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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %EXTRAMARITAL SEXUALITY PROHIBITION AFFAIRS RISK+960725 %PERSONAL COMMUNAL INTEGRITY COMMITMENT LIMIT TIME+960725 %VULNERABILITY SECURITY CONTEXT OPENNESS HONESTY+960725 %ROMANCE ADDICTION CODEPENDENT ABUSIVE ADVANTAGE 960725 There has been a historic abundance of prohibitions against extramarital sexuality---and a parallel historical supply of evidence that the prohibitions are regularly ignored. Why in each case? Sexual relationships entail being vulnerable and so involves taking risks. Taking the risks of sexual relations in the absence of taking an adequate amount of time to become thoroughly familiar with each other--- greatly heightens the risks of sexual vulnerability. We cannot reasonably trust each other well within the context of sexual vulnerability---without first taking time to get to know each other well. Casual sexuality is a high risk behavior---because those involved in casual sexuality are rarely openly and honestly committed to working to promote personal and communal integrity. They are likely to be into it---for whatever they can get out of it; with little or no commitment to each other's and their community's integrity. The above considerations suggest that to avoid taking foolish risks---people should take time to get to know each other and form reliable commitments to cooperating in promoting personal and communal integrity---before moving into full sexual involvement with each other. But people are often impatient to get the pleasures of sexual involvements---and so fail to lay the foundations for healthy sexuality. Healthy sexuality entails openness and honesty in intimacy. If casual sexuality is used as a testing ground for more extensive intimacy in a relationship, and more complete commitments to each other in a relationship---the participants in a relationships of casual sexuality are bound to become excited over the possibilities; and rush into sexual intimacy before they know how worthy of trust each other is. In the absence of profound commitments to promoting and working for each other's personal integrity there are bound to be instances of taking advantage of each other's vulnerability when sexually excited and involved. Because of these considerations sexuality is often a bitter-sweet mixture of defensiveness, vulnerability, pleasure, pain, disappointment and resentment. Disappointed participants are bound to go looking for another casual partner with whom "things" may go "better"; and so be disappointed time after time---at more and more intense levels of effort and involvement in many addictive relationships focused upon romance, particular persons, sexuality, and attempts to fix each other to make the relationships "better" or "good". Things get very complicated. People often wish that things were much simpler than they are; and people often try to make things very simple with rules, regulations, prohibitions and prescriptions. "Just say no." Things are complicated even more by the generation of prohibitions and prescriptions in regards to sexual relationships---especially when the the prohibitions and prescriptions are generated without explicit sharing of the personal experiences which are the grounds for issuing the injunctions; without sharing the above kind of reasons for avoiding premature high levels of sexual intimacy. Forbidden fruit looks sweeter than fruit which is not forbidden. Premature sexual involvement is further encouraged by the natural process of separation and rebellion which are often associated with the adolescent years, and the heightening of sexual desires during those years. Attempts to control sexual behaviors heighten the probability of rebellion and willingness to take the foolish risks of premature sexual intimacy. Many people get married and trapped in a relationship which is dysfunctional---because they did not get to truly know each other before they went through the motions of being formally committed to each other publicly and legally in a marriage ceremony. Through casual sexuality a premature pregnancy may trigger a marriage in the absence of a true commitment to each other and to promote personal and communal integrity. After the marriage the individuals may seek to "shop around" for better possibilities---and not take the time which is necessary to lay the foundations for a healthy sexual relationship. Extramarital sexuality is thus often a continuation of the coping style which lead to the dysfunctional marital relationships---and it is likely to lead to the disintegration of the existing marriage and possibly to a repeat of the dysfunctionality in another premature marriage. Sexual relationships cannot be fixed by the issuing of and attempting to enforce injunctions, prohibitions and commandments. Attempting to fix sexual relationships in those ways is addictive behavior which is preoccupied with addictive issues of control. The force which is entailed in attempting to enforce injunctions, prohibitions and commandments---is force which is bound to be alienative and so disintegrative. Coercion and violence do not promote reconciliation, healing, health or integrity. Casual sexual relationships are rarely good for people; but neither is the issuing and enforcement of injunctions, prohibitions and commandments good for people. There are better alternatives which are chosen by people of integrity who are openly and honestly seeking to promote, encourage and facilitate both personal and communal integrity. Injunctions, prohibitions and commandments are ineffective in dealing with the gradations of intimacy and sexuality which are inevitable in real life before and after marriage. There is a misleading tendency to deal with just objective realities---when often it is the reflexive and subjective realities which are the important ones. Participants in intimate relationships cannot be objective about their reflexive relationships---and objective observers cannot be well informed about them. How then can anybody helpfully work in terms of injunctions, prohibitions and commandments as manipulative tools to insure that sexual relationships do not get "out of hand" by involving too much objective handling? The legalistic paradigm is dysfunctional because: 1. It attempts to oversimplify complex situations. 2. It tends to reduce questions to those which can be answered either "yes" or "no". 3. It emphasizes coerced conformity, not liberation. 4. It focuses upon objective behaviors, but not upon reflexive relationships as such. 5. It does not focus upon personal and communal integrity in significant ways. 6. It discourages openness and honesty, rather than the giving of free gifts of the freedom to be safely vulnerable in healthy relationships. 7. It serves to promote self-righteousness, rather than conflict resolution and reconciliation. 8. It emphasizes status due to having arrived, rather than growth, change, traveling, and journeys. 9. It does not promote balance, power sharing and humility. 10. It does not recognize people's reliance upon laws and commandments as just one stage in the growth and evolution of the human race; rather than as its holy and sacred destination. For people to grow into healthy intimate relationships with appropriate levels of sexuality--- people need secure contexts within which they are free to be safely vulnerable in open and honest dialogue which facilitates learning from mistakes. People do not need legalistic systems of rules and regulations pertaining to objective behaviors---systems which encourage and facilitate alienative judgmentalism, condemnations, and ex-communications. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================