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Robin Hanson continues the crusade against cuckoldry November 30, 2010

Posted by Summerspeaker in Evo psych, Feminism.

Did I wander into a Chaucer discussion club by mistake? Nope, this is scary stuff, folks.  Now I better understand Hanson’s position on prostitution. The whole topic serves as an excellent case study on the absurdity of arguing morality based on evolution and economics.

To everyone, but especially dudes: No, you don’t have any rights over a partner’s body. Period.



1. rapscallion - November 30, 2010

As far as I can tell from your post here and your brief comment at OvercomingBias, your position is that–though perhaps emotionally painful and cruel–cuckoldry should not be a legally punishable offense because laws should never regulate what people can or can’t do with their own bodies, as long as they do not physically coerce others, i.e. violate “bodily sovereignty”? Is that more or less accurate?

I’m curious, then, as to whether or not you support:

i) forced child support: a punishment for what people (mostly men) do with their own bodies and other consenting adults.

ii) Laws about informing partners of STDs: e.g. if you don’t tell your partner that you have AIDS, you can be prosecuted.

iii) The obvious analogue to the case of male cuckoldry: a woman unknowingly being implanted with another’s embryo.

2. claudia - December 1, 2010

i wonder what percentage of cuckoldry (that word is ridiculous) is performed with the intent to harm the cuckolded husband. because certainly in virtually all rape cases, the perpetrator is a) aware of hurting the victim; b) intending to harm the victim; c) performing the act from a sense of violence or control; and d) can end in the lasting physical harm, or death, of the victim.

there’s simply no analogue between the two, unless you’re an insecure man who wishes to a) reduce human relationships to a set of quantifiable numbers rather than consider that humanity comprises a single huge grey area; or b) focus solely on his own experience in order to scrape up some biological woe-is-mes.

i guess i should call my stepparents and let them know that 30 years of their love and support doesn’t mean shit since i don’t have their genes and i’m sorry that they’d rather be raped than look at me.

3. Valkyrie Ice - December 1, 2010

cuckoldry is one of those “crimes” like “blasphemy”. It exists because of the “morality” concepts of judeo-christian ideology, with the primary concept being that a “man” owned his children. It should have NO LEGAL STANDING.

However, regardless of the relationship status, THE CHILD has EVERY RIGHT to know who their genetic parents are.

4. Steve - December 11, 2010

“To everyone, but especially dudes: No, you don’t have any rights over a partner’s body. Period.”

That means a woman doesn’t have any rights over a man’s body, either…which means that cuckoldry is only a victimless crime in a fantasy world where children require no time, effort, or money to raise.

In reality, cuckoldry is a lifelong rape, in which a man must spend hours each day providing for someone else’s child.

Imagine being raped every day for eighteen years.

claudia: equating adoption with cuckoldry is like equating consensual sex with rape.

Summerspeaker - December 11, 2010

Raising a child – regardless of whether it shares your genes – is not meaningfully similar to being raped. While never desirable, the duplicity often involved in cuckoldry barely stands out among the many horrors of monogamous heterosexual relationships.

rapscallion - December 12, 2010

i) If you had kids, what percentage of your lifetime income would you be willing to pay to avoid not finding out until it was too late to have more kids that the ones you’d raised were not your own because you’d been deceived by your SO(s)?

ii) It’d be nice to get answers to the questions I raised in my first comment. If you think your answers are obvious, please point me to a post on this blog where your philosophy is clearly put forth.

5. Summerspeaker - January 20, 2011


From your first comment:

i) I dislike forced child support for a variety of reasons but wouldn’t advocate for its abolition under the current conditions of patriarchy.

ii) Knowingly exposing a partner to disease without informing them definitely counts as a dick move. I’m unsure how I feel about such laws.

iii) How is this analogous?

From your second comment:

i) That’s too hypothetical for me to answer. I’m not part of the gene pool. But I will say I oppose the traditional family arrangement that gives parents power over and responsibility for children. It won’t be like that after the revolution.

6. rapscallion - January 21, 2011

So in case i and maybe case ii from my 1st comment you’re at least sometimes OK with laws that punish adults for non-coercive sexual behavior, correct?

As for case iii: I was thinking of cuckoldry in the sense in which it was being used in Hanson’s thread, implying that the male is deceived into thinking that the child he is raising is his own when it’s really not. Well, when a woman is artificially inseminated with an egg that she thinks is hers but really isn’t, she is–just like the man in the cuckoldry case–being deceived into thinking that the child she is raising is her own when it’s really not.

In most cases in which fertility clinics have implanted women with eggs not their own, it has been despite rigid protocols meant to avoid such error, and not because of intentional deception (as in the case of cuckoldry). Despite this, in nearly every case of such clinical mishaps in the civilized world, the clinics and doctors responsible have had to at least pay large settlements to the women and families affected. Yet in the case of cuckoldry, women are rarely if ever made to compensate the deceived men. Does the different legal treatment in these cases seem appropriate to you?

7. Summerspeaker - January 21, 2011

I’m only okay with such laws (and that’s a stretch to begin with) under the current context of ubiquitous oppression. I endeavor to smash the state and put an end to law.

The obvious difference between cuckoldry and egg implantation is that the women in question have something apparently unwanted put into their bodies. I don’t know enough about the practice to properly comment. Though I have limited sympathy for reproduction in general and even less for insistence on gene replication, at least the payments as you describe them come out of a simple economic arrangement and flows from the powerful party to the less powerful.

8. rapscallion - January 21, 2011


Thanks. One last hypothetical: “under the current context of ubiquitous oppression,” suppose that a woman is falsely told that a child is her genetic offspring via a surrogate mother. If she discovers the truth later on, should she potentially be able to collect tort damages? If so, what is the salient difference between the harm done to her and the harm done to the cuckolded man? Does it just not matter because the “current conditions of patriarchy” are so awful?

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