I'm against pre-marital sex.
Not that I have anything against sex per se . It's the pre-marital bit that I have trouble with. It's such a ridiculous and reductive notion - this idea that it's okay to have sex if and only if there's a marriage somewhere in the offing. It's a classic bait and switch deal - first celebrating sex out of proportion, then adding a sting to its tail. You know how HP sells you its printers at throwaway prices and then makes money on the ink? It's the same kind of thing.
Okay, look, let's put aside for a minute the whole debate about whether marriage is desirable at all. Let's ignore the problem of how this pre-marital business is to be contracted for, or what may constitute a breach of that agreement (is it okay to have sex with someone who you're going to marry as long as they die before you marry them?). Let's not even think about going into what exactly constitutes a sex act and why, but for a neolithic preoccupation with virginity, penetration matters.
The thing I have trouble with is why the two events - sex and marriage - should be conditional on each other in any way. That's not sexual liberation, it's a more insidious servitude. At least with the old chastity argument you had the implicit sense that sex wasn't something worth getting hot and bothered about. The pre-marital sex argument merely emphasises the notion of sex as something monstrous and sinful, a vicious dog that must be kept firmly on a chain, except now it's important enough to get married over . People who don't have the courage to accept sex for its own sake may as well not have it; and those of us who see it as little more than a source of harmless pleasure don't need to be scaffolded to some defunct institution in order to enjoy it.
Understand that I'm not making a case for that most terrible of catch phrases - casual sex. I'd be the first to agree that choosing a sexual partner is an act of meditation and discernment, if only because sex without trust or intimacy strikes me as being a dubious pleasure. I'm simply saying that the choice of sexual partner and the choice of spouse are fundamentally different decisions and require both distinct criteria and different cut-offs on the criteria that are common. Take financial prudence, for example - do I really need someone I'm having sex with to have a good credit history? Or be someone I'm willing to share a joint checking account with? Yet surely these are things I would look for in a spouse. Why then should the choice of one be related to the other? It's like saying you need to have a degree in accounting before you can drink at a bar.
The problem, I think, is primarily semantic. The trouble is that in the dichotomous black-and-white world of the moral police, there are only two categories - sex within the confines of marriage, and promiscuity. This is like saying that anyone who doesn't own a Merc is a pedestrian. The fact is that it is possible to have sexual relationships that are not linked to marriage but that are otherwise far from casual. Let's call such relationships 'passionate sex' (okay, okay, so that's a loaded term, but it's a hell of a lot better than calling it formal sex - as opposed to casual; besides, it's about time someone did a little marketing for the other side). Passionate sex is sex with emotional involvement but without the tyranny of social definitions. It may or may not be exclusive (yes, MR, I knew you were going to bring that up) in the short run, but it rejects both a commitment to longer term exclusivity and the ignominy of random selection. Understand that I'm not saying this is a new idea that someone should try - I think, correction, I know, that Passionate Sex is a reality of the world we live in. It's just that we don't have the right word for it.
Bottomline: The point about the whole pre-marital sex discussion is that the real issue is not sex, it's marriage. If the advocates of pre-marital sex seem locked in an irreconcilable battle with those who aver a stricter 'moral' code, it's only because they're the only two groups still backward enough to think sex is an issue. It's like watching two schoolboys fight during detention - the rest of us have already left the building.
 Mom, Dad, if you're reading this, just keep repeating to yourself that stuff about this blog being mostly fiction.
 I seriously worry that there are people out there whose entire will to get married is born out of sexual frustration. It would explain so much.