I’m going to wade in here where no man should dare tread but, it’s important and this is a very good article.
Does chastity matter anymore?
It does and in several ways that Sarah and I completely agree on. Here’s part of her article, please do follow the link and read the whole thing.
Imagine my surprise when a friend who works with the parish youth group asked me to give a chastity talk to the middle and high school aged girls. “Who, me?” I said, raising an eyebrow suspiciously. I thought,Why not someone who has actually lived chastely her whole life? Me? I did it all wrong.
I was not a virgin on my wedding day. I wasn’t a virgin beyond my first week of college. I had every intention of being a virgin on my wedding day. But after too much to drink at my first college party, and a senior who wouldn’t take no for an answer, that was that. Then came the shame that crawls under your skin and won’t be washed away. And then, the resignation. Well, I’ll never be able to give that gift. So why not? “Why not” became my mantra for the next two years.
I believed all those purity talks I attended, the ones which inevitably included a post-it note being attached and removed from each person’s shirt, or a cup we passed around for everyone to drink from. The implied point of those demonstrations being, “If you give in to temptation, if you commit this sin, you will be the cup from which everyone has drunk. You will be that post-it note that can’t stick. You will be damaged goods and no one will ever want you.”
The problem with those chastity talks I attended in high school was that they didn’t tell me why I should live chastely, for me, for no one’s sake but my own. No, the message emphasized the external. The message was all about waiting for a spouse that may or may not come along; while yes, the pain I experienced at not being able to give that gift to my husband was deep, there has to be more to chastity than that if teens are going to embrace it. Trying to scare people into living chastely just doesn’t work most of the time.
Chastity is not a prison sentence, it’s an invitation to true freedom. I wish someone had told me that. The chastity talks I attended, while well-intentioned, planted a seed in me that if you don’t do it right, you’re damaged goods and no good man will ever want to love you.
This article originally appeared on Ignitum Today and is used with permission.
Sarah Babbs is a married mother of a toddler girl, writing from Indiana where she moved for love after growing up on the East Coast. Sarah and her husband, a lawyer, lead marriage prep classes for their parish, in addition to daydreaming about becoming lunatic farmers. During stolen moments when the toddler sleeps and the laundry multiplies itself, Sarah writes about motherhood, Catholic social thought, and ponders the meaning of being a woman “made in the image of God“. Her website is Fumbling Toward Grace.
Continue reading All The Days of My Life: A Chastity Tale | Catholic Lane.
From where I sit, Sarah is absolutely correct.
There is one thing in here that bothers me a lot. You and I know that none of us are perfect. We should be teaching chastity, absolutely but, we should not be teaching that if you don’t make it to your wedding day a virgin (either gender, by the way) you’re damaged goods. I suspect that has ruined more good young people than nearly anything we have done to them. If you’re not perfect, and I’m surely not perfect, why on earth would we expect them to be perfect.
Teach them to respect themselves and God, as well as others, and that the ideal is to be a virgin on your wedding day. But it emphatically is not the end of your life if you don’t make it. You should never do (or not do) anything because of other people, it really is all about you and God.
One of my friends has confided/asked my opinion on these matters and I’ve given it some thought and this is part of what I wrote to her.
[She had an ethical and moral, if not Christian upbringing, and is what we used to call, 'A good girl'.]
The problem, of course, that she sees her friends sleeping around, having fun and all that jazz. I can certainly sympathize, I had a few years where I lived that life as well, both looking on enviously, and trying it briefly myself, and finding it wasn’t for me. Bit unusual for a guy to say so but, that’s how it was.
Anyway, she’s about a generation younger than me and no doubt thinks thing have changed since the stone age, but have they really?
I grew up in the 60s, and can still remember the excitement (especially amongst the guys) when the pill became available. Our dream come true, the girls would all be dying to sleep with us now that there was no downside. Well, my only excuse is that we were young (and horny). The old stereotypes held, at least completely in my age group, and from what I hear from young folks, they still do.
Guys are expected to sleep around, it’s always been so but, the girls they do so with, don’t usually fare so well. Why?
I think part of it is built into us, biology, I’d call it. If we as a species are going to survive, it behooves the male to spread his seed far and wide, while it behooves the female to try to hold the male close to protect her and the offspring. I suspect it’s hardwired into us, and all the preaching from all the feminists for a thousand years isn’t going to change it.
It is. Believe it.
Ogden Nash said it best, for guys , anyway
Candy is dandy,
Liquor is quicker.
[As Sarah can attest]
And no, nothing really changes for guys as we get older, we’ll still attracted to the cheerleader captain, or the adult equivalent.
There is nothing so much fun as sex, except sex with someone you love is orders of magnitude better, if you don’t know that, you’ve never really loved anybody, and I’m sorry for you.
To me, at least since I’ve been an adult, which in this case essentially means, out of college, sleeping around implies a lack of self-respect (yes, in guys as well) and if you don’t respect yourself, why on earth would you think I’ll respect you. Respect always has to be earned. I tend to not use the old Anglo-Saxon terms for such women out loud but my mind may does.
Incidentally, that also directly applies to your looks, to a point anyway. I’m certainly not saying that you should look like a supermodel or have plastic surgery, but if you are 4′ 5” and 500 lbs, or, to be fair, 6′ 8” and 130 lbs, or don’t take care of yourself in other ways. I’m going to think that you don’t care enough about your self to bother, so why would you, in any meaningful way, care about me. Others may differ but, I’d be surprised.
Contraception changed some things. There is little reason for a woman to get pregnant by accident. And yes, I do realize that many of us have moral/religious views on contraception, and that matters greatly.
I believe that you shouldn’t sleep with someone you’re not married to but, that, in today’s world, may be a nearly impossible standard, if you want to find someone. But it is the ideal. In truth, I didn’t always believe it either. I’ve gotten that way by observing life, mine and others.
In the final analysis, as I told my friend, unless I am very sure of what I think, I come down on the side of tradition. Why? Tradition is tradition because it is distilled wisdom, and has kept many people out of trouble by learning from the mistakes of others.
In any case, do nothing that would cause you to disrespect yourself.
- All The Days of My Life: A Chastity Tale (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
- A Support Group for Virgins, Part 2 (lindseyreneegrace.com)
- Chastity education classes offered to students (local10.com)