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Premarital Sex Essay Premarital sex refers to sexual interaction between heterosexual men and women prior to marriage. Many scholars chart changes in both attitudes and behavior related to premarital sex to explore the connection between this issue and social problems, such as divorce and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Given the interconnectedness of sexual behavior and other important aspects of society, every society has guidelines for single men and women for what is permissible sexual behavior. Considerable cross-cultural variation exists in what is deemed acceptable sexual contact before marriage. Attitudes and behavior related to premarital sex also differ by race, social class, gender, religion, age, and historical time period. In many Western societies, prior to the 20th century, sexual activity before marriage was not socially acceptable. Communities and families both played Phd thesis on ferrites writinghelpgetessaycricket role in monitoring the sexual behavior of unmarried persons to ensure that a child was not born out of wedlock. In addition to the practical consideration of avoiding pregnancy, many religions strictly regulated sexual interaction among unmarried men and women. Despite the continued influence of organized religion, premarital sex changed from being forbidden to becoming the norm by the latter part of the 20th century. Throughout the 20th century in the United States, there have been different rules for men and women with regard to sex before marriage. In the first half of the 20th century, the ideal was for both men and women to wait until marriage to have sex. However, men had more freedom to flout society’s rules; as a result, men were free to engage in sexual relations with prostitutes or other disreputable women. Society expected women, on the other hand, need help do my essay filters through which one perceives the world remain virgins until their wedding night or risk ruining their reputations and chances of securing a husband. This sexual double standard governed the sexual behavior of single men and women, affecting what they were willing to do sexually, whom they would have a sexual relationship with, and the roles they would play during a sexual encounter. Typically, men would play the aggressor role by initiating sexual advances, and women would play the “gatekeeper” role by deciding how much they would allow a sexual encounter to escalate. Over time, attitudes and behaviors related to premarital sex began to change. These changes were brought about by other changes in society. In the 1920s, dating replaced traditional courtship pakistan iran gas pipeline essay writer the primary means for young men and women to interact. Unlike traditional courtship, dating took place in the public sphere, away from close parental supervision. This change, along with more young people moving to cities and attending college, allowed for a greater degree of sexual activity prior to marriage. The sexual norms for the dating era included kissing, necking, and petting; however, oral sex and sexual intercourse were still off limits. Despite these standards, Alfred Kinsey’s mid-20th-century reports on male and female sexual behavior shocked Americans by suggesting that many were not living up to this ideal. Although Kinsey’s study was not representative, his data indicated that more than half of women lost their virginity prior to marriage. The decades that followed brought about the most significant changes in attitudes and behavior for premarital sex, particularly for women. Some of these changes were brought about by women’s rights activists in help writing my paper medical paternalism in physical therapy 1960s and 1970s demanding equality with men in all areas of life, including sex. In this era, the increasing availability of birth control, including “the pill,” made it possible for sexual intercourse to occur without a significant risk of essay ?. This technological advance fueled the change, which was already underway, that sexual intercourse could be for pleasure, not just procreation. Attitudes toward premarital sex changed as a result of this sexual revolution. Youth cultures in particular began to reject premarital chastity as an ideal. At this time, it increasingly became socially acceptable for men and women to have sexual intercourse outside of the context of marriage. Along with these attitudinal changes came changes in premarital sexual behavior. Martin K. Whyte’s classic 1990 study examined premarital sex rates among three generations of women and found that premarital sex became increasingly common throughout the 20th century. Approximately one quarter of women who were married from 1925 to 1944 had engaged in premarital sex, compared to one half of women who were married from 1945 to 1964. For women who married after the sexual revolution, from 1965 to 1984, approximately three quarters had engaged in premarital sex. Whyte characterized these changes as an “intimacy revolution” more than a sexual revolution per se, given that the majority of women from all three generations had sex only with their eventual spouses. Whyte did note that sex with someone other than one’s eventual spouse did increase significantly over time: one third of women in the latest cohort had engaged in essay ? sex.” By the turn of the 21st century, sex before marriage had become the norm for most men and women with the homework helper social studies methods of those who were very religious. Young help me do my essay language of the land remain single longer than ever before, with the median age at first marriage now at approximately 25 for women and 27 for men. Although men and women may delay marriage, they are often sexually active from adolescence (the average age of first intercourse is 17). People now spend a longer time sexually active and unmarried, thereby acquiring more sexual partners in their lifetimes than previous generations. Despite the increase in years for engaging in premarital sex, the context for sexual intercourse did not change from marriage-only to “anything goes” as is often assumed. Most Americans approve of premarital sex only in the confines of a committed relationship between consenting adults. Although premarital sex is increasingly common and accepted, significant differences still remain in how men and women are evaluated with regard to sexual behavior. Unlike women, single men continue to have greater freedom in help writing my paper medical paternalism in physical therapy activity under a variety of circumstances without risking their reputations. The sexual double standard that dominated in the first half of the 20th century may have diminished, but it has not disappeared. Bibliography: Reiss, Ira L. 1960. Premarital Sexual Standards in America: A Sociological Investigation of the Relative Social and Cultural Integration of American Sexual Standards. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. Rubin, Lillian. 1990. Erotic Wars: What Happened to the Sexual Revolution? New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Whyte, Martin K. 1990. Dating, Mating, and Marriage. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Widner, Eric D., Judith Treas, and Robert Newcomb. 1998. “Attitudes toward Nonmarital Sex in 24 Countries.” Journal of Sex Research 35:349-58.