As an engineer, I like to be precise, and when it comes to slippery moral questions like sexual behavior it can be difficult for two people to reach a common understanding of each other's position because of mixed backgrounds and expectations. Without a common understanding there is no foundation for rational debate of the positions (no pun intended) on their merits. To that end, I have conceived (npi) the following Sexual Morality Notation (SMN) to help categorize the myriad of possible opinions on the matter. With the understanding that no such notation could possibly be completely precise, I believe that the following architecture will suffice for most English speakers who are familiar with the common dictionary definitions of the words I use.

A SMN code is a five-digit number, with each digit restrict to the range 0 through 4. Each of the five digits represents a "stage" or "type" of relationship. From left to right, in order from most casual to most serious, the five digits are:
1. Strangers.
2. Acquaintances.
3. Boyfriend/girlfriend.
4. Engaged.
5. Married.

As I mentioned, each digit takes a value from 0 to 4, with the numbers representing the standard "baseball" notation for "how far" sexual activity should be allowed to go. 0 has been added to the scale to represent activities that are often not considered "sexual" per se, such has hand-holding and flirting; the other numbers ("first base", "second base", "third base", and "home") should be understood already by most of my readers. If there's really any confusion on the matter, I'll post more graphic descriptions.

Thus, a SMN code of [00004] might be used by stereotypical Puritans who believe that there should be no sexual activity of any kind until marriage. In contrast, modern American morality often looks like [44444], in which sexual intercourse is permissible even between complete strangers. Common relationships may often progress as [01444]. More interesting are people with conflicted moralities who are anonymously promiscuous but otherwise conservative, such as [41334].

Comments? Questions? Do you think SMN is useful for characterizing views on sexual morality?

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