The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Promiscuity is ethical

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/17/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 468 times Debate No: 78751
Debate Rounds (4)
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First-timer here, I'm trying out of curiosity.

I would like to debate against the idea that promiscuity is unethical.

While the Oxford Dictionary's definition of "Promiscuity" includes "immorality," I would like to take the following, more neutral definition: "the act of engaging in consensual sexual activity with different people during a given period." Let us arbitrarily agree that the given period range up to one month.

My opponent will have to present arguments supporting that promiscuity is intrinsically unethical.

Hoping for a good debate!


I accept, I'm looking forward to our debate!
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting my debate.

My main belief is that promiscuity is not unethical, in that it doesn't intrinsically cause more sufferings than pleasure. On the contrary, for some people, promiscuity can become an enriching experience, both physically (as one draws sexual pleasure from it) and socially (as one enlarges one's circle of acquaintances). My opponent will have to prove that promiscuity is necessarily causing more sufferings than pleasure.

Several arguments might be presented against promiscuity, three of which I will expose and refute:

1) Argument: "Promiscuity involves lying and deceit, and so is unethical". Refutation: first, promiscuity doesn't necessarily involve lying and deceit. Somebody might have several sexual partners that are aware of that person's promiscuity. Secondly, while some people engaging in promiscuity might lie to their partner so as to make them believe that the relationship is exclusive or will last longer than intended, the unethical aspect here does not lie in the act of having multiple sexual partners, but in that of lying and deceiving where one has the alternative option of telling the truth.

2) Argument: "Promiscuity leads one to seek instant gratification without commitment to or care about the partner, impeding the personal development of important values such as respect or compassion, and so is unethical." Refutation: promiscuity does not necessarily involve the lack of commitment or care about the partner. It is very possible to imagine a man who develop a lasting and caring relationship with two persons at the same time, or to imagine two people meeting at a bar, deciding to have one-night sex while still being respectful of their partner.

3) Argument: "Promiscuity leads to the transmission of sexual transmitted diseases (STD), causing harm to the people infected, and so is unethical." Refutation: it is not promiscuity but bad hygiene habits that cause transmission of STD. With that respect, a man with STD and practicing sexual exclusivity with the partners he will have in the lapse of a lifetime, but without using condoms, will be more likely to infect his partners, and so will be of less ethical conduct, than a promiscuous man with STD who uses condoms at each and every sexual act.

I am ready to refute any other argument advancing that promiscuity is unethical.

I now give the floor to my opponent.


1) Pro's quote: "promiscuity doesn't necessarily involve lying and deceit."
Rebuttal to pro's argument: Key-word "necessarily". The truth is a promiscuous lifestyle entails a shroud of deceit. In the majority of cases it promotes dishonesty from both parties involved. One could be lying about their work, embellishing their status. The other could lie about being single, or worse, equivocate having an STD. The assumption is that after a one-night stand the partner will never be wiser to know the truth. My argument stands, a promiscuous lifestyle fosters unethical lies.

2) Pro: "It is very possible to imagine a man who develop a lasting and caring relationship with two persons at the same time"
I rather focus on promiscuity as involving many sexual partners; I believe polygamy extends past the scope of this debate. After all, "developing a lasting and caring relationship" is very much contrary to the idea of a one-night stand.

3) Pro: "it is not promiscuity but bad hygiene habits that cause transmission of STD."
Pro dogmatizes bad hygiene habits as the isolated cause.
"In the last 30 years, due to a dramatic increase in sexual promiscuity, and the fact that 80% of infected persons have no symptoms, there is now a major epidemic of sexually transmitted disease (STD)." Facts in Brief, New York. The Allan Guttmacher Institute, 1993
HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and cervical cancer have all been linked to promiscuous sexual behavior. This is more than just a correlation as made evident by the following statistic: The first-year failure among typical condom users is 18 percent. (Source: CDC Reproductive Health)
Among teens each year there are about 3 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
(Source, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA)
The less the media portrays promiscuity as being fashionable; the more of these horrible acts will be prevented. Bad hygiene is only a factor: forgetting to brush your teeth will not get you a STD. Sleeping with
A multitude of people, people who have had their own share of one-night stands, will surely increase your chances of getting an STD. Even a sanitary utopia would be powerless against human papilloma or herpes simplex virus infections, and other diseases condoms are unable to protect against.

My notion is clear, Promiscuity is unethical because it promotes deceit, encourages frivolous relations, and lets propagate the number one cause of death among young people. Pro believes promiscuity is ethical because it causes more pleasure than suffering. I refute his canon, something which so often leaves people dissatisfied and wanting more, must be characterized as such. Promiscuity is an addiction which poses a great risk to one's health, both physically and mentally. The majority of times it is fun, but the term ethical does not encompass promiscuity.

I eagerly await Pro's rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 2


First of all, I would like to point out to my opponent that the definition of promiscuity I established in my first post, i.e. “the act of engaging in consensual sexual activity with different people during a given period”, is not reducible to only “one-night stands.” Examples such as polyamory (which differentiate itself from polygamy, see [1]) are included in the above definition. It is only courtesy that my opponent keeps the above definition throughout the debate.

My opponent affirms that promiscuity “entails a shroud of deceit.” She probably ignores that members of the polyamory community define themselves as having non-exclusive relationships with knowledge and consent of everyone involved. That is, deceit of other relationships is ruled out.
Besides, my opponent is kind enough to offer examples of deceit, but fails to prove not only that all promiscuous activity leads to deceit, but more importantly that it is promiscuity itself that is the cause of and fosters the alleged deceit: all of my opponent’s examples of lies could be put in the mouth of a non-promiscuous person. Promiscuity is therefore not affected by my opponent’s arguments.

Similarly, my opponent draws a link between STD and promiscuity, and concludes that promiscuity is intrinsically unethical because it causes deaths. I am sure she would similarly consider unethical the entire forces of police and army in possession of a gun, on the ground that gun ownership is linked with gun deaths [2]; or that owning a car is unethical, because car ownership is directly linked to car accidents.
What my opponent fails to see is that it is not because a wrongdoing is linked to an action, that the action itself is wrong. Such a logic flaw can be clearly exposed if, by altering the circumstances of the action (for a promiscuous person, passing from unsafe to safe sex, and getting regularly tested for STD), one can significantly reduce the wrongdoing (STD transmission).

A simple question, by the way: in my opponent’s opinion, what is more likely to cause a spread of STD, more sex, or more unprotected sex? The first is promiscuity, the second, bad hygiene. My point holds that bad hygiene, not promiscuity, is the main factor of STD spread.

In conclusion, my opponent has:
1) failed to support her first two arguments, never explaining how promiscuity could foster deceit or frivolous relations;
2) made use of fallacious logic to support her second argument.
After drawing a list of unsupported claims (promiscuity often leaves people dissatisfied, is an addiction...), my opponent displays misunderstanding of my thesis. For the sake of clarity, let me state it once again: promiscuity is ethical, because it is not intrinsically unethical. It is not intrinsically unethical because it does not necessarily cause more sufferings than pleasure. My opponent’s job is to prove that, in all and every case, promiscuity leads to more sufferings than pleasure.
So far, my opponent has been unable to do so.

Thank you.



K-rad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


My opponent failed to support her arguments against my rebuttals. It can also be pointed out that she didn't bring in arguments of her own against promiscuity, only taking back those which I first developed and refuted in round 2.

Repeating my conclusion of round 3, my opponent has so far been unable to prove her thesis.


K-rad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF