Except for the Puritans of early 16th century America, it's only been since the 18th century and the rise of the bourgeoisie (or working class) up until the free love movement of the 1960's and the sexual revolution in the seventies that dating outside of marriage was frowned upon in western society. Before then, extramarital affairs were quite common and often encouraged among the aristocratic classes. And in earlier cultures, such as the Greeks and Romans, extramarital sex was anything but taboo and thought of as erotic and normal. These fascinating concepts are explored in Michel Foucault's ground-breaking study, The History of Sexuality, published in three volumes between 1976 and 1984. (5)
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