Sunday, November 4, 2007

Premarital or Nonmarital?

The other day, I was browsing a website where the topic was premarital sex. I won't get into the pros and cons of it, as I'm sure you know exactly my views on the topic.

Rather, my focus is on the word "premarital" itself. As I read the article, I kept thinking that the word premarital has kind of a dated ring to it; that it connotes a bias and does not adequately describe all the types of sex that occur outside of matrimony.

"Premarital" means "before marriage", and implies sex that one is having with the person they will later marry. It also has a broader view for most people, referring to any sex a person has before marriage, including the partners one does not later marry.

There is "extramarital" sex to mean adultery, but most people refer to any sex engaged in by any category of "unmarried" people as "premarital".

It doesn't take into account the sex lives of people who never marry or those who are divorced or widowed. For those who do not believe in "premarital" sex, what would they expect people who don't care to marry do? Remain martyred perpetual virgins? Or get married just so they can have sex? That would be one of the poorest reasons for getting married that I can think of.

With widowed or divorced people, no one refers to "post-marital" sex. Do they expect such people to return to square one and do the "no sex until marriage" thing with any new relationships, as if they are teenage virgins again? I mean, that horse has long ago gotten out of the barn, so what's the point in pretending?

I think a better umbrella term to cover all types of sex that occur outside of marriage would be "non-marital", as it would cover all the bases for those not currently married.

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