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Puritians and Sex

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Puritans can be described as a more extreme protestant within the England church who though the English Reform wasn't taken far enough. This group wanted to 'purify' their church of all Catholic influence. They called for a Congregationalist structure in which each individual church would be largely self governing.

In the article, "The Puritans and Sex", author Edmund Morgan argues that the puritans were much more freethinking than their conservative stereotype. The Puritans were Calvinists. They believed each individual had been selected by God for eternal afterlife in heaven or hell.

It's fairly easy to say that there was one regulation that the Puritans placed upon marriage, "sex must not interfere with religion". According to them the purpose of a man's life in the end was to simply praise God. Should anything come in the way of that, it then shall be removed. Sex was treated as valuable and meaningful as any of the other activities the Puritans dealt with. The necessary requirement of eating, that was when there was no fast, was considered as equal as sex. The Puritans simply wanted to enjoy "earthly delights" (Morgan, 594). As long as God came first in their daily lives, and these men guided their wives also to God, sex was indeed acceptable.

For the Puritans, the ultimate sin consisted of having sex outside of marriage. They instilled laws that would punish or even banish Puritans who broke their law. In the bible, when the first man, Adam sinned, it then provided a forefront for others to become capable of sin according to the Puritans. So it was imaginable that some would sin by having sex outside of marriage.

The Puritans became accustomed to hearing about sexual offenses due to the fact that it happened on numerous occasions.

"The impression which one gets from reading the records of seventeenth-century New England courts is that illicit sexual intercourse was fairly common. The testimony given in cases of fornication and adultery by far the most numerous class of criminal cases in the records- suggests that many of the early New Englanders possessed a high degree of virility and very few inhibitions (Morgan, 596)."

A main reason for the numerous sexual offences was due to the fact that there were high numbers of men in the colonies who were sexually unsatisfied in their marriages. Since their wives didn't travel with them, it's evident that they brought their "cravings" with them.

Rape was a common act among servants within their masters' homes. Servants were not allowed to wed unless given permission by their master. While belonging to their masters, servants weren't allow any type of private time. They were to obey their masters at all times according to the laws and religion. Servants, being the human beings



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