Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chastity - a Foundation of Life

Probably the most basic change, which has taken place in European and European based societies since the Second World War is the idea that sexual intercourse should be based on mutual attraction rather than on long-term commitment.

Until at least the 1940’s, it was taken for granted in most of Europe and America that sex is something generally limited to marriage. If the married partners are attracted to each other, that’s fine, and if they aren’t so much, then they will live with that. However marriage was for life and normal, respectable people did not have sex outside marriage.

Today, this has completely changed. About 40% of babies are born to single women in the United States. (For women under 30, the majority of babies are born to single women. This compares to a 5% illegitimacy rate in the 1950s.)  Additionally it is roughly estimated that several percent of presumed fathers are not really the father. Based upon this, I think we can estimate that about half of sex takes place outside of marriage in Western societies today.

In earlier times, men and women were largely segregated and women were required to dress modestly in public. After a brief courtship or an arranged match, couples married at a young age and remained married until one partner died. Eroticism and sexual excitement played a small role in people’s lives. This is still true in traditional cultures today.

In recent times, especially since about 1970, adults see sexual gratification as an essential part of life, if not as a right and an entitlement. During a lifetime, people progress through many relationships, some longer, some shorter, all with the purpose of gratifying both partners to the greatest extent possible.

The problems caused by this are very serious.

- Depression. In a sex-based relationship, many times one partner is happy in the relationship while the other is dissatisfied for some reason and leaves. This can trigger depression. We can speculate that this may be one of the major reasons for an increase in the rate of depression since the Second World War in Western societies.There is extensive research indicating that people who have fewer sexual partners and who marry young are on the average happier. Whores and whoremongers are generally miserable.

- Disease. Frequent changes in sexual partners cause sexually transmitted diseases to flourish, resulting in physical suffering, infertility and sometimes death.

- Sexual abuse. When women bring new men into the home, as boyfriends or husbands, their daughters from previous relationships are at a high risk of being raped by them.

- Child Neglect. In “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study”,  Judith S. Wallerstein explains in great detail the emotional problems and mental anguish suffered by children who grow up in divorced homes. Many children in single-family homes live that way because one parent felt he or she would have greater sexual satisfaction in a different relationship.

- Abortion. Millions of babies conceived out of wedlock are simply killed before they are born.

Having sex with whomever you want to is probably similar to eating whatever you want to – it may sound good at first, it may not seem to make much difference for a few years, however the long term effects are deadly.

 There can be little argument that the Orthodox Jewish practice of chastity is ultimately far better for everyone involved.


Anonymous said...

"There can be little argument that the Orthodox Jewish practice of chastity is ultimately far better for everyone involved"

Can you expand on what practice you are refering to and how this practice is specifically an orthodox Jewish one?

jewish philosopher said...

There's a link to click.

Anonymous said...

re "There's a link to click"

I clicked on the word "chastity". It directed me to a page with the heading "Kosher Sex. That word "chastity" does not appear on that page at all. Are the practices on that page what you are referring to as chastity. If yes, it's an odd use of that term.

Anonymous said...

sadly, none of the problems you list are prevented by keeping these halachos.

jewish philosopher said...

Chastity refers to the sexual behavior of a man or woman acceptable to the moral standards and guidelines of a culture, civilization, or religion. In Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious beliefs, acts of sexual nature are restricted to the context of marriage. For unmarried persons therefore, chastity is identified with sexual abstinence. Sexual acts outside or apart from marriage, such as adultery, fornication and prostitution, are considered sinful.

ksil said...

"Having sex with whomever you want..."

straw man

Cults are notorious for controling the sexual activity of its memebers. par for the course.

jewish philosopher said...

So you'd be completely fine with your daughter sleeping around with a million different guys? After all, anything else means you're in a cult.

ksil said...

once again, a straw man.

man, you dont understand logical falicies. i mean its obvious to me - but cmon

jewish philosopher said...

I'm bringing conclusive data proving that chastity is good and promiscuity is bad, and you're mumbling "straw man, straw man". You've got straw in your head.

ksil said...

it would be nice if you would not mischaracterize what someone else's position is to help your argument. that is a strawman.

there are not 2 choices here - chastity and promiscuity.. that is your flaw

jewish philosopher said...

That's the way it is. Like war and peace, honesty and lying. You can't be a little bit chaste just like you can't be a little bit pregnant.

Anonymous said...

That type of all or nothing thinking seems to be what this blog is all about.

jewish philosopher said...

No. I don't automatically condemn things for no reason. Sometimes sex is good, sometimes it's bad.

Ksil said...

S you can either have sex with only one person your entire life, or thousands of people??!!! Thats it???

Man, you are a dolt

Anonymous said...

" Sometimes sex is good, sometimes it's bad."

That's what I'm talking about. To you, something has to be either good or bad, right or wrong, nothing is in the middle.

Sometimes a thing is neither good nor bad, but just IS.

Like old people dying, having brown hair or the sky being blue.

Or consenting people having sex.

jewish philosopher said...

"S you can either have sex with only one person your entire life, or thousands of people"

You can either use sex in a responsible way, which takes into consideration all the consequences for everyone involved including unborn children, or not.

"something has to be either good or bad"

Wrong. Somethings are better or worse. Raping your mother for example is worse than visiting a prostitute, however that still isn't as good as having sex with your wife. And even with ones wife there's a difference between pressuring her to have sex when she's not in the mood and being a caring husband who wants to satisfy her needs. Plenty of shades of grey.

"Like old people dying, having brown hair or the sky being blue."

Those aren't choices anyone is making. Sex is.

Anonymous said...

Couple of things:

JP is probably more on the mark than not. It is probably healthier mentally for people to form solid relationships and marry someone with the idea that monogamy may be hard, but it is better.

There is evidence that kids are not sleeping around as much now as say ten years ago. There is also clear evidence that as people mature, they tend to see the wisdom in marriage and monogamy. Young people are another story, and there is a big danger period for younger folks – there is depression, suicide attempts, eating disorders, wanton behavior, feelings of inadequacy.

Not everyone succumbs for sure. Mostly my friends were champions during their young years – succeeding in college and grad school, developing careers, treating themselves and women well. Marrying and commiting to family and children. But this is NOT everyone’s experience.

I think where JP may go overboard a bit is thinking that society cannot mend itself – it does. Mainly people I know do not smoke, do not drink much, and eat healthy. This is a lot of educated folks now – we learn and try to improve. The nineteen sixties are over for many.

Finally – JP believes one has to go “all the way,” and live a chaste life etc. I just think that dating is a part of learning about yourself. Maybe not sleeping around – but even intimacy and affection with the opposite sex is a way of learning about yourself.

While I think frum marriages are very admirable in many ways, I also know that the divorce rate is climbing in the frum world. I also know for a fact that frum men engage in extramarital touching at a high enough rate that, here in NYC, it is as real as the fact of homelessness in our streets. I did my own research on this one – it happens.

This is just to say that men will find ways, even in the frum world, to touch other woman. They are denied any affection/sexual experiences prior to marriage – and during marriage it is obviously not permitted. But there is something going on in the frum world regarding sex that is, while not officially permissible, a kind of open secret perhaps?

But I think JP is right in his alarm at our crazy world. Here in NYC, some great women marry late or never. Mostly they seem afraid of not getting the chance to have children. Men are often turned off to the whole thing. Of course many marry, but many don’t.

The baal t’chuvah of today is often someone seeking sexual/marital sanity, and not finding it in the secular world. They may not want all of the frum life – but they seem in large part drawn by the hope of a family life and community. We can pretend all we want: community matters, people long for stability. And for the average guy/gal in NYC, it can feel hard to find.


Ironmistress said...

The middle way between abstinence and promiscuity is moderation.

I have my youth. And I do not regret anything. I have been happily married to the same man for almost twenty years now and I have never cheated him.

It is okay to have fun and practice adult life in your youth before going steady. But once you've gone steady, then it is being true to your lawfully wedded spouse. And I really doubt my hubby would have liked to marry a virgin - an absolute beginner in sex and someone he'd have had to teach the bed things from the beginning.

That is how we understand it in Scandinavia.

And yes, I have many male friends whom I am just a friend and nothing else.

Ironmistress said...

There are awfully wide grey areas between war and peace and between truth and lying.

Half-truths are the most subtle means of deceit there are. What makes it so insidious is that it is not telling the untruth: it is just omitting essential parts of the truth.

jewish philosopher said...

"The nineteen sixties are over for many."

Casual sex seems to alive and well. 

STDs are spreading at a good speed

while illegitimacy keeps rising

"but even intimacy and affection with the opposite sex is a way of learning about yourself."

But happens to the resulting kids? 

jewish philosopher said...

"The middle way between abstinence and promiscuity is moderation."

That's what Judaism teaches: not celibacy, not debauchery, moderation.

Anonymous said...

Of interest on the subject

Mike said...

"And yes, I have many male friends whom I am just a friend and nothing else."

That seems predictable, seeing as how the women in this video unanimously attested to having male friends, and men were universally more doubtful about the ability for men and women to truly be "friends."

It's great that I joined a faith community, where people are less delusional about this issue. Apart from the emotional harm done to women who engage in frequent sexual hookups, men also suffer if they buy into this platonic friend nonsense, and really need to get a clue. If a man is interested in a woman, but she's not ready to take him seriously as a potential spouse, he should move on. If a college age, or older, man is not interested in a long-term relationship (marriage), he should not draw a woman into physically intimate relationship (or better yet, he should grow up and recognize the value of marriage like a mature human being). Respectful acquaintances are maybe a possibility, when kept within modest guidelines, but a woman who wants emotional intimacy with a man should be willing to take the whole man seriously. If he really wants more, but she is not prepared to offer it, there's a good chance she's just using him and he should GTFO.

Anonymous said...

So J.S., do you insist that your daughters wear chastity belts when they patronize mixed gender supermarkets?
You'll never know when a glimpse of a large cucumber might stir amorous suggestions in their sheltered minds.

jewish philosopher said...

You probably shouldn't be allowed near any other people or vegetables.