Puritans and Sex

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In the article, “Puritans and Sex” by Edmund S. Morgan, the author explains that contrary to popular belief, the Puritans openly acknowledged their natural human urge for sex and, while looking down upon sinful acts such as adultery and rape, regarded them only as “pardonable human weaknesses” (Morgan) that called only for prevention and very rarely for major punishment and furthermore found sex after marriage perfectly acceptable and even necessary for a functional society. The idea that Puritans were opposed to the idea of ever discussing sexual matters and especially engaging in these activities was quickly disproven by Morgan who stated that “The Puritans became inured to sexual offences, because there were so many.” in addition to the fact that “illicit sexual intercourse was fairly common.” These acts, as common as they may have been, were very sinful. The only socially and lawfully acceptable form of intercourse was post-marital sex (that did not interfere with the worship of god) which led the Puritans to encourage children to get married as young as 14 and 15 years old. In the conclusion of this article, Miller blatantly states that personas of the Puritans are often misconstrued in his opinion. These misconceptions were meant to be put to rest throughout the essay and clarified correctly. Although strict and extremely conservative in many other aspects of society, the Puritans, in actuality, we very open to the harsh facts about sex and basic human nature and dealt with them in an understanding and less extreme manner than usually acknowledged.
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