Friday, January 16, 2009

Fun from Yahoo! Answers

The question:

Ethics of having non-reproductive intercourse with my brother?

I am 17 years old and my brother is 18. We are both above the age of consent in our state. We are very close, and our love is very strong. Recently we started making love; we both thought it would be interesting and fun, and it certainly was. Neither of us has any regrets or feelings of guilt.

I was already on birth control, but my brother used a condom just in case. We absolutely do not want to have kids, we just like the feeling of having sex. Making love with him always blows my mind, and it feels like a passionate, pure extension of our love. We told our parents, and they were supportive, so long as we continued to use contraceptives.

In this age of contraception, can the simple act of sex between siblings still be fairly labeled as ethically wrong?

Is it fair to assume that all cases of non-reproductive incest are abusive and not just an expression of love?

If the sex is consensual, and contraceptives are employed, how could anyone term our behavior as wrong?

No comments of a religious nature or concerning "god" please. We are both rational atheists, so that morality is irrelevant to us.

Look familiar? If you've visited then maybe it should, being one of the questions Jonathan Haidt looks at in his exploration of the human sense of morality. I was rather chuffed when my answer was chosen as best:

You're not Jonathan Haidt are you? He's asked this exact same question before. On the off chance that you're not Haidt or connected with Haidt's research in any way, I'd say:

There is no logical reason why what you're doing is wrong. Society's taboos on incest are in place for a reason, i.e. the prevention of producing genetically inferior children. In this day and age, rational consenting humans with access to proper contraception can enjoy sex with absolutely no risk of having children and, as such, the taboo on incest in this context is meaningless.

Nevertheless, as the other answers you find here have shown, many people will express great disgust at your suggestion, yet are incapable of justifying their disapproval, indicating that a great majority of people develop a sense of morality largely independent of their capacity for reason, falling back instead on copying the norm of the societies in which they live.

There is, however, one little thing that leads me to oppose this unorthodox relationship with your brother and it is this, crass though it may sound: Love makes fools of us all. Really, it does. It takes one mistake on the part of either you or your brother for you to concieve and that will open up a truly hideous can of worms for you and your brother. As such, though love is nice, and orgasms are nice, I really must recommend you and your brother quit while you're ahead and seek sexual relationships elsewhere.

It only occured to me later that there's another reason not to continue a relationship like this: It's simply not worth the trouble. The reward is a source of orgasms. The price is the social stigma one has to bear, surrounded as we are by shallow, stupid sheeple or, worse yet, fundies. Not quite worth it, I reckon, though perhaps in the long run, it may well give society the jolt it needs every so often to rethink some of the values we hold dear.

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