In “On Fucking Around” by Nicholas Halwani, he asserts that casual sex is immoral because it objectifies one or both partners who engage in the act. According to Halwani, in a casual sex arrangement with two individuals, person A and person B, he claims that person A only has sex with person B for the purpose of A’s own sexual pleasure. He also believes that person A’s desire for sexual pleasure comes at the expense of being concerned about person B, and as such A is using B solely as a means to achieving sexual pleasure. Such treatment undermines B’s dignity and this is why casual sex should be considered morally wrong (449). This argument embodies Kantian-inspired “pessimistic view of sexual desire”, which is not rooted in any scientific evidence, by maintaining that partners engaging in casual sex can only objectify each other, even when both parties are consenting, because there are some forms of objectification to which no one is able to consent.
I think that the strongest objection to Halwani’s assertions is that he categorizes all sexual desire as the same and as coming from the same source or motives. Halwani only uses the pessimistic view of sexual desire for the purpose of his argument, and by doing so fails to account for other motivations that are not about using another person for the sole purpose of achieving sexual pleasure and gratification. The “Pessimistic View of Sexual Desire” stems from Kantian ethics that stress not using other people as a means for one’s own ends because human beings possess a higher moral status than other animals. This view also portrays humans as victims of their own, seemingly uncontrollable sexual desires which compel them to use casual sex as a way to satisfy personal desires without regard for the other partner (445). Sexual desire is stripped to its fundamental and animalistic level where it overrides rationality and enslaves humans to their sexual desires (449). The nature of Halwani’s argument...
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