In the given paper I would like to present my thoughts and answer the question “Is it seriously wrong to deceive someone into having sex with you?” Based on the information provided in the article by Tom Dougherty, lying to someone in order to convince them to have sex is absolutely wrongful. He writes: “The deception must concern a deal breaker – a feature of the sexual encounter to which the other person’s will is opposed”. I agree with the author. Here I would like to argue that any sort of deception which is meant to convince another individual to have sex is unethical and immoral (P1).
On the other hand, there is a position which claims that relationships contain deceit (P2). Oftentimes, when we meet someone we try to be “the best version” of ourselves. This may include not showing character traits which would not be appealing to the other person or not telling the full truth about oneself (for instance, one’s past or personal preferences). Dougherty explains that on numerous occasions revealing the truth would cause much disappointment for both participating parties.
At the same time, I do not completely agree with such an objection. Mostly, because relationships cannot last without a certain amount of trust. Furthermore, when one enters a relationship, he/she expects a fair amount of honesty from the partner. This could be 100% honesty about wanting “just sex” without any obligations. In such a case, both parties are being truthful with the other person. However, if one of the individuals is looking for sex only, while the other is searching for a more serious relationship with a certain type of person (with a similar set of interests/values), it would be completely unethical if the first individual presented himself/herself in such a way that would cause the other individual to fall in love. Such deceit is unethical since it could cause anxiety, disappointment, and hurt to one person at the cost of fulfilling the other’s physical and/or psychological needs.
Relationships should contain a fair amount of honesty. Dishonesty leads to an unfair exchange being made between two people, where one person tricks another by creating a false reality or belief. At the end of the day, when the lie is revealed, the individual who gave consent for sexual intimacy may experience immense suffering (psychological damage). Thus, lying about oneself to convince another individual to have sex is unethical and wrong (C1).
- Dougherty, Tom. “Sex, lies, and consent.” Ethics 123 (2013): 717-744.