Ethics of anonymous sex stories

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by TwoBrains, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think this changes much, except that you are explicitly confirming that neither your identifying information nor your partner's identifying information is revealed or deducible.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    I don't subscribe to that continuum. Partly because the examples are nowhere near representative of the kind of story somebody would jerk off to, and partly because the examples do not contain anywhere near the amount of information in such a story.
    Aside from that, my problem isn't with the degree of anonymity but with the disclosure itself: the publication of factual events without the consent of the other person involved.
     
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  5. Hipparchia Registered Senior Member

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    You are clearly talking about a different scenario from that posed by the OP and as such your remarks are essentially off-topic.
     
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  7. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Each point above is dead on.
     
  8. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Oh. Well, then i seem to have wasted a lot of time on an ethical issue nobody considers an issue worth considering.
    Good thing I didn't have a train to catch!
     
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    18,959
    The corollary of that assertion is this:

    A given story has to have sufficient factual information about the participants so as to make their identities discoverable, in order to qualify as an acceptably readable story.


    OK, how little information is "near" enough to be a harmless story?

    A five word account of events ("I had sex with someone.") does not violate any other party's privacy.
    A much longer account probably would.

    So: it is important, in your judgement, how much detail is recounted.

    Now, going the other way, how generic must a story be before you would consider it harmless?


    I disclosed several facts in the above five-word story. Did I violate anyone's privacy?


    I'm not trying to be facetious or sarcastic here.

    I'm demonstrating that it is a continuum, thus necessarily having two extremes (albeit unrealistic), and that the tipping point must lie somewhere in between.

    So the above two questions are put to you asking for your answer.

    How generic must a story be before you would consider it harmless?
    How can a story with a sufficient lack of specifics violate privacy?
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  10. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    5,089
    Like I said: I've wasted enough time trying to explain why I think it's wrong to betray another person's trust. If it's okay with you to tell strangers about your intimate relations with someone who doesn't know you're doing it, then it's okay with you.
     
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I rue your withdrawal.

    But your rationale is based on a strawman argument.

    It is wrong to violate another person' trust. No one disagrees. No one suggests otherwise. (And rather disingenuous of you to imply that anyone does.)

    Thing is: you have not shown that this scenario is betraying anyone's trust. You've made an assertion, but you haven't defended it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    37,889
    This just crossed my twitfeed; I shite thee not.

    HELP I just read a submission from a celebrated writer which was 15 pages of him grappling with, and finally justifying, the need for writing professors to fuck/date their students, bc, sometimes, says he, the crackling, libidinous energy cannot be denied... excuse me while I vom

    (@vanjchan↱)

    It's true the literary magazine probably doesn't appreciate the tweet, presuming that's what the story submission is for, but beyond that, holy shit.

    And the thing is, the editor isn't a fool. That must have been one rancid manuscript; she pretty much put him on notice to not publish this one. Seriously, there's a holy shit magnitude moment for literature, in there. I mean, phuck.
     
  13. Hipparchia Registered Senior Member

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    648
    Strawman. I have not said, and didn't see anyone else say, that it was not something worse considering, but it was not on topic. You could have encouraged more focused engagement by doing one of the following:
    • Observe clearly that you wished to extend ghe discussion to include instances where there was a finite risk that the participants could be identified.
    • Make the same observation but note you intended to set up a separate thread for the discussion.
    The first option is the more practical, but I must have missed the point where you courteously asked the OP if he was fine with that - which he may well be. But you could ask and make it clear you were broadening the scenario. That way I wouln't have missed my damn train trying to correct you.
     
  14. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    13,077
    For some strange reason I was thinking about this thread at 3am this morning

    A has a torrid affair with B and down the road decides to write about said affair

    B reads the account and identifies with account. Calls up A

    B to A "I can't believe you wrote about our affair"

    A to B "What are you talking about?"

    B to A "I just read the graphic details of what we did last Wednesday that's what"

    A to B "What identifies in what I wrote that makes you think it is you I am writing about?"

    B to A "Well who else would it be?"

    A to B "Any one of five others I had affairs with the previous five Wednesday's before the last Wednesday with you. Did the same stuff with them as with you"

    So what is B's comeback?

    Can B identify a particular part of the affair extremely identifiable to just B and which rules out any of the other five?

    I will agree B may very well have a feeling their privacy has been violated and feel distressed about having participated in the affair

    However with zero evidence linking B to the written account of the affair it is a dead end self internal emotion

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  15. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    No. It's not about who gets discovered.

    It doesn't matter if the story is harmless. Harm isn't the issue.

    Exactly. That's not recounting an experience; that's an unembellished statement.

    Anything about the other person - description, habits, actions or words.I did say above someplace that a line could be drawn where the other person recognizes him- or herself if they happen to read the story. But the violation of trust has a lower threshold than the violation of privacy.

    Harmlessness isn't the issue. Specificity isn't the issue. It can be minutely graphic and still harmless, as long as no unconsenting real person is mentioned in any particulars.
    It can't. But nor can writing about sex without specifics even qualify as a story, or account of an experience, or even a joke - let alone a story so steamy as to fulfill the OP's other mandate.
    If A made enough changes to the specifics about B and still produced a story about two people having sex, then he's written fiction.
    In which case, why are we talking about it?

    Indeed. Betrayal of personal trust is not always legally actionable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    18,959
    By 'harmless' I literally mean 'it is not wrong', as you define wrong.

    IOW: "I had sex with someone." does not betray the others' trust. It's harmless.

    So yes, as I am using the word, harmless (versus harmful) is the issue.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    18,959
    I don't see that. It is quite possible to write a detailed story about the actions that occurred without having to describe the specifics of the person involved.
    "I had a roll in that hay with this beautiful older woman in a barn etc etc." is a perfectly spicy story without listing any specifics about the person.
     
  18. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Suppose Person A stands to make a profit from “selling” his/her anonymous sex stories? Would it be unethical/immoral if the name of Person B was changed or omitted, and Person A is profiting off experiences had with Person B? (whether or not Person B ever finds this out)
     
  19. Bells Staff Member

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    24,270
    Any author could have the same thing said about anything they had written, correct? Same for songwriters, script writers, artist, and the list goes on and on and on.

    Someone, somewhere, may recognise themselves in the story - good storytellers (regardless of their platform) is able to immerse the reader, listener, appraiser of their art, etc, into the subject matter. That usually comes from their writing about their own experiences, detailing how they felt and how the other(s) felt in that moment. Even if it is a story or imaginary, parts of what they are describing will often be from something they have experienced or felt, and often that will be with someone else.

    You said this on the front page of this thread:

    If A has sex with another person and re-enacts or copies what he or she did with the first person, would A be betraying that first person's most intimate experience?

    If A asks person C to touch them the same way and in the same place, etc as A experienced with person B, would that be a betrayal of person B's most intimate experience?
     
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  20. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    20,855
    Person A probably used the same sexual "techniques" on Person B as they would on Persons C-Z. So, the question would be, how does Person B manage to distinguish themselves from Persons C-Z?

    To make matters even more complicated, Person AA comes along and writes a book about their sexual encounters and we find Person B had sex with them, as well, with almost identical "techniques" being used. Now what?
     
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    18,959
    The above peeps make a valid point. How does one distinguish an encounter with person B from their serial lovers, C, D and E.

    It is not unheard of for people to have preferences that lead to common encounters. A given encounter might apply to B as well as C and D and E.
     
  22. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Agree.

    The responses in this thread definitely give me a new take on “don’t kiss and tell.”
     
  23. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    5,089
    Incorrect, except as regards biographical writing, in which case the persons mentioned in the book should be asked for their consent before publication. If a writer of fiction has the requisite skill and talent, he or she can invent characters and situations that serve the thrust of a story, without using any real persons as a template, or recounting any events in which the author has participated. If a writer needs to "borrow" other people's experience, I'd rather they kept a diary than publish stories.
    I mentioned that as a possible compounding of the wrong.
    They each think they're the only one and that they recognize themselves. They can't take it to court individually, but they can all be hurt individually. That just makes A and even slimier sleaze. His ex-lovers should form a posse.
     

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