No Chastity–Now What?

No Chastity–Now What? February 12, 2020

My previous post Dear Chastity Speakers, Please Stop Speaking was an attempt to garner discussion around one of the biggest issues in Church teaching surrounding the intimate act, sexuality, and the addressing of the human person in those teachings.

Though the title was exaggeration to catch attention, it was also meant as an admonishment–I wasn’t kidding when I wrote that I’m sick of the chastity movement.

I’ve never made it a secret that I was sexually assaulted as a child. I would be lying if I didn’t admit this is a large part of why I’m absolutely fed up with how virginity is portrayed and addressed in the Church, and in society as a whole. (I went into a full on tirade about this in a previous post, Chastity Talk from a Rape Victim.)

There just isn’t room for victims like me in the current chastity teachings of the Church.

There isn’t understanding or compassion in regards to situations like mine.

You can’t blame my victim-hood on what I was wearing (pajamas, by the way), or that I should have been old enough to know better and help myself out of the danger (I was six). These are heinous and inhumane reasons to ever blame a victim, male or female, for sexual assault, but they are used constantly.

I am far from ignorant of the teachings of sexuality in the Church; despite accusations, my skirting around directly hashing out treatises, theological teachings, and saints’ writings in regards to the Catholic view of chastity was not the point of my last post. Not even remotely close.

I will spell out exactly what my last post was about, since there are so many voices screaming the opposite:

We need to love each other unconditionally. Period. 

Yes, I framed this idea in my personal belief that Chastity Talks have run their course and that we need to take it in a different direction, but ultimately, this is what I wanted to make clear.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s play pretend, shall we?

No more Chastity Talks–now what?

What a concept–teaching our children, our friends, our neighbors, that they are worth more than whether or not they had sex (regretted or not) last night.

I meant what I wrote: even no longer a practicing Catholic, I do not subscribe to the “free love” mentality with sexual relations. Not only is it a disastrous idea from a health standpoint (I’d rather not have STD’s, thanks), but it is terribly damaging for people emotionally, as well. I want what’s best for others, in every way. But I also want them the freedom to express love for each other in as wholesome and full a way as possible.

We need to shift our focus. The Chastity movement, for the most part, has good intentions. I will be the first to admit that. But they also become so hyper-focused on treating virginity (or that HORRID term “second virginity”) that they sweep rape victims like me under the rug. If you have experienced healing and freedom through a Chastity talk, I am thrilled for you. If you haven’t, I understand completely.

What is the harm in even considering addressing the human person in a makeup beyond their virginity? Their sexuality? Whether or not they have children, will have children, want children?

How about we address sex as it is–an incredible gift from the Divine that allows us an unprecedented plane to express love, vulnerability, pleasure, and ecstasy? And address the human person, and their need for love, companionship, family, beyond their future relationships.

There is far more for the human person to experience in their lives than just sex. We need to address that, and not leave our generations reeling from the pain and damage of being unequivocally told that sex is the greatest thing they’ll every know.

Because it’s not. Very few ever experience such a union in the sexual act that Theology of the Body likes to preach. And, far more than are acknowledged, are forced through violence and violation in that act–even in marriage.

Stop preaching abstinence as the Chastity solution.

Teach young generations that they are worth more than the affection they can get from someone else.

That they have worth beyond what others can give them.

That they are loved.

That they are true gifts of life from the Divine.

That they are worth the entire world with sex, or without.

If that isn’t a good enough reason to readdress the Chastity Talk discussion, then we have nothing left to say to each other.




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About Jennifer Riley
Jennifer Riley is our co-leader. She’s an emotional writer, engulfing people in her tidal wave of life experiences and interpretations. She’s a bad Catholic, a good sinner, and a pernicious writer who tries to find who she is to herself and to God through her words. You can find her writer page at You can read more about the author here.

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  • Naters

    Pope Francis had proposed a Theology of Love. I think that would help people like you more than TOB.

  • Lisa Mann

    This is spot on. I grew up Protestant and converted to Catholicism. We need to stop shooting our own wounded, so to speak. We need to embody God’s love to each other.

  • Richard Phillips

    No, this is not spot on. Yes, some of her ideas are sound but so is the goal of virginity before marriage and chastity after. I am very sorry she was sexually molested, especially at such a young age but that does not mean the goal is wrong. This is an angry writer who has large issues to deal with. I wish her well.