The goal of chastity.

I have suspected for awhile now that there is little clarity in our culture regarding the goal of chastity.

This is probably in part because there is little clarity regarding the difference between abstinence (which ends at marriage) and chastity (which never ends). But it is also probably in part because chastity contradicts the ways of life our culture encourages us to pursue (and in case it needs to be said, chastity isn’t one of them).

In other words, it’s really freakin’ difficult for the average, unchaste American to wrap his or her head around the concept.

Which isn’t an insult. (It’s an observation.)

A case in point comes from an anonymous comment somebody left on my site the other day, regarding my choice to save sex for marriage, which is rooted in chastity:

“Your options, and the available pool of accomplished men … is severely limited. 99.9% of all the men will have nothing to do with you, and you know it.”

Which is an observation. (But I think it was supposed to be an insult.)

Whoever left the comment is right, and may as well have quoted Jesus:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

1. There are fewer fish in our sea.

but

2. Chaste daters learn not to worry about finding the needle in the haystack (and not solely because we can’t find the right haystack).

The difference between people who practice chastity and people like the one who wrote the comment is this: We are ok with points 1 and 2. They aren’t.

Our ok-ness with points 1 and 2 is the result of knowing the goal of chastity.

Of knowing few people in our culture find a man or a woman dateable who isn’t going to have sex with them before marriage.

Of knowing this is a non-issue if what you intend to accomplish by dating is to meet somebody who would suit you as a spouse.

Of knowing that if you are saving sex, somebody who is not saving sex is not suitable for you.

Of knowing, when you meet someone not suitable, how to suck it up and move along.

When author Elna Baker wrote about sex for Glamour, she called virginity a disadvantage in dating. In the same way, the anonymous comment implies chastity is a disadvantage. As if the small pool of people from which chaste daters can choose is proof our way of life doesn’t work.

But the “good luck with thats” and the “you’ll be single forevers” and the anonymous comments like the one around which this post revolves are proof of this:

People don’t get our way of life.

The goal of chastity is love.

It’s about death to self and self mastery, which require abstinence until marriage, and celibacy if you aren’t married. It’s about upholding the intrinsic value of the human, which requires us neither to use nor objectify each other, which requires us to reject relationships that are based solely on emotions or sensations (to reject, in other words, relationships based solely on what use they are of to me).

And it does, in fact, mean that “99.9% of all the men” will have nothing to do with me.

Which, believe it or not, makes practicing it a lot easier.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Very good response,You will get the best of the best one day.

  • I love your post and I chuckled at the last line, so very true. Kuddos to you and my prayer is that my children will speak these exact same words!

    • Thanks so much, Tina! I hope the same for your children. 🙂

  • So take that, Anonymous! Love this, Arleen!

  • Your response makes you more attractive to the 0.1% who agree with you too

  • Great rejoinder Arleen. Love it.

  • Thanks, guys!

  • Kristina Van Sise

    You are an amazing person, Ms. Arleen! Much love and respect to you!

  • It sounds like she hasn’t met any real men yet. I must be part of that 0.1% who would have something to do with you. If I was sitting in a Starbucks and recognized you, I would definitely drop my newspapers and pull up a chair. Of course, you might run me off in two seconds. It’s interesting how people try to use numbers and statistics to make themselves feel better and justify their immoral behavior. There may be fewer fish in the sea. But at least you know what you’ve got when you find one. It may sound like a cliche – but the best things in life do take extra effort, extra searching, and extra time. And even the intervention of angels. I don’t picture God with a calculator.

    • “The best things in life do take extra effort, extra searching, and extra time.” — Truth.

    • “I don’t picture God with a calculator.”

      A wise priest once said, “God doesn’t count, He weighs.”

  • I can’t help but wonder if you’d define your use of chastity as being paralleled to righteousness. Throughout this blog righteousness kept coming up in my mind. I can understand how righteousness would cease to end. If I’m correct your saying that abstinence is a fruit of chastity. Chastity is a lifestyle strengthened by ones faithful conviction to loving YHWH Elohim. Y’shua said, “if you love me. You’ll keep my commandments.” It’s very refreshing to see woman that think like this still exist. I’d almost given up hope. 🙂

    • I’ll have to put more thought into this, but I’m not sure abstinence is a fruit of chastity so much as love is a fruit of chastity. When we love in the way Jesus taught us to love, abstinence until marriage is only natural.

      And I am glad you are refreshed. Stick around the blog. More to come! 🙂

  • Great response, Arleen! 🙂 Keep waiting for that man who values chastity. You will find him.

  • Thank you so much! After seeing so much over winter break that supports the person who commented, this is a breath of fresh air. I can never really find the words to talk with someone who is hostile to the idea of abstinence till marriage, and this puts it in better words than I ever could. Thank you Arleen!

  • Anonymous

    Great response. Ugh, people are so small minded and I pity people who think that all they have to offer is their body. Arleen, you are so right–I’m not interested in the 99.99% who don’t see the wisdom of the Church’s teachings on chastity. I’m interested in the 0.1% who do (and it’s probably more than that).

    To the men who are virgins, you have my deepest respect! YOU are setting the standard and giving an example to the lost generation of boys who don’t know what true love is. Keep going! I know it isn’t easy in this sex-saturated culture but there are women out there who love and appreciate your discipline. God bless you!

    • I second all of this.

    • Thank you for talking about your respect for us. I have never had that appreciation expressed to me personally in my 51 years of waiting – maybe twice in handwriting. I just don’t expect to see it anywhere – blogs, email, or tweets.

  • Great post. I think this mentality is spreading as things like TOB spread more. I’ve been working with teaching girls TOB and now we need to get more onto the guys around here lol so the dating pool increases!

  • Sometimes it seems like I’m going to lose every single one of my friends because of my faith. (Even my “Catholic” friends have grown tired of my refusal to “give in a little”). What gives me solace through being alienated by a lot of friends/girls/etc is that it’s such a wonderful cause to suffer for. While certainly not enjoyable in the least, to leave this world with your dignity, principles, and soul still intact at the expense of your relationships in life is (as you very well know) a profoundly worthwhile sacrifice.

  • While I definitely don’t practice chastity, I am saving coitus for marriage. Before I met my boyfriend, I was very very cautious about engaging in anything other than kissing. These two choices certainly limited my dating pool, but they didn’t have a negative impact on my life. Almost two years ago, I ended up meeting Beau, who already held the same ideas as I did on sex/virginity before we met.

    I’ve been criticized for dating him because he’s an atheist and I’m a Christian, but sadly, most of the Christian men I knew in high school/college were either a) not saving sex for marriage or b) held REALLY traditional ideas about gender roles. Neither of which are marriage material for this woman. 🙂 But patience prevailed! And online dating helped! I met Beau, and now I’m deliriously happy.

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  • Thank you for writing this and telling the truth. My hat goes off to you. You are an excellent role model for all teens and adults!
    http://jasbirtsingh.blogspot.ca/p/chastity-and-sexuality.html