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Of Live-in Relationships and Premarital Sex

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By Ayush Bhuyan:

Last year, the Supreme Court legalized live-in relationships in India. The concept of living in the same house with the opposite sex before marriage and maintaining sexual relations has always been considered taboo for ages in the Indian culture. With this new law, unmarried couples can live more freely and comfortably in the open, and more importantly, in the same house. The society today has a more “modern” perspective at things, a more mature and rational mentality. This primarily has paved way for increasing acceptance of live-ins in India. In fact, such relationships have also been in existence in history and mythology. The court reacted on the issue by stating “even Lord Krishna and Radha lived together according to mythology”.

Some people have had, and will always have moral and social issues in accepting it, and as always there’s not much you can do to stop this behaviour. Unfortunately, there are some who have a hostile way of opposing this form of relationship. These are the people who label the women in live-ins as “character-less” and sometimes even as prostitutes. They don’t approve of it, stating it violative of the principles of the Indian culture. Well, it won’t be surprising if these turn out to be the same men who beat up girls for wearing western clothes and going to bars, and they talk about culture. This is predominantly the ignorant sexist crowd that cannot tolerate female freedom.

Personally, I think the acceptance of such relationships is a beneficial step by the government, and is beneficial for the society. Of course, like everything else, it has its cons as well. Let’s have a look at the advantages.

The biggest advantage of a live-in relationship would that the partners can try and see if they want to spend the rest of their lives with each other before actually getting married, or going “officially wedded”. It reduces the possibility of a divorce later which is a prime cause for stress and depression, apart from the legal hassle that comes along with a divorce. Secondly, it gives a couple more time to know each other and strengthen their relationship instead of rushing onto a decision as crucial as marriage. Such a relationship also suits those couples who desire the company of each other but at the same time want freedom and flexibility.

The second topic of concern is premarital sex. Again, it has always been considered taboo in the Indian society. Abstinence till marriage is a valued trait in our culture. But the law does not prohibit pre-marital sex as long as both the partners are above the legal age for sex. Two adults are mature enough to decide for themselves. According to me, sex should not be associated to the act of marriage. It is more of a relationship and not a ceremony. Two adults should have sex when they feel it to be right, both mentally and physically, and when they are responsible enough to bear any consequences that may arise from it. Marriage is not the indicator of Freedom to have sex, the relationship and love is. Although the act should be carried out with proper protection as it could lead to infections and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. A healthy relationship is never immoral or sinful, whether it’s a live-in or not, whether it involves pre-marital sex or not. Primarily, Consent is the most important factor while judging the “morality” of live-in relationships and pre-marital sex. And this arises from making Informed Decisions — decisions that both partners are fully aware of, in terms of effects and consequences.

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  1. Archana rao

    The article only speaks about the initial stag benefits but doesn’t share the consequence or disadvantage out of it. In-case out of living relationship a child is born where would the future of that child end, as in living relationship responsibly is absent only relationship exists?

    1. Aditi Thakker

      Most live in couples don’t have children. For those who do, Rights of getting a maintenance from your parents for children, is one independent of marital status. If you’re talking about the psychological effects on the child, well its not going to be much different from the future of a child who’s parents go through a divorce, or one who’s mother or father die. Should a couple really compromise on what they want in the present, for the consequences it may or may not have in the future, on a child who may or may not be born? Also, getting married does not guarantee that you will live together forever. It involves the hassle of getting a divorce, which can be time consuming and expensive. Why then is living in such a bad thing? Look at it from the couple’s perspective, not society’s.

    2. B

      You’re right when you say it doesn’t affect the child much but one of the problems I find with live-in relationships is the lack of support from the families of the couple. I mean if they’ve lived together long enough & have a child, then what’s the harm in committing to each other? That way they can enjoy benefits the legal document provides & grandparents (who may not approve of this relationship) would have no qualms in spending time with the kids – this is very important for a child’s growth according to me… (if they don’t have a problem then it’s cool)
      I also believe that marriages (the legal document) makes you more committed to the relationship & you wouldn’t run away from it at the first sign of danger… If both individuals committed to a relationship like this are mature individuals who want to make it work no matter what, it’s a different case altogether.
      I have written about Grandparents, legal stuff & maturity here basing things on the reality of today; people in general & the way they think…
      I know a couple who lived together for 7 years before deciding to get married & divorced 6 months after marriage… (This is not just a one-off case – happens quite often).
      What happens now-a-days is while such relationships make a marriage work in the future, the other side is that it makes people more commitment-phobic.
      Men and women both feel they would lose the freedom they have after marriage – why do that when they can just live-in with the partner & enjoy the benefits?
      (Just stating the cons part – acc to me, since you haven’t mentioned them)

    3. loveracism

      You are correct

    4. Santoshi

      That’s what the writer has said, “Two adults should have sex when they feel it to be right, both mentally and physically, and when they are responsible enough to bear any consequences that may arise from it”. That means that one should enter into a live-in relationship only if you are ready to take responsibility and if you don’t trust your partner that he’ll abandon you if you come out pregnant, then what’s the point of staying with such a person?

  2. F

    “Marriage is not the indicator of Freedom to have sex, the relationship and love is.” So you’re saying two people can have sex only if they love eachother?

    Don’t you think that’s a teeny bit judgemental as well?

  3. Sarvesh

    A very vague article. What’s the main idea? What is the writer trying to communicate? Somewhere, due to language maybe, there is no balance of objectivity and subjectivity in the piece. Amateur.

  4. Nikhita

    What is the point of this article?

  5. loveracism

    It’s a bullshit to the tradition which itself says “Marriage is for ARTH,KAAM,SANTAAN AND MOKSHA”. There is no space for emotions and love.Another religious tradition treated marriage just as agreement between two persons.Again there is absence of love & emotions. Whether marriage is only for sexual activity? That’s why we are shouting against pre – marital sex and live in relationship because our traditions treat marriage as only for sex.
    As the problem of single parents raise from live in relationship, which may come in marriage also after divorce.There is no difference.
    There is difference in our thought,because we never support the love marriage and live in relationship.This also leads to break in relationship in absence of family support.If we support these relationship as give to arrange marriages, result will better in future.

  6. Babar

    You mention that people should use protection to be safe from STDs and infections in live-in relationships. Does this mean that these people can never have children, since they always have a lingering fear in the back of their mind that their partner may be suffering from an STD? Or does this mean that a person will be changing a partner every now and then, so it doesn’t really matter, which will imply that people are not serious in live-in relationships. Many marriages do end up in a divorce, but for the most part people are serious about it, as opposed to unmarried relationships.

  7. Manisha

    In my opinion, whether its a live in relationship, love marriage or arranged marriage,its a personal choice of an individual. A person should have the liberty to say yes or no to any of these , that is , unless it is forced it is “okay”. Society need not interfere with an individual’s private life. Such laws according to me should only be looked at as giving evryone the freedom to make a choice “legally”.

  8. jameel

    So According to you “Two adults should have sex when they feel it to be right, both mentally and physically, and when they are responsible enough to bear any consequences that may arise from it”.
    So both married and unmarried can have sex with any body they want with the consent of the opposite gender. Your statement gives green signal to both pre-marital and extra-marital relationships.
    So any men or women can have physical relation with as many as they want before getting married to the person they like, but the person who is going to marry ultimately does not necessary the person who have pre-martial relation with her, it can be any body.
    Any a married person can have live in relation with any body out side of marriage with as many they want as long as they love each other.
    Wow man wot a broad minded statement.

  9. ronniee shukla

    I don’t find the book from which they have quoted that krishna was living with radha….Stop mocking hinduism idiots….

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