Why all this emphasis on physical appearance?
Why is “love” accepted as necessary for sexual intercourse?
Why is sharing affection without commitment viewed as a sin, a crime, a morally bad thing?
The physical enjoyment of affection, the ultimate expression of which is sexual intercourse, is not dependent on physical appearance nor on the existence of a deep emotional commitment—usually called love. It is the giving and receiving of physical pleasure, it needs intent to please, it needs affection, it needs understanding, it needs feeling. None of these are connected to appearance but are constituents of “love.”
Appearance does have a lot to do with levels of initial attraction but there it ends, unless those involved are shallow or faking things for another agenda.
The mutual giving and receiving of physical affection, especially in a relaxed, safe and comfortable situation, does not need ownership, legal commitment nor any notion of beauty. It should not imply either party has possessive rights or even duties.
The freedom to share the pleasure of touch, of the relaxation of the muscles, the delight in giving such pleasure to others, and of receiving their warmth and affection; all this can have a profoundly beneficial effect on a person's health, both mental and physical health.
The pleasure from physical affection is not reliant on gender or even numbers for its fulfillment. If a few friends with affection for each other gather and enjoy transmitting their affection into physical form this is fine, there is probably a limit to the numbers that can honestly enjoy this without descending into some exhibitionist orgy and that is not in any way the same as sharing affection. The only real condition is that no one should suffer, no harm comes to any participant. This is where Masochism and Sadism separate from affection, giving and receiving of mutual physical affection is contradicted by the causing or feeling of pain.
People are remarkably similar as a basic unit but also amazingly different when taken as individuals, each has their own likes and dislikes, their own view as to what is pleasurable and what is abhorrent. This may be their conditioning as a child or unpleasant experiences but each must be respected. Only those willing and happy to share physical affection should do so in any situation.
In many ways, the conventions of modern society, with such an artificial emphasis on sexual fidelity, is preventing affection being shown. It is denying people the pleasure of physical affection. The materialism, that is the basis of the idea of ownership and possession, when applied to the interaction between people, is at odds with the true concept of love. If you love someone you want them to feel happy, you want them to enjoy life, you want them to find affection enjoyable. So if they share physical affection with a third party, and enjoy it, gain happiness from it, then surely if you love them you should be glad they are sharing this. Our modern demands for sexual fidelity are built on a basis that jealousy and restrictive controlling possession, are good things. They are not. They are the opposite of love. Part of this false concept of love comes from the wish by religions and governments to control the activities of people; this false concept is a control mechanism rather than an uplifting and liberating one. Increasingly modern people are being ruled by fear. This most destructive of emotions controls many aspects of all our lives and it is the cause of reluctance to indulge in physical affection out side of a legally committed relationship. Fear of losing control over someone else, losing control of their affection, drives people away from sharing, giving and receiving.
Two things that this sharing does require are genuine consent, it does also need maturity and that each individual concerned is doing so because they wish to give and receive the pleasures of physical intimate affection. The immature, who wish to take part because of some notion of belonging to a group or through a desire to impress, should not be involved at all. Nor should anyone overcome personal reservations because of a wish to please some one else. Uninhibited free giving and receiving create happiness but this happiness is fragile if any form of coercion, even self-coercion, is involved.
May be we should decide on definitions of love and marriage that are not centered around the out of date idea that marriage gives ownership, rights, over what each person can do. Originally marriage was, and still is, a legal contract that is based on the material possessions involved but it also, in church ceremonies, has the notion of faithfulness and this is interpreted as sexual fidelity. Why? Is it wrong for some one to love their partner but still share moments of physical affection with a third person while it is right that a person can mentally lust for others as long as they not touch? Faithfulness can be unwavering love and support. That does not preclude sharing affection with others.