Casual Sex, Promiscuity, and Objectification

In Raja Halwani, Jacob M. Held, Natasha McKeever & Alan Soble (eds.), The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings, 8th edition. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 459-479 (2022)

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Raja Halwani
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Abstract
This essay starts by discussing the definitions, and their attendant difficulties, of "casual sex," "promiscuity," and "objectification" (including whether objectification is only about treatment or can be about mere regard), and then continues to discuss the morality of casual sex and promiscuity, especially as to whether they are objectifying. Assuming a pessimist view of sexual desire and activity, the paper argues that it is nearly impossible to defend these sexual practices against the accusation of objectification, because even though casual sex and promiscuity do not necessarily objectify, they likely almost always do. The essay concludes by arguing that the wrongness of objectification in these two kinds of sexual practices might not be serious, so they might be overall morally permissible. (This is a revised version from that in the 7th edition of The Philosophy of Sex.)
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