Courtship and Sexual Deferment
A PLAUSIBLE OBJECTION to the claim that sexual intimacy should reflect a lasting public commitment and not occur prior to such a commitment is that it’s too stringent a norm. The awakening of sexual desire occurs in the teenage years, yet since many young people now get married in their late 20s or early 30s, some claim that waiting so long for sexual fulfillment is too long. Because the drive for sexual fulfillment is strong and life is fleeting, most young people will inevitably and justifiably (so goes the claim) indulge in premarital sex.
The issue of premarital sex has already been addressed from a number of theoretical and personal perspectives, and we are not walking back the results of previous chapter. Nonetheless, the issue of being social while remaining chaste over many years of increased levels of hormone activity is a significant one. This chapter outlines four general practices that are helpful in maintaining and developing close personal, but chaste, relationships. Before doing so, let us briefly review one general argument that has been made in earlier chapters.
Sexual intimacy prior to marriage is not a good path to self-knowledge or knowledge of the other person. At first, it might seem that performing such an intimate act with another person would lead to significant knowledge about the other person