One of the most repeated
mantras of conservative Christians on the talk show circuit -- and of talk
show hosts like Sean Hannity --
is "No sex before marriage." A related admonition frequently
voiced by these moralists is "No cohabitation before marriage."
This theology defies all
common sense. It would require that people bind themselves to a
lifetime commitment to have sex with only one person, and to live their
entire life as man and woman with only that person, without ever having had
sex with that person or having lived with that person. In what other
area of human endeavor would anyone make such a lifetime, irrevocable
commitment with so little basis to believe it will work?
Perhaps the moralists don't
even know that sexual preferences and compatibilities differ from person to
person. If your lifetime sole sex partner and you have vastly
different sexual needs, desires and capabilities, such a match will create
only a lifetime of sexual unhappiness.
Likewise with sharing living
quarters with someone. Common sense would dictate that there at least
be a trial period of living together before the lifetime commitment is made.
The moralists often respond
that a pre-marriage living together situation is not the same thing as
living together as man and wife once the commitment is made. That's
true, but it's certainly a better approximation of it than nothing at all.
Would you sign an irrevocable
lifetime contract to work for a company, or with a specific co-worker,
without ever having worked for such a company, or with that
Equally absurd is marrying
someone without even knowing if you are sexually compatible, and if there is
some basis for believing you can happily live together.
I'm not talking here so much
about promiscuity (which for some may be a good thing in any case) but
rather about two people in love who feel they may want to get married, and
who may already even be engaged.
And all this is not to say
that there aren't people who do want to wait until they are married to have
sex or live together. Fine for them.
But don't make that an
iron-clad "moral" rule that everyone is supposed to follow.
For those who do want to test
the waters before plunging in forever, such a course of action certainly
makes sense and should be supported.