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The Puritans', Sex and Morality

            Most people are intrigued by any discussion of sex, particularly when it involves other people's behavior and especially when people are well known. Sexuality figures prominently in marriage and family life, as well as in other intimate relationships. When someone talks about sexuality, it is often assumed that he or she is referring to sexual intercourse. When we speak of sex, it is not always clear if we are speaking of sexual activity or a person's genetic sex. Human sexuality involves feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that evoke a sexual or an erotic response. Human sexuality also involves issues of power, authority, and emotional and physical vulnerability in relationships.
             What constitutes sexual and moral issues varies from one culture to another. For example ancient Jewish tradition placed great emphasis on marriage and reproduction, while early Christian sexual traditions promoted celibacy as superior to marriage and that all humans should strive for a chaste life. The Puritans defined marriage as a covenant of God and thus the only legitimate mechanism for sex and procreation. Steve Wilkins in his article "The Puritans and Family" stated: "The Puritans were not bashful to acknowledge the sanctity of sexuality. God has created us as sexual beings and expects and even commands us to exercise that sexuality in purity and holiness. Though immorality was deadly, sexual relationships within the covenantal bonds of marriage were a great blessing. Thus, the sexual relationship was central to the marriage relationship. William Gouge said that not to engage in sexual relations with your spouse was to deny a due debt and to give Satan great advantage" . In this article he is saying that as long sexual relationship within marriage it's a good thing, but author mentioned nothing about what happening to those who committed acts of "uncleanness". For this information we will turn to an article "Morality and Sex" on the Mayflower Families web site.

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