Brief guidelines for a ‘sexual ethics’ (see pages 37-8)

Humanist values suggest we should: Understand others, Be Kind, Foster Human Rights and Dignity, Encourage Lives to Flourish and Seek Justice.

Applied to sexualities this means

Positively: The better side of sexual life seeks out

1. Empathic and dialogic sexualities – understand others: appreciate and dialogue with your sexual partners and their worlds.

2. Caring and loving sexualities- be kind and look after others: care for the sexual other as well as your self.

3. Respectful and dignified sexualities- cultivate sexual and gender rights and dignity: respect others, their dignity and their rights being aware of their fragility and vulnerability.

4. Sexual well being- encourage lives to flourish: enabling sex and relationships to work well.

5. Sexual and gender justice (just sexualities): create free, fair and equal sexual relations.

Negatively: The dark, damaged side of sexual life is revealed in


1. Intolerant sexualities: the lack of appreciation of sexual differences and the closure of dialogues about sexualities

2. Unkind sexualities, sexual violence and cruel sexualities: sexualities become embroiled in being unkind to the others: often cruelty, violence, and hatred.

3. Dehumanized sexualities: treating sexual others with no dignity or respect and lacking any rights to their own sexualities.

4. Wasted sexualities: unfulfilled sexualities lacking in any kind of ‘quality’

5. Unfair and unequal sexualities: sexual lives damaged through poverty, competition, greed and the stark inequalities of intersecting class, gender, race, age and nation.

see pages 37-8

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