Puritans and Sex

Topics: Marriage, Sexual intercourse, Human sexuality Pages: 1 (400 words) Published: June 21, 2008
In the article, “The Puritans and Sex”, author Edmund S. Morgan argues that the puritans were much more freethinking than their conservative stereotype. Most of what things said about the Puritans may have been exaggerated and just like all normal people in the world they would indulge in such things as sex and marriage. Of course according to laws in the 1630s when the Puritans were around, it was required that in order to indulge in such actions of “pleasure” you must first be married. Many male and women servants would have “illicit sexual intercourse” and be whipped by their masters. Ironically according to Morgan, most of the time that a woman would have sex, or get raped would be by her master. The reason for many of these illegal sexual actions was because most of the males would already have a wife before settling to the colonies. Most of these males came from England, and left their wives over there in search of money and better living for their families. So in order to fulfill their sexual needs, the male would have to get married to another woman (sex was only permissible if married). According to laws in the seventeenth century and laws according to today, bigamy and polygamy are both felonies. Now this would leave the man with two choices. Either have illicit sex or get married (illegal) and have legal sex while being in risk for getting caught for both. Truly this left the male with two unlawful decisions that left him with no right choice. As fornication laws got more strict, parents of children decided to marry their children at a very young age, therefore young adults would not participate in illegal sexual activities if the right husband or wife was chosen. Edmund Morgan says that instead of trying to make punishments for people who fornicated and participated in other prohibited acts, they would try to prevent this from happening before they had punished. All the laws and legal threats did not prevent people from illegitimate sex as it...
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