Suppose Sid is the beneficiary of a trust fund which yields just enough money to live, but not to have much pleasure in life. Sid works as a prostitute solely in order to get more money in order to buy pleasures like fine dining. Thus, Sid has sex for the sake of pleasure. Compare this to Flynn who has sex solely for the sake of pleasure in the more ordinary way--it's the sex that he enjoys. Is there any interesting moral difference between Sid and Flynn? Both Sid and Flynn are having sex solely for the sake of pleasure: they are both ultimately being paid with pleasure. (The intermediate presence of money in the case of Sid may be a red herring. We might suppose Sid is having sex with a great chef and he doesn't enjoy the sex, but she is going to give him great culinary pleasures in exchange.)
I think a case can be made that Sid and Flynn are close to morally on par. (And clearly Sid is morally in a less good position than the more typical prostitute who has sex to provide for the necessities of life.) This would suggest that:
- If sex solely for money is always wrong, then sex solely for pleasure is always wrong.
When I think of ways of challenging the above argument, I think about how there is something interpersonally significant about the pleasure of sex, and so I think that maybe there is something less perverse about Flynn's case than Sid's. But on the other hand, I've described Flynn as just pursuing the pleasure, not any interpersonal significance of the pleasure.