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Pre-marital sex in contemporary society

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  1. Introduction
  2. Dr. Vincent Punzo's view
  3. The concept of 'existential integrity'
  4. Analysis of Punzo's argument
    1. Interpretation of pre-marital sexuality
  5. Definitions of promiscuity
  6. Polarization of opinions on pre-marital sex
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

The concept of premarital sex is one of many tensions and contradictions in our society today. Indeed, preliminary research would have one conclude that a dichotomy exists between those liberal minded individuals who advocate promiscuity and those more traditional minds of theology who strongly oppose it. In the context of ethics, we find at the crux of the issue a debate over whether premarital sex is a moral action to be encouraged by society today. Indeed, it would seem that the issue at hand is one of diverse opinions and multifaceted approaches. There are those who advocate that human sexuality is a sacred act, one that requires the unconditional commitment of one individual to another. There are also those more liberal minded individuals who advocate a position of pre-marital sexuality that is both necessary to human development and encouraged. The former approach is one of duty and commitment, where the decision to embark upon sexual activity should not be taken lightly. Such sentiments are aligned with traditional western values and are often rooted in scripture. By contrast, the other side believes that one has a great deal to gain from having no sexual commitments and a host of sexual partners. Needless to say, it would seem that both sides fundamentally differ on what they deem a morally acceptable sexual act. As such, the goal of this paper is essentially twofold. First, to assess the arguments from their respective camps and develop a concrete understanding of the paradigm from which both positions originate. Second, to compare the approaches in light of one another in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the issues related to pre-marital sex in the modern era.

[...] In doing so, I will begin by examining the traditional conservative approach to pre-martial sex as it serves as a good point of origin in our discussion of the moral implications of pre-marital sex in contemporary times. In an article entitled Morality and Human Sexuality, renowned philosopher and accomplished theologian Dr. Vincent Punzo, explores the notion that pre-marital sex without commitment is wrong and should not be encouraged in our society today. In doing so, Punzo initially qualifies his position stating that the moral task of man is not perceived in exclusively negative terms. [...]


[...] For Elliston, strict adherence to the Western norm places our sex lives in a straightjacket that curtails body language. To further his point, Elliston examines the parallels between sex and eating as both appetites are apparently socially regulated concepts. In employing this example, Elliston argues that the absurdity of sexual monogamy is similar to the absurdity of only ever eating with one individual. For Elliston, loosening such restrictive Western norms promises to make our sex lives not only more physically satisfying, but also more meaningful. [...]


[...] The argument follows that a demand for sex outside marriage exhibits a lack of self-discipline in people who cannot control their desires. Here, Elliston takes issue with the suggestion that a promiscuous person is completely lacking in self-discipline. Indeed, what some would call irrational behavior is really a self conscious refusal to be directed by a Western norm (148). As such, promiscuity only threatens our personal emotional security and growth if we comprehend it in the context of our own traditional western conception of moral behavior. [...]

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