Puritans and Sex Essay
In The Puritans and Sex by Edmund S. Morgan, the author explores some of the stereotypes and misconceptions about the puritans and their thoughts on sex. Many people believe that the puritans thought that sex was something to be frown upon and was a necessary evil. However after reading this article your opinion may be changed. The Puritans and Sex should be read by students of an American history course because it offers deeper insight of the puritans’ view of sex.
The article begins by stating that the puritans came to America to set a model for the Anglican Church. In order to accomplish this, the puritans had to have many laws that were supposed to be met with harsh punishment. Among these laws were many against sexual crimes, which were among the most frequent crimes. Despite the numerous laws discouraging adultery and other sexual actions the puritans did not discourage sex, on the contrary the puritans believed that “the use of the marriage bed is founded in man’s nature”(p 18) and that if people were denied sex that it would lead to other, worse crimes such as bestiality. Sex was actually encouraged inside of marriage so much that it could be considered slander if one man said that another was not having sex regularly with his wife.
Sex outside of marriage was met with punishments such as whippings or in a few rare cases, death. Precautions were taken to help lessen the chances of these offenses occurring, “One precaution was to see that children got married as soon as possible”(p 26) and once married puritan did everything they could to assure the marriage was going well. Even though there were harsh punishments for crimes “no offense, sexual or otherwise, could be occasion for surprise or for hushed tones of voice”(p 19) The puritans, although they were trying to create a godly community did not delude themselves to the fact that they were still human and that these things were bound to happen. They actually had a certain...
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