The Puritans and Sex
In The Puritans and Sex, Edmund S. Morgan states sex as desirable by all people (28). Puritans have long been perceived as radical, religious conservatives that condemned life’s pleasures; sex in particular. Adding to the stereotype, they have been labeled as humorless, devoted believers of God emphasizing theocratic government through strict laws based upon the Clergy and The Bible through severe punishment. Above all, the Puritans were often viewed as individuals who discouraged relationships between the opposite sexes and trained themselves to be sexually repressive through the lack of intercourse; however, the Puritans encouraged sex within the bounds of marriage and emphasized their government to be structured through their beliefs and views of intimacy.
The narrative begins explaining the views of sexual intercourse in the Puritan colonies. They emphasized that sex was a pleasure that was to be enjoyed through the use of ...view middle of the document...
During this time of colonization in New England, cases of sexual offenses within the villages had grown more excessively than once believed. One reason for the abundance of sexual offenses was the number of men in the colonies who were unable to accommodate their sexual desire in marriage. Many had left their wives in Europe in hopes to bring them to America one day, while some simply took advantage of their servants of which they brought to America in return of services for a specific time. Simultaneously, servants were not exempt, often sneaking into fields or homes of other servants to satisfy their intimate desires.
Puritans at the time viewed man as being natural sinners through Adam and Eve, and therefore focused more on laws to help prevent adultery and fortification as oppose to punishing those who committed the violations. Some examples of laws that were introduced were: the forcing of men to care for their bastard children, the fining of people who were believed to have unhappy marriages, and even returning spouses to their homes after prolonged absences. Another reinforcing precaution was the proactive search for suitable husbands and wives from parents for their children at young ages. Precautions such as these were assisted with suitable punishments, which drastically reduced the amount of recorded sexual offenses to what could have been.
Sex was a human necessity that was to be directed through God-given values and morals. It was essential in moderation to a marriage, and condemned when it was performed outside of marriage. But because of human’s “nature of sin”, they approached prevention of sex outside of marriage more so than the punishment of those who commit the sin. Through this, the government became involved to the extent to ensure marriages were prosperous and happy to the public eye.
I personally perceived the Puritans as the stereotype identical to what the general public has seen. It is my opinion, that as a person reserves their time to research information of the Puritans, they should be hesitant to paint them as the stereotypical, narrow-minded bigots of whom they are perceived to be. Rather and to the contrary, one may believe they were people who emphasized God, hard work ethic, and education instead.