Songweaver wrote:Just because Tolkien didn't write about pre-marital sex, most likely to due his Christian values, doesn't mean that we should ever dare assume that it wouldn't happen.
In every society, from every time in the world that we know of, pre-marital sex and extra-marital sex existed in a rampant manner. Sure, it may have been behind closed doors and secret, because society would have frowned upon it, but to say that prostitutes, affairs, and pre-marital sex wouldn't exist in Tolkien's world is absurd. Maybe it wouldn't have made it from his pen onto the page, but neither would the story of a little logging town.
This game is about filling in the 'greys' of Tolkien's world, and we should not allow our own moral sensibilities, or a narrow-minded view of what is-and-isn't possible in Middle-Earth socially, get in the way of good, honest storytelling.
Now that there's been more than a handful of posts, this is my general view, too. But there's something to be said that, certainly, Men in the First Age and Elves forever were very different, and that ought to be represented, particularly among, let's say, old-fashioned folk. While nobody should be surprised at liberal behavior, neither should they act surprised at conservative opinions.
Some people in Middle Earth are going to behave far more old-fashionedly than you'd ever believe, and it's pretty poor roleplay to act like that's not how the cultural mores lean. They just aren't universal, unbreakable laws of behavior.
Tolkien describes elvish marriage in detail in the LACE essay. What he states about sex and marriage...well, I can't do any better than to quote him directly. He notes that, among his fantasy people in Middle-Earth, "Marriage is chiefly of the body, for it is achieved by bodily union, and its first operation is the begetting of the bodies of children, even though it endures beyond this and has other operations. And the union of bodies in marriage is unique, and no other union resembles it."
It follows from this that, among the Elves, "It was the act of bodily union that achieved marriage...it was at all times lawful for any of the Eldar, both being unwed, to marry thus of free consent one to the other without ceremony or witness…in flight and exile and wandering, such marriages were often made." Tolkien then proceeds immediately to a discussion of begetting of children. So, "marrying thus of free consent" means that the elf-man and elf-woman involved agree to be life partners, and that there is no excuse for elf casual sex.
The first tribes of Men also followed this pretty extensively, since nobody seemed to read it. It's less that 'Tolkien didn't write about it and we're filling in the blanks,' and more that this was the cultural more. While some chose not to follow it, that doesn't mean that it's not what it was. I'm poking around in the Silmarillion for the story where Men show they follow this(it involves a Morgoth-influenced/following Chieftain taking one of the true, heroic women as his wife), but I haven't found it yet.
To quote the article, which seems to refer to this story itself:
Men in Tolkien's backstory seem to "wive by force" a lot more. Rape and forced marriage are plot points in several stories of Men.
Turns out the relevant passages are in Children of Hurin, and refer to Brodda the Easterling and Aerin, Lady of Dor-Lomin, kin to Hurin. I can't find the book, but it's generally implied that she was taken by force. Given how closely the first of Men modeled themselves after Elves, it's not surprising that there'd still be echoes of this in some Men today.