Many, perhaps most, people who are married are bored and sexually dissatisfied, leading many of them to have affairs outside of marriage. Both inside and outside of marriage, couples often have unplanned children. Sexually transmitted diseases are wide-spread. Rape, perhaps the ultimate denial of personal liberty, is far too common.
Lust is basically a good and powerful force, if enough self-control is maintained to follow these rules:
• Adult consent: Your partner must consent without threat of physical force, and must understand the act to which they are consenting. Rape should be brutally punished.
• Honor the vows: One of the principal tenets of living sanely is the importance of honoring commitments and fulfilling contracts. Sometimes the best way of doing this is simply not to make commitments. For some people, marriage is the best path; if spouses swear sexual fidelity, they should honor that oath. People should make whatever arrangements are most suitable for them, perhaps including variations of the traditional marriage contract. But they should honor whatever agreement they enter into.
• Planned parenthood: To bring a new life into the world is the most profound thing a person can do. If children are produced, the creators of the children — the parents — have a very serious obligation to care for those children. If children are not intended, birth control should be used. Sane people don’t rely on “luck” to protect them from committing a great mistake.
• Protect the body: You should protect your own body, as well as the body of your sexual partner, from sexually transmitted disease.
Prostitution is a difficult issue. Women who sell their bodies to men are regarded as prostitutes, and condemned, if they prostitute themselves to different men. However, to marry primarily for wealth — to prostitute yourself to a single man or woman — is socially accepted. On the one hand, a choice by a man or woman to sell themselves seems very wrong, and clients are only encouraging this wrong choice when they hire a prostitute.
On the other hand, prostitution is, in many ways, a very honest act. Unlike much dating or “romance,” there is no pretense that the transaction is about anything other than the physical act of sex. The seller, usually a woman, offers to rent her body for a limited time to the buyer, usually a man.
Typically, the transaction occurs without either force or fraud, and both parties receive what they sought — payment for the prostitute and a sexual experience for the client. Perhaps the greatest problem with prostitution is that it degrades sexuality by treating sex as primarily a physical, rather than a spiritual, act.
Lust is a great and positive force, as long as you obtain the consent of your adult partner, protect your body, honor your commitments, and avoid unplanned children.