sex with each other in front of your their kids?

And, what if the kids are too young to understand what sex is?

What do you think as an SFN forum member? What's the scientific/atheistic viewpoint regarding this matter?

Edited by Voltman, 28 February 2011 - 04:21 AM.

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#2 lemur

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 03:48 AM

It's not a good idea because the kids could want to participate and then feel hurt if they were excluded in some way. Also, if they get the idea that sex is a fun activity, they could expect to be able to do it in some way and then get hurt and frustrated when told that they have to wait until adulthood. Generally it's better to just engage in activities with them that they can understand and relate to except when necessary. Generally, you can explain to them the necessity of doing something that they're not allowed to do if they ask. If that activity is sex, they may want to participate in various ways that would cause all sorts of problems so better to just avoid exposing them to it, in practice at least anyway. You can explain aspects to them in a theoretical way if you can do so without freaking them (and yourself) out about it. They may want to know where babies come from at a young age and if they can understand that sex is something that adults do when they get to an age where they can become parents, this may satisfy them that it's not something they want to be involved in before they are adults.
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#3 Xittenn

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:02 AM

Very! I'm not sure how this is even a question? For starters no one should be having sex in front of my kids unless it's filmed porn and my child has somehow gotten hold of it, in which case I see this a rather normal. No one should be having sex in front of their own children either.

Fundamentally there are customs, traditions and laws that have been established. The current of these have been established with it in mind that it should be intolerable for those of greater power to impose upon those of lesser power. The essence of the question revolves around free will and this is something that we have customarily given presidence to. Children should be allowed to grow as individuals and should be given the right to make choices and by allowing any of this type of activity to take place their choice is removed.

Even in the case where the child is a willing participant this should be disallowed in favour of the security of those who do not. There are two big issues here. The first issue is that of coercion. Young ones are readily susceptible to threats or rewards and their ability to act on such encroaching behaviour is insufficient in such a negotiation. The second is believability. Disallowing these behaviours protects all young persons of lesser power from any potential threat brought about by doubt of intent or an inability to discern truth. Did the child voluntarily participate in this activity? No, because it is not legal for a child to voluntarily participate in such activity with any adult under any circumstance.

I think these persistent discussions I'm seeing are rather perverse and well outside the realm of scientific. Studies of 'social behaviours' and 'currently accepted law' are, when being approached from a professional manner, usually outlined and treated with much more tact than has been demonstrated in these threads. I am glad my current associations with these thoughts are being directed at Mel Gibson whose name is already sullied and not at someone who I have a bit more respect for.

Edited by Xittenn, 28 February 2011 - 04:07 AM.

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#4 Cap'n Refsmmat

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:09 AM

There are a number of cultures in which children are encouraged to be far more sexual than they are in our Western culture; presumably we should look to them to find out how it's worked out.

I may dig up some references if I have time.
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#5 lemur

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:14 AM

There are a number of cultures in which children are encouraged to be far more sexual than they are in our Western culture; presumably we should look to them to find out how it's worked out.

I may dig up some references if I have time.

Why? It might be interesting theoretically but in what sense do westerners ever defer to non-western cultural authority in sexual matters? Western culture only recognizes western rationality and ethics. If you can use a form of non-western reason to appeal to western authority, you may be able to establish viable cultural alternatives, but otherwise they'll just eschew you as pedophile, child-abuser, etc. if you claim cultural primacy for a conflicting culture of youth incorporation into sexuality.



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#6 Xittenn

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:25 AM

It's not just the immediate issue but the threat it poses as a progression towards a gross cultural practice, child abuse which includes, prostitution, physical abuse, verbal abuse and the childs inability to remove themselves from the situation.
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#7 Cap'n Refsmmat

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:28 AM

Why? It might be interesting theoretically but in what sense do westerners ever defer to non-western cultural authority in sexual matters? Western culture only recognizes western rationality and ethics. If you can use a form of non-western reason to appeal to western authority, you may be able to establish viable cultural alternatives, but otherwise they'll just eschew you as pedophile, child-abuser, etc. if you claim cultural primacy for a conflicting culture of youth incorporation into sexuality.

We're considering whether such behavior would be immoral. If it can be demonstrated that it is not harmful to children, it is much easier to make the case that it's moral. If it can be demonstrated that it's in fact beneficial in some way, then not much else is needed.

It's not just the immediate issue but the threat it poses as a progression towards a gross cultural practice, child abuse which includes, prostitution, physical abuse, verbal abuse and the childs inability to remove themselves from the situation.

Sure. But suppose we had a society where open sexuality was acceptable. Would there be a tendency towards prostitution and abuse when sex is more freely available?

I think the answer is "We don't know," which is why I wanted to dig up some references.
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#8 Xittenn

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:29 AM

Proposal:

Individuals who are unable to restrain themselves in such matters are far more likely to be incapable of restraining themselves in the further matters of concern expressed above. They are also more likely to take away the freedom maintained by an individual of lesser power.

Isn't there enough problems even with the rules that are already in place?

This was supposed to have been additive to my last post, sorry!

Edited by Xittenn, 28 February 2011 - 04:31 AM.

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#9 Mr Rayon

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:42 AM

Very! I'm not sure how this is even a question? For starters no one should be having sex in front of my kids unless it's filmed porn and my child has somehow gotten hold of it, in which case I see this a rather normal. No one should be having sex in front of their own children either.


I was just curious what people think when they look objectively at this issue. Stripping away the fixed moral values one is presented with religion, there's no real way to distinguish between what is a perversion and what is not. Something that we regard as being a perversion in human behaviour may become quite normal in the distant future. I know people today, who update their Facebooks to just include things like "Hobbies: Wanking" and people who when I ask the ethics of pornography they reply "I see nothing wrong with it". Most of these people, if not all, are atheists. I also hang around some religious fanatics from various religions so sometimes their ideas of right and wrong rub against mine and then I begin to understand where their various feelings come from.

Isn't there enough problems even with the rules that are already in place?


Perhaps stricter rules would be a good thing to put in place. We have too much freedom nowadays, which encourages people to become ever more perverted.
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#10 Cap'n Refsmmat

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:51 AM

Proposal:

Individuals who are unable to restrain themselves in such matters are far more likely to be incapable of restraining themselves in the further matters of concern expressed above. They are also more likely to take away the freedom maintained by an individual of lesser power.

Isn't there enough problems even with the rules that are already in place?

This was supposed to have been additive to my last post, sorry!

Given our evolutionary relation and biological similarities to promiscuous species like the bonobo, it's likely the case that our rules are the cause of some of our problems, rather than the solution.

I mean, consider how bad we are at monogamy (affairs everywhere!), and how good we are at being promiscuous (ask a fraternity member). Some biology can show how we've evolved as a promiscuous species, and anthropologically, the early hunter-gatherer societies were likely promiscuous as well. Monogamy was a later cultural invention.

The book I'm reading at the moment (Sex at Dawn) has the central thesis that it's our rules which run contrary to our biological nature that cause many of our problems. Easing the rules and being more open may reduce abuse and problems, rather than encouraging it.
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#11 Xittenn

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:53 AM

There's a pretty big difference between wanking as a hobby and having sex all nonchalant in front of children. What child would wish to watch their parents having sex? I'm sorry I can't fathom this, a child who would think oh yeah it's mommies and daddies sexy hour :/
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#12 ydoaPs

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:54 AM

There's a pretty big difference between wanking as a hobby and having sex all nonchalant in front of children. What child would wish to watch their parents having sex? I'm sorry I can't fathom this, a child who would think oh yeah it's mommies and daddies sexy hour :/

Is it not possible that this is cultural programming?
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#13 Xittenn

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:56 AM

Given our evolutionary relation and biological similarities to promiscuous species like the bonobo, it's likely the case that our rules are the cause of some of our problems, rather than the solution.

I mean, consider how bad we are at monogamy (affairs everywhere!), and how good we are at being promiscuous (ask a fraternity member). Some biology can show how we've evolved as a promiscuous species, and anthropologically, the early hunter-gatherer societies were likely promiscuous as well. Monogamy was a later cultural invention.

The book I'm reading at the moment (Sex at Dawn) has the central thesis that it's our rules which run contrary to our biological nature that cause many of our problems. Easing the rules and being more open may reduce abuse and problems, rather than encouraging it.


Is it not possible that this is cultural programming?


Maybe not everyone is meant to get married, I don't disagree with this and see this as a rather rational stipulation. I would like to point out that this does not inhibit someones right to freedom. Is the real question here if children have rights?

Edited by Xittenn, 28 February 2011 - 04:57 AM.

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#14 lemur

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 05:22 AM

There's a pretty big difference between wanking as a hobby and having sex all nonchalant in front of children. What child would wish to watch their parents having sex? I'm sorry I can't fathom this, a child who would think oh yeah it's mommies and daddies sexy hour :/

I agree. There's something universal about the aversion to knowing about sex between one's parents. It surely has to do with the special relationship between a child and each parent. There must be some terrible trauma that comes with feeling like either of your parents can be pleased in a way that you are absolutely of incapable of doing for them. Once children are mature enough to identify with their parents as adults, it is probably a good thing to share experience, advice, ethics, etc. about sex. But while they're young enough to still just identify with a parent purely as a caregiver and source of affection, why make them feel denigrated and inadequate by confronting them with something that inherently belittles them in their pre-pubescence? Of course, when they engage in sexually-oriented behavior you have to gently enlighten them as to potential consequences for that kind of behavior if they do it in public, for example, but all sexual exploration should be initiated by children themselves, imo, until they reach adolescence when they may require some explicit confrontation in order to overcome the shame of addressing the issue.
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#15 ydoaPs

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 05:37 AM

I agree. There's something universal about the aversion to knowing about sex between one's parents. It surely has to do with the special relationship between a child and each parent. There must be some terrible trauma that comes with feeling like either of your parents can be pleased in a way that you are absolutely of incapable of doing for them. Once children are mature enough to identify with their parents as adults, it is probably a good thing to share experience, advice, ethics, etc. about sex. But while they're young enough to still just identify with a parent purely as a caregiver and source of affection, why make them feel denigrated and inadequate by confronting them with something that inherently belittles them in their pre-pubescence? Of course, when they engage in sexually-oriented behavior you have to gently enlighten them as to potential consequences for that kind of behavior if they do it in public, for example, but all sexual exploration should be initiated by children themselves, imo, until they reach adolescence when they may require some explicit confrontation in order to overcome the shame of addressing the issue.

Again, is it not possible that what you describe is due to cultural programming?
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#16 Xittenn

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:15 AM

Again, is it not possible that what you describe is due to cultural programming?


No! When I was three I routinely saw my relatives in bed. Although not entirely clear on what was taking place I knew it was better left alone. I knew that couples enjoyed something private together when I was not around and what they shared was something good and positive. I knew all of this without being treated to a lecture or a show. I knew I would one day wish the same for myself but also that it was something I would need to learn more about. I was satisfied with this.

The Great Apes by Will Self depicted a world of Bonobos where a man on some drug trip woke up in. In this world everyone had sex in public, it was the 'norm.' There were some etiquettes to this however, others were expected to not watch as I recall. Now the descriptives in this book made me a little, well .... but in day to day if I'm on my way home from work the last thing I want to see on the bus is couples doing it. In fact it's almost always gross. Now for a child this isn't just gross as Lemur pointed out it is isolating and belittling.

I'm one of the most sexually expressive individuals on the planet. I can walk into a club with some crazy music and it's orgy time. I have more nekkie pictures on the internet than most and a few here are privy to my openness. This isn't about programming this is about maintaining the freedom of the weak as a whole and not weighting in favour against. I have yet to hear even the slightest pro-argument for such behaviour and am not sure why the side that has massive databases of literature giving test case after test case of reasons for its argument is being forced to continue to prove itself with no counter argument. If someone says Einstein is wrong the first statement out of anyones mouth is pfft how is this any different?
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#17 Cap'n Refsmmat

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:22 PM

No! When I was three I routinely saw my relatives in bed. Although not entirely clear on what was taking place I knew it was better left alone. I knew that couples enjoyed something private together when I was not around and what they shared was something good and positive. I knew all of this without being treated to a lecture or a show. I knew I would one day wish the same for myself but also that it was something I would need to learn more about. I was satisfied with this.

This is most certainly cultural; I think you're projecting your current feelings back on your three-year-old self. There are a number of hunter-gatherer societies in which public sex is not a problem. There are also a number of societies where sharing spouses is not a problem.

Example: There are some Amazonian groups who believe that a fetus is made out of accumulated semen. Hence, a pregnant woman must continue having sex or her baby will never be born. But of course the baby will have some of the characteristics of its father, so the woman seeks out her favorite men in the tribe -- perhaps the strong ones, and the intelligent ones, and the wise ones -- and has them make "donations" to her baby's growth.

The bonus is that now the entire group feels like they're partially parents of the child, and so the children run freely from house to house, and everyone takes responsibility for their well-being. They have a specific mother, but they know that everyone in the tribe will take care of them if they trip in the forest and skin their knee.

I'm one of the most sexually expressive individuals on the planet. I can walk into a club with some crazy music and it's orgy time. I have more nekkie pictures on the internet than most and a few here are privy to my openness. This isn't about programming this is about maintaining the freedom of the weak as a whole and not weighting in favour against. I have yet to hear even the slightest pro-argument for such behaviour and am not sure why the side that has massive databases of literature giving test case after test case of reasons for its argument is being forced to continue to prove itself with no counter argument. If someone says Einstein is wrong the first statement out of anyones mouth is pfft how is this any different?

Okay. Then let's modify the OP's question slightly, then:

"Is it immoral to have sex in front of your children, presuming the children can walk away if they so choose?"
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#18 lemur

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:40 PM

I'm one of the most sexually expressive individuals on the planet. I can walk into a club with some crazy music and it's orgy time. I have more nekkie pictures on the internet than most and a few here are privy to my openness.

I think there's a general psychological reason that sexually open people prefer to be free of sex sometimes/often. Sex is a very draining activity cognitively and emotionally. This doesn't just apply to actual physical intercourse but also sexual fantasizing, dating-negotiations, dealing with sexual rumors, etc. So it makes sense that people want sex sometimes and want to be free of it at other times. The problem is that because there is so much sexual structuring, many people are excluded/isolated/repressed and thus don't get the opportunity to desire freedom FROM sexuality because they have yet to experience sexual freedom, imo.

This isn't about programming this is about maintaining the freedom of the weak as a whole and not weighting in favour against.

Good point about weakness or the feeling of. I think this feeling can also be traced to the nature of sex that goes beyond cultural programming. Children look up to their parents and struggle throughout childhood to develop physically and in terms of skills to rival their parents in terms of physical/economic/social/cultural power. Sexuality is a big part of this, imo, because it is closely related to the bodily and hormonal developments that impress children about adults, such as beards and other body hair, etc. So while it can be just as belittling to rigorously police them from learning anything about sex, it's also not nice to flaunt it.

I think maybe it should be treated like alcohol. I.e. it's ok to talk to kids about it and have a drink in front of them at dinner now and then but it's better not to get drunk and it is also better to stay sober with them most of the time so they don't feel alienated from you. Since children enjoy many forms of erotic affection, such as hugs, kissing, non-sexual touches, etc., why not limit sexual interactions between adults to these forms and explain sex, the purpose and risks, but tell them that it's better to wait as long as possible to become sexually active because it can be addictive and it's better to establish yourself as a non-sexual adult before acquiring sexual experience.


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#19 Marat

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:35 PM

I think Refreshment's variation of the OP loses its point, since the notion that children might be allowed to see sex taking place but then should be denied their wish to participate in it only recreates the problems artificially generated by our culture, which would certainly prohibit children participating because of an unexamined assumption that sex is bad enough just to look at, but thoroughly toxic if indulged in. The tension between looking and wanting to participate is only real if we assume there is something bad about sex, which is the background question of this thread.

The argument that sex has to be restricted to homeopathic doses and denied entirely to some groups because it is psychologically and physically draining also won't fly, since competitive sport even more psychologically and physically draining than sex, and yet children at a very young age (e.g., pee-wee hockey) are positively encouraged to participate in this sort of 'draining' activity.

The arbitrary assumption that almost all people trying to come to grips with the objective harm of sexuality for children and the need to restrict their access to sex is that sex is intrinsically evil, like drinking a mild poison like alcohol, so we have to confine access to it as much as possible. But this is just a value assumption in the case of sex, which no amount of analysis seems able to reduce to a demonstrably objective harm.
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#20 Xittenn

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:02 PM

This is most certainly cultural; I think you're projecting your current feelings back on your three-year-old self. There are a number of hunter-gatherer societies in which public sex is not a problem. There are also a number of societies where sharing spouses is not a problem.

Example: There are some Amazonian groups who believe that a fetus is made out of accumulated semen. Hence, a pregnant woman must continue having sex or her baby will never be born. But of course the baby will have some of the characteristics of its father, so the woman seeks out her favorite men in the tribe -- perhaps the strong ones, and the intelligent ones, and the wise ones -- and has them make "donations" to her baby's growth.

The bonus is that now the entire group feels like they're partially parents of the child, and so the children run freely from house to house, and everyone takes responsibility for their well-being. They have a specific mother, but they know that everyone in the tribe will take care of them if they trip in the forest and skin their knee.


Okay. Then let's modify the OP's question slightly, then:

"Is it immoral to have sex in front of your children, presuming the children can walk away if they so choose?"


I think Refreshment's variation of the OP loses its point, since the notion that children might be allowed to see sex taking place but then should be denied their wish to participate in it only recreates the problems artificially generated by our culture, which would certainly prohibit children participating because of an unexamined assumption that sex is bad enough just to look at, but thoroughly toxic if indulged in. The tension between looking and wanting to participate is only real if we assume there is something bad about sex, which is the background question of this thread.

The argument that sex has to be restricted to homeopathic doses and denied entirely to some groups because it is psychologically and physically draining also won't fly, since competitive sport even more psychologically and physically draining than sex, and yet children at a very young age (e.g., pee-wee hockey) are positively encouraged to participate in this sort of 'draining' activity.

The arbitrary assumption that almost all people trying to come to grips with the objective harm of sexuality for children and the need to restrict their access to sex is that sex is intrinsically evil, like drinking a mild poison like alcohol, so we have to confine access to it as much as possible. But this is just a value assumption in the case of sex, which no amount of analysis seems able to reduce to a demonstrably objective harm.



Again there has yet to be an argument for how having sex in front of children has a positive benefit in either of these statements. Furthermore the OP is not questioning whether or not consenting adults should relax a little more and maybe do some exercises in diversification.

@Marat; Sex with children is physically damaging, what are you talking about? Prepubescent females parts are not ready for such activities with full grown adults, and I can only speculate what might happen to subjected prepubescent males.

Note: I'm not posting again in this topic I think it is amateur at best and even though I am disturbed by the the subject matter and how it is being handled I am not too concerned about how this thread will impact reality.
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