Sexual Ethics and Morals
Sexual morals are greatly affected by some parts of behavioral ethics applicable to human beings. The social norms, personal habits and behavioral patterns are all associated directly with sexual instinct.
The following sexual ethics have been given more thought by the modern thinkers: female modesty, male sense of honor concerning female members of a household, female chastity, a wife's faithfulness to her husband; female inclination to cover her private parts, or her aversion to exposing any bodily nakedness in public; prohibition of adultery, interdiction of any visual or physical intimacy with women other than one's legal wife or wives; prohibition of incest, or marriage between persons too closely related; avoidance of sexual intercourse with menstruating women; debarring pornography or obscenity; and treating celibacy as either too saintly or undesirable.
According to Will Durant, marrying and settling down was always considered to be one of the very important moral duties of human beings. He said that the natural human capability for procreation involved difficulties, not only at the time of marriage, but before and after that, as well.
Not handling the sexual instincts properly only piles up the difficulties, but there certainly is a need to maintain that instinct so it doesnt cause moral and legal issues. Not addressing the issues properly causes several uncertainties e.g. not following the natural course (you know what I mean). A society should provide necessary and effective safeguards to protect from these extreme confusions and organizational disorders.
Involving scientific and philosophical discussions regarding sexual morals requires identification of their origin and evolution. Ever wondered from where the sense of protecting a woman's modesty and chastity has come from? Why have the men been protecting their women as a sense of honor traditionally?
If we consider natural jealousy as the reason for the last posed question, then we must come up with a very strong point of view. Jealousy is considered a negative point of a human being universally. So why in the case of protecting a husband-wife relationship is it allowed exceptionally? I guess jealousy is not the right answer to this question; it is something else and we need to find an answer to this so we can understand things better.
Here I would mention a few modern thinkers and their thoughts about sexual morals. They are: Bertrand Russell, Will Durant and Freud.
According to Will Durant, the sexual morals are not natural instincts; they belong to historical events, even unhappy ones and ones with cruel results. According to him, the tradition should be retained while allowing continuous evolution, and when necessary one adopts best practices without any inadequacy.
Will Durant thinks that the morals regarding virginity, bashfulness and modesty are in tradition due to natural process of moral selection. According to him, the natural process involves trial and error through centuries. He also insists that virginity and modesty are relative qualities linked with conditions of marriage and traceable to even a past situation involving purchase of, or bargaining of, wives. Whereas, chastity and modesty are basic requirements of a society according to him, even if these requirements give rise to the nervous and psychosomatic disorders. Moreover, the relevant social regulations are essential for promoting a harmonious continuity in sexual relations in the context of marriage and family living.
Freud and his followers subscribed to a different view of sexual morals. They sought to dispense with the traditional sexual morality, or to replace it with something altogether new. In the opinion of Freud and his followers, morals were based on limitations and prohibitions concerning human sexuality. They claimed that the limitations and prohibitions caused many human afflictions and gave rise to emotional disturbances, including subconscious fears and obsessions.
Basically similar arguments have been put forward by Bertrand Russell. He defends in his own way the position that nothing should be regarded as taboo. His views concerning marriage and morals are independent of any moral considerations, such as those of chastity, rectitude, modesty, any male sense of honor encompassing the female (which he suggests is actually jealousy) and similar others.
The proposed liberation of human sexuality from traditional moral restraints is tantamount to claiming that nothing ugly, bad or disgraceful can come out of it. The impression conveyed is one of relying on nothing but the human intellect and its rationalizations. The proposal concedes no more restraint on sex than any natural limitation of food intake!
Elsewhere, Bertrand Russell tried to answer a question as to whether or not he had any advice to give those who wanted to follow a correct and sensible path in matters of sex. His reply was to the effect that, after all, one should examine the question of sexual morality in the same analytical manner as in the case of any other problem. If, as a result of adequate examination, it was found that others would come to no harm from one's pursuing a certain manner of sexual conduct, we would have no reasons to condemn any such individual rationalization and practice.
Bertrand Russell replied in the negative to a second question as to whether or not, in his opinion, any violation of female chastity could be viewed as an exception to his contention that actions causing no harm or loss to others should not be condemned. He explained that loss of virginity could be due to an act between two individuals. However, if it was construed as an act of violation of the chastity of a virgin, there should be evidence to the same effect before it could be condemned as rape.