Moral Reasoning and Premarital Sexual Behavior: Toward Reasoning about Relationships

Judith Frankel D'Augelli, Anthony R. D'Augelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Sexual behavior is the result of a relationship‐based decision‐making process focusing on the morality of the contemplated behaviors and the implications of those behaviors for the relationship. Kohlberg's cognitive‐developmental theory of moral reasoning is used as a framework for understanding the moral reasoning processes involved in sexual decision‐making. Research which examines the association of moral reasoning to sexual standards, sexual philosophy, sex guilt, and sexual behavior is discussed. It is suggested that sexual involvement is a moral issue reflecting decisions about the quality of interpersonal relationships desired by the partners. A cognitive‐developmental model for understanding interpersonal relationships is proposed and three levels of relationship reasoning are described. 1977 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-66
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1977

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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