What are the consequences of premarital sex? How does it affect children who are born out of wedlock? Should there be consequences for having children out of wedlock? These questions plague America today as more and more people choose to disregard long-standing social traditions of abstaining from sex until marriage. Since the Sexual Revolution, attitudes about sex have changed dramatically. Gone are the days when it was a social norm to marry and then have sex which naturally led to having children. The number of traditional families (husband and wife with children) is declining as more and more people seem to discover the joy of sex for its own sake.
For much of human history, sex was generally seen as having one purpose: Procreation. People did not have sex as end unto itself; they had sex to produce offspring. Sex has always carried the risk of pregnancy and a having a “child out of wedlock” was always seen as an unbearable condition. To bring a child into the world with out the means to care for it was considered a grievous mistake. The social infrastructure of our country was set up in a manner which did not facilitate successful single parenting. Since men cannot have children of their own, we as a species have always considered it essential for a man to procure a woman who could bear and raise his children. Unwed mothers were shunned and treated as if they had given up the most useful gift a woman can give a man. For a woman to bear children that did not legally and morally belong to a man robbed a man of his opportunity to have children.
The arrival of birth control changed all that. While condoms of some sort have been used for centuries and the rubber condom was first mass-produced in 1854 (Valdiserri, 1988), it was the introduction of the “pill” in 1960 (Grimes, 2000) which sparked the Sexual Revolution. Widespread introduction of reliable birth control made it possible for a woman to engage in sex without risk of pregnancy. No...
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