Adultery is a “Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse” according to American Heritage Dictionary. Likewise Webster similarly defines Adultery as “Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband.” Between the two, I would prefer the Webster’s definition it is more comprehensive and encompassing.
On the other hand, what if a couple engages in pre-marital sex? How do we define their acts altogether? According to Webster a “Consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other” is known as fornication. Similarly adultery and fornication are two morally and legally sinful acts. But how is one different from the other? Adultery refers to “MARRIED” persons engaging in unlawful sexual acts while fornication applies to unmarried persons engaging in pre-marital sex. Both are immoral acts of sexual infidelity. Although Bible scholars debate in so many aspects with regards to the definitions and parameters that characterize sexual immorality be it adultery and fornication.
In this article I am more concerned however on the consequences of illicit sexual acts pre-marital sex or adultery. Let the theologians and legal minds do the differentiations and qualifications of immorality and sexual misconducts to address the issues on sodomy and homosexuality. As a socio-behaviorist I am more concerned on the social and personal implications of sexual immorality in terms of social order and sound social life.
It is difficult too to question people’s moral values and motive when it comes to preferred human sexuality and sexual behavior. But there are moral and legal guidelines however that regulate human’s sexual acts and behavior. Admittedly there are physiological, social as well as psychological factors that drives one person to commit acts of sexual immorality and mis-behavior. But to dwell on these issues require lengthy discussions. Suffice to say there are personal choices we make because we are not in control of ourselves. We have physical attractions and emotional drives that help us plunge into sexual misbehaving and immorality.
If such immoral sexual acts happened to one or more persons then who takes the blame; the family, the church, the educational institution, and the community? Moral values are supposed to be taught in school, church, and the family. But there are instances also when negative values are caught in said social institutions. Many young people have engaged in sexual immorality because their parents have failed to discipline them and protect them from all sorts of moral distractions. What is ironic is that some children have learned these things at home. Likewise many young people have been conditioned by the media particularly the internet on free expressions including human sexuality. It is easier now for young people to engage in pre-marital sex, sexual abuse, and adultery because of “bad” media influence.
But what are the consequences of adultery and all forms of sexual immorality? The Bible speaks of spiritual death, our legal system deal with adulterers with criminal liability. But going further there are social and psychological consequences to consider as well:
Pregnancy is just one of the serious consequences of sexual immorality to unwed couples. For one thing its not only the couple but the entire family is affected with out of wedlock pregnancies. If ever the out of wedlock pregnancy is sustained, there is still that problem of supporting the child (illegitimate or legitimised) financially, socially, and psychologically. This is one of the problems encountered now by Mer’s friend. Even at this time, many Filipinos are still uncomfortable dealing with illegitimate children. There are children who refuse to go to school or mingle with other people because they are afraid to be called on the streets “Bastardo.” While this does not happen to all, many children born out of wedlock are susceptible to emotional as well as physical abuse. The stigma of being an illegitimate child will always be there and sometimes it works against the emotional and social development of the child. In parallel terms there are reported cases too of illegitimate children who are undisciplined, unruly, delinquent, and drug abusers. While this does not apply to all too, many of those born out of wedlock from “women of the street” do take the footsteps of their parents later in life. But the worst thing to happen to unguided young women who have problems of unwed pregnancies could be suicide and abortion.
Parents still play a very important rule in disciplining their children and teaching them the values of moral servitude. An open line of communication shall be established for children and their families so as to guide them morally and spiritually. Parents who spend lesser time with their children are most so often of having children engaging in pre-marital sex. Young adults need to communicate often with their parents and friends about their feelings and relationship with the opposite xes so as to be enlightened and affirmed always not to be seduced but stand firm with their moral convictions. But what shall we do to one who is already pregnant out of wedlock? We have to exercise more compassion, understanding, empathy, and gentle admonition so as to avoid duplication of similar problem again in the future.
Unmarried couple going to the motels again to celebrate the Valentines day, think it again!