Puritans and Sex - What was the puritans' view of sex, contrary to popular belief?

Essay by NoctambulystHigh School, 10th gradeA+, October 2005

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The Puritans had a unique attitude towards the role of sex in marriage. Contrary to popular belief that the Puritans were prudish and squeamish towards this particular topic, they are actually quite the opposite. In fact, their whole interpretation of marriage is not that of a "spiritual partnership" but a purely "sexual partnership". (19) They believe that sex and marriage are essential parts of every man's life, and that women are a necessary part of completing this life. In this sense, women are almost like commodities that solely serve men's purpose. John Cotton even says that, "It is not good that man should be alone." (20) It is also emphasized that "the Use of the Marriage Bed" is "founded in mans Nature" and that marriage is only the given means of achieving this nature. (20) The only limitation on sexual relationships in marriage is that it must not interfere with a man's devotion to God and his will.

Therefore, if it a fasting day in the honor of God, sex is also not allowed because it is a luxury just like food and drink. Its purpose is to fit people into God's services. (21)

The Puritans had the complete opposite attitude towards sexual intercourse outside of marriage. They were hostile to it and passed laws to punish these actions with whipping or occasionally death. They believed that ever since the days of Adam, humans were unable to fully obey the will of God, which is why the community must catch all offenders and deal out punishment so that the rest of the villagers won't suffer. (21) But because of the fact that sexual offenses were so common, the Puritans eventually became so used to it that they rarely punished with harsh penalties, but instead worked hard to prevent it. (22)...