Author Archives: neil

Love Drugs: Can Ecstasy Save Your Marriage? 0

  The group of ethicists working at Oxford – Brian D. Earp, Anders Sandberg and Julian Savulescu – has attracted considerable media attention for its work on “love drugs”, which is to say drugs that can either bond us more closely to our partners, or make us fall out of love with someone we wish [...]

PornHarmony: Is It Okay for People to Just Want to F*** Themselves? 0

The folks over at SexMD have just released a terrific infographic that lists the top ten most common terms used by people when searching for porn, broken down by country. Being a sex-data geek, I eagerly dug into the results, fully expecting to be shocked by people’s sick, twisted predilections and preparing to launch into [...]

Through the Keyhole: Why It’s Immoral to Expect to Read your Partner’s Texts 0

The new survey of Singles in America is out.  There are lots of interesting stats. One that jumped out at me was this: 77% of women and 53% of men wouldn’t date someone who insisted on keeping their text messages private. My analysis, as a professional ethicist, is this: Holy crap. Behind this statistic [...]

Why It’s Time to Stop Writing about Bullshit Social Trends 1

The blowjob is dead! Horrible as it is to contemplate, people have entirely abandoned fellatio. So Geoff Dyer of Esquire Magazine informs us. When you do research on sex, you end up reading, in addition to academic studies, a lot of social commentary in popular media and on websites. A lot of this latter is [...]

More on Lawrence: The Right That Dare Not Speak Its Name 0

Since my last post, on Lawrence v. Texas, I have spent a lot of time reflecting (read: obsessing) over the issues I raised in it, and whether I read the decision right. I now believe I got it wrong. I was thrilled when Marina Adshade, who writes the wonderful Dollars and Sex blog on sex [...]

Lawrence v. Texas and the Right to Have Sex 1

It began as a love triangle. In 1998, Tyron Garner and John Lawrence were arrested for having sex in Lawrence’s apartment. The police came to the apartment, which they entered without a warrant, because they had received an anonymous call claiming there was a man inside “going crazy in the apartment and he was armed [...]

Nipples and Crushed Heads Part 2: A Defense of Film Ratings 0

In my last post I asked the question: why do we seem to have a double standard in rating movies, such that violence is tolerated more readily than sex? The most obvious explanation for the current rating system is: conservative values. When I posed this problem to my friends, most of whom are secular liberals, [...]

Of Nipples and Crushed Heads: On the Double Standard for Sex and Violence 3

Would you prefer to look at a nipple or a crushed head? Facebook’s censorship guidelines were recently leaked, and they are somewhat surprising: Facebook bans images of breastfeeding if nipples are exposed – but allows “graphic images” of animals if shown “in the context of food processing or hunting as it occurs in nature”. Equally, [...]

Pretty Little Lies: On the Morality of Seductive Deception 0

Have you ever lied to get someone into bed? If you answered “no”, congratulations. You are in august company. Immanuel Kant definitely never did, since he was a Kantian about lying, and (as far as we know, and perhaps not coincidentally) he died a virgin. If it’s true that Abraham Lincoln never told a lie, [...]

Against the Promise Keepers: On the Contract Theory of Infidelity 7

Just before Christmas in 2011, an Italian man named Antonio was looking through an old chest of drawers, and found a series of letters his wife Rosa had exchanged with her lover. He confronted her, she confessed, and he filed for divorce. This sort of thing, unfortunately, happens every day. What makes this case unusual [...]