- 1.Chastity: Looking for love in all the right places (Part 1)
- 2.Chastity: Looking for Love in All the Right Places (Part 2)
This issue, we are exploring the meaning of Chastity and dispelling some common myths such as it’s just about remaining a virgin and abstaining from sex and physical intimacy until after marriage. The stories on this page serve to illustrate that, as gifts from God, we are each a product of love, from love for love. Each and every one of us is a human person of love and not an object or thing to be used and discarded. We need to believe in ourselves and in others just as God believes in us and loves us. Otherwise we will be ‘looking for love in all the wrong places’.
Chastity from a Sex Ed expert’s point of view
We spoke to 25-year-old Rebecca (Not her real name), who works as a Sex-Ed trainer. This role has given her the opportunity to spread the truths that she has learned about sex and sexuality with other young people in Singapore. Through this work, she has come to see the real meaning of the virtue of chastity and our call to love as Christians. Here she gives us some insights into why she prefers to live a chaste life today as God has planned for her.
Chastity is sexual honesty
In a world that gives you a second-rate understanding of freedom and liberty, Rebecca has come to understand, through being chaste, that true freedom is willing what is good always – to be pure in mind and body. She understands chastity as sexual honesty and views it as a way of life that lets her truly embrace the beauty of sexuality.
Chastity gets a bad rap as Rebecca well knows: “Nowadays even the word ‘chastity’ has the negative connotations of rigidity, sexual repression and religious extremism. However, the opposite is true. Chastity actually allows you to express your sexuality in the most honest and whole way. When you live a life of chastity, you become free from the chains of negative sexual expression.”
Promiscuity isn’t freedom or power
“I used to be promiscuous and it became addictive – from the pleasure that sex brings in the moment, to the feeling you get when you receive attention from the opposite sex when you dress provocatively. You find you start to chase it, only to realise that you’re never going to really be satisfied.”
When she eventually made the decision to live a life of chastity, she struggled, and still does, with the fear of being judged, or the fear of seeming to judge others. “The last thing I want is to come off as “holier than thou” and that’s usually the case with chastity,” Rebecca explains. “The thing is, I’ve come to know an alternative way of life that can bring true fullness, wholeness and happiness. It’s hard to communicate that to someone if they haven’t experienced it for themselves.”
However, she knows she’s found the right path, simply by the way she feels now. “When I think back to the way I used to live, I liked the attention I received when I dressed to attract. As a woman who dresses provocatively, you think you feel powerful and ‘in control’ when you can attract men and get them to do anything for you. But is it real power when you become a slave to their attention?”
Rebecca soon realised that that was never true power. In competition with other women more attractive than her, she would feel her own worth diminish. Now she has come to see that she was never in a position of ‘power’ in the first place.
Thoughts are as important as actions
Embracing modesty now, Rebecca has come to value her worth and dignity. Afterall God does not make junk. Self-worth and dignity are qualities that lie within a person. They are not based on what she wears. “The media has portrayed the ‘perfect woman’ as looking a certain way, but the real essence of a woman can’t be conveyed through a picture because that’s only visual. Womanhood and the full expression of female sexuality are expressed through the way she dresses, converses and thinks,” says Rebecca.
How one thinks is key in chastity, as she explains: “It’s no good pretending to be modest on the outside but having a mind full of sexually driven and impure thoughts. With chastity, your mind and your thoughts become pure and you can truly see everyone for who they are as people. Think about how rare this is and you will know how lacking the virtue of chastity is in our society.”
So Rebecca is no longer concerned about attracting people through her physical appearance. She dresses modestly but that’s not to say she is unfashionable. “I love fashion and I like to be on trend (always have, always will!). In style now are shift dresses. They are great for girls who want to be modest.”
Your body is a precious gift
“If something is precious to you, you wouldn’t just let anymore have it or touch it or use it. That’s how I now view my body,” she explains. “I don’t like the expression ‘saving myself’ for my spouse because ‘saving’ connotes ‘spending’ or ‘splurging’ later on. I like to think that I’m just keeping my body unused and ‘safe’ for myself first, and then my future spouse.”
Rebecca looks forward to sharing herself (body, mind and soul) with her future husband. “I believe that truly “the two become one” and that is what marriage is. It’s so horrid to think that others have already had a part of me before the man I marry. I want my marriage to be whole and true. And I can have that if I first live as a whole and true individual – an individual first before a spouse.”