LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Virtue #10–Chastity

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Years ago there was a rock band that played in the Midwest. Their name was Sex Sells Magazines. I liked the name because I thought it was true. Sex does sell magazines. It is also used to sell every conceivable product and service in the world; from toothpaste, to computers, to statistics. When I google  “sex sells”  I discover 5.7 million sites, of which a few are worth viewing.

It certainly is not news to anyone today to learn the use of sex as a marketing strategy. It has permeated every social strata and media stream. We are inundated from birth ( book entitled, Sexy Birth) to death (Sexy Death an alternative, gothic, industrial rock band from Stockholm) with concepts and images using sex to hype the sell.

But this basic act is anything but simple for us humans. We are familiar with its use as a vessel to display our most profound level of love. Unfortunately, there are those who have also used it as a method of degradation, control, confinement, addiction, and power. Sex never fails to be a much debated issue.

Most of us, at some point in our lives, will experience some type of sexual issue. Today, more than ever, the threat of sexually transmitted diseases looms large. The AIDS epidemic has taken the lives of millions and in some cultures destroyed the family structure. Unwanted pregnancies, abortions, birth control, sexual orientation, and age of consent all remain hot topics of discussion.

But what about the opposite side? What happens when we look at chastity? It seems, since it is connected to sex, it is just as inflammatory. During my research for this article I read numerous articles, books, and white papers arguing the pros and cons of abstaining from sex. Opinions ranged from; it is the answer to the humanities moral dilemma to it is ignorant and the very consideration of such an outdated concept is convincing proof of the proponents lack of intellectual reasoning.

I have found myself on both sides of this argument. At one time in my life I reasoned that “hooking up” was no big deal. After all, we were two consenting adults and what we did in private, as long as no one was physically hurt, was no one’s business. During another point, I became convinced chastity was the preferred course of action. The act of casual sex was demeaning, no matter how well intended, and was the root cause for many of society’s deepest moral pain. Of course the lines are rarely drawn so neatly. There are as many grey areas as there are people to talk about them. Everyone has an opinion.

So why in the midst of conflicting views, cultural differences, and wavering sexual orientation is chastity considered a virtue? I think the answer lies in the heart of the individual. Within each of us something extraordinarily unique that separates us from the rest of animal life. The process of sexual coupling is the most intimate act we are capable of initiating. Something transpires in the fulfillment of sex that enhances our humanity. It creates a bond between us that is traceable only in our souls. It is the mystical creation of one being. True sex is the result of true love (which is itself a current hotly debated subject, ad infinitum). It is a sacred commodity, not to be bought and sold, or passed around like a jug of Boone’s Farm. Sex is the creation of something greater than the two are apart. Chastity protects and guards the soul-life force from being used as a pawn in the brokering of heated desire in exchange for a temporary, shallow, non-fulfilling sense of satisfaction.

No doubt the comment section of this post will light up as readers share their thoughts. That is good. Open discussion of any issue is a sign of health for a society. I encourage each of you who have read this to take a few minutes and share your opinions. This was not an easy subject for me to write about ( a supreme understatement). As I noted above, my views have changed dramatically as the result of personal experience. While I have no desire to detail those experiences suffice it to say they have left deep tracks in my soul.

Be encouraged!

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30 thoughts on “Virtue #10–Chastity

  1. beverleysmith36 on said:

    I see chastity has being far more than abstaining from the act of sex. It is about keeping our thoughts clean of such things too. It’s about dressing modestly and it’s about not watching films or reading books which would cause such thoughts to occur. It’s about saying ‘no’ to inappropriate advertising and the selling of age inappropriate clothing.

  2. Chastity is fine as long as it’s a personal decision, taken freely.The real problem is when it seen as something that is socially desirable ,defined by whoever chooses to do so and enforced brutally.And no surprises that chastity is see as more important in the context of women…..Sex as degradation, control, confinement and power -you touched on the point.So chastity can be pretty limiting and so surprises that it is often a way of rebelling.

  3. I sometimes feel blessed that I have sons and no daughters. I’m not sure how I would deal with the idea of chastity with them. It has a different connotation with women than men.
    On one hand, I agree with the idea of honoring your soul by not becoming involved in relationships that are diminishing. Yet, I also see chastity as a way of keeping primarily women confined to certain roles. Rarely is the chastity of men the concern. I am particularly saddened when I see women or girls punished by harsh cultures when their “purity” is lost through rape or some kind of abuse.
    On the whole, I see chastity as a choice, not a virtue.

    • Karen, I am always grateful when you decide to share your thoughts. You make me think about the positions I hold and why I believe them.

      Let’s look at “Rarely is the chastity of men the concern.” Yes you are right. However, hopefully my post will be read with the understanding this applies equally across both genders. I know in the days when I felt no restraint on my morals after each encounter, when I was left with only thoughts, I would think about how I had just given away a part of myself, literally. Something I would never be able to take back. I thought often about how this went beyond the physical and was a type of something happening spiritually within me.

      In cultures where punishment is the norm for women who have been sexually abused I personally feel the world needs to rise up. This is an issue I find find horribly inexcusable in the 21st century.

      “I see chastity as a choice, not a virtue.” I do too, but aren’t all virtues choices? Isn’t that the very core essence of why they are virtues, because we must make a choice to pursue the higher ground? I believe everything is a choice (fortunately). It is by our choices that we show our true character.

      This was a difficult subject to approach for all the obvious reasons. I had several men and women read and critique this post, but in the end I take full responsibility for every word of it. I wish I would have led my life differently and I pray daily for everyone women I ever had sexual relations with. While at the time I thought I was living life to the fullest, in Truth I was taking away a piece of their soul and mine.

      Thanks again Karen for taking the time to write…I deeply appreciate your ideas.

      Be encouraged!

      • You have a point that all virtues are a choice. I do agree with you that sexuality affects our soul, maybe even is our soul, and we need to be much more respectful and careful of our choices in this area than society and culture often would have us believe. I commend you for stating your thoughts on a more controversial virtue. 🙂

      • Yes the word “controversial” sailed through my mind more than once as I composed the post. Not always with a positive spin attached to it. This journey I’ve embarked upon (writing about virtues) has been an interesting one. I have truly enjoyed wrestling with the concepts and how they apply to our lives today.

        Thanks for all you thoughts.

        Be encouraged!

      • I think the problem with consenting adults is that often people are consenting to the idea of having but sex with the other party as part of the future relationship. Which is fine if that relationship works out. But when it doesn’t that contract has been broken and they feel cheated. In that light, chastity is a kind of defence mechanism, a lack of trust. Not sure if that counts as a virtue.

      • One of the elements that moved me toward writing about virtue was my inability to find any type of agreement on what was a virtue and what was not. However, with that said I have been mildly surprised to have read a few comments where people expressed the idea that Chastity was not a virtue. Jewish, Christian, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Daoism have all portrayed chastity as a virtuous behavior.

        It has been interesting writing about this subject. I am not completely comfortable in trying to put into words what I feel in my soul. My abilities to translate those heart-felt emotions into words is drastically less than I would like it to be. Additionally it is difficult to get the correct tone set into these responses. I well understand I run the risk of sounding like a white up-tight Southern Baptist preacher (which I’m not).

        The bottom line is I’m glad you took the time to write a comment. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I hope you are having a great week.

        Be encouraged!

      • I think chastity is a virtue but I don’t think i have any more luck in conveying that across ;o) I would describe chastity as a purity of thought rather than necessarily anything to do with sex. But that purity would be more a natural instinct rather than a conscious effort. I don’t think that’s any clearer but it’s as good as I can manage! ;o)

      • I’ll tell you …this has been one rough post to write and then try and discuss without sounding like a narrow mined hater. My limitations as a writer have really come to the surface as I have struggled to make myself understood.

        I believe chastity is not having sex period…in or out of marriage.

        I believe chastity outside of marriage hurts the soul life-force within us…no matter how good the relationship or sex is at the time.

        I believe chastity in marriage needs to be something agreed on by both parties.

        I believe chastity used in any way to coerce anyone is wrong…no matter what their reason is.

        I will personally be stupidly excited to move on from commenting on this post, althoughit has definitely been a learning experience.

        🙂

        Be encouraged!

  4. Some women use sex as a way to reclaim their power or strength, even to prove that they’re independent thinkers and won’t be confined in a predetermined box. Men have long used their innate sex drive as justification to do whatever they want. The problem with this way of thinking is that sex, by nature, is a joining of two people. If both parties aren’t looking for a deeper connection, it’s nothing more than two animals humping. Humans don’t have sex just to procreate. For that matter, we don’t even need to have sex to procreate anymore. There’s nothing like being on the same page as your partner, whether it’s a one night stand or a long term relationship. Sex is spiritual, it’s soul-connecting, it has the capability to allow us to tap into the invisible web that holds us all together.

    • “Sex is spiritual, it’s soul-connecting, it has the capability to allow us to tap into the invisible web that holds us all together.” I couldn’t agree with you more. Without wanting to sound too far out there, I believe sex is the most spiritual thing we can do. The creation of oneness when we are in union togeher goes beyond anything we are capable of separately.

      Thanks, Karen for taking the time to write…it is always a good thing to hear your thoughts.

      Be encouraged!

  5. I like the way you left open the question of whether or not chastity is a virtue! You were brave to take it on rather than
    Just leave it off your list. 🙂

  6. I almost feel like there is a misuse of the word “Chasity” here. I think what you really mean is “being honest and respectful when it comes to relationships and treating sex as something precious” is a virtue. “Chasity” is being absolutely free of any sexual relations or thought, which is just fundamentally different from what you seem to be expressing . Plus, “Chasity” has too many unintended connotations, such as repressive and sexist qualities as mentioned by other commenters.

    • This is my 16th rewrite. I have written all kinds of words in response to your comment and nothing seems to be able to convey what I want. Everything I write makes me sound narrow minded and vindictive. So as I write this next part all I can do is ask for an incredible amount of grace from you.

      I believe Chastity is being absolutely free of any sexual relations.

      I believe that even when was is honest, respectful and caring in a sexual relationship outside of marriage each party is giving away a portion of their soul-life force. That soul-life force is precious, sacred, and holy.

      I believe the use of the word Chastity as a shadow to cover any type of abuse, degradation, control, vindictive behavior, manipulation, exploitation, cruelty, mistreatment, violence, and/or neglect is patently wrong.

      My prayer is that you can hear my tone and understand my heart when you read this reply. I want to thank you for taking the time to write…I enjoy the dialogue even in the midst of my wrangling to make clear my thoughts.

      I hope you are enjoying the week…and I hope it is a lot cooler where you are at…today’s high 97.

      Be encouraged!

      • You definitely don’t sound vindictive or narrow minded at all. And for the most part, I agree with what you’re saying. However, I just thought the issue concerning sexual relationships is more complicated and there are definitely some grey areas (which I am sure you are also aware of).

        Take the instance of people who participate in open marriages or swinging. Not everyone may agree with it, but I believe, when there is trust and mutual agreement between both spouses that they can engage in sex with other people, then there should be no problem. Provided that those other people they have sex with also agree to the terms. That is technically not “chaste” and by no means adhering to the rules of traditional marriage, but as long as no one is being cheated, coerced, mistreated, etc, and other people are not affected, it should be acceptable.

      • You are absolutely right in the terms of “swinging.” But I still believe that with each party involved, being open and understanding, there still exists a diminutive reduction in the soul life-force within the participants. This reduction is something that can not be reclaimed, once it is gone, it is gone forever. I also believe each one of us has felt this reduction when we have been involved with someone other that our spouse in perfect union. The idea is rooted in the concept of sex being more than the exchange of body fluids and feel-good energy. I totally understand there are individuals for whom sex is all about the incredible rush one gets when it “works.” i have personally been there. But I think there is something much deeper at play as well. When we join together in a union of love, then we create a “one.” That “one’ is sacred and holy and unlike anything else on the face of the earth.

        I deeply appreciate the time and energy you have spent commenting. I know I have “labored” over my responses. First because I’m not a real writer who can articulate his/her message in a heartbeat. Secondly because I want to respond in a way that reveals my heart to you. I want you to know how respectful I am of your ideas and have no desire to “convert” you to my way of thinking. I love the open and honest sharing of ideas and concepts. I believe it the one thing we can do to erase the walls between us and help or worlds to be a little bit closer.

        Thanks again for everything.

        Be encouraged!

      • Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I enjoy reading your posts a lot, they bring up very interesting issues for discussion 🙂

      • I’m glad they are food for thought…always feel free to express your thought here. 🙂

        Be encouraged!

  7. good topic here. I think about what you wrote, and to be honest with you, this is one of those things where I say, “As long as its not my kid or my loved one abusing it.”…lol

  8. Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back!

  9. I have a completely different view on things. I don’t think its an ‘either/or’ issue. Through my own experience, I’ve learned that we all arrive in the world with a unique set of issues (beliefs) that need confronting. Without a lot of us realizing it, we are on a pathway to God-realization. It’s a kind of pre-destined divine path. We confront ourselves through the activities that we engage in. When we get sick, or feel happy, we are learning who we are and what needs to change. It’s essential for some to be promiscuous at some point, and for others to become monks and abstain from life. None of it is wrong. Its how we learn. Through my own past addictions, I learned that hiding in them did not solve anything. Which was why eventually I came out of hiding and actually confronted stuff. If I hadn’t been to places some may call ‘immoral’, I couldn’t be where I am today. There are just places that we need to be at different points. That’s how I see it anyway.

    I love the things you write about! Definitely worth following your thoughts. Thank you for being here.

    • Hmmm…I’m not so sure your views are so “completely different.” We have all used where we have been to decide on how we are going to accept or reject the present and thus mold the future. Not that we are subjects of the past, just our past allows us to make certain fundamental decisions about where we are.

      But what if there was a way for those of us who went down the promiscuous path to have learned the same lessons we learned the “hard” way by another method. What if we could have avoided the hurt, pain, shame, heartache, not to mention hangovers, etc…and still have been able to come out on the other side as whole people, filled with compassion, grace, and love.

      I think that is my point. I truly have compassion for all regardless of what path they have chosen or in some extreme cases chosen for them. Whether it was immoral or moral they have exited with what I hope is a far greater understanding of themselves and others.

      For those still enthralled in the struggle they have my prayerful assistance in whatever way they feel it would be most beneficial.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. You present your thoughts well and I greatly enjoy hearing them. Please keep commenting anytime you have something to share.

      Be encouraged!

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