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Ethics and Sexuality

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In this paper I will discuss the immorality or premarital intercourse and the importance of abstinence, and in the case of divorce the importance of celibacy.

I will approach this issue in two steps. First, I will describe my ethical theory that I believe a person, specifically a Christian, should apply when attempting to solve moral dilemmas. Then I will apply this methodology to the sexuality, specifically premarital intercourse. The position that I hope to substantiate is that, sex before marriage is wrong, firstly, because of health issues such as sexually transmitted diseases and, secondly, spiritual reasons. Premarital sex is immoral and should not be partaken in.

Virtue Ethics

I believe, like anything else in life, in order to make moral decisions, we must begin with ourselves and that’s exactly what virtue ethics does. Aristotle noticed that the ability to wrestle with moral dilemmas, to make ethical choices, and to have a virtuous moral character are attributes that are fairly unique to the human race. It’s debatable whether any other living things share these characteristics. Hence Aristotle concluded that this moral aspect of our being is an indicator of our purpose: we are here to become and to be virtuous people. Through cultivating our inner virtue we become what we are meant to be and through this we find fulfillment in life and the resulting happiness. With this said, some may not agree on what qualities should be considered virtues. Aristotle says that virtues strike a balance between two extremes. He calls this the “Golden Mean.” Examples of this are courage, which strikes a balance between rashness and cowardice. How would he say that we can determine what acts are moral, though? That’s simple: we ask ourselves what a virtuous person would do. If a truly virtuous person would not perform some act, then that act must not be moral. If she would perform it, then moral it must be.

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Natural Law Ethics

Secondly, natural law ethics is a metaethical theory where Aristotle believed that there is another set of “laws” that are absolute, that are morally binding on all people at all times. These are not created by society or culture but rather are timeless truths that reflect the very nature of reality. Natural Law Ethics holds that the fundamental principles of ethical conduct are rationally discernible in human nature and the natural world. It holds that through reflecting on the world in which we live, human nature, the basic needs of human flourishing, and the like, we can discern which actions are moral.

Aquinas sees all that God created as reflecting God’s plan for his creation. One aspect of this reflection is the moral aspect, which concerns how humans interact with each other and their environment. For example, treating others as you would want to be treated (the Golden Rule) leads to good relations with those around you; failing to do so can lead to considerable friction (to say the least); so the moral thing to do is to treat others as you would want to be treated. Another example: stewardship of the environment is inherently beneficial to all who live within its confines; rampant consumerism that abuses the environment for short-term gain is detrimental to their long-term wellbeing; therefore an ethic of prudent stewardship is moral while a consumer culture is not.

Duty Ethics

Kant was convinced that morality is unconditional; that moral absolutes will be true everywhere, all the time, for everyone. Hence moral principles cannot be conditional statements. They must be unconditional. Because of this they cannot be based upon desired outcomes, for when we base ethics on outcomes, when the desired outcome changes the moral principle will change, too. Nor can they be based on past experiences, for principles that are based on experiences are relative to those experiences. If someone else has had different experiences than you have, then that person will have different principles than you do. Therefore ethical principles must be derived in a totally rational (rather than experiential) way.

Duty ethics operates on the priori principle called the categorical imperative. He formulates this in various ways, but the most common version is: “I should never act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law. What he meant by this is that you should accept as the guiding principles of your life only those principles that you wouldn’t mind everyone else also living by. For example, if you wouldn’t want everyone else living by the principle “It’s OK to lie as long as you don’t get caught,” then you shouldn’t, either.

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Ethics and Sexuality. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from
“Ethics and Sexuality.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
Ethics and Sexuality. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2023].
Ethics and Sexuality [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2023 Sept 29]. Available from:
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