Monday, May 12, 2008
Probably the most basic change, which has taken place in European and European based societies since the Second World War is the idea that sexual intercourse should be based on mutual attraction rather than on long-term commitment.
Until at least the 1940’s, it was taken for granted in most of Europe and America that sex is something generally limited to marriage. If the married partners are attracted to each other, that’s fine, and if they aren’t so much, then they will live with that. However marriage was for life and normal, respectable people did not have sex outside marriage.
Today, this has completely changed. About 40% of babies are born to single women in the United States. In the UK, it is roughly estimated that about 10% of presumed fathers are not really the father. Based upon this, I think we can estimate that about half of sex takes place outside of marriage in European based societies today.
In earlier times, men and women were largely segregated and women were required to dress modestly in public. After a brief courtship or an arranged match, couples married at a young age and remained married until one partner died. Eroticism and sexual excitement played a small role in people’s lives. This is still true in traditional cultures today.
In recent times, especially since about 1965, adults see sexual gratification as an essential part of life, if not as a right and an entitlement. During a lifetime, people progress through many relationships, some longer, some shorter, all with the purpose of gratifying both partners to the greatest extent possible.
The problems caused by this are very serious.
- Depression. In a sex-based relationship, many times one partner is happy in the relationship while the other is dissatisfied for some reason and leaves. This can trigger depression. We can speculate that this may be one of the major reasons for an increase in the rate of depression since the Second World War in European based societies
- Disease. Frequent changes in sexual partners cause sexually transmitted diseases to flourish, resulting in physical suffering, infertility and sometimes death.
- Sexual abuse. When women bring new men into the home, as boyfriends or husbands, their daughters from previous relationships are at a high risk of being raped by them.
- Child Neglect. In “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study”, Judith S. Wallerstein explains in great detail the emotional problems and mental anguish suffered by children who grow up in divorced homes. Many children in single-family homes live that way because one parent felt he or she would have greater sexual satisfaction in a different relationship.
- Abortion. Millions of babies conceived out of wedlock are simply killed before they are born.
Having sex with whomever you want to is probably similar to eating whatever you want to – it may sound good at first, it may not seem to make much difference for a few years, however the long term effects are deadly.
There can be little argument that the Orthodox Jewish practice of chastity and marital fidelity are ultimately far healthier for everyone involved.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 3:22 PM