Sexual ethics and institutions

June 7, 2020 — October 31, 2023

Content warning:

Sexual acts, sex work, controversial sexual institutions

Placeholder for an article which mentions modern western experiments in relationships, introduces terminology such as polycules, metamours and so on, as well as analyses of sexual ethics and politics, recent and historical experiments in sexual mores.

Figure 1

1 Dating

The Odds are Good & the Goods are Great is a fun think piece about het dating

My suspicion is that the majority of my women friends who had bad relationships had partners who chose them, rather than the other way around. If you are 100% passive in the dating market, your partners will be drawn from the set of ‘the kind of people who wants to date you’. If you are 100% active, your partners will be drawn from the set of ‘the kind of person you want to date’.

Figure 2

Iwan Bloch’s Sex life in England:

A STUDY of the British Don Juan affords us some highly interesting psychological insights into the character and distinctiveness of the English man of the world who became the prototype for the French and German novels of the nineteenth century. One primary characteristic of the British Don Juan, which thoroughly distinguished him from the worldlings of Latin and German lands, is the cold, brassy repose with which he indulges his lusts. This to him is much less a matter of passion than of pride and satisfaction of his >sense of power. The French or Italian Don Juan is driven by a fiery sensuality from conquest to conquest; that is the chief motive for his deeds and mode of life. The English Don Juan, however, seduces for the sale of experiment; he pursues love as a sport. Sensuality plays a secondary role and in the midst of ecstasy the coldness of the heart peers through terrifyingly.

I suspect this is of purely literary interest — English-gallant-as-sociopath seems like a big claim.

2 Evolutionary sociology of marriage

To read: Schacht and Kramer (2019),Henrich, Boyd, and Richerson (2012),Schacht and Bell (2016).

Figure 3

3 Economics of marriage

Another point of connection with feminism (Fry and Cohn 2010; Grossbard-Schectman 2019; Smith 2003).

4 Pornography

See pornography.

5 Sex work

I am curious about the incentive mechanisms in the sex work political economy. What legality leads to which outcomes?

The Rhode island experiment (Cunningham and Shah 2014) is an intriguing case study.

The reduction in disease from decriminalization of prostitution is not surprising. The reduction in sexual violence is uncomfortable for a variety of reasons.

Alternatively, for a treatise arguing that sex work must always be sex-slavery, Prostitution, Liberalism, and Slavery. Sex workers of my acquaintance tend to disagree with this analysis.

6 Ideology

Figure 4

I enjoyed Ozy Brennan’s advice, Kink. Hi.:

All human sexuality is weird and embarrassing and vulnerable and politically incorrect. It’s not something we kinky people have a monopoly on. I guarantee you if you could read the minds of people having the sweetest and most loving vanilla sex, it would turn out their sexual interests are related to their insecurities and their body image issues and their yearning for intimacy and all kinds of other stuff you’d be uncomfortable telling the Starbucks barista about. Sexualities are sort of like dreams: they take all the strange awkward uncomfortable bits of you that aren’t fit for public consumption, mix them together with that TV show you watched and your favorite shoes and your third-grade teacher, and produce some unrecognizable and nonsensical yet mortifyingly revealing slop.

That’s one of the reasons that talking about sex is hard. You’re like “here are all my weird uncomfortable bits, fellow human! Please don’t judge me.”

And it’s also one of the reasons that a lot of political ideologies don’t like sex. Sex is stubbornly politically inconvenient. You can get a woman to wear combat boots and no makeup, to split the chores fifty-fifty and practice Health at Every Size, to have a flawless political analysis and to organize at her local domestic violence shelter — and her sexuality will still go “you know what would be hot? If I got a boob job. Just. Giant fucking tits bouncing all over the place. That would be hot.”

7 Living apart together

And other household choices.

See Coliving.

8 Poly people

Figure 5

Ozymandias’s sex positivity articles are interesting, e.g. Your Partner Dating Lots Of People Is Less Scary Than You Think It Is.

Some useful terms:

Compersion
Broadly speaking, compersion is experiencing joy in response to another person’s joy, even if it does not involve or benefit you directly. It’s similar to the Buddhist concept of “mudita,” which involves unselfish rejoicing in the good fortune of others. Think about the warm feeling you get when someone you love lands their dream job, has a baby or completes their phD program.
Polycule
A romantic couple, but with \(n>2\). See What’s a polycule? An expert on polyamory explains
Hinge
Poly Land says “Technically speaking, a hinge is someone who is involved with 2 people who are not involved with each other. Say Sally is dating both Mark and Steve, but Mark and Steve are not involved with one another romantically (Mark and Steve’s relationship with one another would be metamours). Sally is the “hinge” between them.
Metamour
see above
New Relationship Energy
Original coinage: New Relationship Energy. Spicy feels at the start of a new erotic/romantic connection. This is my favourite meditation to extract from the poly playbook, because it leads to a robust perspective on long-term supportive relationships, e.g. 1, e.g. 2. Also monogamous people need this concept.

See also:

9 Incoming

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10 References

Cunningham, and Shah. 2014. Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health.” Working Paper 20281.
Deida. 2005. Wild Nights: Conversations with Mykonos about Passionate Love, Extraordinary Sex, and How to Open to God.
Fletcher, and Kerr. 2010. Through the Eyes of Love: Reality and Illusion in Intimate Relationships.” Psychological Bulletin.
Fry, and Cohn. 2010. Women, Men and the New Economics of Marriage.”
Grossbard-Schectman. 2019. On The Economics Of Marriage.
Henrich, Boyd, and Richerson. 2012. The Puzzle of Monogamous Marriage.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Lambert, Kahn, and Apple. 2003. Pluralistic Ignorance and Hooking up.” The Journal of Sex Research.
Leuner, Glasper, and Gould. 2010. Sexual Experience Promotes Adult Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus Despite an Initial Elevation in Stress Hormones.” PLOS ONE.
Moreno-Domínguez, Raposo, and Elipe. 2019. Body Image and Sexual Dissatisfaction: Differences Among Heterosexual, Bisexual, and Lesbian Women.” Frontiers in Psychology.
Schacht, and Bell. 2016. The Evolution of Monogamy in Response to Partner Scarcity.” Scientific Reports.
Schacht, and Kramer. 2019. Are We Monogamous? A Review of the Evolution of Pair-Bonding in Humans and Its Contemporary Variation Cross-Culturally.” Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
Smith. 2003. The Law and Economics of Marriage Contracts.” Journal of Economic Surveys.