Let us throw religion to the wind, for the time being. Obviously, different religions (and even different sects of a single religion) have wildly varying opinions on when, where, and how sex is appropriate. However, if one simply looks at sex from the view of a general human being, who is not affiliated with any religion but strives to be moral, can one find a general rule for when sexual intercourse is suitable? The first and most obvious question is, should sex – and here we will assume heterosexual, vaginal intercourse, for simplicity’s sake – be reserved especially for marriage?
Obviously many religions, including Christianity, would say that sex should definitely be reserved for marriage and marriage only. But from a general human being’s standpoint, it is arguable that sex need not be set aside for marriage. Perhaps this seems a shocking claim, not because people rarely engage in sexual intercourse before marriage, for we know the opposite is true; but because premarital sex seems somehow wrong to many people, even to those who practice it.
Within certain religions, sex only within marriage is often taken as an absolute, but even Lauren Winner, in her Christian-oriented book...
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...one another, those who are considering marriage, or those who don’t believe in marriage at all but are willing to commit to each other for an extended period of time.
Sex is not something to be taken lightly. It is not something to engage in with that attractive person you met last night, or your significant other of barely two weeks. It should not be considered without discussing the potential consequences and without being ready to entrust oneself completely to another human being. Just because sex need not be reserved for marriage, this does not mean that it is something to undertake flippantly and unconscientiously.
“Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: Marriage.” Merriam-Webster Online. 2010. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 24 March 2010
Winner, Lauren. Real Sex. Grand Rapids: BrazosPress, 2005.
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