Sex and Marriage
In many parts of the world, sex and marriage are often seen as being independent of each other -this is really an error. Sex is very good of course but the sexual pleasure associated with sexual activity can blind individuals to the true "good" of sex, which is not so clear. As a result their management of sexual practice may depart from what is in their own best interest.
What is so different about sex and why can't everyone just find out for themselves? Why do we need a special institution called marriage?
Marriage is a human institution that reflects the mysterious and yet self-evident "bond' that results from vaginal intercourse between a man and a woman. This bond is natural and very powerful, yet not readily explained intellectually, or just a social construct. Because sexual attraction can be such a powerful motivation, civilized societies appear to have developed the institution of marriage as a means of protecting the innocent and naive from the self harm that occurs when the bond is broken. This also maintains society from the destructive side effects that follow widespread disruption of this bond. Even in today's scientific world there is some recognition of this pair bonding effect and there are various attempts to explain how this occurs at a physiological level. The philosophical belief regarding the nature of mind, ie it has a spiritual component or it is purely materialistic in nature for example, effects the interpretation of how such a bond works and defines how explanations of this bond, which clearly seems to be established through physiological means, is actually effected.
There all sorts of bonds and emotions, addictive physiological states and love all provide levels of bonding between mothers and babies, fathers and children, siblings, friends and collaborators but none of these are quite the same as the bond between a man and woman that occurs through sexual intercourse (a more detailed explanation can be obtained in the social neuroscience and biology literature).
This bond is a permanent bond at the psychological and spiritual level and results directly from sexual intercourse ie the deposition of sperm in the vagina. While the bond actually plays out differently for men and women, breaking the bond is damaging to both. The biblical description of the 'two becoming one body' would seem to be a description of this reality, which is an intrinsic part of biological human nature. A similar concept is the biological reality that human beings must breathe oxygen, whether they think it is a good idea or not, or they damage themselves. While there is no end to the amount of information on sexual attraction, sexual practice and desire, nothing can change the reality of this bond and the damaging effect on individuals who suffer separation after sexual intercourse has occurred when a condom has not been used.
Of course having sex with someone who is totally inappropriate in terms of their personality and ability may necessitate separation but this will still, necessarily, cause permanent damage at a subconscious psychological level. Recognition that this bond will happen, in spite of the suitability of the partners, appears to have resulted in the institution of marriage. Marriage in some form appears to have existed from earliest history, and has resulted in societies choosing various selection methods and societal structures to ensure that individuals refrain from sex until their suitability for each other is more clear, rather than just being based on sexual attraction, however important that may be. It is sustained as an institution by the willingness of individuals to adhere to the demands of marriage, either freely or the through the imposition of rules, by society, in the name of self preservation, with varying levels of harshness.
Rules for Legitimate Sexual Expression that are most protective of individual well being would therefore be:
No sex before marriage.
Marriage must be freely entered into by a man and a woman, however the arrangements came into being.
Marriage is for life.
No extramarital sex.
No remarriage until one of the partners has died.
Distortions of sexuality that reduce the chances of the above aspiration being met as a protection for individuals:
Sex before marriage.
Exhortation to practice the above four practices through pornography.
As damage to the bodies of individuals becomes widespread - with promiscuity - society itself becomes more violent. We are witnessing this today and this is why governments do have a role in managing sexuality if they are to maintain good order and stability. It is not something that should just be be left to individuals, in the privacy of their bedroom, and this is merely a position put by many politicians, even those of good will, who feel inadequate to deal with these issues while others, who, through ignorance, indulge themselves sexually, obviously have no intent of denying their addiction (although harmful to themselves) and will continue to sell out the innocent.