Yes or NO to Pre-Marital Sex?

“Yes or No to Pre-Marital Sex? Are you for it or against it?” – At the outset, it hardly appeared like a topic I would be interested in writing about. Also I am not writing much for contests these days and whenever I write, I usually like something fictional or zany. I hardly write article type posts. But following the discussions on the topic set me thinking. The discussion seemed to indicate that the topic was a no brainer. The answer was obvious – an overwhelming ‘Yes’. So what is the point of a debate if there aren’t equally strong arguments on both sides?

Thinking further, I realized a very similar trend in all debates of conservatism v/s radicalism. Generally the radicals are the cool ones – the young, the energetic, the intellectuals. The conservative space usually looks to be occupied by the old coots unwilling to change, the fanatics, the bigots. One can see in all the arguments – the radicals walk in with a flourish and present argument after argument to demolish the conservatives. The conservatives look to be on the defensive – they either tend to hold stubbornly that their view is right just because it is right and no arguments can be encouraged. Or they quote the authority of some holy book or a religious figure whose authority is inviolate and cannot be questioned. In worst cases they can turn to personal attacks against the individual radicals. So for a neutral person watching this battle, it not difficult to see which side would look more attractive. But does that mean status quo is always wrong and change always right?
Do even the extreme radicals really want a life where everything is under a constant state of flux with absolutely no certainties in life? Don’t they also long for some kind of anchor of certainty that they can hold on to and stay afloat?  
Change in my opinion is good when it happens at the right pace at which human society can take the change. It if happens too fast, it can destroy the sanity of individuals and the fabric of human society. That is why conservatives are needed – to put a break on the pace of change and let it come at a tolerable pace. So in a debate between conservative and radical views on any issue, the discussion should be around the original purpose of the societal or cultural norm that is proposed to be changed and its relevance in the context of the current times.

So here the societal norm being challenged is that of the taboo against sexual relationships outside the institution of marriage. This argument will have two aspects to it –the negative impact of societal approval for such relationships on the stability of the institution of marriage and the relevance of the institution of marriage itself in the current age. A discussion on the second would not be necessary if the first were to throw up the answer that the impact is minimal or that the impact is positive.
So what exactly is the institution of marriage at a fundamental level? It is a pledge of a monogamous relationship between two persons. So by the very definition, any extraneous relationship can be considered an antithesis to this institution. The obvious question would be how a pact can be violated before its formalization. Well, technically the argument holds. But it can be considered a violation of the spirit of the marriage vow. If a person intends to be bound by the vow and views it to be possessed of intrinsic value, then he or she would probably not feel the need to violate it. The need to violate indicates that marriage is perceived more as something forced by law, social pressure or religion than something of value in itself. Case in point to support the argument is Europe, where social sanction for pre-marital relationships has been accompanied by a widespread reduction in number of marriages.

So we do need to explore the relevance and need for marriages. To understand the need, we may have to go back to its time of origin. Since mankind felt the need to introduce such an institution, it follows that there must have been some logic to it. The logic that comes to my mind is the creation of the family structure which provides a support system for the elderly and younger ones.  Another aspect possibly could be to provide people some kind of security in their relationship to be able to devote time to other pursuits free from the constant struggle for mates. 
If I were to consider these aspects, I really do not see our society having alternate systems to support the care of the young and the old. And while we do not have concrete evidence to say that without marriages, people will end up spending too much time fighting hard to get and keep mates resulting in overall reduction of productive contribution to the progress of mankind, I feel the possibility does exist. So it is my opinion that society is yet to evolve to a stage where we can do away with marriages.
So, on the basis of these two analyses, I infer that society cannot sanction pre-marital relationships. There is of course this question of whether an individual needs the sanction. That is up to the individual and not a topic for discussion and debate. The aspect of individual freedom versus societal norms is however something that can be discussed. But I would prefer  to consider that in a different blog post.

Image is free to use or share from wikimedia. Contest sponsored by author Poonam Uppal as part of the promotion of her book  - 'A Passionate Gospel of Love'. Click here to see contest sponsor link.


Vikas Khair said...

Totally agree to whatever you've said and I believe this is a matter between two adults they may be loving or not. It's their personal matter and nobody should have any say in that matter.

Nice one once again.

Please see my point about the same as well PreMartial Sex - Yes or No

Cart Hick said...

Thanks Vikas. Will check out.

indu chhibber said...

You have certainly given deep thought to this matter Karthik.
Care of the young and old is of course a positive outcome of the institution of marriage;but what about the support of siblings and the love we get from aunts and uncles--all these would be denied to us if there were no marriages.
And just think ;) what would a billionaire do with his billions? Go around with a DNA kit in search of his biological child?
The very first para ha me raising my eyebrows but all is well that ends well.

Elvira Lobo(Elli) said...

today i managed to see holistic side of this matter through your post -a personal choice amongst two adults, reasoning out the old whims and talks that normally are written or are so called " campaigned against" mostly that are 1 sided or fabricated creating rifts.

really nice one, thanks for sharing and keep writing :)

Cart Hick said...

Thanks Indu. Yes - the points you mention too are right. But I guess if I started considering more angles, the post would have become too long.

About billionaires searching for children, I think now people don't think of such things much anymore Europe. Most people prefer not to have children at all and try to spend what they have earned or give to causes. Even parents and children often try to live indpendent of each other as soon as possible.

Cart Hick said...

Thanks a lot, Elvira. Glad you liked my analysis. Good to see you after so long.

Rachna said...

The way in which you present the case for societal sanction is compelling. I, however, do not agree with your saying that pre-marital sex is a violation of the contract of marriage that will happen in the future. Even as a society we cannot ignore the changing mores and voices of our youth. As you pointed out in the end, it is between two people to decide what they want to do. And that is what I believe in. I will not expect my son's generation to conform to the conservative views of the society of my generation. End of the day, he has a right to live his life according to his choice. As his parent, I am here to guide him to live it safely and to ensure that he is not harming anyone else in the process either.

Cart Hick said...

Thanks Rachna. As I have pointed out, it is my view that as society begins to fully accept pre-marital sex, marriage and family as institutions will slowly begin to die out as it is seen in Europe and starting to be seen in America. It will not happen immedeately but over time. So it is to be hoped that by then other institutions and constructs will evolve to fill the functions hitherto performed by family systems. The strong social security system in Europe is one such that has already emerged.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Apropos premarital sex and even extra-marital sex - a lot depends on the Society you live in, Karthik. Society sets up expectations about the bride/groom. In the past, it was expected that the bride would certainly be virginal and the groom should ideally be so (Yup - MCPish but then THAT was the way Society was). Under the circumstances, a marriage between a bride and a groom would be unlikely if either party confessed to pre-marital sex. This, inter alia, meant that such weddings would take place only if the concerned person deceived the other about the true state of things - and deceit is, I think, no strong foundation for a married life. So, more than the pre-marital sex, it is the deceit surrounding it that causes it to become objectionable and, when/where the need for the deceit ceases to exist, the objections should go.

There is another issue, though. There is also an issue of Social acceptance - and, depending on how far in the face of Society's objections you fly, you may be distanced from family, friends and neighbors. If the fact of the premarital sex is known - as in a prolonged love affair - and you live in a Society where there are social consequences, then the person who chooses to wed should either be prepared to face it or not marry the other.

Too often, I hear the words 'It is between the two persons." I should be but, unfortunately, it is not. The parents also get the brunt of social disapprobation as do the siblings. Change can and will (and probably has) come by people taking the first steps; but some not like to be revolutionaries and should not be forced into the role (THAT more likely happens with extra-marital sex :) Which has individual consequences as well) :)

Cart Hick said...

That is my point Suresh. Once pre-marital sex be allowed, probably extra-marial will be allowed too. Even now people talk of one night stands for physical pleasure without any emotional attachments may strengthen marriage. If that also accepted, the whole concept of marriage becomes a farce - just a nonsensical thing to lose your money in expensive divorce suits. So who would want to marry? Well, marriage free societies might be interesting - Plato's idea of community owned children with no specific parental ties etc for instance.

Makk said...

I feel you are yet to ponder upon many facts as there are a lot of assumptions.

bhagwad jal park has a blog and if you read him you will get better understanding of the topic and of life at a large.

Appreciate your effort.

Cart Hick said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Makk.

sneh chandel said...

How do you define the concept of remarriage after divorce under such a rigid definition of institution of marriage?

If marriage was initiated with concept of child rearing, then how do you accept gay marriages?

I think society has moved far too fast for the both of us!

Cart Hick said...

Well - I meant marriage in its original form. Divorce and remarriage have been socially accepted and don't have such adverse effects. Gay marriage were never instituted by society. They do it themselves to give themself a feeling that society is accepting of their relationshiop.

I personally have nothing against pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, polygamy, polyandry or whatever. This is just a dispassionate analysis of what could be the drawbacks of society formally accepting pre-marital sex. And society is not just the more vocal forward looking youth. Society also includes the silent conservative miniority on whose emotions the fanatics and rabble rousers prey upon. If they were not there, nobody would be there to listen to fundamentalists.

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