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The Poetics of Intimacy and the Problem of Sexual Abstinence- Revised Edition

Michael J. Hartwig

This bold work asks whether traditional Christian sexual morality, with its emphasis on sexual abstinence outside of heterosexual marriage, is harmful. Appealing to sociological studies, anthropological theories, and contemporary theological ethics, Hartwig develops a model of sexual virtue around the concept of a poetics of intimacy and applies this model to particular challenges faced by the divorced, married couples, gay men and lesbians, single adults, and people with mental and developmental disabilities. He concludes that mandated long-term and lifelong sexual abstinence for those outside heterosexual marriage is not only harmful, but compromises many features of Christian morality.