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Sex has been a central topic of discussion for centuries through literature, art, music, cinema, etc. It has become increasingly liberal throughout the years, however, it's still commonly stigmatised by many people, specifically religious groups. This is due to the deep rooted belief that sex is only acceptable once married and for reproduction purposes only. The Bible specifically points out, in radical terms, that either you wait until marriage and you're a good person, or you engage in premarital sex and you're a bad person. This notion is even embraced by loads of media today, portraying women as tempting, erotic succubus figures with the sole purpose of "corrupting" poor, wholesome men, which as comical as that sounds, is highly degrading and misleading.
Sexuality isn't a black and white concept; there's no way to mark it as moral or immoral. Sex is just sex. It's a penis entering a vagina.
In Yuval Noah Harari's book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, he argues that the reason that human species were able to dominate the world, was due to our capacity to cooperate in large numbers by believing in fiction, or concepts that only exist in our mutually trusted imagination such as "nations, gods, money, human rights." Sex is just another human construct that evolves throughout time. It was once viewed widely as immoral and corrupt, but is now a central theme to life.
Another human construct that's seen as essential to life is marriage. My primary, perhaps simpler, reason for validating pre marital sex is that marriage cannot condone sex as moral, if it's presumably immoral. Marriage is a legal act that can be done through paperwork by an ordinary person who works for the government and cannot, in God's eyes, be marked as moral from just that. Women were/are often forced into arranged marriages with absolutely no love for their assigned partner, yet their sex is considered acceptable in regards to religion.
But what's important to most people is that in order to have sex, you should be in love with the person you're doing it with. Love, by definition, is "an intense feeling of deep affection." Feelings are temporary, emotional conditions—no one can feel a singular feeling constantly, otherwise you're dead. One can only experience "lifelong love," possibly, by introducing new factors of distraction: New house, new job, children, etc. We naturally develop sexual desires for other people which is fine as long as we don't act out on it. But truthfully, does lying to yourself everyday and turning the other cheek on other possibilities make this fact false? Or are you simply just trying to ignore your natural human desire to mate?
"Being in love is a good thing... it is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling... no feeling can be relied on to last to its full intensity." —CS Lewis
Love is like a combination of excitement and security. However, excitement eventually dies off in all cases. What's so interesting about just having security? Do we live for security solely?
My point is, the concept of what love and sex should be are fabricated human constructs that have caused us to create this complex fiction of how we're supposed to perform them, creating more social anxieties. The universe is so vast that like anything else, sexuality can't be proclaimed as moral or immoral. Love and sex are completely subjective notions in which we've imposed imagined orders on. However, culture is constantly evolving and rewriting morals. Nowadays, it's acceptable to have second and third marriages because it's understood that as human beings of temporary emotions, love dies in numerous relationships, which I've also talked about in a previous article about anti-natalism. So why isn't it okay to have sex with other people throughout life if love is essentially temporary? Or rather, the real question is: Why is sex still considered immoral?
Sex is a very natural desire, regardless of how you're raised. But this authoritative pressure to "wait until you're in love" has demonised sexual experimentation which isn't necessarily a good thing.
Take surfing, for example. It's a sport of endless risk factors, but we do it for the ecstatic joy that comes along with it. Sex, like surfing and most other recreational activities, should not be demonised because it is quite wonderful, if you're safe. Perhaps our sex education needs to start acknowledging a more realistic philosophy towards sex such as learning about the immense responsibility that comes with it and its potential consequences: Pregnancies, STDs, perversion, sadism, disloyalty, etc.
I personally believe everyone should indulge into their sexuality so they can understand themselves and their limits better, and how to control their sexual tendencies which is really important. There will always be an underlying curiosity if it's not explored. Safe and temporary sexual experimentation is key to knowing yourself better on a physical level and it could also be necessary guidance with finding love. Especially while a person is young, sexual experimentation, even with more than one partner, can be very healthy but what's important to remember is that this exploration should only be a phase. Once your questions have been answered, it's your individual responsibility with what you do with your experience—this is of course the most ideal situation possible, that young people can be raised well enough to make a wise choice for themselves.
"Surrendering to all of our desires leads to disease, jealousy, lies, concealment, and everything reverse of health." —Sigmund Freud
My own sexual experiences have built up my confidence, self-respect, mental stability (regarding love), comfort in my sexuality, and independence—there IS a way to utilise sex morally and this should be emphasised. There's truly no perfect way of going about it. Love and sex should not be made parallel with good and evil, angel and devil. As humans, we're made up of angelic and demonic features; learning how to balance them is the art of life.