18 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol'y 7 (2004)
Saying Yes before Saying I Do: Premarital Sex and Cohabitation as a Piece of the Divorce Puzzle

handle is hein.journals/ndlep18 and id is 13 raw text is: ARTICLES

SAYING YES BEFORE SAYING I DO:
PREMARITAL SEX AND COHABITATION AS
A PIECE OF THE DIVORCE PUZZLE
HELEN M. ALVARf*
Prom Night Specials!
-Sign on Ocean City, New Jersey Hotel, June 2003
And since Erlend had wrought her thus, [Kristin] felt herself
grown so wholly his, she knew not how she should live away from
him any more. She was to go from him now, but she could not
understand that it should be so .... You know not how much I
deem it means for both of us, [he said,] that we should be wed with
all honour.  Then you should not have made me yours, said
Kristin.
-Kristin Lavransdatter'
INTRODUCTION
The signs of the times for sex and marriage are very mixed
in the United States today. There is more freedom to talk about
human sexuality, and more opportunity for improving healthy
sexual experience across the life span. The double standard
for judging men and women is fading, and women's sexual
health and happiness have become more important. There are
also signs of improvement in some of the signal problems result-
ing from decades of experimentation with long-established sex-
ual norms. The United States is, for example, in a period of
* Associate Professor of Law, The Catholic University of America, Colum-
bus School of Law. The author thanks Yvette Brown and Richard Mazzio for
their tireless research assistance, and the Catholic University Columbus School
of Law for a grant from the Summer Research Program.
1. SIGRID UNDSET, KRISTIN LAVRANSDATrER: THE BRIDAL WREATH 130, 163
(Charles Archer & J.S. Scott, trans., 19th prtg. 1939).

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