The chastity-industrial complex

Image from Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music project
Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it a million times: sex sells. It’s often used as an excuse for why advertisers use pictures of half-naked women to sell just about every product imaginable. It shouldn’t be surprising, then that anti-sex also sells. (via Jezebel) Conservative Christian don’t-have-sex publishing has taken off! Publishers Weekly puts the bestsellers into a few broad categories: Chasing Chastity, AIDS Awareness, and Sexual Integrity for Men. Let’s take these one by one, shall we?
Chasing Chastity
The article mentions Lies Women Believe, a book by two women who have both written “purity” guides. It’s a perfect example of the near-porniness of some “abstinence” writing. The book begins with a description of what was going on in Eve’s head when she ate the forbidden fruit (I’m not kidding):

First, I just listened and looked. In my heart, I pondered, I questioned, I debated. Adam had reminded me many times that God had said we must not eat the fruit from that tree. The creature kept looking into my eyes and talking in a soothing voice. I found myself believing him. It felt so right. Finally, I surrendered. I reached out — cautiously at first, then more boldly. I took, I ate. I handed it to Adam. He ate. We ate together — first me, then him.
Those next moment are a blur. Sensations deep down inside that I’ve never had before. New awareness — like I know a secret I’m not supposed to know. Elation and depression — at the same time. Liberation. Prison. Rising. Falling. Confident. Afraid. Ashamed. Dirty. Hiding — I can’t let Him see me like this.
Alone. So very alone. Lost. Deceived.

Ah yes, I go through those same feelings every time I eat an apple. We could have a Freudian field day with that passage. I can see this prose causing guilt-ridden titillation — a surefire recipe for bestseller success.
AIDS Awareness
The abstinence-only crowd promoting “AIDS awareness”? How hypocritical. Just look at what they want to do to PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). They basically want to strip everything effective from our international AIDS strategy. It’s not so much an anti-sex movement as an anti-health movement.
Sexual Integrity for Men
The no-sex-until-hetero-marriage movement has set up “men’s integrity” as the flip side to “women’s purity.” Hence, you have the hilariously titled “Integrity Balls” for boys, which emphasize not “ruining” your girlfriend for her future husband. See, maintaining women’s “purity” should be the goal of both men and women. So again, this isn’t so much an argument against sex as an argument against women violating their Eve-like innocence and purity by having sex. Also: This “integrity” line of reasoning has always caused me to wonder: Does this mean dudes can maintain their integrity by just sleeping with other dudes? Makes sense to me.

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