READERS SPEAK OUT: Sex before marriage (Sep, 1965)
READERS SPEAK OUT: Sex before marriage
EDITOR’S NOTE In the December, 1964 issue of this magazine, 4 members of Sexology’s Board of Consultants gave their answers to the question: “What, in your opinion, is the ideal code of sex before marriage toward which society should work for the future?” At that time we also invited our readers to send in their replies to this question.
We continue to publish in these pages some of the answers we have received. Each opinion, of course, represents the private view of the writer, not the editorial position of this publication.
Could we be impartial enough in personal beliefs and emotions to look deeply into our own thoughts, many of us would have to admit that the eons of teaching “thou shall not” have generally failed. We would have to admit that marriage had been designed for beliefs in a certain civilization. We would have to agree that monogamy was largely an idealistic state, seldom ever completely arrived at. We would see our present divorce rate, “convenient marriages,” and other aspects of our culture as little better than “legalized sex freedom” or prostitution. We would have to admit many so-called sex crimes to be the results of the “thou shall not” teachings.
Considering the changes brought about (and welcomed) since Victorian days, and considering the hypocritical state we live in now, how can we in honesty fight a generation who is seeking a more realistic, more honest view toward sex?
Deep down, our fight is a fear. We vision a crumpled civilization in which sterilization or abortion clinics, sperm banks, and “baby permits” will be the order of the day.
And yet, if such an era should develop, who are we to say they would be less “good” or less happy than we?
—Mrs. Alice M. Reames, Calif.
Until we have learned to accept ourselves as we are and understand the source of our motives, premarital or extra-marital intercourse will in all probability incur some degree of guilt in most cases. Only a relatively small number of our population possesses sufficient knowledge and understanding to adequately control or indulge their inclinations. We should work toward adequate sex knowledge and understanding so that a pel-missive moral attitude could come about, based upon sound mature reasoning. Each individual should be allowed the right and privilege of arriving at an intelligent decision without the resultant moral back-slapping or censure as the case might be.
The rewards of moral freedom may be seen in the Samoan society where aberrations are relatively rare. The fruits of repression may be seen almost daily in our own society in the marked incidence of so-called “perversion,” and in the moral censure and persecution which follows through ignorance.
But isn’t the real question: “If we allow moral freedom for our young people, are we not inviting a future generation of lewdly promiscuous adulterers?” And: “Because I’m not sexually attractive and capable, will I not be left out?”
In the face of so much sex ignorance (we may not be in the dark ages, but we’re close!) we cannot be expected to render an acceptable answer to such questions.
—Jewell W. Thompson, Kevil, Kentucky.
To say that “we are in a transition” is only an evasive answer to any problem. Let us not be shy to acknowledge that sex is a powerful—perhaps the most powerful-instinct, and its premarital outlet a necessity.
A male Hindu observed, we are told by historians, centuries before Christ, the Brahmacharya Ashram (life of continence) for his first 25 years, in complete ignorance of the female sex, by living in forests with his teacher That was the good old past. Now, in an era of “toplessness” one may expose oneself to the charge of being frigid if one talks of continence.
Premarital sex relations are not uncommon. The free access to contraceptives has facilitated premarital sex relations. Perhaps most do it only behind a mask. But should not the ideal code for premarital sex drop this mask? I think it would free our conscience and relieve us of all feelings of immorality.
An ideal code which gives recognition to sex before marriage will not be a backward step. Life is like a pendulum and so are its notions of morality. If what Adam and Eve did was not immoral, why should man today designate it so?
—Raj Kumar Gupta, Delhi, India