There are so many things controlled by religion in Nigeria, sex is one of them. For many religious groups having premarital sex is a taboo, a crime, a sin; however, in this piece, Patrick Benblag gives reasons why some dogmas must be made away with.
An infringement on the rights of the individuals is what Patrick sees labeling premarital sex as. He claims it goes way beyond sex and eats deeper into our lives and then rubs off on the society.
Premarital sex debate
The subject matter of premarital sex whenever it pops up in social discussions is one that is bound to engender loads of altercations and contentions especially as regards the rightness or wrongness of it. This simple yet complex social issue is one deserving of utmost attention, especially in our contemporary social setting that is fraught with decrepit logic and unsubstantiated justifications for the positions adopted by the opinionated segments of the society.
The question as to the justification of premarital sex or sex wholly, is one that ought to be answered or approached from the aspect of morals or naturally negative/positive consequence(s). When one relishes in a vista of what is obtainable in our society today, the reverse is the reality. However, a problem arises when we either as individuals or as a society, try to appraise practical social issues that borders on the natural existential conditions of man in the society with arcane religious/metaphysical abstractions. The consequence is a logical error which takes the form of a naturalistic fallacy.
This is because the question of “sex” is one that is intrinsically tied to the individual’s personal choices and natural freedom and constitutes one of the fundamental individual/human right(s). Sex, matrimonial or pre-matrimonial, is similitude to freedom. It is one of the things the freedom to exercise which gives the individual person a sense of humanity and natural self realization as an entity. Denying a self actualizing and free moral agent the freedom to make this choice is similar to slavery.
This is because you enslave a particular aspect or element of the individual person and this very act has deeper psychological consequences on the individual and for the society at large. It is inhibitive of the individual’s natural potential seeking manifestation/realization in spatiotemporal reality and degrades the worth of the human person in the same way that slavery does. Perspicuously, to the question – “Is premarital sex wrong?” my answer is in the negative, there is nothing wrong with premarital sex.
When the question is further rephrased and presented in religious terms –“Is premarital sex a sin?” I will say that the latter is not a question because it has no sociological or natural basis in the comity of morals. Supposed it was, and then the answer will be a capital NO! The justification for this is because one cannot use relative religious prejudices as a yardstick for appraising or judging issues that has universal natural underpinnings.
The religious influence
This is because religion is relatively arcane and seats atop cerebrumendiformity (an epistemic state in which a person sees his/her own ideas as being perfect and absolute, thereby rejecting any form of criticism, opposition or opinion to the contrary. It is a form of epistemic bigotry).
We should be addressing the question of premarital sex in the light of morals because it has to do with the negative/positive consequences of the act and the effects of such actions on the human society. Consequently, premarital sex is not wrong because the very act is the actuality of a natural potential inherent in the human person and involves two consenting individuals exercising their natural rights to self actualization. More so, there is no reasonable argument or prove to substantiate that two individuals making use of their natural endowments or exercising it to seek self-realization is contrary to nature.
As some would have us believe that premarital sex is inherently bad and religiously gross, there is no rational or biological prove that shows that when two consenting individuals engage in premarital sex, that something contrary to nature happens or that the laws of nature becomes violated. Premarital sex can only be wrong if we can be able to establish with logical and empirical facts that having sex or sexual gratification is not a natural phenomenon. Otherwise, a religious basis that denies consenting individuals their fundamental right to sexual self-realization constitutes a metaphysical superfluous.
It is a crime against nature. Premised on the above, premarital sex only becomes bad or immoral when the consequences of the act brings about unnecessary burden on other members of the society or just like rights when it becomes a problem and or infringes on the rights of others. Otherwise, any claims to the contrary are illogical and unfounded. Denying individuals their right to sexual liberty base on religious or cultural conventions or for any other reason similar to, can only be justified by intellectual poverty.
A case not in favour of virginity
On the contrary, virginity till after marriage is not a thing of pride; it only reduces the entire worth and dignity of the human person down to their sexual organs.
The human being is worth more than that. In a civilized epoch like ours, such deprecate make-believe systems that attaches greater value to the sexual organs more than the human brain with all it has, can and will still achieve is a debase and morally crass way of thinking that deserves to be done away with. Conversely, the supposed terminus ad quem of this clumsy religious and social make-believe system which was to tame the sexual urge/disposition(s) of the young and single stratum of the society has conspicuously been defeated, hence, a need to be practical and realistic in our approach to this natural phenomenon.
The uncouth act of painting the natural disposition of sex among the unmarried groups in our societies and the need for enjoying sexual self-realization has resulted in many, engaging in unsafe sexual practices clandestinely in this disease ridden age for fear of being castigated upon by the society, resulting in the spread of many sexually transmitted disease(s) (STD) like gonorrhea, syphilis, staphylococcus aureus, HIV, etcetera.
In Latin, it is often said: “Nemo dat quod non habet” which means “no one can give what he does not have”. It logically follows that sexual self-realization is not a disposition characteristic of exclusively married couples, but it is something that can also be found within the unmarried ones. These dispositions are not imagined like the make-believe systems that proscribes them. The characteristics are expressed because they are natural in the first place. If the unmarried were devoid of this characteristic, it would have been axiomatic that sex is restricted to married couples. You can only give out what you have.
The preservation of one’s sexual organs till after marriage under the linguistic and cultural cloak of virginity has no special benefits on the individuals neither does it contribute to societal development or entail high moral standard. One can be a virgin and be both socially and morally vile. One can also be freely having sex and still maintain high moral standards. In a sense, the arguments for virginity being the mother of religious and social ethos only hypes hypocrisy and augments the individual’s delusional level when it comes to morals. If there is any part that should and really counts in the human body then it is the human brain.
Theory of morality with reason This is where morality and reason resonates and not between the legs. People are respected for their ideas and what they can contribute to the development of their societies and to the betterment of the human lot at large, and not for being the longest conscious or unconscious virgins. I’m not kicking against virginity for being bad; my point is it should never be used as a yardstick for judging an individual’s moral standing, neither should any individual be denied natural sexual self-realization on the basis of sex being exclusively reserved for the married. Proactively, having proved to a reasonable extent the moral justification for premarital sex, and defending it in the light of it being a natural characteristic of the human person, and also taking into cognizance the highlighted excesses resulting from the practices of it, seeking how we can ensure a sexually safer society becomes what is pertinent as opposed to the denial of it.
What we should be doing is carrying out both private and public orientation and re-orientation as regards the issue of sexual intercourse. We need to educate the masses both the married and unmarried on how to practice safe sex instead of expending energy to deny the reality. It is colossally hypocritical and foolish for one to think that the unmarried stratum of the society should stop engaging in sexual activities simply because cultural or religious conventions tag it “BAD”. Institutions and how they shape views
The family, the religious and educational institutions, private/public organizations all has a role to play in stopping this menace. We can save millions of lives annually by giving people proper sexual education rather than acting in a bigoted manner and ignoring the obvious. Sexual discussions should be encouraged within the family, peer groups, the school classrooms, etcetera in order to promote sexual literacy and for us to be able to build a more progressive society. The subject matter of sex shouldn’t be something that is regarded as a taboo or sacrilege and thus excluded from the circles of public discourse only to be talked about in the closet.
We need a revaluation of what we qualify as morals. We need a radical social shift when it comes to our view of sex. What we should be talking about is ensuring that it is consensual, and not something that is forced by one party on another. And also that the persons involve be ready to take full responsibility for whatever be the outcome of their choice, rather than wasting time and energy to deny the natural.
Choice is a fundamental right of every individual person and no individual deserves to be robbed of this fundamental right so long as it does not infringe on the choices of others. I’ll submit by calling on people of all nations to rise, unite and fight against that which denies any individual person his/her fundamental liberty to utilize and to express his/her freewill.