In Defense of Chastity
No, I do not mean Chastity the stripper at your local club for “gentlemen,” but that is sort of what I want to talk to you about. Chastity is defined by Merriam-Webster as “purity in conduct and intention” with regards to sexual behavior. I know, this is a ridiculously outdated concept. There was a sexual revolution at some point in the 60’s, which means to look back to such concepts would mean revisiting some creepy 1950′s sitcom. Maybe one day we’ll make even more progress, to get rid of the concept of gender altogether or something, but it sure won’t be to go back to anything we used to do.
What these progress fundamentalists don’t consider though, is that history isn’t just a linear progression from old and bad towards new and good. There have been many periods in history where various ideas (including sexual liberation) have been tried out, found lacking, and then old ideas have been retrieved. I’m going to suggest that maybe we should take a look at the effects of tossing aside sexual restraint and wonder to ourselves whether progress really is the right word for what we see.
That’s Queen Victoria, in case you’ve never been introduced
Your average town or city across the country will invariably have a series of drinking establishments for the hard-working public to kick back and relax after a long week. After visiting many-a-bar over the years, more recently I’ve found myself troubled by what I observed by the end the night. Not that I expected to see Victorian gentleman with “purity in conduct and intention” and modest women guarding their honor, but it’s getting crazy out there folks.
A couple years ago in Mobile, Alabama, I was a new-in-town graduate student looking to mingle and make some friends. Two girls who I had briefly met at the school were kind enough to invite me out for a drink. Innocent enough. We met and went downtown to a bar to socialize. At one point, three Coastguard guys came and sat next to us, recognizing these girls from a wedding the day before. “Great.” I thought, “More nice local people to befriend.”
I wasn’t interested in either of these girls romantically but I started getting a little offended on their behalf at the sailor dudes’ comments. The biggest one leaned over to the one sitting next to me and said, “Stand up and let me see that nice butt of yours.” or something to that effect. To my dismay, she stood up and showed him. Then he started to comment on her breasts and she just started giggling. I looked at him, and as nicely as I could said, “Come on now, be a gentleman.”
At this he jumped out of his seat, threw his mostly full beer on the ground, and yelled across the bar, “What are you, gay!?” It was like a scene from the animal kingdom, when one male interrupts the other’s mating ritual.
A little shocked at the turn of events, but wanting to save face in front of a bar full of strangers who had recently turned their heads towards the comotion, I stood up at my full 6’6” and 210, and said the first thing that came to mind, not that I understand at all what it meant. “What…if I wasn’t?” He huffed and puffed and repeated my odd question loudly, then muttered it to himself a few times. He started looking very confused, and to my surprise, he just sat down. Even more surprisingly, we just continued talking like nothing had happened.
I know that is just one case and I shouldn’t extrapolate it to the general population, but since this incident I have not seen anything to change my opinion of the attitudes of your average young adult and their weekend activities. When I’m out on the town, it seems the places are populated with aggressive guys like the one above, and women who are very willing to play along.
At a “club” where people are dancing, I often get confused glances from people. Acquaintances from various jobs or organizations I’ve been part of might whisper to me, “Dude, why don’t you dance with her? She’s totally in to you.” when a girl is gyrating somewhere in my vicinity. By “dancing,” he is recommending that I place the zipper of my jeans onto a girl I’ve never met and grind it to the beat of the music for a few minutes, as all the other guys are doing. I’m not gay (and what if I wasn’t?!), but I’ll pass. I prefer at least a little conversation before publicly humping someone. It just seems rude otherwise.
It’s a sort of game, you see. If you are on your best that night and hump in perfect rhythm to the newest jams, you may just get a girl to come back home with you and… you win! Score! You get high-fives from your buddies like you just caught an end-zone pass. With a lot of the ladies out there, it’s not quite up to that degree of difficulty though.
The sexual revolution was actually pitched as a feminist victory. Initially, there were probably some things that could be seen in that view. The overall effects of it seem now to have been a big negative for women though. Women’s post-sex uteri are still producing babies, but now there just isn’t likely to be a man in the delivery-room holding her hand.
It’s simply a recreational activity, where a man, being the un-uterused of the two, gets to have the fun and then lose that number the next morning. Sure, contraception and abortion are encouraged as solutions to this lifestyle’s inconvenient dangers, but I personally know quite a few people that have had issues regardless. I can think of five cases of pregnancy from high school and college where both parties swear they were fully “protected.” This equaled two abortions and three children who will grow up without fathers present.
My experience isn’t unique either. In 1960, the out-of-wedlock birth-rate was at 5%. Now that number is inching towards 50%, and is much more in many demographics. The New York Times parenting blog even declared this February, that since 53% of the under 30 crowd who are having children are unwed, “out-of-wedlock births are the new normal.” It turns out that, contraception or not, if women sleep around a lot before they get married, there’s a good chance they will become single mothers. I know, Gloria Steinem probably just spit out her soup in shock. Don’t worry though Gloria, fish still don’t need bicycles, so your logic stands.
“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
Or does it? A recent report by Legal Momentum tracked single-mothers vs. their married neighbors and found some tragic figures. The average income for married couples was three times higher than that of single mothers. Single mothers are four and a half times more likely to live in poverty. Half of those lived in “extreme poverty.” 1 out of 5 lived with friends or relatives. And somehow their children fared even worse. They are significantly more likely to abuse drugs, drop out of school, go to jail, and have emotional and psychological problems. Multiple studies have shown this to be consistent across demographics. Women may just need men after all, at least in the difficult task of raising children.
This is not about just women obviously. Men are the ones generally on the prowl, trying to score some cheap fun from our sisters, daughters, cousins, and friends; and with the advent of the MILF, yeah, our moms too.
It ain’t working folks. The solution is not more education about and access to abortion and contraception. The use of these has been rising right alongside this new normal. The problem is the attitude that sex is just a fun way to cap-off a drunken Friday night. In reality, sex (while fun) is the dangerous and mysterious process through which human life is created. It creates new people, and if you don’t think about when and with whom you’re doing this fun and intriguing act, these new people may have a few choice words for you in 15 years.