How is love different from lust or infatuation? Do love and marriage really go together "like a horse and carriage"? Does sex have any necessary connection to either? And how important are love, sex, and marriage to a well-lived life? In the Second Edition of this lively, lucid, and comprehensive book, Raja Halwani explores and elucidates the nature, uses, and ethics of romantic love, sexuality, and marriage. It is structured in three parts:

  • Love examines the nature of romantic love and how it differs from other types of love, such as friendship and parental love. It also investigates the relationship of love to morality and asks what limits morality puts on romantic love and even whether romantic love is inherently moral.
  • Sex demonstrates the difficulty in defining sex and the sexual, and examines what constitutes good and bad sex in terms of pleasure, "naturalness," and moral permissibility. It discusses the nature of sexual desire and its connection to objectification and virtue, all the while looking at specific sexual engagements such as pornography, BDSM, and raced desires.
  • Marriage traces the history of the institution and describes the various forms in which marriage exists and the reasons why people marry. It also investigates the necessity of marriage and ways in which it requires reform.

Updates and Revisions in the Second Edition

  • Expands the coverage of love and morality from one to two chapters, incorporating much of the recent literature on love as a moral emotion.
  • Includes a new chapter on sex and virtue ethics.
  • Ends each of the chapters on sex with an "applied" topic, such as pornography, BDSM, prostitution, racial sexual desires, and adultery.
  • Increases coverage of the nature and purpose of marriage, including debates surrounding same-sex marriage, but also moving beyond these debates to include issues on minimal marriage, temporary marriage, polygamy, and other forms of marriage.
  • Updates the Further Reading and Study Questions sections at the end of each chapter and provides an up-to-date comprehensive bibliography at the back of the book.
  • Includes new discussions of topics on the nature of love; love and reasons; distinctions between two types of romantic love; love and its connections to moral theories; definitions of crucial sexual concepts; objectification; virtue and sex; racial sexual desires; and the definition of marriage and whether it is important as an institution.

chapter |5 pages


part I|148 pages


chapter 1|38 pages

What Is Romantic Love?

chapter 2|46 pages

The Characteristics and the Object of Love

chapter 3|25 pages

Love and Morality

chapter 4|37 pages

Is Love a Moral Emotion?

part II|167 pages


chapter 5|34 pages

What Is Sex?

chapter 6|29 pages

Sex, Pleasure, and Consequentialism

chapter 7|21 pages

Sex and Virtue

chapter 8|39 pages

Sexual Objectification

chapter 9|42 pages

Sexual Perversion and Sexual Fantasy

part III|69 pages


chapter 10|39 pages

What Is Marriage?

chapter 11|28 pages

Is Marriage Necessary?

chapter |4 pages

Concluding Remarks