Sexual Deviance : A Social Norm Essay

1380 Words 6 Pages
A norm is an expectation regarding behavior. Any violation of that norm creates actions that are deviant, which then can cause the label deviant to be applied to those who have violated the norm. Throughout history these norms, and thus deviant behaviors, have been adjusted to fit with the always modernizing society. What once was considered a deviant behavior, such as being a bachelorette until 30, is now considered a norm; and what once was a norm, such as being married at 14, is now considered deviant. All types of deviance are subject to this shift, most notably sexual deviance in the recent years. The shifting perception of premarital sex in America as a sexually deviant behavior to a social norm is the result of normalization through expectation in American culture. The attitudes towards premarital sex have dramatically changed over the course of two centuries. Before 1848, certain laws targeted the male as the sole instigator of premarital sex. But later in 1848 in New York the American Female Moral Reform Society was successful in passing laws that would punish “the destroyer of innocence by making it a crime for any person “under the promise of marriage” to seduce and have sexual intercourse with a female”(Ehrlich 2014:29) who had until that point pure character. At this point, premarital sex had transitioned from a more violation to a law violation that would be punished in the legal system. In the 19th century, the majority of action focusing on premarital sex…

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