The Politics of Chastity

By Tom Quiner


Is chastity good or bad?

A 19 year college freshman suggests it is bad. Her letter to advice columnist, Carolyn Hax, appeared in the Register earlier in the week:

“I have decided to lose my virginity soon, obviously in a safe way while using protection. Is it okay to not tell the guy I’m a virgin? I sort of want to get this over with in a sort of one-night-stand kind of way.”

Sounds like someone anticipating a colonoscopy.

None of the participants in the online discussion encouraged chastity. Ms. Hax, to her credit, indicated that sex and intimacy are indeed big deals.   No one uttered that dreaded ‘C’ word.

And yet we pay a huge cost when chastity is discarded as a societal virtue. Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician, wrote a book titled, “Your kids at risk.” She said the incidence of sexually-transmitted disease (STDs) has increased 500% in recent years amongst our young.

Despite the widespread availability of condoms and contraception, despite the proliferation of discussion about “safe sex,” Dr. Meeker says that one out of four sexually-active teens has contracted a STD.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just revealed that sexually transmitted disease has reached epidemic levels with 110 million Americans having contracted a STD, about a third of the nation. Half of the new infections took place in our youth (15 to 24 year olds).

The societal cost of unbridled sex goes beyond the high risk of infectious disease. It also leads to human abortion. The vast majority (85%) of human abortions occur in unmarried women.

A million human abortions take place in this country every year. Since Roe v Wade, some 56 million Americans had their lives ended in the womb, more than all American deaths in all wars combined. To compound this tragedy, women who choose human abortion are susceptible to long term health risks.

A meta-analysis, published in Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists, of 22 studies from six countries involving 877,181 women revealed women who choose abortion are more likely to experience a variety of subsequent mental health issues, including 155 percent higher rate of suicidal behavior. Even more, these women were 55 percent more likely to experience mental health problems than women with unplanned pregnancies who rejected the abortion option.

Credible research reveals that post-abortive women also face long term physical health risks, including higher incidence of breast and cervical cancers.

In light of all of this, it seems that the biggest public health concern facing the American culture is not Ebola, but rather the consequence of promiscuity, especially among the young.

Here’s where politics enters in. Two philosophies clash in the public square on what to do about the fallout of the sexual revolution. One camp proposes risk-reduction. They believe kids are going to have sex no matter what anyone says, so adults should teach them to do it safely.

This camp’s philosophy has gained dominance in our communities over the past generation as sex education is increasingly offered to younger students with an emphasis on “safer sex” practices. The idea is arm kids with info on the risks of sexual activity, give them easy access to condoms and other forms of birth control, and expect them to behave like adults in bed.

Only adults aren’t behaving responsibly in the sexual arena either (see above).

A family doctor in New York, Ann Nolte, says the sex-related health risks plaguing her teen patients has nothing to do with lack of knowledge on sexual matters or lack of access to contraception:

“Most teenagers that I’ve cared for know about sex, condoms and birth control — and have ample access to it. They know where to get it, when to use it and what can happen if they don’t. Yet teen pregnancy rates remain unacceptably high; sexually transmitted diseases in some major cities are epidemic.”

Another doctor, Dr. Miriam Grossman, author of “Unprotected” and “You’re Teaching my Child What?”, worked with students in their late teens and twenties as a member of UCLA’s Student Counseling Services. She observed that “risky sexual encounters … happen even when adolescents know and understand the dangers involved. It’s not lack of information; it’s lack of judgment.”

We tried the approach advocated by the risk-avoidance camp. By any metric, it has failed. No matter how many condoms we throw at the problem, we are awash in a cycle of disease and death that makes Ebola look like a bruised knee.

Perhaps it’s time to listen to the second the camp. They believe in adopting the same ideal promoted in other public-health interventions, such as no-smoking campaigns. These campaigns don’t encourage kids to ‘smoke safely,’ they call on them to stop smoking entirely.

Let us do the same in the area of teen sexuality.

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  1. auntynini on October 18, 2014 at 10:36 am

    First of all, I am both pro-life and I’m for a woman’s right to choose with proper education by her physician.

    That said, have any conservatives thought seriously about how the millions of pregnancies of primarily poor, single black mothers — pregnancies unanticipated and unwanted due predominantly to economic circumstances would be handled by society? These 50 million plus children would be wards of the state, would they not? If we are so strongly against a social safety net, how can we reconcile these two points of view?

    It is a question that interests me as much as the broader question of right to life, not only of the unborn, but how about our principled stand on the innocent lives murdered in war-time? Do we have as strong a stand against that? Those poor women and children and noncombatants cannot simply be viewed as collateral damage, can they? Or how about the millions of deaths due to poverty and pestilence? Or how about drone strikes in sovereign nations?

    Shouldn’t our principled stands be consistent across ALL life and not just the unborn? This is a serious question.

    • quinersdiner on October 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Thank-you for visiting Quiner’s Diner. I appreciate your thoughtful and serious questions. There’s too much embedded in your questions to respond quickly to. So check back in the days to come, and I will try to break your concerns into bite-sized chunks and respond accordingly. However, I will respond immediately to your questions on whether or not conservatives have thought seriously about poverty. Your question reveals the breakdown in the business of media. Conservative thought on the alleviation of poverty is rich, intelligent, and tested. The mainstream media over the years have bent over backwards not to report intelligently or honestly on conservative thought. And political-correctness, which is nothing but liberal-imposed thought suppression, has reached a stage where university liberal agitators won’t even allow leading conservative thinkers to speak. George Will is the latest victim of the thought police on the Left. This lack of intellectual diversity, this lack of tolerance and inclusion, not only reveals the hypocrisy of the Left, who supposedly revere diversity, tolerance, and inclusion, but even more, has successfully prevented people like you from even being exposed to the fresh thinking of the political Right.

    • John on October 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      I am at a loss to understand how “the millions of pregnancies … unanticipated and unwanted [are] due predominantly to economic circumstances.” Today, in the U.S., the poor are wealthy by historical standards, and today’s poor in the U.S. are wealthy compared to the poor in third world countries. Clearly, there has been a change in the some people’s willingness to accept abortion. Otherwise, the rate of abortion would have been much higher historically. It was not. Did the abortion rate skyrocket during the “Great Depression?” No.

      • auntynini on October 19, 2014 at 8:42 am

        Abortion was illegal during the Great Depression.

  2. John on October 19, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Very true, but it is the change in morality and culture that caused abortion to be legal, NOT economics or poverty.

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