Will Baude says that premarital sex is virtuous:
I think it's generally unwise for people (particularly people who view monogamy as generally desirable and divorce as generally undesirable) to get married before they've begun having some sort of sexual relations.Although he says "some sort of sexual relations", it's pretty clear from further text that he's referring to sexual intercourse itself.
The second part of Ms. Morse's view that I think is bad is her view that sex ought to be kept between spouses, or that sex's job is to bring spouses closer together. I think this is a cause-effect confusion.I've heard this argument before, and I'm not at all convinced. First of all, go read my dissection of a non-married love relationship which very clearly is not as intimate as a marriage; your mileage may vary, but I expect that the vast majority of "long-term relationships" are quite similar (maybe even many marriages?).
Sex shouldn't be used to bring people close together-- it should be used to help us find people with whom we're compatible enough to be or grow close. (And marriage, as I said earlier, isn't always relevant to this closeness-- plenty of pairs unmarried people love each other as much or more than plenty of other pairs of married or ex-married people. Especially in a world where some of these unmarried people are legally forbidden marry the other unmarried the people they love.)
Secondly, I find it very easy to learn a great deal about women without having sex with them, or even "dating" them. I'm not particularly fond of the whole modern concept of "dating", for a whole host of reasons. To keep it short: I don't think it's possible to build a healthy relationship on romantic emotions. The foundation of dating is romance, and as most of us are probably aware it's quite easy to become attracted to someone we wouldn't particularly care to be friends with. Physical and emotional lust are powerful forces, and we're often eager to be tricked into thinking we actually love someone when it's all just emotional smoke and mirrors.
As I've written before, my strategy is pretty simple:
Mostly, I just live my life and try to make myself into a person that will be "A One" for the type of girl I hope to attract. I've probably got a long ways to go, but I'm working on it.Dating and sex obscure and confuse the real issues involved with finding a mate in ways that "mere" friendship doesn't. Dating and sex lead to jealousy, lust, pride, selfishness, materialism, conflict, impatience, manipulation, cruelty, resentment, and uncountable other complications. Friendship has its pitfalls as well, but is generally much freer from such distractions.
Friendship allows me to see a woman for who she truly is, when she's not trying to impress anyone; friendship lets me be myself without needing to make an artificially-sculpted good impression. Dating, on the other hand, is all about creating a pretty show, complete with scripted dialogue and special effects. You tell me which is more conducive to really getting to know someone.
Mr. Baude writes further:
Marrying somebody without knowing whether they behave in a good or evil manner in bed is like marrying somebody without knowing what their favorite book is, or what their religion is, without knowing what they think constitutes moralvirtue [sic]. These things are too important, and too central to our very identies, to simply hope that they will work themselves out later like the question of whose parents get the first Christmas.I agree it's an important issue, but there are a myriad of similarly important topics that are discussed before marriage, but deferred in action until afterwards. How will the children be raised? How will we spend our money? Who will work at what job, when? All of these are critically important issues to a marriage, and all of them (including sex) should be discussed frankly and openly beforehand. But I see no reason to doubt that the question of sex, just like the others, can be explored effectively and sufficiently without actual implementation.
I'd like to add that, although I've heard many married couples express regret over extra-/pre-marital sexual escapades, no couple who has waited has ever told me that they wish they hadn't.