I see that majority of adults are trying to hide the notions of sex from minors. Both parents from their children and legislators from all children through various laws. I also see some critique towards ideas that people are polygamous. E.g. some people use the argument "We are not animals, we are better, we evolved to be monogamous." Of course, this is logical fallacy, but still, people somewhy resort to it.

But what is the reasoning for that? Is that because those people consider sex as concept to be "bad"? If so then what are the arguments for such way of thought?

By concept I mean generalization to all extensions.

Why am I thinking people considering sex as concept to be bad? Well, if people would assume that sex is good by itself then they would carry the burden of proof of it's "badness" in given circumstances. So, they would explore such circumstances in which sex should be thought to be bad/wrong/etc. But it is not the usual way of thinking in society. Since people are trying to find out in what circumstances sex is good instead, I am assuming the opposite.

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    Are you looking for an answer in philosophy or something else (e.g. a religious explanation, a sociological explanation, Freudianism?)? I can't quite tell from your question. – virmaior Apr 20 '18 at 0:55
  • "Majority of adults" where? In North America, South East Asia, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa? The majority of all adults across the entire world? How would you even get that data? I agree with virmaior that this question is very vague and I think you should edit it to give more context about what exactly it is that you're asking. – Not_Here Apr 20 '18 at 4:51
  • @virmaior, this is not about psychology/sociology neither about religion. Of course this may be connected to religion but I am not sure that only religious people are hiding sex from minors. So, this qeustion appears to be philosophical. – rus9384 Apr 20 '18 at 7:49
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    As written, I can't identify the specific question about philosophy. Again, we're not here to ask or answer "philosophical questions" a term that often serves as a synonym for "deep thoughts and issues." We're here to ask/answer questions about philosophy. E.g., "what if there was like a number that was rational but the pattern was so long that we never could see it. Wouldn't that be cool?" is probably a "mathematical question" but it seems doubtful that it's a good fit for any of the math-related SEs. – virmaior Apr 20 '18 at 9:04
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    I still agree with virmaior, I feel like if you don't really try to explicate this question and make it more detailed and strike at the heart of what it has to do with philosophy then it's just not a good fit for the site. Could you at least try to edit in more information into the question? – Not_Here Apr 20 '18 at 22:46

Sex is a big deal. It changes a person's brain in ways that nobody really understands. Even thinking about sex can do this.

A lot of times, when a man and a woman have sex, a new person starts to exist. Will the man and woman be good parents for that new person? People who consent to sex take on the risks that sex entails.

Most social structures place restrictions on sex, to prevent all of the following problems:

  • Rape

  • Deadbeat parenting

  • Unwanted pregnancy

  • Personal issues: confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, poverty

One way to prevent many of these at the same time is for one man and one woman to bond permanently and to keep sex just within that pair. People also frequently feel that this is not just a good way, but the right way.

Messing it up will damage this relationship as well as any other relationship that depends on that bond and that protection. Restoring the relationship requires forgiveness. At the same time, people who sell things may take advantage of this effect on a person's brain and offer some form of sex (such as pornography) for a price.

Society doesn't let children make binding contracts, and society doesn't let children grant consent to sex. This is because of the imbalance between the risks and sex's attractiveness, which society doesn't expect children adequately to comprehend.

Also, that's why society has accepted limits and restrictions on what adult merchants can provide for non-adults.

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    1. Every input changes brain. 2. There are poor people who are making new children even understanding that they are poor. And there are people who use condoms to avoid making children and get sexually transmitted diseases. 3. Restricting sex may also cause persinal issues. – rus9384 Apr 19 '18 at 23:18
  • @rus9384, whatever personal issues sex may cause with one person, they will be different with the other person. The social structure is maintained in order to protect you as well as to protect others. – elliot svensson Apr 20 '18 at 13:32
  • Protect from what? I don't see any research justifying such laws. And laws which are based on prejudices rather than science can't be right. – rus9384 Apr 20 '18 at 13:45
  • Protect from rape, deadbeat parenting, unwanted pregnancy, and personal issues such as confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, poverty. – elliot svensson Apr 20 '18 at 13:56
  • Rape is not equal to sex and there are laws prohibiting it. And about personal issues: who knows whether existing laws do not worsen the things? Example: minor caught watched porn, and been insulted for that. This potentially causes issues. – rus9384 Apr 20 '18 at 14:08

Is sex in itself considered “bad”?

Sex is risky and dangerous. Exploitation and manipulation of desire verses the consequences can have life long effects.

Our whole biology is set up to secure a stable intimate and protected relationships into which children are brought about. But this is a careful and difficult process that takes time, and is a slow progression through various stages of identity and discovery.

So when people say sex is "bad" they are referring to all the problems around this aspect of life and how care needs to be taken.

So many children and adults have been damaged by inappropriate experiences, that parents are very careful about protecting their children and making sure things develop in an appropriate and controlled manner, as best they can.

Some recognise the depth and power of sexual passions, and the lack of control we have over them, and the need to channel and direct our attentions appropriately. So excessive sexual display often becomes called "bad", because it is ignoring the destructive effects in peoples lives this has. So effects such as family break ups, divorce, addictions, depression and pain, sense of betrayal, suicide and murder, fetish developments, abuse of partners and damage done to victims are not minor issues.

So sex is not neutral, it is why we are here, but the boundaries and how we react to it are very important. With the arrival of anti-biotics, sex is no longer a death sentence, but for some a promiscuous lifestyle can lead to infertility ( chlamydia) and life changing medical effects ( cervical cancer, aids ).

Emotionally sex without love destroys the soul, and is very hard to resolve. Some in youth throw away their relationships and meaning, only to find later it meant more than they imagined. Some get physically too involved too quickly which in later life they regret as it changes how their relationships develop and grow. So the answer to this question is in no way simple or straight forward.

Research in the benefit of pair bonding and protected development of offspring. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3382477/

Psychobiological effects of sexual abuse Dorie A. Glover, John K. Williams and Kimberly A. Kisler UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior https://nyaspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1749-6632.1997.tb48276.x

The Benefits from Marriage and Religion in the United States: A Comparative Analysis Linda J. Waite Evelyn L. Lehrer

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    Making something against the law does not negate the desire for that. And it possibly causes some problems in brain. And anyway if I'm childfree the second paragraph does not make sense. Even more biological studies suggest that humans have not lived as families. – rus9384 Apr 20 '18 at 14:04
  • Under age sex? The reason it is against the law is because it changes how people relate to each other and is not appropriate in developmental terms at young ages. This is purely a maturity experiential reality that people have gone through. Sexual exploitation and personality problems abound. Teenage years are full of emotional turmoil and throwing in intimate commited relationships is not a good idea. It is why there are laws about it, and generation after generation discover the same realities. – PeterJens Apr 20 '18 at 14:20
  • Well, in fact laws allow teenagers to have sex with each other and this seems to be rational. Banning it seems to be against common sense, at least referring to psychology. But maybe banning unprotected sex for them is rational. – rus9384 Apr 20 '18 at 14:31
  • It's as rational as saying, "You two people made you decision. There is nothing that a fine, jail sentence, parole, or other legal matter can do now that will actually benefit the situation." Also, having a legal requirement for "protection" would be impractical. – elliot svensson Apr 20 '18 at 14:52
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    @rus9384 So you are against stopping sex between an adult and a minor. I totally disagree with you. The teenage brain is still developing and changing, so their ability to judge and know what they are getting involved in is very compromised. It is pressure from predatory males who appear to want to remove restrictions, which speaks by itself. The other problem is sexual desire in teenagers is linked to intimacy and relationship development or lack of it due to family dynamics and the need for emotional support and care. – PeterJens Apr 20 '18 at 17:41

Key qualities of humans vs other apes are explained by their eusociality https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eusociality The defining qualities of which are

  • cooperative brood care (including care of offspring from other individuals)
  • overlapping generations within a colony of adults
  • a division of labor into reproductive and non-reproductive groups

So, in this model which pictures defining human qualities as associated with regulation of reproduction, it is to be expected that issues around this have a variety of strong feelings and modes of enforcement around them in succesful societies, especially in eras before contraception. We can compare to wolves and meerkats which also have such regulation.

Early Christianity certainly valued celibacy over marriage, and in many branches celibacy was essential to be a preist. Whereas in Judaism married life is considered to put someone closer to God, and is an essential precondition to becoming a rabbi. Buddhism views sex as essentially unsettling and distracting. In Hindu culture the path of a saddhu ascetic is usually taken by someone who has completed essential family duties like having children and passing on management of the family, but who wishes to pursue an entirely non-material life, giving up all sex, family, money and possesions, towards that. A lot of views basically, and cultural inheritances. And of course, ancient traditions generally have little capacity to adapt to the modern realities of contraception.

Sex education is a different matter. Those who base their moral reasoning more on values will generally choose taboo-based approaches, including on other issues like drug law. Those who base their moral reasoning more on consequences will choose harm-minimisation approaches. All real societies have a mix of both. Religion and views on human nature and people's strengths and weaknesses are bound to shape where people advocate to be on the spectrum between positions.

  • What about bonobos? They are the most sexual primates, and their society seems to be the best one out of all other primates (compared to other non-humans). The best is measured by harmony in society. – rus9384 Apr 20 '18 at 18:40
  • Is it? Humans have great capacities to regulate numbers to resources - probably through most of human history, through war economist.com/node/10278703 African slavery may have been driven initially by a rise in population from the arrival of maize, but increased rain dependency for that crop. Drought led to war and selling of captives out of the area. Like Aztec sacrifices to propitiate weather gods. Population balancing. For evolution, only resiliance is good, and harmony only to that end - look at en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Needham#Needham_Question – CriglCragl Apr 20 '18 at 20:26
  • Then the question is what is the purpose of evolution. No purpose = no point in it. If there is, then what should be the result of it? And what is the "best" way to evolve in either case then? From my point of view people are able to justify anything through persuasion, lying and power abusing given enough amount of time. And sometimes that sucks from my point of view. And always there will be someone who likes how the things are. – rus9384 Apr 20 '18 at 20:39
  • The fact that meaning is not derived from outside of subjective experience, doesn't make meaning or subjective experience not real. How could evolution possibly have a purpose? Except in the desires of participants expressed in behaviours. Result? Resiliance, probably - like stellar evolutiin makes black holes. You can derive normative ethics from models like Rawl's theory of justice, without appeals for meaning or ethical directiins from outside ourselves or our experiences. – CriglCragl Apr 20 '18 at 20:50
  • Maybe resilience. I consider that larger diversity of forms and minds in the world is useful. But I am doing that right as some people from developed countries do. Rawl's theory of justice is not the case still, unfortunately. And I'm afraid there are many people and legislators against it. – rus9384 Apr 20 '18 at 20:59

The question, "Is sex in itself considered bad?" is a very different question from "Is sex in itself "bad"?" You distinguish between these two questions, but from the other answers provided within this post, it seems that most people are more interested in the latter question. After all, the question "Is sex in itself considered bad?" can simply be answered by saying the following: it depends on the time, place, culture, and relevant contextual implications that surround you at the time you ask it. Certain cultures might forbid sex to enforce chastity upon the women in their society, due to certain values of feminine virtue; some might do so in order to emphasize the sanctity of marriage itself; and others might suggest that premarital sex is perfectly natural. Most modern societies (though unfortunately, not all - and not all successfully) forbid the sexual exploitation of minors, non-consenting individuals, and other vulnerable agents for obvious moral reasons. Even so, these prohibitions are technically more concerned with stopping coercion, exploitation, violence, and human rights violations, and paternalism, not sex in-and-of-itself when considered under the most favourable circumstances (i.e. between two consenting adults).

The original poster wrote that the question "Is sex bad?" is opinion-based, which is why you don't want an answer to it. I disagree. The question "Is sex bad?" seems (to me) to place emphasis on the activity itself, while the question "Is sex considered bad?" seems entirely based on the opinions of others. The issue I take with the question "Is sex considered bad?" is, as with every activity in life taken at face value, sex can be associated with certain observable and/or quantifiable "benefits" or conversely "risks", depending on ones perspective on the matter. For instance, the importance of the biological act to the preservation of the human species, to the reinforcement of the human psyche (self-confidence, social relationships, trust-building, etc.), purported health benefits (increased production of oxytocin and antibodies, lower blood pressure), as well as the subjectively pleasurable benefits of the act itself, can all be said to be the beneficial aspects of sexual intercourse - depending on your point of view. But there are also detrimental aspects associated with sex that seem just as convincing - such as STI's, teenage pregnancy, the exploitation/coercion/violation of vulnerable or unwilling individuals (which, statistics tell us, are real and ongoing issues worldwide), and so on and so forth.

But is it the act itself that causes these issues? Could one not also argue that it is rather the moral agents or associated environmental factors behind the act that can turn this otherwise neutral activity into a bad one? Sex might just be a fact of life - but AIDs, love, rape, and long-term partnership are not the intrinsic properties of the act itself. As these relations are things commonly associated with this act, it is easy to see where someone might say that society places normative, moral, and legal restrictions on this act in order to prevent some of the risks associated with it. Approached in this way, the answer to the question, "Is sex considered bad, and why?" is, "Sometimes. It depends."

But without these extra considerations, it's even harder a question to answer. Does anyone ever really consider sex without these related aspects (like disease, promiscuity, reproductive value, health benefits, etc.) attached to it? Without these considerations, sex becomes (at its most basic) a deeply intimate act which is valued in dramatically different ways by most people - and therefore it does not have a universally agreed upon value attached to it.

It is interesting to note that, despite what people might argue concerning things such as "Christian guilt" and other Western-based notions of sin and sexuality, that the issue of sex and its intrinsic meaning is something that all cultures have a deep and ever-evolving history with. I personally approach this question from the perspective of political philosophy, which causes me to ask how the induction of a social contract might influence the assumed need for a society to create a unified moral value with which to associate and regulate this act. After all, this is something highly personal that we're talking about here. When you engage in this activity, whether you think it should be reserved between people in love or performed for casual pleasure, it is still an instance in which people must lay themselves bare before someone else. We all must engage in this act with our own internal interpretations of it in mind. It might just be that the conflicting values of this act affect people more than, say, traffic-rules do. Few will argue for very long about something inherently obvious and distant from their personal lives, like the need for seatbelts in cars, or the requirement that no one should drive under the influence. But if people believe that love should be a requirement for sex, and other people think that to be an old-fashioned notion, then they might feel threatened and uncomfortable with the imposition of a stranger's values on a very personal part of their own lives. Similarly, it might have once been seen as helpful, from an economic perspective, to enforce ones citizens to be monogamous, and to make infidelity illegal - as average household incomes would rise, children would have guaranteed parental units to care for them, partners could help to ensure the health of their spouse, and so on and so forth (not a view I endorse or reject, just an example of a particular line of reasoning).


Sex is for the purpose of reproduction of a species. It has a sense of pleasure attached to it. This can lead to pregnancy and child birth in an adult woman. Children are sexually underdeveloped. They can go crazy with the idea of sex and can indulge in unprotected sex. This can lead to physical harm to underdeveloped sexual organs. Hence, adults are prohibited about talking sexual stuff in front of children. When they are full grown adults, that should be the time to educate them about sex. However, due to internet, it has become difficult to sensor sex from children. Thus, sex in itself is not considered bad, but the proper time is needed for its education. Hope this helps.

  • Well, majority of 13 year old already know what sex is. No, of course that does not mean that majority of them have experienced sex by that age but some indeed have. Thus, I'd say, 12-13 years is a good age for being sexually educated. – rus9384 Apr 21 '18 at 12:41
  • But they have not reached puberty by that age. If by any means they indulge in sexual activity, it could be disastrous. Yes, sex education should be provided to those who already know about sex by that age – C R Bora Apr 21 '18 at 12:44
  • Well, the thing is that for some reason adults think their children do not know about sex until 16 or so. But they can easily know about it either from talking to each other or simply by using the internet. Though, even if you'd blame internet, former is even more common way to learn that sex exists. This majorly comes out from the fact that people are curious ad children as well. When they want to know why there are separate toilets for males and females, they will know. And since from 12yo pov sex is considered bad they prefer not to inform their parents that they know what sex is. – rus9384 Apr 21 '18 at 15:46

The obvious social reason is to cut back on teenage pregnancies and the number of infants that are either dumped on social services or raised by parents who lack both impulse control and experience for the task. Traditional societies avoided this problem (but arguably created many others) by suppressing sexual expression not just in children, but in adults as well. The inertia of tradition is still very much present in the background culture. The more "enlightened" attitude towards sex can be traced to French Enlightenment, but more pointedly to Freud's critique of sexual repression, and the subsequent sexual revolution it inspired. Freud's physicalist explanation of the repression was that it was needed to liberate ("sublimate") sexual energy for the more refined tasks of maintaining civilized society, but at the same time created neuroses, which psychoanalysis was called to cure.

In early Christian ethics sex was indeed treated as "bad", a "temptation", linked to one of seven deadly sins (lust), but this was not confined to minors, sometimes even adult marital sex was frowned upon. Even aside from Freud's culturological speculations the role of these ideas in maintaining monogamous families and/or patriarchal power structure of traditional societies is rather transparent. But some of the fervor in spreading these ideas may be due to contingent historical reasons. St. Augustine, one of the founding fathers of Christianity, is often "credited" with shaping the attitude of the Catholic Church towards sex for centuries, including its condemnation as the root of all sin and the celibacy rule. Some of the cultural inertia from it lingers until today. As described in his Confessions Augustine's preoccupation (some might say obsession) with sex in early life, was followed by an equally passionate condemnation of it after he converted to Christianity, see How St. Augustine Invented Sex:

"What a married man and woman who intend to beget a child do together is not evil, Augustine insisted; it is good. “But the action is not performed without evil.” True, sexual intercourse — as Augustine knew from long experience with his mistress and others—is the greatest bodily pleasure. But the surpassing intensity of pleasure is precisely its dangerous allure, its sweet poison: “Surely any friend of wisdom and holy joys . . . would prefer, if possible, to beget children without lust”.

Augustine’s tortured recognition that involuntary arousal was an inescapable presence—not only in conjugal lovemaking but also in what he calls the “very movements which it causes, to our sorrow, even in sleep, and even in the bodies of chaste men”—shaped his most influential idea, one that transformed the story of Adam and Eve and weighed down the centuries that followed: originale peccatum, original sin. This idea became one of the cornerstones of Christian orthodoxy — but not before decades of dispute. Chief among those who found it both absurd and repulsive was a British-born monk, Pelagius."

  • "In Christian ethics sex was indeed treated as "bad", a "temptation", linked to one of seven deadly sins (lust), but this was not confined to minors, sometimes even adult marital sex was frowned upon." Indeed, the same as obscene lexic is considered bad and adults try not to use it when children can hear them. But people think "we already use it and have irrestible desire thus they can do nothing with themselves, so let children not know that and they won't have that irrestible desire". But obsecene lexic must be proved to be harmful as well as sex (except pregnancy and diseases). – rus9384 Apr 19 '18 at 23:52
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    @rus9384 Cultural traditions do not get "proved", they get entrenched. Just because Christianity considers sex to be "inherently bad" does not mean that it is "inherently bad", or socially harmful. But one can expect the cultural attitude to linger on for a long time in post-traditional societies. Given the organic lack of impulse control and of habits for taking precautions in minors sex is on average bad for them even if pregnancy and diseases are the only harms. But perhaps "the talk" might work better than silence. – Conifold Apr 20 '18 at 0:01
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    @rus9384 Risky behaviors have been studied at length, and the statistics does support heightened impulsiveness and risk-taking in adolescents. Of course, there are no precise age cutoffs, and individuals aren't averages. But the roots of it are controversial, some attribute it to brain physiology (especially the immature prefrontal cortex), some to lack of experience, etc., see Neurobiology of the Adolescent Brain and Behavior. But very few defend silence as "the best strategy", as I mentioned that is not the reason why it is widespread. – Conifold Apr 20 '18 at 0:33
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    "In Christian ethics sex was indeed treated as "bad", a "temptation"" - not true. Adultery was considered that way. In Christian ethics sex is something normal and necessary in a married couple. – lukuss Apr 20 '18 at 5:24
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    @lukuss This more tolerant attitude is recent. On Augustine's and medieval view sex is inevitably mixed up with lust and arousal, "very movements which it causes, to our sorrow, even in sleep, and even in the bodies of chaste men" as Augustine wrote, and hence mixed up with moral evil even in marriage. In marriage it was to be tolerated, after all mortals can not live without sinning, but for priests the celibacy rule was eventually adopted. St. Paul already saw all bodily passions as evil, and concupiscence was seen as the conduit for transmitting the original sin from Adam unto all men. – Conifold Apr 20 '18 at 21:44

Answering by myself as I think I also can have a view on this and have freedom to express it.

This seemingly simple question does not have simple answer. Instead the answer is complex and ambiguous, at least if we try to view things from as many as possibly angles.

The answer is: both yes and no.

How so? Isn't this a contradiction? Of course it is and contradictions are destructive for human minds. But I went off-topic here, so now I rather explain things.

Why yes?

Ask any human whether they consider group sex, promiscuity or other unconventional sexual practices good. With higher than 50% probability answer will be "no". Of course this is the result of Christian faith at least in Western world (as Conifold pointed out). But I'd say it had global influences due to colonization by West (pre-20th century) and globalization.

Of course you will point out that I'm saying about unconventional sexual practices. But that's what the question is: it asks not about sex in marriage, but about sex in itself.

Since of that and the feeling that minors can be involved in such sexual practices it is considered good to censure sex in society.

Obviously, we can't ignore the fact that laws censoring sex may try to reduce teen births as well. But in my experience they are not really effective as the vast majority of 13 year olds (my country laws suggest 16 year old age for sexual consent and right as everywhere 18 year old age for watching porn) know what sex is and even have masturbated. Not surprising at all, is it?

Why no?

Well, human nature, that's what it is. Evolution went that way that many people have quite strong desire for sex and many of people are not okay with having single mate in their lives. There is evidence sustaining this point of view: sperm competition in humans, a huge list of love goddesses which have involved some sexual cults and a variety of myths describing their gods to be polygamous.

Because of that it is hard and unnatural for many people to think of sex as of something bad.

Of course "sex in itself is good" does not mean "rape/unwanted pregnancy/whatever else considered undesirable is good" as latter, for example contradicts "well-being is good" even when first is taken true.

About Christian faith and current non-Christian ethics. Yes, they are not Christian anymore, but that does not mean it has not influence on current ethics. Right as someone who escaped Christianity may still agree with Christians on what is good or bad only referring to beliefs.

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