I Think Sex for Pay Is Wrong. Should I Stay With a Partner Who Disagrees? – The New York Times

Whether or not sex for pay can be morally acceptable is a question on which reasonable people differ. Purely theoretical disputes about contestable issues like this are generally less important in the ethical shaping of relationships than concrete disagreements about what to do, and you both agree that he wont have sex outside your relationship, paid or not. Still, a theoretical disagreement may be supercharged by disagreements that have practical effects, in the larger world if not in a particular relationship. And the notion of whats contestable bears some weight. Most decent people wouldnt want to be married to someone committed to white supremacy, say, even if the commitment remained in the realm of theory. For you, it appears, countenancing sex for pay represents a similar enormity: The issue, you say, is fundamental to you.

You dont really explain why, however. It would seem that the disagreement you have with your partner reflects a deeper disagreement about the meaning of sex and sexuality. Perhaps you think that sex is the sort of thing that can properly occur only in the context of a loving relationship. You may believe that, even in the most benign-seeming circumstances circumstances that dont involve financial hardship, gross inequality between parties or other potential indicators of exploitation the sex-for-pay transaction involves the instrumentalizing of anothers body. Perhaps you think that there is something special about sex, and you wouldnt be terribly disturbed if your partner thought that it was fine to pay for a dinner escort. Or perhaps you dont like instrumentalizing people in any way, and so you would find a paid dinner companion unacceptable too.

Id encourage you to work out precisely what it is about sex for pay that makes it, in your estimation, inherently repugnant. Then you can see if your partner agrees with you about the more fundamental values at stake, whether or not he thinks sex work is OK. Simply declaring that you take the wrongness of sex work to be axiomatic isnt a respectful way of trying to negotiate a disagreement. But then the discordance of your views on this issue must already have undermined your respect for your partner otherwise you wouldnt be thinking of leaving him over it. As you mull over your relationship, bear in mind that your lack of respect equally gives him reason to leave you.

I am a 40-something-year-old woman living in the Bay Area. I moved here from the East Coast in my early 20s, established a career and found a group of friends, and I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful man who is firmly rooted here. Unless some significant change occurs, I foresee living here indefinitely. My parents, along with most of the rest of my family, still live on the East Coast. We have always been close, and despite the distance, I see them several times a year. It may be that theyre getting older, or that Im getting older, but the distance between us has seemed more significant in the last few years. My youthful reasons for moving so far away, which were partly a whim and partly an attempt to escape ending up in my hometown, now seem frivolous and shortsighted. I feel a sense of guilt that after all my parents have done for me, I wont be there for them as they get older. Am I living up to my responsibilities as a daughter? Name Withheld

If children have a duty to move back home and abandon the life they have made elsewhere in order to be near their aging parents, the world is full of delinquent children. Nothing you say suggests that your parents need you nearby, however much they might enjoy your company. They have not planned for an old age that requires your return, it would seem. The issue here, then, isnt best seen as being about responsibilities. (But if it were, for what its worth, I think any such responsibilities would be those of a child and not particularly of a daughter.)

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I Think Sex for Pay Is Wrong. Should I Stay With a Partner Who Disagrees? - The New York Times

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