Scenario:  You're in a commited relationship and your partner says that s/he still loves you and still wants to be with you, but can no longer repress the desire to undergo a sex change operation.  Is it morally permissible for you to decide to leave the relationship if s/he proceeds with the sex change?

 

I don't believe it's morally permissible.

Tags: change, sex

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with what I said. It's a fine analogy. The point is that people can't help what they're attracted to. It's not like your spouse changing their hair color or wearing colored contacts. The point of the analogy was to show that gender is just as important to somebody's identity as race/ethnicity and the characteristics thereof that make up a person. Straight women aren't attracted to other women in any instance. I'm not attracted to dark skin in any instance. The point was that if a person changes their gender, it's as impacting to their identity as if they changed their race (i.e.: all of their bodily features), or we could replace that with the reverse-- a person in a relationship changing their sexual preference to bisexual when they're in a relationship with somebody who does not approve of that. In both instances (if one could change their racial characteristics or if they changed their sexual preference), the other spouse should not be expected to stay with the partner out of 'moral obligation', if anything, the moral violation here lies in the breach of contract when entering the relationship--- morally, the man should stay a man, and a woman should stay a woman, if they enter into the relationship that way with no foreknowledge on the other spouse's part that they have an interest in changing, otherwise they should not expect the other person to stay with them (that doesn't mean they won't, but it shouldn't be an expectation out of 'moral'). The reason I used dark skin as an analogy is because there's very little I can't be conditionally attracted to, extremely dark skin is simply a 'no go' for me that can't be negotiated and it has nothing to do with race. It's the same as how some guys would never date me because I'm extremely fair-skinned, where they preferred tan or dark skinned women. It's natural for a human to be attracted to certain sets of features almost exclusively. Likewise, I would never be attracted to somebody who was morbidly obese. Period.

The point, again, is that those things define you as much as your gender does as far as sex goes; like those things, and gender, people tend to have a strong sexual preference one way or the other and, if those things changed, the other spouse should not be expected to stay with the person if they aren't happy with that change.
Yeah, the analogy was fine. It is not racist to admit not being attracted to certain races. I think it is an accepted fact that people generally are attracted to people that look like themselves.
I don't think your post does much to attract Black ppl to you, in any event .... totally out of order and nasty imho.

I completely disagree; I don't think that there is anything out of order nor nasty about describing what one is attracted to. Sexual attraction is largely an irrational process; we don't consciously think about our attractions nor formulate lines of reasoning to support our preferences. In my experience, sexual attraction is an instinctual reaction based on physical cues that is not able to be consciously controlled. I can neither force myself to be attracted to someone nor can I force myself to not be attracted to someone.

Is it only offensive because it is a white person expressing a lack of sexual attraction for black people? (I'm assuming that Ava's avatar depicts herself.) What if it was a black person expressing a lack of attraction for white people, or a white person expressing a lack of attraction for white people? Would it still be as offensive?
I think our attractions/ revulsions are often culturally determined and I think in the case of race especially. I think this is an area it would have been more helpful to keep to yourself as unnecessarily divisive amongst atheists ... and/or perhaps do some self-examination? And you don't realise how rude/arrogant you are being.

My 'extended family' has different races ... I do not believe that sexual attraction is genetic or unfixed - I'm wondering why, Ava, you said this was 'non negotiable'. I find it surprising and unfortunate that a person feels him or herself so free to be offensive to a whole race or so fixed in their opinions.

Shine, I totally agree, racism is not confined to white ppl. However, none of us is 'pure' are we? And history teaches that individuals of different races ARE very often attracted to each other so maybe 'think on't' ;)
I think our attractions/ revulsions are often culturally determined and I think in the case of race especially. I think this is an area it would have been more helpful to keep to yourself as unnecessarily divisive amongst atheists ... and/or perhaps do some self-examination? And you don't realise how rude/arrogant you are being.

I am sure there is a large element to culture in who we find attractive. However, there is nothing wrong with someone's taste in mates because someone else may think it could be based on an upbringing in a prejudicial culture. That is assuming a lot.

My 'extended family' has different races ... I do not believe that sexual attraction is genetic or unfixed - I'm wondering why, Ava, you said this was 'non negotiable'. I find it surprising and unfortunate that a person feels him or herself so free to be offensive to a whole race or so fixed in their opinions.

What Ava probably meant by "non-negotiable" was not that she would never find a person of a darker skinned race attractive. She probably meant that she could not negotiate herself into being attracted to a person when she was not attracted to them. I can't just talk myself into loving a person I didn't love. It is similar to that. Does being unable to romantically love another man make me a homophobe?

Perhaps you are jumping at shadows? Think on it yourself and please don't be so quick to make a final judgment.
Believe me, I have thought a lot about this and I stand by what I said. I think the phrase 'non-negotiable' cuts Ava off from the possibility of meeting someone Black/ with dark skin and finding them attractive. I never thought I'd be attracted to a blond man, for example, but I never would have said it was 'non negotiable' - that surely would have been ridiculous. (Yes, it turns out my Dear Husband is a blondie ;))
I guess it depends on how we interpret her words. Maybe she can clarify them. If she meant it how you take it, then I agree with you. But, I think she meant it the way I took it, in which case I disagree with you. C'est la vie, oui?
Is it arrogant to be hetero- or homosexual? Is it arrogant to want only one partner vs many? Is it arrogant to want a partner that has similar interests/values/beliefs?

We are allowed to like whatever we want. We shouldn't criticize what people prefer. I love artichokes, but some people don't... and it's wrong to call them arrogant or closed-minded if they don't want to try them, or have decided they don't like them.

Preferences, be they sexual or dealing with art, food, furniture, etc, are 100% personal. It's not wrong of her to voice them. The reason there is so much variety and diversity is because people have preferences! Animals have preferences! We don't want a vanilla world. There's not one thing wrong with the fact that Ava is not attracted to black men, any more than it's wrong for a homosexual to only be attracted to members of the same sex.
I think our attractions/ revulsions are often culturally determined and I think in the case of race especially.

This is your opinion; people on the other side of the "nature v. nurture" debate may differ in opinion as to the root cause of sexual attraction. Although everyone is entitled to an opinion, it is imperative that personal opinions be recognized as such and not equated with substantiated, evidenced conclusions.

I think this is an area it would have been more helpful to keep to yourself as unnecessarily divisive amongst atheists ... and/or perhaps do some self-examination? And you don't realise how rude/arrogant you are being.

I don't ever think that silence is more helpful. Or, at least, I really cannot think of an exchange of conflicting perspectives which would benefit from a decrease in communication.

In my opinion (totally personal and not substantiated in the slightest), I don't think that expressing a preference can qualify as arrogance or rudeness. A preference is inherently subjective as it depends entirely upon the tastes of the individual. Racism, on the other hand, attempts to make universal value judgments about the entirety of a person based upon skin color. To express a lack of sexual attraction for dark skin does not say anything about the person in general.

Racism involves total discrimination and degradation of an individual based upon skin color. To profess a lack of attraction for a certain skin color could only lead to discrimination in that individual's bed. I almost think that it cheapens the atrocities of true racism to label sexual attraction as such.
Different generations, though I didn't look to see how old everyone is, see it through a different lens.

Good point, Neal. As I was born in the 80s and my identity was shaped during the liberal 90s, I don't really see racial issues in quite the same way as someone who grew up closer to the 60s.
Haha, thank you for the agreement. Although my skin is pale, I'm actually Native American primarily, a minority race myself, and am attracted to both people of similar race [Native American], or other darker skinned nationalities like Mediterraneans and Asians. It's when it crosses into 'too dark' that my attraction suddenly shuts off, and unfortunately that applies to African Americans large and wide; it also extends to their general features that don't attract me, and aren't present in other races for the most part. Like I said, to me it's not offensive because it doesn't make them inferior or bad, and it doesn't affect my friendship with them, I just can't have a sexual relationship that way. In fact, on my mother's side, two of my cousins are half black.

And Nancy, you seem so dead set that I've 'offended a whole race' because I'm not sexually attracted to them. I never said I was only sexually attracted to white people. As mentioned above, I'm not even technically white. I have French skin, and that's about it. I mark 'Native American' on any papers I need to identify my race on. There's nothing offensive about sexual preference. That's like a man offending women because he's not attracted to them because he's gay, or a black man offending white women because he just prefers women of his own race (by the way, I've never seen that happen, for the record; it's only racist for a white person to say they're not attracted to blacks; people generally accept it as normal that a black person will likely date another black person and seem fine with the concept).

Let's keep in mind that I've been subject to a lot of racism my entire life when people find out I'm not actually white, so I know the difference, and I would never be offended if someone said "I'm not attracted to Native Americans by and large because their features in general just don't appeal to me." That's not offensive. That's the person expressing their preference, and everybody has them. I think you're far too sensitive. It's hard for you to argue that my attractions would be socially shaped, because I spent quite a few years of my early life in Mobile Alabama with a positive opinion of blacks, I've had a lot of black friends (in fact, every single one I've ever met), I've gotten drunk at bonfires with middle aged black men listening to stories about the war and their civil rights struggles. I have cousins who are black and family who have dated black people, but that is entirely disconnected from my sexual preferences which don't favor them, and I'm sorry, but I say it's 'non-negotiable' because it simply is. Imagine if a man had his testicles removed. To me, it's the same idea in that it's something so jarringly obvious and unattractive that I couldn't be intimate with them. It's no different than that I couldn't start dating somebody who was wheel-chair bound or morbidly obese. Am I going to offend people in wheelchairs just because I don't find them sexy? No. I'm still friends with them.

You seem to have a very warped idea about sexuality and I think it's obvious you're generally not agreed with. By the way, for me to be 'racist', I would have to imply that one race is superior to another--- and I've stated quite clearly that sexual attraction has nothing to do with superiority or inferiority and it doesn't affect my casual relations with other races or make me take their opinions or points or concerns or suffering less seriously. And you're right, it 'cuts me off' from finding somebody--- because they don't exist. I've seen thousands of black people and not found a single one even remotely attractive. I've found them smart and interesting, exciting to be around the same as anyone else, thrilling to listen to, lovely to spend time with--- but there's no sexual attraction, and as everyone said above, it's not something that can be controlled. So I would suggest you back up, take a breath, and re-examine *yourself*. I have absolutely no shame at all in what I said. Maybe it came across more bluntly than need be due to the Aspergers, but I really don't think so--- other people seem to have gotten my point and, rereading it, I think I clarified myself several times just fine. Thanks, though.
I would hope that I AM generally agreed with. Other than that, I confirm my agreement with Flower below - too old for this shit.

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