May 28

Sex for Fun and Profit—Part 3

In Brief — The author presents a thought experiment that may upset some but is guaranteed to make you think not just about sex as a central part of society but whether we are locked in propaganda and tradition. [Written in February 2017.]

Sex is Popular Because It’s Centrally Located—

Are we locked into traditional ways of thinking? Are those ways helpful or a hindrance. This is a thought experiment. It’s a challenge to all of us if for no other reason than we are unable to peek around the corner to see what the future holds. While we can’t predict the future, there are some tantalizing hints of what’s ahead. Now let’s do some thinking.

But first, its necessary to understand that we’ll be thinking about just the individuals involved, not the impact of society or the law.

A Thought Experiment—

Joe, a randy sixteen-year-old boy, gets Sue, a rebellious but equally naïve girl of fifteen, to try out their sexuality in the back seat of a car. Sue gets pregnant and, with her parents’ angry push, puts the baby up for adoption. The baby is adopted by an anonymous couple unable to have children of their own.

Years pass, and the baby named Joan grows up to be an attractive, liberated young woman. By chance she meets Joe who is older and wiser. They fall in love and, not knowing that Joe is Joan’s father, move in together. Their sexual relations are wonderful. They enjoy sexual intercourse frequently; their love for each other and their commitment to one another grows.

Stop! Here is the first question of the thought experiment.

A) Is this relationship acceptable or unacceptable? Why? Remember that they are deeply in love and committed to one another. Remember that they are unaware of their relationship. Answer this question now before going on to B.

B) Now, let’s add an additional element: Joe and Joan belatedly learn that they are father and daughter. What should they do? Why? As before, answer this question before going on to C.

C) Now let’s add another element: Joan becomes pregnant with their child.

1) If Joe and Joan are unaware of their relationship, should the pregnancy continue? Why? Why not?

2) Joe and Joan become aware of their blood relationship, but their love and commitment remain strong. What should they do? Joan gets an abortion? Take the risk a negative genetic outcome? Why? Answer these questions before going on to D.

D) Finally, let’s add that hint I mentioned earlier: Science eliminates or edits any negative genes in Joan’s and Joe’s baby. Does this change your answers or have your answers remained the same?

I said at the beginning that this is a thought experiment. Your answers say much about you and your commitment to rationality or tradition. It reveals your imagination, your compassion.

Regardless of how you answered, this experiment makes you think and realize that reality is not as neatly arranged as you once thought. The important thing is that you thought…and that’s always good.

The Weekly Sampler—

As a reminder, go to the Archives on the right side of the page and click on the month and year of that week’s featured Sampler. If you wish, go to the January 15, 2017, blog (“A Simple Reading Assignment”) for more thorough instructions.

If you want to read the entire piece, simply click on the box titled “Continue Reading.” When you want to read the next piece, simply swipe your cursor across the one you have been reading and you will find the next one. Do this every time you want to read the next piece.

Don’t miss the Comments and my replies. Even though the Sampler pieces are from the past, feel free to comment…or not.

Go to the Archives on the right side. Click on March 2015



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    • Dave Meyers on May 28, 2017 at 17:31

    Leaving out the social implications of your example, as you suggest, should take the stigma or unacceptability out of ANY sexual conduct, not just from your scenario. Sex with children, sex between siblings or parents, sex with the dead, or sex with animals for that matter, has no meaning if you take the social implications out. So, I’m not sure what the point is here.

    We are, in fact, social beings…..therefore, we live, or usually live, by the rules of our particular society. Sexual conduct in other societies might never be acceptable in ours. Our ‘norms’ are set by our tribe, and we are judged by them. Your example has no meaning without social parameters.
    So to answer your questions becomes a totally individual thing, which is what I think you are after here. But to keep in mind your ‘NO FREE WILL’ notion… CAN’T answer it without being tainted by social influence. Throwing in the “Science eliminates or edits” adjustment…….. is a red herring!

      • Don Bay on May 28, 2017 at 19:02

      Please keep in mind that this is a thought experiment. As stated in the piece, this is to be considered as just involving the two adult people, not society or the law. Please don’t get caught up in free will or what society thinks.

      My purpose here is just what readers think, and you are a reader. I interpret your comment to mean that you don’t want to treat this as a thought experiment, rather as what society (the law is part of society) has to say. You seem to want this to be treated not as a thought experiment but as a concern of society. Put clearly, you prefer not to answer. Too bad, I was hoping to get what readers think. Somehow, that got lost.

      There are no red herrings here. I was looking to see if science would change a reader’s answer.

        • Dave Meyers on May 30, 2017 at 06:15

        But Don….You open the challenge by saying….”we’ll be thinking about just the individuals involved, not the impact of society or the law”.
        I’m merely suggesting that without the impact of society or the law, anyone can screw anyone and there is no stigma or issue. I further suggest that if you want me to analyze the problem, I can ONLY do so under what I know are social limits….at least those in my world.

        I could easily say that love trumps all and let our examples live their lives…..but I doubt you wanted that as an answer……or do you?

          • Don Bay on May 30, 2017 at 06:51

          You are right: This thought experiment is about just the two adults in the blog piece. If you want to treat this thought experiment as taking place in a societal setting, feel free to do so. It will be interesting to see your thoughts then. I wanted to avoid that by isolating the facts from how society would react.

          Maybe I should have put this scenario in a societal setting. The problem with that is that society’s rules will determine depending on where the couple lives, and large chunks of American society are chained to tradition… the religious right, for example. I’m interested in what you and other readers think. For example, do you believe society’s views are valid here? Have at it, Dave.

            • Dave Meyers on May 30, 2017 at 07:30

            Well…again I suggest that if you take society out of it, then our two subjects have free rain to do as they please, and I say, ‘good on’ya!’…..go for it.
            But….if we put society back into the picture, than many, if not most, would say…’love or not, child or not, you need to cut this relationship off. What would I say? I never judge anyone’s sexual or love interests….short of with children and by force. However, I live in a society that would frown on this relationship, and I do understand why. So, I hope that Joe and Joan don’t announce their back-story at the next party.
            I’m afraid that’s the best I can do. I can only give my thoughts based on NO social judgement….and With social judgement. My personal opinion is perhaps less harsh than my society’s may be, and I would have great sympathy for our subject’s plight.
            I still suggest that science blotting out possible genetic issues is only a solution to possible genetic issues and has nothing much to do with judgment by society at large.

            • Don Bay on May 30, 2017 at 17:02

            To start with, let’s rule out child abuse and any form of force. Joe and Joan are both consenting adults and are either married or planning to marry. Where they live makes a huge difference, but excepting New Jersey all states have laws banning incest (defined) with violations being felonies calling for years in prison. Even liberal N.J. forbids the couple to marry. Until the Trump administration came along, there was a glacial move toward rationality. Today, I wouldn’t bet the farm on rationality.

            The taboo remains, and genetic problems are considerable in cases of close consanguinity. That’s why I posited medical science being able to edit out the faulty genes.

            Taking all of that admittedly abbreviated information into account, Joe and Joan stand the best chance in N.J. Based on the facts, married or not, I’d take their case in a second. Moving to another state places them in jeopardy if their relationship becomes known. Then the taboo situation looms large. Best they make an effort to keep their relationship secret wherever they go.

            Your non-judgmental position is an admirable rarity…but don’t discuss your views at a party.

  1. The prohibitions around father/daughter sexual relations are twofold: Genetic problems, which you science away, and Child abuse, which isn’t present here since she is grown when they meet. So except for social inhibition, why is this a problem? They are in an adult, loving relationship. If they tell others then they will have to live with the social inhibition, so why tell others? This is a good relationship, so be happy.

      • Don Bay on May 28, 2017 at 19:13

      As I said to Dave, this is a thought experiment. I purposely omitted society because I’m aware that many in society are opposed to father/daughter sexual relations whether with or without knowledge.

      Genetic problems are thrown in to see if that changes the reader’s view.

      Maybe next time I’ll discuss this in terms of society knowing of the relationship.

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