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Progressive Ethics On "non-Traditional" Sexuality


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I know most progressive Christians tend to be supportive of the LGBT community, but what is the progressive Christian stance on other forms of "non-traditional" expressions of sexuality? Like what do progressive Christians think about polyamory and incest? The nation of Croatia recently legalized incest between consenting adults and a Catholic commentator had this to say on the subject of the legality of incest: http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/CultureAndMedia/?id=3.1.453932039

Prominent Catholic commentator Zivko Kustic said that the abolition of punishment was not necessarily tantamount to approval.

 

“One should make a distinction between punishment and approval,” Kustic said.

 

“If the state decides not to punish something, it doesn’t mean that it considers it good or decent."

 

The Catholic Church allows marriage between relatives who are more distant than first cousins, who need a special dispensation to wed.

Do you think the church should accept incestuous and polyamory couples, swingers, and other forms of open marriages? Even if you're against the church accepting it, should the government legalize incest between consenting adults? Do you think polyamory marriages should be legalized? What about other "non-traditional" sex acts like sexual fetishes? Do you think that progressive Christians should have the sexual freedom to participate in whatever sexual fetish gives them pleasure or is sexual fetishism taking sexual freedom too far? I tend to take the view that as long as it's between consenting adults and you're not hurting anybody else, what goes on behind closed doors in the bedroom is nobody else's business if it's what you enjoy doing and if no one is being hurt, I don't see how it's wrong and I also support the legalization of polyamory marriages. But do you think there should be more limits set on what is acceptable and what limits do you think progressive Christians should take with sexual freedom if you think there should be limits set? Edited by Neon Genesis
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Incest that leads to offspring leads to a damaged gene pool, so that is out (IMO) on simple pragmatics. As for other forms of "non-traditional" relationships, the larger perspective must always include the consequences to children in the family unit. Sex is one thing, the consequences quite another.

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Wholeness

 

Acknowledging that we are all broken, including us heterosexuals, one the first questions to be asked is, "Does the relationship lead to wholeness?" The answer to the question is not, "It feels good to me."

 

This is not my area of expertise; my wife and I are separated. Just google "healthy relationships" or ask a competent psychologist. I think one element that is often missing in such relationships is "equality of power." Do participants in the relationship have an equal amount of power? Inequality of power exists in all abusive relationships - I think that is fair to say.

 

You could probably find good research with a little digging on the experience of the those experimenting with relationships in the '60s and '70s. Did swinging lead to wholeness or was it just an exciting thing to do for a while?

 

from wikipedia:

having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. Polyamory, often abbreviated to poly, is sometimes described as consensual, ethical, or responsible non-monogamy.

It's hard for me to believe that there is equality of power in such relationships. There is the potential for wholeness in Serial monogamy certainly, or maybe "rapid cycling" serial monogamy but - well, when I see healthy polyamory I will change my mind. I don't mean that in a cynical way. One of the events that changed my mind about homosexuality was getting to know a gay couple in a long term committed relationship

 

Pragmatically I agree with minsocal

 

Sex is one thing, the consequences quite another.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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This is not my area of expertise; my wife and I are separated. Just google "healthy relationships" or ask a competent psychologist. I think one element that is often missing in such relationships is "equality of power." Do participants in the relationship have an equal amount of power? Inequality of power exists in all abusive relationships - I think that is fair to say.

I believe equality is important in any relationship whether monogamous or polyamorous. Inequality in a relationship to me falls under the category as an action which causes harm to another person and thus I would consider it immoral, but inequality is a problem for monogamous couples as well. Many fundamentalist religions teach the inequality of the sexes and rigid stereotypical gender roles. They teach women must always submit to the authority of a man and men are the only ones who can be leaders. As someone who has parents who are in this type of relationship, I frankly find this out-dated teaching of gender roles in monogamous relationships to be more damaging than a hypothetical polyamory relationship where all individuals involved see each other as equal and fully capable of making their own decisions. I don't think that having more than one partner in a committed relationship necessarily means that there will be an imbalance of the equality of power. We don't consider it to be an inequality of power to love more than one friend or to love more than one parent, so I don't think it would be an inequality of power to love more than one person romantically, either. To me, the equality of power is more of a mindset rather than about the numbers involved.

 

You could probably find good research with a little digging on the experience of the those experimenting with relationships in the '60s and '70s. Did swinging lead to wholeness or was it just an exciting thing to do for a while?

 

I don't know of any studies that have been done on the wholeness of polyamory relationships and given that most people who engage in poly relationships are in the closet about it for fear of losing their job or their friendships and family, I doubt many of them would be reliable. I don't know if a study on swingers in the 70s would give us a reliable up to date picture of modern day poly relationships anymore than a study of gays in the 70s would give us the most reliable results because society and the way people see sex and relationships are always changing with the times. But we do have many studies about monogamous relationships and if poly couples have difficulties with leading to wholeness, monogamous couples don't seem to be any better at it. Fundamentalist Christians, for example, claim to value "traditional" monogamous marriages the most, but there have been many studies which have shown that the bible belt states have the highest divorce rates and that fundamentalist Christian teens are more likely to get pregnant or an STD than anyone else. I'm not trying to claim religion was responsible for their marital and sex problems, but strict monogamous fundamentalist Christian couples don't seem to be any better than the rest of society at maintaining monogamous relationships. Edited by Neon Genesis
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The bible itself depicts several polygamous relationships as normal, healthy societal conventions. It is not clear that what constitutes a healthy relationship can be universally defined. Now, I understand that polygamy is very different from polyamory.

 

Like others, I have serious doubts about whether such relationships are really sustainable or practical, and also whether they are qualitatively comparable to more 'traditional' relationships. By that I mean, is it even justifiable to compare monogamous and polymorous relationships as if they were merely different expressions of the same underlying principle?

 

Even if everything is permissible, not everything is practical.

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I don't thing that my religious convictions say anything directly about sexual behavior. But they say a lot about things like trust and personal well-being. And those characteristics are affected by the culture that we live in. There may be those who believe that they are in a subculture (like "swingers" for example) that is immune to the attitudes of the larger culture, but I can't help feeling that this attitude is mostly a rationalization. I suppose that if all of the people in a sexual relationship really sincerely believe that their sense of well-being is not affected it is ok. But I can't help but think that some of them are dehumanized by the situation and are either coerced or conned into going along with it and try to make themselves believe that they got there on the basis of their own free decision.

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