The Virtuous Life: Chastity

by Brett & Kate McKay on May 18, 2008 · 136 comments

in A Man's Life, On Virtue, The Virtuous Life

This is the twelfth post in a series about living Ben Franklin’s 13 virtues.


CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

Editor’s Note: Before we get to the post, allow me to head off the would be commenter, who, thinking himself beyond clever, posts something akin to “Benjamin Franklin wasn’t chaste! He was a womanizer!” In truth, this bit of popular knowledge has been greatly exaggerated. Please see here and here.

Also, as we have mentioned time and time again, Franklin openly admitted that he did not live the virtues perfectly. But he felt he was a far better man for having made the attempt to do so. Living the virtuous life doesn’t not mean attaining perfection, but striving to improve oneself.

Ahhh, chastity. A word that can make teenagers blush and grown men cringe. A word that conjures up thoughts of medieval belts, “true love waits” pledge cards, and ranting preachers. Many believe the concept of chastity has no place in a modern, enlightened society. Indeed, in many ways the virtue of chastity is the most difficult to write about. Unlike the other virtues, it is hard to define chastity apart from its relationship to religious beliefs. Yet, while the precise definition of chastity will vary from man to man, there are aspects of this virtue that all men, regardless of belief system, should aspire to.

In today’s sexualized society, promoting chastity is seen as prudish and old fashioned. In the eyes of many, promoting chastity on a men’s site will be seen as almost contradictory. Isn’t manliness all about the notches on your bedpost of the women you have conquered? We propose that manly sexuality shouldn’t be about the number of women a man beds; rather, it should be about focusing one’s sexuality in meaningful relationships.

Sex as a Consumer Good

Sex, it seems, is everywhere. It pops up in every nook and cranny of our day to day lives. We see sex on our television, in our magazines, and on our computers. It is used to sell everything from shampoo to jeans. While once viewed as a sacred mystery, today it has become just another consumer product that can be bought or sold. Sure, people have sold sex since the beginning of history (they don’t call prostitution the oldest profession for nothing). What’s different now is that the very idea of sex has been commercialized and in the process cheapened.

People today approach sex just as they would approach buying a widget. The focus is on YOUR satisfaction and YOUR pleasure. A man thus fantasizes about his next “purchase.” After that hook-up gives him the pleasure he was seeking, he shops around until he finds another person that can satisfy the urge. When he gets tired of that woman or he sees a better and higher end model, he trades-in that person and goes after the upgrade. The problem is that people aren’t things; they’re, well, people. They have hopes, dreams, feelings, and aspirations just like you do.

The Problem with the Hook-Up Culture

On college campuses hooking-up has replaced dating. Guys seldom ask girls on out real dates: outings they have planned ahead of time and which involve just the two of them. And they even less frequently ask that girl to be their girlfriend and enter into monogamous relationships. Instead women and men hook up at bars, Greek houses, and parties. They have their way with each other and then hope never to have a run-in around campus. College is seen as the time to sow one’s wild oats before settling down at some yet to be determined, but definitively far off time.

While many (maybe most?) men see all this as harmless fun, the reality is that there are negative consequences to these hit and run sexual encounters. In truth, “casual sex” is an oxymoron; there is no such thing.

While for some men, sex is just another recreational activity like going to a baseball game, in reality sex is a powerful part of the human experience. Whether you are religious or not, it is wrong to strip sex of any kind of sacredness. The reason sex feels so fantastic is biological propagation insurance; after shooting wooly mammoths and pulling up roots all day, the human race needed a push to overcome the tiredness, get jiggy with it, and perpetuate the human race. Sex is not just erotic and hot, it’s the way in which human life is created. Regardless of how you think the human race came to be, the creation of life is surely imbued with power and mystery. Whether you want it to be or not, sex forms a union between you and the woman you are with. It’s the joining of two bodies together. Powerful hormones and feelings are released when you have sex. Evolution set up these feelings with the intention of bringing two people together to care for a new human life. It’s ridiculous to unite with a woman in this powerful coupling and then change partners like you’re changing a shirt.

Even if you wouldn’t use the word “sacred” with “sex,” it should at least be seen as “special.” Keeping it special means placing some boundaries around it. The extent of these boundaries will vary from man to man. But there are real reasons for not diluting it beyond measure:

Cheap Sex is Crap Sex. Sex is pretty much the most vulnerable thing you can do. You’re totally naked, worried about your performance, and not to be crude, but sticking your body part into another person. Good sex therefore involves a lot of trust. A trust born of real love and intimacy. The kind of intimacy born of late night conversations, dinner dates, fights, and reconciliations. If you’re having sex with someone you don’t love, you’re simply using them as tool for your pleasure. You might as well be doing it with an inflatable doll. The more you are in love with someone, the more fantastic sex is. The more commonplace sex becomes, the less spectacular it will be. This is the “dullness” Ben was referring to.

Casual Sex Disrespects Women. Even if you can get your jollies from a one night stand, no strings attached, that doesn’t mean your partner feels the same way. While you may be in it for the good time, the woman you hook-up with may develop feelings for you. I know there are woman who have no problem with random flings. But I also know more women who want to believe they’re down with hooking-up but feel hurt afterwards. I knew a lot of women in college who had random hook-ups, after which the guys didn’t call, and who suffered from bouts of depression and angst. They never connected the dots, but I have no doubt there was a correlation. And yes, this goes for guys too. You might hook-up with a girl who’s just leading you on, and get your heart crushed when you realize you’ve been played. Wait until your relationship is committed before being intimate.

Casual Sex Doesn’t Prepare You for Sex in a Real Relationship. Those who encourage men to have multiple sexual partners, argue that if you only have sex with a few, or heaven forbid, just one, sexual partner, you won’t know what kind of stuff you like and how to please the partner you finally do settle down with. On VH1′s recent documentary on sex, Woody Allen compares this to getting your driver’s license without having a learner’s permit. But casual sex is ill preparation for the monogamous variety. Good sex requires communication and a willingness to sometimes delay one’s pleasure for your partner’s benefit. But casual sex involves little communication and little incentive to maximize your partner’s pleasure. Sure, you want to show her a good time. But you’re mostly focused on getting off yourself, and hey, you’re never going to see this woman again, so if it’s so-so for her, who cares?

Related to this, is the argument people make for not saving sex for marriage. Now I know this definition of chastity is not embraced by many men. But those who do embrace it are often berated for choosing a life partner without knowing if the two of you are sexually compatible. I think this argument is total bunk. While it makes sense theoretically, how would it play out practically? Does this mean that if a man is totally in love with a woman, and then they have sex and it’s awkward, he would kick her to the curb and scrap the whole relationship? I have honestly never seen this actually happen. Hey, here’s a novel idea: How about if two people are sexually incompatible they work on their communication, maybe even go to therapy together? Pretty mind blowing, huh?

Furthermore, as my friend Dave is fond of saying, “Sex is like ice cream. The more flavors you sample, the harder it becomes to settle on one flavor for the rest of your life.”

{ 135 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Odgie May 19, 2008 at 2:51 am

The other thing is that for some men, promiscuity as a single man makes fidelity harder to maintain as a married man. A friend of mine who slept with everything that moved and gorged himself on porn when he was single has had a very difficult time adjusting to monogomy since he got married. It has made the early years of his marriage far more difficult than they needed to be.

2 Corey - Simple Marriage Project May 19, 2008 at 6:21 am

Outstanding post Brett! I will be using bits and pieces of this on my own site in the near future. Thanks for the perspective.

I fully agree with the idea of compatibility. It is located more in the mind the the physical make up of the two people.

3 remarque May 19, 2008 at 6:26 am

“The follies which a man regrets most in his life, are those which he didn’t commit when he had the opportunity.”

I think it depends on the person. I feel like monogamy might be more difficult if you didn’t have the context of other women when you are young.

4 Eric May 19, 2008 at 6:39 am

Although I agree with the over all basis of your argument, there are obviously two sides to all of your points. The history of sex that you provide rightfully infuses sentimentality to the days of courtship and abstinence. Great. But those days only existed because of our female counterparts. Society treated even the slightest female indiscretion into pre-marital sex harshly. The man, although frowned upon, was hardly blamed. Thus, women required their men to court them to avoid the wrath of a society that demonized what today would appear as a pg-13 friday night.

Today, women open their legs with pleasure and its often seen as empowering to be a sexually active unmarried woman. Due to the fact that sex is at its core an animalistic-sense driven aspect of human existence it comes as no surprise that the slow erosion of sexual chastness has led to the promiscuity we see today. Man, like any animal, acts on instinct when it comes to sex. You are asking men to deny their instinct and walk away when the female counterpart is inviting them to bed. Yes Im passing the buck to the women, but I argue that they are the ones that have changed, not the man. We’ve always been this way (i.e. unchaste), its simply that our counterparts have decided to embrace the sexual freedom we, as men, have always longed for.

5 cory huff May 19, 2008 at 6:59 am

@eric – a woman inviting a man to do something he shouldn’t is not an excuse for committing the act.

Brett, great post. I know you were worried about how to handle it, but I think you spoke the truth very well and very forthrightly. I should pass this around to some of my single friends.

You’ll never know the joy of monogamy if you don’t practice it. I have several friends who are older men who have never been in a long term, committed relationship and they all say that they know they’re missing something.

6 Be your own man May 19, 2008 at 7:29 am

You’re missing a big part of the equation here with your theory. Times have changed. People only hook up and hang out in college and beyond because they aren’t ready to settle down at 20-25. It’s a good thing. My parents got married at 19 and you can tell they aren’t that happy now in the grand scheme of things. They never got to experience more, or find somebody who fit them closely.

College girls, and guys are in transition periods in their lives. Living in towns they won’t stay in, dating people they probably won’t be with in 4 years time, learning about themselves. People switch jobs a lot, change their minds and have a lot of social and cultural mobility. Dating shouldn’t be any different.

You need to think more about your theory on dating, courting, and monogamy and how it fits into life in 2008.

I reject the idea that you can’t trust and respect a person you don’t know. That seems like a highly jaded view of life. If you can’t trust a person you’ve just meet that you’ve obviously got chemistry with how can you trust people at work you barely know, or strangers who help you in your daily life? Yes it’s not always the case but that’s what makes life so complex.

If you can’t trust and respect other humans that you don’t know all the past details of their life thats your problem.

You don’t have to feel hurt after mutual beneficial sex. If you are hurt you’re probably not being honest with yourself or your partner. I think it’s a great way to get practice being brutally honest with the person you have sex with. Maybe that’s why so many marriages end in divorce. People aren’t use to being honest with themselves in the bedroom and carry it over to their monogamy.

All the casual sex I’ve had I’ve always talked to the girl about what she wants and what I want. You limit yourself if you don’t communicate with a partner and you don’t have to be married to do it. And it’s a myth that men won’t try to get the girl off if it’s not in a relationship. Again I think the problem lies with the man who wrote this.

I think the best thing to do is learn what you like with those that might not be perfect for you. LEARN to become friends with those you are intimate with. Learn to connect sex with communication. LEARN not to lie to yourself when you’re with another human. LEARN to talk about all the kinky shit you love to find a person who loves it too. The challenge is to turn a hook up into a long term sex partner whom you can see a lot, but you don’t have to date if you don’t want too.

I think this article suggests holding people back from their potential happiness under the guise of a “noble” male myth.

7 Jeff@MySuper-Charged Life May 19, 2008 at 8:51 am

Posting an article about chastity in today’s world is certainly a difficult and risky thing to do! I applaud what you’ve done here. I think you have handled the subject very well.

I think as you have pointed out that there are a number of issues in our culture that stem from our casual attitude toward sex. One that I didn’t see you mention concerns unwanted pregnancies. For many, sex is not without it’s consequences no matter how good modern birth-control seems. There is no clean and easy way around a pregnancy. Such matters can haunt one for years.

8 Schmendrick May 19, 2008 at 9:26 am

‘The precise definition of chastity will vary from man to man.’

The word ‘chastity’ has a precise definition, i.e., abstention from extramarital sex. Men may choose whether or not to be chaste, but attempting to redefine the virtues to fit one’s own practices is relativistic nonsense. Sin is still sin.

9 Schmendrick May 19, 2008 at 9:27 am

The generative energy, which, when we are loose, dissipates and makes us unclean, when we are continent invigorates and inspires us. Chastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness, and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it.
—Henry David Thoreau

10 Brett May 19, 2008 at 9:38 am

@Schmendrick-Sorry, that’s nonsense. The dictionary defines chastity as:

1. abstaining from sexual relations (as because of religious vows)
2. morality with respect to sexual relations

#2 makes chastity open to interpretation. A particular religion does not have ownership over the definition of chastity. Take a look at Franklin’s definition of chastity. It’s certainly different than a Christian’s definition. And there are differences between what a Buddhist and a Hindu would say, or a Jew and a Muslim. And there isn’t even agreement amongst Christians about what is chaste. Some say chastity means not kissing before you’re married, some say kissing is okay but you can’t touch each other’s parts, some say you can have oral sex but not penetrative sex.

“Relativism” means saying that all of these views are equally right. I don’t say that. I say that the definition of chastity varies from man to man. That’s a fact, is it not?

11 Schmendick May 19, 2008 at 11:31 am

I just reread my post and see that I probably came off as far more harsh than I had intended. I apologize! My point, however, is that there is and has been general agreement about what ‘chastity’ means. A Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Jew, and a Muslim—if they follow the teachings of their religion—would all recognize extramarital sex as unchaste.

For what it’s worth, Oxford defines ‘chastity’ as ‘the state or practice of refraining from extramarital, or esp. from all, sexual intercourse’.

12 Brett May 19, 2008 at 11:38 am

@Schmendick-No prob. I definitely hear what you’re saying. I would agree that that is the standard definition of chastity. But I also think chastity encompasses a lot more than simply abstaining from extramarital sex. For instance, I would argue that chastity involves also abstaining from pornography. But not all would agree with me. And note that I don’t say that the definition of chastity has various meanings, but that its definition varies from man to man. I think you can agree that there is a standard definition of chastity while also acknowledging that different men interpret its meaning differently.

13 Heather May 19, 2008 at 11:42 am

Great post. It’s nice to see someone standing up for good virtues.
I also think that is bologna that you have to have sex with someone before marriage to tell if you’re compatible. That’s just something people tell themselves to ease the guilt when they’re just going for what they want. There are ways of telling if you and your partner will be sexually compatible without taking a “test drive”. Hopefully you find one another attractive and feel that there is some chemistry between the two of you to start with. If you enjoy hugging, kissing and cuddling that’s a good sign also. And even if things are awkward or less than spectacular at first, as mentioned, its something that you can improve on. Sex is a powerful thing and should not be regarded lightly.

14 Cameron May 19, 2008 at 12:14 pm

@be your own man: it seems you assert statements that don’t further your argument or refute that of the author. the article never says that you can’t respect and trust someone you don’t know, it says that having sex with no intention of ever speaking to them again is disrespectful. to use your work analogy, if you do a deal with someone, get what you want, and then cut off all communications, it’s going to get around that your company is full of jerks and no one will do business with you. even business is about creating respectful relationships.

you say it yourself, that you need to “learn to become friends with those you are intimate with”. accept it works better if you switch it around.

You also say, “The challenge is to turn a hook up into a long term sex partner whom you can see a lot, but you don’t have to date if you don’t want too.” Isn’t that a perfect example of using someone for your own gratification without any responsibility. That seems contrary to the idea of true manliness that is trying to be resurrected here.

the great thing about Franklin’s Virtues is that they are timeless. Honesty, industry, and the others always seem to be accepted. But chastity has taken a big hit and always seems to have to fight to prove its worth.

you also say that you “think this article suggests holding people back from their potential happiness under the guise of a “nobleâ€? male myth.” In college, I never saw someone truly happy about a random hook-up. Guys, on the surface, put on a pretty good cover. But most that are honest with themselves have a tough time with it and often think about the girl much longer than they admit. Girls have a much harder time with it and most I know are crushed the first couple of times. But after they keep doing it, they bury those feelings and just go with it. There is something really wrong about that. I think it affects people much more than they let on.

And not to mention the stress of pregnancy and all the other stuff comes from random sex.

Someone also mentioned instinct. I don’t think sleeping around is instinctual at all. Thousands of years of evolution (or creation, whichever works for you) have developed a system that releases hormones and chemicals that tell your body to connect to that person. The theory goes that the more sex you have the stronger the bond becomes. So, loving and leaving is actually going against what your body is telling you to do.

Great Article, Brett. Nicely handled. Whether you subscribe to monogamy, no sex before marriage, or sex every night – respecting your partner and yourself is always important.

15 Wrathbone May 19, 2008 at 4:00 pm

I won’t comment too heavily, just to say I agree almost 100% with this. I don’t care about how everyone else is doing things nowadays, I’m a man who thinks for himself. And I think that sex is a sacred act that should only be shared (repeatedly and with much enthusiasm) between a man and a woman who are in love.

16 KnytFyre May 19, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Most likely the most important of Franklins Virtues that modern man needs to learn. Durring my early life (I graduated high school in 89 to give an estimate as to when this was) I viewed sex as a sacred arrangement. Living in the late 80s which was seeing a sexual revolution this was not an easy thing. I lost my virginity at 17, but only after I had been dating the girl I lost it to for 3 months. Again these numbers seem small, or perhaps today that seem insanely long, but at the time I knew a number of guys that were sleeping with thier new “girlfriends” on the first or at latest second date. These girlfriends usually lasted no more that a couple of months, and it was on to the next. The girl I first slept with became my girlfriend for the next 5 years. Even after her, the next couple of girls that I had relations with lasted for a decent time. After a while, sex’s meaning became degraded and eventually I found myself not in a relationship, but with a number of friends with benefits. Each of these hook ups left me feeling empty and unfullfilled. Sure, I was getting my rocks off so to speak, but the emotional side of sex was missing. I then went abstenant for the next 3 years. When I broke out of that situation, the next woman I slept with, became my wife.

If men could only see how sex and emotion are undenyably linked, then we would see a world that has far less problems with sexuality, and the mystery of sex would remain intact.

17 Jeff May 19, 2008 at 5:43 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with this article. I have seen both sides of this issue, and I can tell you that sex is best within the confines of a caring, comitted, relationship.

All of you who espouse the sowing of wild oats have probably never had to deal with the negative consequences of uncomitted sex. Namely, STDs, unwanted pregnancy, and a host of other ills. It is all fun and games until something goes wrong.

Most people are completely unequipped to handle it, when they find out they have been deceived about their lover’s health, abandoned when pregnancy occurs, or any other sexual misadventure.

On the other hand, nothing is better than being with someone you love and trust completely…It one of the things that make life worthwhile…

18 Criffton May 19, 2008 at 5:44 pm

From a Catholic / traditional Christian point of view, celibacy is no sex, chastity is two different things.

Applying reason to your sexuality, and living with it in accordance to your condition in life. Being chaste for an unmarried man and a married man are different, but both are to practice chastity. For unmarried men, chastity is celibacy, and more. For married men, chastity is fidelity (physical and mental), loving your wife, and not using her for sexual pleasure. Sex in marriage isn’t an end unto itself, but a way of deeper union between spouses, coming closer together through pleasure, and most important, the physical incarnating of the love between spouses, children.

B) Controlling your sexuality, not being controlled by it. This illuminates the freedom that comes with chastity, you are in control. Being unchaste is like being an alcoholic, you are a slave to the vice.

Also, the school of thought of utilitarianism is a big thing to avoid. It says that all things can be used to bring oneself the greatest security/happiness/pleasure, just so long as you don’t hurt others. This is the fundamental school of thought that lead to the sexual revolution. It is the “consenting adults” standard for what it seen as legit sex.

However, it is never right to just use another person without a consideration for their personhood, especially in a sexual way.

There is an excellent book on this by the Polish philosopher/ethicist/cleric Karol Wojtyła (Pope John Paul II).

19 Frank Billati May 19, 2008 at 8:08 pm

MEN?!?! Women do this too guy.. The blame does NOT solely rest on men.. I’m a man trying to find a decent woman in which to build something with. The past two women who I’ve dated came close to virtually insisting on sex within the first two days of dating.

Call me old fashion, but I like to kinda get to know a woman and see if she’s right or hopeful with me before I sex her up.

The blame for this behavior works both ways, and lies on both sides of the fence.. Fix your wording so you don’t come off so insulting to the men and women who actually try.

20 george May 19, 2008 at 8:09 pm

First of all, you obviously are coming from a certain background that sanctifies sex and marriage and all of those good golden things.

You are telling us what we should, and should not do, believe, say, think, or do. I have one profound question that I need you to answer thoroughly, and that is “why?”.

21 Ben May 19, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Great article.

Your Own Man: I’m afraid your parents don’t really form a very persuasive argument on their own. Unhappy marriages and divorces are certainly very common today, but I think that’s largely because people have gotten a lot lazier and have started to feel more entitled.

Everyone seems to think that if they aren’t constantly ecstatic, they’ve made a mistake in their career or marriage. Perhaps one is not entitled to a perpetual state of pleasure.

I also think people make idiotic choices as far as mates go – branding themselves and looking for someone that shares their “lifestyle.” Sharing a favourite band with someone does not make you compatible, nor does sharing a political conviction.

Lastly, for someone who repeatedly makes reference to modern times, you sound like someone who is poorly acquainted with and regrettably naive concerning said times, namely a baby boomer or second-year college student.

Thanks, nonetheless, for responding intelligently and not just saying “VIRGIN!”

22 Pierce May 19, 2008 at 8:13 pm

I am soooo glad I got to have wild, uncontrolled, sex as a college student. I enjoyed it so much and can only recommend it to every guy. At least one new girl a week… sometimes 2 girls in one night. Sharing hotties with my buds, getting quickies in the bathroom, sneaking into the all girls dorm and then spending the entire night in bout after bout of hot sex with one of several girls I knew would be available. Getting to do it with asian girls, jewish girls, black girls, white girls, latinas, eurpoeans… that was the life!
On the down side I had to deal with one abortion, one bout with chlamydia, 2 with crabs and one with scabies. On the balance, well worth it.

23 Brett McKay May 19, 2008 at 8:18 pm

@Frank-I know that women do this too. This site is directed at men. It wouldn’t make sense to give advice about what women should do on a site with mostly male readers.

@George-I believe I gave 3 very compelling reasons on “why.”

24 Pierce May 19, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Oh, and as someone who fully indulged in a hedonistic life (not drugs though, just not my thing) and was a voracious consumer of porn as well I have been happily married for 11 years, have never cheated on my wife (who was not nearly as wild as I was) and have mostly lost the urge to view porn. As I jokingly tell her, she gets to benefit from my vast experience and our sex life is awesome!
I say go for it! Sex is fun and healthy. Experiment a bit, be safe (you can avoid many of the pitfalls with some precautions) and learn what you can about pleasing another person. Your life will be richer for it!

25 Ian May 19, 2008 at 8:28 pm

“I then went abstenant for the next 3 years.”

Woah. Did you still find yourself in social situations that lead to sex? i.e. did you have to lock yourself away from provocatively dressed women with sex on their mind (see clubs/bars in any city)?

Damn. Thats very impressive. Does abstenance include no masturbation? :-s Talk about detox.

26 Jess May 19, 2008 at 8:30 pm

“Casual Sex Disrespects Women.”

This statement is disrespectful to women.

27 Azrael May 19, 2008 at 8:31 pm

You know, I find sex and food to be very similar. There are many people who will say that sex should only be used in the context of a relationship, for the purposes of nurturing the relationship, or childbirth. Conversely, we eat to provide our bodies with nutrients and keep ourselves alive. Despite that, our food habits aren’t exactly great, are they? What’s the purpose of cakes and chocolates and sodas and what not? They have very little nutritional content, do more harm to your body than good, and oftentimes are sold in containers that aren’t even environmentally friendly. Why not stick to celery and carrots, and your occasional meats for proteins?

While there are people who live off these kinds of diets, I’m sure a vast majority would tell you that this is very boring and bland. Eat healthy, sure, but don’t be afraid to indulge so long as you do it responsibly. So, why should we treat sex any differently? Because a big thick book written thousands of years ago tells us to?

Yes, sex can be very meaningful and special and emotional bonds and all that. But it can be an indulgence as well. Why shouldn’t it be? The author of this article acknowledges that there are both men and women who are looking for these types of indulgences. If they hook up with each other, then that’s the best fit. When you have a woman or a man getting burned because they weren’t on the same page concerning the relationship, that’s a lack of communication, and not the fault of the sexual encounter.

On a related note, I knew a lot of women in university who wanted to have purely sexual relationships, but didn’t because of the fear of being labeled with a less-than-pleasant colloquialism. Many women did go ahead and engage in the behavior, but then tried to force a relationship out of the situation – when it inevitably failed, they could absolve themselves of guilt by blaming the “playboy” guy.

Finally, the author makes it sound like communication and therapy is the key to all sexual incompatibilities. If that were true, theoretically you could date anyone, with just a little communication and therapy to smooth out the areas where you don’t get along. If two people are on the radical ends of a sexual spectrum, no matter how well they get along in other areas, this will cause a problem. Especially in a society that expects monogamy. I find it odd that, again, sexuality is treated differently than any other problem. If it were another issue where two people were on opposite ends of a spectrum – say, one was the outdoors type and another the indoors type – sure there could be communication and attempts at compromise, but there would also be suggestions of just doing on your own or with someone else, or recognizing the incompatibility and finding a new partner. Yet, these solutions are not recognized or hardly viable for sex.

I just find it odd that sex is treated so differently from other areas of our life. If you wish to cut down on wasteful indulgence, the bedroom is one area, sure, but you may also choose to look towards refridgerators and cupboards as well.

28 Pete May 19, 2008 at 8:32 pm

“I am soooo glad I got to have wild, uncontrolled, sex as a college student. I enjoyed it so much and can only recommend it to every guy.”

“On the down side I had to deal with one abortion, one bout with chlamydia, 2 with crabs and one with scabies. On the balance, well worth it.”

I am amazed that both these quotes could come from the same commenter.

29 Brett McKay May 19, 2008 at 8:36 pm

@Jess-Please note that if you read the whole paragraph I said the same is true for guys. Casual sex disrespects men just as much as it disrespects women. The main subtitle was “Casual Sex Disrespects Women” because this site is directed at men. Were it directed at women, the main subtitle would read “Casual Sex Disrespects Men.” So feel free to sub in “Casual Sex Disrespects Your Partner” when you read it.

When one person is in it for pure pleasure, and the other person thinks you are in it for a relationship, that person is not having their feelings respected.

30 Eric Adint May 19, 2008 at 8:41 pm

I agree, i may not have been a chaste person and, as far as religion goes i was raised a Bhudist. one thing that i know about my self and most spiritual people is that sex should not be taken lightly. I am married and i love my wife, I can say for certain that sex with someone you love and are truly committed to is much better than casual sex, because it means something. In many ways casual sex is like being a heroin adict and emotionally destroying your family while saying, im not hurting anyone else and if it feels good do it. weather we like it or not our actions effect others, even if we are not directly doing anything to them.

31 T. May 19, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Great read!

32 Brett McKay May 19, 2008 at 8:47 pm

@Azrael-Really? If someone is outdoorsy and the other person is not, that is an irreconcilable difference? Someone better alert James Carville and Mary Matalin that their relationship will never work! This is the exact problem I was referring to-the relationship as consumer good. People expect their partner to meet their every whim. It’s unrealistic and selfish. And what exactly does on opposite ends of the sexual spectrum even mean? If one person liked only doing it missionary style and the other enjoyed hard core S&M, I am sure other personality differences would have killed the relationship before it made it to the bedroom.

And your food analogy is quite flawed. I would submit than a predominantly healthy diet with occasional splurges would equal a committed relationship with good sex. A steady diet of junk would equate to a steady diet of casual sex. The latter will bring make you obese and diseased and unhealthy. Any junk food, in any dose, although a reasonable allowance to make, still has zero healthy benefits. The closer you can stick with a healthy diet, the better off you are.

33 Ames May 19, 2008 at 8:52 pm

This is a great post. I wholeheartedly agree: sex is over-cheapened. Whenever I say that, I get pigeonholed as a social conservative, which couldn’t be farther from the truth! I’m very glad you wrote this. I wouldn’t say “save sex ’til marriage,” but I would say “save sex ’til a meaningful relationship is established.” I think more and more people are coming around to that conclusion.

34 Drew May 19, 2008 at 9:07 pm

I think it would be disrespect to not take a woman at her word when she says she is capable of separating her emotions from a casual sexual encounter. Leading someone on is obviously poor form, but to say all casual sex is disrespectful to women is ridiculous.

Where you place yourself along the spectrum from completely anonymous random sexual encounters to emotionally-charged sex within a monogamous relationship is totally up to you, but don’t resist your personal nature. Casual sex is not for everyone and neither are monogamous relationships. Don’t force either one because there is no universally “correct” way to behave sexually; everyone is different.

35 me May 19, 2008 at 9:12 pm

This article is full of bias. I can tell it was written by a woman. Just because you have been wronged does not mean you have to write this article to sway others to try to believe as you wish men would treat you.

If you’re not ready to have sex in a relationship, you’re not experiencing all the person has to offer and in a sense lying to yourself, and your partner, about your compatibility in your relationship.

Do us a favor and do not renew this domain name, you don’t deserve it.

36 Brett May 19, 2008 at 9:15 pm

@Drew-The problem is that most men don’t ask for a women’s word on whether or not she realizes it’s casual sex before they do it. How many guys, looking for a hook-up, say before they do the deed, “Now you do realize this is totally non-committal right?” Instead what happens more often is that one partner actually likes the other person as more than a hook-up, and they go ahead with the hook-up hoping the other person feels the same way. And they get burned when they don’t.

37 Brett May 19, 2008 at 9:17 pm

@Me-Actually this article was written by a woman and a man-my wife and I. And nope I never have been burned. Because I saved sex for a loving and committed relationship.

38 April May 19, 2008 at 9:28 pm

@me: To go along w/ your if-you’re-not-ready argument, if you’re not prepared for the article, why don’t you stop visiting the site?

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been all angsty over the subject covered for a couple of months after I broke up w/ my boyfriend, and this honestly struck home and describes my current situation exactly:

“Even if you can get your jollies from a one night stand, no strings attached, that doesn’t mean your partner feels the same way. While you may be in it for the good time, the woman you hook-up with may develop feelings for you.”

Thank you for taking the time to write this (and w/o having to resort to religious arguments) and I’m glad I read it.

39 No Body May 19, 2008 at 9:48 pm




I know we are not there yet, but it is slowly coming.

THAT IS WHEN THE ANTICHRIST will appear, not when McCain priest asks him to bomb Iran for the Antichrist to come.

40 Felipe May 19, 2008 at 10:01 pm

This article here was NOT written by a guy but rather a girl. I’m sorry but as a guy, you NEED to get your rocks off. If you don’t get it somewhere, you have to get it elsewhere, it’s just natural. So I’m sorry but instead of masturbating by yourself, why not masturbate with someone else. That is the way I see it.

41 Operator May 19, 2008 at 10:13 pm

“Sex is like ice cream. The more flavors you sample, the harder it becomes to settle on one flavor for the rest of you life.�

Your missing an r in ur quote.

Hurrah for upholding chastity and editing standards.

42 Brett May 19, 2008 at 10:15 pm

@Felipe-The idea that a guy couldn’t possibly write a post about chastity is pretty insulting to men. Just because you’re a douche bag, doesn’t mean all men are.

43 ab May 19, 2008 at 10:43 pm

No one who writes about the ills of the hookup culture ever admits the following reality: a guy who tries to invite a college/early 20s something young lady on a date will be rejected so quickly it’ll make his head spin. In fact, the surest way to permanent chastity, and/or never finding a wife is to “Court” or attempt to “date her.”

There’s a reason guys aren’t asking girls on dates any more: because girls have ruined what a date is supposed to be. I’ve tried many times to go on a date with no expectation of sex…. heck, I had the intention of getting to know them.

The universal response “you are just a friend,” “this isn’t a real date because I wouldn’t have sex with you” (when I made no mention of sex), etc etc.

HEck at my school you can’t go on a date unles syou are already having casual sex with them! No girl will accept a date offer (or if they do, they will almost always flake) unless you are already having at least oral sex with them. It’s a sad state of affairs that’s dictated by women.

It’s up to women to respect the value of dating and not treat it like a no-win situation. If they want dating to happen, and for more relationships, they need to be open and willing to such things as younger people. If not, then they need to stop the hypocrisy of stuff like this article and update their rants to the modern world.

44 Peter Payne May 19, 2008 at 10:46 pm

If you don’t sow your wild oats a little, you will be sorry later. Being out of control is one thing (I have been), but getting married when you’ve only slept with 2-3 women would be bad, too. My nephew is saying he’s going to marry his first girlfriend, and we’re all trying to wave him off. But of course, he is in love…

45 Marty May 19, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Dave makes the worst analogy I have ever seen. Who would want to stick to one flavor of ice cream for a whole lifetime?

@ Brett “The problem is that most men don’t ask for a women’s word on whether or not she realizes it’s casual sex before they do it.”

I take it you have done plenty of research about this and are not just assuming for the sake of your own argument? You seem to think that women are unable to communicate their own intentions when engaging in a relationship – sexual or otherwise.

46 Brett May 19, 2008 at 11:01 pm

@Marty-Well from my “research” a lot of hook-ups are done when both parties are intoxicated which makes sincere communication pretty difficult.

47 Marty May 19, 2008 at 11:19 pm

@ Brett – If you are so intoxicated that you can’t even effectively communicate, odds are you are too intoxicated to even have actual sex that you will remember the following morning.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think you underestimate peoples maturity with regards to casual sex – and yes, there is such a thing. Good sex doesn’t have to be built on trust based in love and intimacy. Some of the best sex I’ve had was based on trust between friends – as a favor – with both of us knowing that it was just that. Something a bit more interesting and stress relieving than watching a movie or shooting the breeze over a beer.

I don’t expect to change your mind, but I hope to widen your perspective a little bit. There are other world-views than your own.

48 Dan May 20, 2008 at 12:36 am

It’s funny reading this article with loads of ads for flirting sites etc on it!

49 CD May 20, 2008 at 12:44 am

I like how one individual offers an analogy in a comment/reply to the article and is completely blown off by most people…however, when the author of this ends with the “ice cream” analogy, none of them find any fault in that.

Imagine a world in which every time you tried something…you had to have it exactly the way it was that first time. Exact. That’s what the author is exalting here as an ideal.

The lofted heights that people place sex on are mind boggling at times. Anyways, the entire article is colloquialism and internet-e-pinion spewing at its best.

50 Stef May 20, 2008 at 12:59 am

In my life I’ve been in some good relationships, and some ridiculous ones. What I think I’ve learned over the years, is that sex is about intimacy. It sounds so simple, but it’s so true. Being intimate means displaying a part of your private emotions, sharing something with the other person. Some people can handle this, but some can’t, and there’s unfortunately only one way to find out. Having sex is like sharing a very personal secret. You open up to another person as you would normally only do to a close friend, and you don’t make close friends on one single night, although it might develop into it over time. I don’t mean to preach abstinence untill marriage. Sex should be considered like a part of a very special friendship. You can have many different friends in your life, if you wan’t to, but someone is not a friend on the first night you meet him or her. It takes a little consideration before you give completely in, if not for just a few dates or socialising. What I advocate is a little time of consideration and trying to feel comfortable with your partner. I’m not advocating monogamy, I just want people to communicate, and try not to be or feel abused in any way. Have multiple partners; after all, there is no guarantee that the first one you meet is “the one” for you; but treat each of them with respect and consideration, and expect to be treated the same.
That’s just my opinion.

51 Azrael May 20, 2008 at 1:18 am

@Brett – I don’t think its a matter of expecting your partner to meet your every whim, but rather, the things a person is looking for in a relationship. If the outdoorsy person was looking for significant other with whom to do those outdoors activities with, then obviously dating an indoorsy person would be counter productive. If that outdoors person just wanted a someone special with no particular connection to the outdoors, then the mis-match can work. Or, if he or she decided that this particular partner was worth sacrificing that desire for. I feel that its important for a person to know what they want from a relationship, and work towards obtaining that. No match will ever be 100% perfect, so we decide which areas are the most important to us and choose based on that.

Also, your statement about sexual preferences and personality being linked is just a stereotype. You may be surprised at some of the sexual secrets the people around you may keep. You just never know if the guy at the watercooler is into S&M, or if the friendly neighbors next door are big-time swingers. A lot of people who lead these lifestyles choose to keep it secret because society can be fairly judgmental about it.

And actually, that’s exactly the point I tried to make with the food analogy. The closer a person sticks to a healthy diet, the better. And yet, we don’t, not even close. Junk food has zero health benefits but we still indulge in it. The only reason why is because we enjoy it. Yet, aside from the health guru’s and certain doctors, people aren’t out there decrying candy bars and sodas. No one would look twice at a young, fit, healthy man or woman eating junk. And yet, the people who do indulge in sex purely because we enjoy it are looked down upon and judged. Casual sex may also have zero benefits, but if the people engaging in it can do so responsibly, then what’s the harm?

52 Drew May 20, 2008 at 1:36 am

@Brett: My point is that not all casual sex is disrespectful and not everyone is cut out for relationships. I’ll agree that sex often occurs without any clearly stated intentions and there are two people to blame for that. I’m an open and honest person, so it’s normally pretty obvious or directly stated that I’m not interested in anything beyond a normal friendship and sex, but it’s pretty ridiculous to imply that it’s my responsibility to alert my partner that my life is going to go on as usual afterward. If anyone is truly obligated to issue warnings, I would think it ought to be the presumptuous partner bringing expectations to the table.

ab’s post about “dating” is spot on and I agree with Marty that you have underestimated the maturity of many casual sex partners.

53 Jablonkis Kipriotankis May 20, 2008 at 2:05 am

Oh really? Why don’t you talk about how it is immoral to eat grains that we haven’t lovingly farmed from a local patch of land. Or how we should raise our own live stock and and kill the animals ourselves to gain appreciation to the beauty of life. Perhaps you would like to go into how many men loose out by not building the homes in which they live, thereby forgoing a valuable skill and loosing appreciation for the simpler things in life. Yeah, sorry to break it to you buddy but all that crap just doesn’t fly, and neither does your analogous argument about sex. Frankly sex is every day becoming more and more of a simple commodity traded on the world market, and thats not going to change any time soon.

54 khayman May 20, 2008 at 2:17 am

well, while i found the article a good read i also found it completely void of anything scientific. to me it read like a conservative christian trying not to sound like one. being a scientist (anthropologist) i know that monogomy amoung humans is not how nature intended things. studies have been done to prove that humans aren’t monogomous by nature. furthermore these studies have shown that it’s women that actually instigate the cheating no really it’s true. we’ve found that women want to marry a provider. this someone who can provide a good life for her and the family. this isn’t the person she intends to have children with though. for that she’ll go out and find other men for. now i could go into countless boring details about how this has been proven and whatnot but i won’t. i mean hey, i love it when i have to research something and i always try to treat others how i wish to be treated. also one more unrelated tidbit for the ladies out there. stand up, take charge, and liberate. why? because the reason why breast cancer rates are so high is because women have been forced into a male dominated and male designed career track. it’s been proven that women who have more children younger see huge drops in breast cancer rates. it’s starts at a 50% drop if you have one child before 25 and then continues to drop almost exponentially from there. so well, i hope i did my part to piss a bunch of people off with truth that real media won’t publish. hmmmpf.

55 Alessan May 20, 2008 at 3:29 am

Damn, I hate this kind of posts… What the hell am I doing here anyway?!?

OK, thanks for the ideas from another point of view… Bye, now…

56 Brigid May 20, 2008 at 4:49 am

With regards to khayman’s comment–

Yes, I’ve heard the “scientific” view that monogamy is an unnatural state for humans. I have been involved with religious/occult groups that agree with that, and have lived accordingly. If they get married, it’s OK if either partner goes out and plays the field. And over the years, each one of those arrangements blew up, causing emotional damage to the original partners, their kids, and most of those who were sexually involved with either partner. I’m sorry–I know what biologists say, but I see no empirical evidence that perpetually keeping one’s options open in a relationship actually has any benefit. There is an emotional component that goes beyond reproduction, or even sexual/hormonal desire.

I think this was a great post. I commented in my own blog last year about Ariel Levy’s book “Female Chauvinist Pigs”, which addresses women’s ideas of sexuality in a post-feminist society. She comments, rather appropriately, that society sends a double message to girls–one is that you have to be sexy and desirable to be valuable. The other is not to have sex because it’s bad. Has there been any attempt in recent years to reconcile the reality of hormonal desire to actual love and respect in a relationship?

57 Rene May 20, 2008 at 6:06 am

I don’t understand how you can talk about casual sex without bringing up disease. With thirty to fifty percent of the hookup population carrying dangerous and sometimes lifelong STDs (herpes, HPV etc.) your chances of making yourself ill are astronomically high. These infections are linked to a host of serious illnesses along with the ‘ordinary’ symptoms. When you have sex with someone there are two things nature wants to accomplish: reproduction and transmission. Regardless of your rationale for having sex, the physical universe is busy making sure that certain things happen to you if you engage in sex. If you engage in serial sex with a host of partners, the universe has plans for you – as a viral compound.

58 Brandon May 20, 2008 at 6:27 am

This is just one of the greatest websites on the internet. This article was fantastic and so are so many of the other articles. Keep doing what you’re doing.

59 Clever Guy May 20, 2008 at 7:01 am

Benjamin Franklin wasn’t chaste! He was a womanizer!

60 Brett McKay May 20, 2008 at 9:07 am

@Marty-I guess my point is that I think sex should be something more special than an alternative to movie night. I think there’s something to be said that when making love to your beloved you know you have only shared this experience with her, or a few others. But I know we won’t agree on this. I do appreciate, however, you sharing a different perspective, outside my worldview, in a reasonable manner.

@Khayman-Monogamy doesn’t exist in the natural world-so what? Computers, houses, cars, and a whole host of stuff doesn’t exist outside of humankind either. Should we not go to college because no squirrel has ever graduated from one? The idea of evolution is that we have progressed into the most complex beings of all the animal world. Unlike the beasts, we don’t have to give in to any natural urge. We have rational minds that can make decisions based on things like love and respect.

@Rene-I didn’t bring up STD’s because I feel like they already get a ton of play and most people are aware of them. The theoretical side of why to avoid casual sex does not get discussed as often. But you are right, STD’s and pregnancy are very valid reasons on their own. I was just reading in my Men’s Health about how STD’s like Herpes can even be transmitted through deep kissing. Yuck.

61 cliff May 20, 2008 at 9:11 am


“We propose that manly sexuality shouldn’t be about the number of women a man beds…”

To have any chance at all for your idea to succeed, YOU need to realize that Human bodies aren’t designed to fit the idea. Our bodies have had 5 million+ years of development, and the end result is that our bodies try to be semi-monogamous. Men’s bodies tend to want to have offspring with more than one woman. Woman’s bodies also want to do the same, but probably not with as many different partners as men do.

If you explain these facts to those you are trying to reach, it will help them understand why they intellectually WANT to abstain ’til they’re married, and WANT to be monogamous, and why it is so difficult. They will intellectually understand that their PHYSICAL cravings for sex, and sex with different people, are normal.

For your ideas to work, people’s minds will have to FIGHT their bodies, which is very, very difficult to do. MOST of the time, with deep-seated biological demands, like for sex, the biological demands wins out over their intellectual logical decisions. ONLY by explaining the facts, and giving them lots of examples, will they have a chance to overrule their bodies with their minds.

There are many good reasons to wait for sex, and to be monogamous, but it won’t happen if we don’t face up to the facts of our biological destinies.


62 Andrew Zimmerman May 20, 2008 at 9:55 am

I wonder how many men would want to marry a woman who was wilder than they were, and benefit from her experience, and know that they were being compared to their wife’s past. Good luck measuring up.

63 jason May 20, 2008 at 10:50 am

@ab: you are totally right. The world of courting is long gone for better and worse. Trying to ask girls out for dates does guarantee that you will never get them. The thing is, the responsibility for the existence of the current hook up culture is due to girls/women. The truth is, the only guys trying to date in college these days are losers that even other loser chicks are unattracted to.

64 Cameron May 20, 2008 at 11:24 am

@brigid: you asked the question “Has there been any attempt in recent years to reconcile the reality of hormonal desire to actual love and respect in a relationship?”

National Geographic had an article about the hormonal differences within the body between the initial passionate love a person feels and the bond of a long relationship. here’s the link:

i don’t know if that answers the question you were asking, but it’s an interesting article nonetheless.

65 Sex man May 20, 2008 at 11:41 am

I have to agree with the anthropologist. There’s a a lot of supposition here but little substance. For example you assume that the woman is being used in a one night stand. I heard from students on many occasion that it was the woman who was out for the joy and wanted nothing further to do with the guy the next day. Also what about mutuality? You never allow for the possibility that two people can chose to come together in a sexual union and amicably part with the possibility of a future hook up or not.

There are also not stats to back up your statement of how common this is. I heard the same argument in the 80′s and yet people are still dating today. I see them in the movies, in the restaurants, at the fairs, etc. Also most women I talk to say they do not just go with a guy to have sex without some kind of relationship first. Before you say I contradict myself let me say that the one night stands mentioned above are rare and usually with someone they know.

I also find your definition of chastity to be sorely lacking. We’ve seen the studies that show “christian” teens who take a purity pledge yet engage in anal and oral sex. True chastity is not just about behavior but attitude as well. It’s not just about sex but how one carries oneself , dresses, talks, places they go and kinds of things they surround themselves with. Back in the day it wasn’t just being a virgin that was important but acting like one and presenting like one as well. Your focus on PVI (penis vagina intercourse) as the indicator of sex has grossly limited your argument.

But hey that’s just my opinion…I could be right.

66 Ben May 20, 2008 at 1:16 pm

You neglected to mention an important point. Marital relations are an aspect of life not confined to the bedroom. The relative modesty of how they are carried out, bears a strong impact on the strength of the civilization. History has borne the truth out: civilizations with a strong family unit endure. Licentious, adulterous nations fall.

67 Nate May 20, 2008 at 2:12 pm

I’m a fan of this article.

I think the vehement dissenters simply don’t want to be told that they’re doing something that is frowned upon by others. That’s really what this boils down to. But when you’re living a lifestyle contrary to the popular mainstream of society (in my case, saving sex for marriage with the girl I’m currently courting–and, I plan to ask her father for her hand, haha! I’m so against-the-grain) you get used to people laughing at you for being different.

In short, people who don’t agree with this post… welcome to the world where you can’t have everything you want and get of scot-free. It’s called reality.

68 Amy May 20, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I’m not sure if you noticed, but you said sex “pops up in every nook and cranny”.

Great article. I think the only thing more deleterious to a good sexual relationship than no experience is experience.

69 Amy May 20, 2008 at 2:37 pm

also, i have noticed a lot of commenters venerating the wisdom of the human body in it’s indication to procreate with many partners. i don’t know where you folks got the idea that your bodies’ base urges are a good foundation for decision-making, but you might want to consider the unfortunate outcomes of indulging other animal inclinations. perhaps eating nothing but Super Value Meals floats your boat; is it wise to cast caution to the wind? until you weigh three million pounds? what about when your baby has been screaming and you want to give him a good hard shake to shut him up? we all know discipline ultimately brings the most satisfying rewards; to exclude sexual behavior from that basic law displays poor reasoning.

for those of you who are inclined to let your neurotransmitters call the shots, you might want to switch from sex to heroin. less emotional risk, better high.

also, for those whose comments are particularly brazen and disrespectful (you know who you are), i hope you are as honest with your potential sexual partners as you are when commenting here.

70 Brett May 20, 2008 at 3:10 pm

@Amy-Your comments: pure awesomeness. You very succinctly got to heart of exactly what I have been thinking reading these comments.

71 Fry May 20, 2008 at 3:47 pm

It’s nice to know that some random guy with a fixation for the post-victorian, american west, idea of propriety is going to dispense “wisdom” unaffected by sexual psychology or secular thought. This website is just more social conservatives masturbating to John Wayne while declaring that this is the only way to be a man. I’m sorry but your idea of manhood and sexual ethics belong in the Fundamentalist community or the Fifties. or better yet why don’t you put them back where you got this absurd idea of “manliness”, in Victorian fiction and christian-temperance tracts.

72 Livid Lady May 20, 2008 at 5:15 pm

In reading, many good suggestions and debates have spawned about many of the angles, but I’ve yet to see what an unbrainwashed woman thinks.

I lost my virginity at 15 to a guy I knew for about 3 months. We did homework together and hung out for those three months before we has vaginal intercourse, but we were very vocal about neither one of us had a sexual experience. between he and I, we learned many things about the opposite gender. He learned that women fart, crap, burp, stink, and aren’t as perfect as your average super model.

I learned that men can communicate, show emotion, and display what they are feeling without having a predetermined set of standards to follow.

He and I were together for a year and a half when he started to cheat on me. Of course, my first reaction to this was “What am I doing wrong?”. I know this was spawned from my upbringing by my grandparents about a woman’s place in relationships. Now, I know that isn’t really how many relationships work these days, but I was obviously young and undereducated about sexual relation growing up in a Christian house hold. I find later on that he had been cheating on me because he wanted to know what sex with someone else was like, but not because I had failed to perform or failed to communicate. It was his curiousity.

Admittedly, after that relationship, I found a few casual sexual partners. Some I was active with for a few months, several were one nighters. By this time, I had been with roughly 15 sexual partners by the age of 17.

Through those experiences, I had learned what some guys liked and many were vocal if you were “doing it wrong”. I felt hesitant to inform my partner when he was doing it wrong and that led to many misunderstandings. They were eventually worked out, but usually we both were to blame and accepted that.

The last few relationships I had before my current were what I felt were the fine tunings on what I want and a way for me to develop and define what I enjoyed sexually. These relations ships lasted for many months with each partner and only one I regret not talking more indepth to.

When I met my future spouse, it was at a local coffee shop that I had been known to frequent. He was wearing some eclectic clothing and I found it so amusing I had to talk to him. After some coffee, we went back to my place and we talked about what both of us were looking for in a relationship. Both of us were tired of looking for someone from previous bad experiences and piss poor communication.

Well, we had sex and I could tell he was less experienced and he could tell I was more experienced. Knowing this, he asked me to show him what I like and it shocked me that he cared. It was the first time someone had vocalized their interest in my gratification.

Over the next few months, we saw each other more frequently. I had a few personal emergencies and he was accepting of them and even helped. And all because we could talk to each other. But before you start spouting that it should have come before, we have both enjoyed learned more about each other during our four years and satisfying our physical needs as well.

I can say that the few virgins I had been with were nothing I wanted in a long term relationship. That was one of the few important things. I didn’t want someone who worshiped sex and decided to wait until marriage. My first time hurt and was extremely lame compared to others I had been with. And being with a virgin was depressing to me. It made me fee like we both had to work harder at making him better.

Now, you could theorize that if I had waited then we could have worked it out and explored each other together, but with everyone striving to be independent and self-sufficient, it would be unrealistic to me in my life to have to go through that.

It was liberating to lose my virginity. It was liberating to have sex with men. And still is. And my future spouse couldn’t be happier with us. We both love talking till the wee hours of the morning and learning more about each other. It may be a unique relationship, but the idea of pre-marital sex doesn’t sound so comforting when sex is an important role in any long term relationship.

I guess to use the mentioned ice-cream analogy, I’ll say this about myself.

I’ve tried many flavors. Some were vanilla, some were too exotic. There were some with nuts and a few with fruit. Without trying different flavors, how would I have ever found my favorite? If I had only eaten vanilla ice-cream from the begining and never deviated, I would then assume that this is what all ice-cream is and make it my favorite based on the only flavor provided. But this isn’t the case. You have to try a few flavors before you find the one that tickles your tongue. And by sampling other flavors, you are bound to find a lot you don’t/didn’t like along the way to discovery.

And I’m not knocking those who’s favorite ice-cream is vanilla. It’s personal choice as is your opnion on manliness. Even though I’m not an advocate of the article, it gives you the insight into someone who doesn’t share your same feelings or views. And you should respect that. I know I didn’t read “Do this m y way or you fail at life and being a man.” If I had, there would be a few hundred comments from all over the internet in less intelligent responses.

Thank you for taking the time to explain why you chose to wait. I respect that, but also understand that by writing something like this, you are inviting anyone who isn’t you to voice their opinions. And sometimes rather loudly.

73 Gus May 20, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Did you know that many animals, parrots for instance, are monogamous. We can most certainly expect more from human beings -unless you want to be compared to a dog.

74 William Shears May 20, 2008 at 7:14 pm


If you listen to your body’s urges you are going to be eating well.

The great thing about moderation is it makes you a better person than abstaining. One is far easier than the other.

This whole post is full of useless metaphors and doesn’t even discuss the virtue as it relates to old Bennie. You mention it once and don’t tear apart his explanation.

Also, most of your virtue posts make it seem like your view of the world is formed by the OC and the Real World.

75 Liz F May 21, 2008 at 8:52 am

While I definitely agree with the thoughts expressed in this post, I don’t think it has to be so long and drawn out.

Here is a more short and sweet reason for not having pre-marital sex: God said not to do it….so don’t do it.

But most will anyways, because they cannot put aside their stubborn “want-to’s” or the traditions of the time and listen to the guidance our Creator has given in his Holy Word.

76 Amy May 21, 2008 at 3:17 pm


I agree that if you listen to the full range of your body’s communications you will discover that eating well is most enjoyable, as is sex in the context of a committed-for-life relationship. I, myself, eat extremely well, avoiding sugar and animal products and eating more green vegetables than a cow. I also married as a virgin.

As a kid, I pretty much ate pop-tarts and microwave quesadillas. That was my instinct. I also got tingly in my girl-parts when I saw pictures of Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Using sex as a method to attempt physical gratification is childish and ultimately, I believe, the costs outweigh the benefits. Same with the pop-tarts. I can see the appeal, but, people, grow up.

77 @Stephen May 21, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Cheap sex is demeaning to men too.

78 SteveC May 21, 2008 at 5:54 pm

I think the worst things that has been endemic of recent times is that noxious idea of “friends with benefits”. I run from women who bring that up.

79 Amy D. May 21, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Chastity is not a good thing. Denying yourself one of life greatest pleasures, sex, is doing yourself a disservice. You should be responsible about it and you should partner with people who are equally responsible. Doing it with someone you love DOES enhance the experience but don’t short sell the thrill of a one night stand as that can be mind numbingly satisfying in its own right.

On another note, from the tone of many of the “save it for a committed relationship” comments I suspect the real impetus for taking this attitude is a religious one. If your religion forbids casual sex then don’t do it. For those of us who are not bound by such beliefs, don’t deny your body one of life’s greatest gifts. Have good, safe sex, be considerate of your partner and revel in the joy of what your body can experience.

Personally I had 30 partners before finally settling down and getting married and I am better for it.

80 Amy STD May 21, 2008 at 8:27 pm

@ Amy,

You are missing the whole point of the article at hand:

Our society has mislead you to believe that “free and unrestricted” sex is the way to be “Cool” and in the “in” crowd. Im sure you’ve reaped many benifets from getting your beef curtains pounded over and over again, and I have no doubt that you were “safe” about it. But the point still stands, We are human, vastly different in many ways from our animal cousins, especaily when it comes to sex. I would bet you that the majority of men would not enjoy being with a woman that has had 30 partners (is your husband even aware of that fact?), and the minority that would enjoy it would not be the kind of man that you would want to support you anyways. Im not saying that eveyone should be perfect, and I myself have had sex before I was married. The idea of throwing yourself around to many different people is the problem and what is portrayed to our youth today. That mentality that you defend is turning our populace into a society without morals (and im not speaking on religious terms). Besides, what could you have been doing with all that time you were getting your brains screwed out? Getting an education, or bettering yourself? Or how bout not giving people the impresion that you are a flimsy whore? You’d be surprised what a network of people (lets say, for example, a workplace) can find out. Boning 30 people in your hay day might have been fun for 2 minutes at a time, but reality will slap you hard when your life is adversly affected by the those same decisions.

81 John Wayne May 22, 2008 at 10:51 am


I have two questions.

1) Why is it such a bad thing to uphold the values that our fathers and grandfathers held?

2) What should a man be like in your opinion in today’s society?

And yes my name is really John Wayne….my father decided to name me after an actor who stood for many of the ideals supported on this website and I am damn proud of it too.

82 Fry May 22, 2008 at 2:16 pm

1. They are no the values of my grandfathers. Not to mention that those values were based on the times and information at hand. As our experience and knowledge grows then so does our ability to assess value.

2. There is no one definition of what a man should be like. That is the problem here. you are using this victorian idea of gender roles to say “This is the only way to be a man”. It disgusts me. It’s narrow, xenophobic, and absurd. If you want to be a man like that and follow that specific culture then more power to you, but don’t impune anyone else’s manhood for living their lives the best way they see fit.

This whole site reeks of John Wayne’s problem. He was a draft dodger, a rich snob, and as much as a hollywood club hopper as the next movie-star. He felt guilt his whole life over the fear that he wasn’t manly. That’s why he devoted his life to bad films (isn’t it lucky for his success that most stars had been drafted) and authoritarian politicians so he could appear rough and brave. He was a hypocrite and too scared to come to terms with his own lifestyle, there is nothing worth admiring about him.

83 JamesK May 22, 2008 at 2:44 pm

The problem is that this site is based around a narrow and outdated notion of gender roles. This site is trying to say that there is only one way a man should behave and it’s this idea I pulled out of watching westerns while reading Kipling. Gender roles are antiquated notions from the ignorant past, there is no specific way a man should behave.

Then we get into this religious moralizing about sex that out and out lies. Cheap sex is not crappy sex for everyone. Having multiple partners will no ruin monogamous sex for most people. This is what you get when you deal in shady absolutes, you get exposed as a liar.

Then we have the comments filled with Jesus-Freaks and a woman who calls someone who enjoys sex a whore. I thought america had purged itself of such inane puritanical ideology during prohibition. Again, if you deal in absolutes with no reasoning or science behind it all you are doing is lying through your teeth based on your own limited sexual experience.

So until the author is a degreed sexologist or allows competing views to be present all we have is some rural minded christian who thinks there is such a thing as an “american culture” preaching about how you should save it for Jesus…whoops, I meant marriage.

84 Kate McKay May 22, 2008 at 4:42 pm

@James K.

“So until the author is a degreed sexologist or allows competing views to be present……..”

Ummm, what would you call the comment section? You know the part where douche bags like you get to say your piece?

85 JamesK May 22, 2008 at 5:00 pm

@Kate McKay

Ah yes, the classic retort of douchebag. You completely disassembled my argument with reason, logic, and fact. Good job, you are a credit to your race/religion/nation. Though next time at least keep me in suspense before dropping such a well reasoned bomb.

Oh, and the comments are just that, comments. I was referring to an article on the site with opposing views.

86 Kate McKay May 22, 2008 at 5:16 pm

@James K-There was no point in taking on your argument. Enough has already been said one both sides. I was merely addressing your complaint that both sides aren’t presented. Perhaps you aren’t familiar with the concept of a blog. Allow me to educate you-on a blog a person typically presents their opinion, and then in the comments section people are free to agree, disagree, and present counterarguments. It’s a forum. This is an opinion piece, not an entry in a textbook, and thus presents only one side on an issue. I hope you never open a newspaper; the Op-Ed section would give you fits.

And the “douche bag” wasn’t a retort. I simply don’t know how else to label someone who is so insecure in his arguments he must resort to exaggerated language and rail against the absence of logic and science and yet not include any himself.

87 JamesK May 22, 2008 at 5:44 pm

I detailed my logic. The author is drawing only from anecdotal evidence and their own sexual history. That is not how to evaluate a psychological topic. It’s discussion on the porch quality, but instead of admitting limited knowledge the author speaks in universals. My second point of logic, when you deal in universals you will be called out on exceptions and it makes your claims false. My language is flamboyant, theirs is absolute. If you would like I can also include links that contain testimony and psychological studies pointing to individuals who have had robust sexual encounters and have not fallen prey to any of the author’s bogeymen.

Also, I wouldn’t toss around the word insecure on a site whose purpose seems to be telling other people their not manly, but they can teach you to be.

88 Leah McChesney May 22, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Found your blog, what a refreshing find. Will be sharing this with many that I know.

89 Karl Fergins May 23, 2008 at 12:16 am

Seems like someone didn’t get any at community college.

90 Kel May 23, 2008 at 8:51 pm

Another dubious non-theological aspect of promiscuity is the resources aspiring ‘Don Juans’ expend at bars, fighting, bench-pressing, and all other ‘signaling’ methods embraced to garner attention from women. In my humble opinion the resources young guys spend performing these tasks is extremely irrational from an economic perspective. This even applies to those who place an astronomical value on sex , since the hook-up culture referred to in the blog evolves from keg-stands to
ostentatious displays of wealth as individuals age, so those young men who choose not to invest in human capital end up celibate or with increasingly less desirable partners as time progresses, because of their low earning potential

91 SteveC May 24, 2008 at 6:58 am

JamesK, I’m always curious why people like you with their smarmy little attitude bother to post a comment at a site that seems to be so beneath you. You’re just oozing with puss-filled beta-male insecurity.

92 Rich May 24, 2008 at 8:00 am

“The problem is that this site is based around a narrow and outdated notion of gender roles. This site is trying to say that there is only one way a man should behave and it’s this idea I pulled out of watching westerns while reading Kipling.”

@JamesK — There’s a whole world of blogs, TV shows, movies and other media promoting the viewpoints of promiscuousness, metrosexualism, ungodliness, irrisponsibility and indifference. If that’s the life you want, go for it. We’re not stopping you. Just let us live the way we want to as well.

@the McKays — Keep it up

93 Michael May 24, 2008 at 10:19 am

Phenomenal post. I couldn’t agree more. Our culture needs a revolution… and people have no clue, nor do they care, of or about the current state of things.

It’s a broken, broken world – it’s awesome to see some Truth once in a while.

94 arkanabar t'verrick ilarsadin May 24, 2008 at 11:06 am

Chastity is moral sexuality. All people are called to chastity. As I happen to be married (lucky me!), sexual encounters with my wife are moral and thus chaste.

I’m not merely against extramarital sex, I’m against dating and going steady. Wind sprints and up-downs are practice drills for football. Batting cages and fielding practice are practice drills for baseball. Suicides and free throws are practice drills for basketball.

Going steady is a practice drill for divorce. Divorce is NEVER harmless. In the very best of situations, it is merely the least of all evils.

If you’re not courting, your social engagements with the opposite sex should be in group settings.

Sex always involves communication. One thing it always says is, “I give myself completely, entirely, and wholly to you.” This is only truly mutually beneficial when it is true. If you give yourself completely, entirely, and wholly to somebody else later on, then it’s a lie to BOTH partners and yourself. That is the true dishonesty of hooking up (the truth is, I’m not all yours) and contraception (all of me is yours, except for fertility).

So what if hook ups are popular? Vomitoriums were popular in Rome, as was the practice of abandoning infants of an undesirable gender. Not long ago, sooty smokestacks were popular, because they were a sign of progress. More recently, so was smoking. A thing does not become a good just because it’s popular.

So what if people can’t live up to the ideal of chastity? Heck, people don’t even all live up to the ideals of avoiding theft and murder. Do we then suggest that there’s not much point in telling people not to kill and steal, because you can’t stop the ones who want to do it? Self-control and discipline are good things in any arena.

Really, what kind of freedom is it when what you pursue enslaves you?

95 I Am An Evil Taco May 24, 2008 at 6:02 pm

I have to disagree. I did my thing for quite a bit of time, and when I got married I was comfortable in that I had done everything there was to do, for me. I got it out of my system.

By contrast, my wife was chaste and had only been with like 3 guys. She got curious, because she hadn’t been with many, and cheated on me. Now we’re divorced.

As a side note, I challenge you to tell me Cassanova was not one of the manliest human beings alive.

96 Joanie May 25, 2008 at 10:29 am

Nice post! A few points:
This idea that chastity is somehow unnatural for men is strange. It assumes that a male is essentially an irrational conduit of his penis and that he must follow its guidance if possible. I think some men might take issue with that! As several commenters have pointed out, just because you have the urge doesn’t make it advantageous or ‘right’ in some deep biological sense. Your sperm might reach lots of ladies while you as an individual might die/become diseased in the process – nature doesn’t care – but you might! I wouldn’t rely on biological imperatives for individual moral guidance.

I also find it interesting that the ‘natural promiscuity argument’ tends to emphasize the glories of male promiscuity. Talk to any man who’s discovered his wife has been cheating on him (and this is increasingly common). If nature hates monogamy so much, why aren’t they guys cool with it when their woman cheats? Why aren’t they encouraging it – just for variety’s sake?

Sure, sometimes sex is just a thrill between near-strangers but for those who’ve had great sex, it gets real depth and power in a committed relationship. The kind of desire that can span a stream of arguments, the details of daily life, and waning physical beauty is more than the thrill of conquest. It is the intense, immediate knowledge that someone who actually knows you – the imperfect and incomplete you – wants you specifically. There is no greater ‘yes’!

97 frgough May 27, 2008 at 9:23 am

Many times, the best judge of something can be learned from those who rail against it. A good post in many ways.

A man bridles his passions and controls them. An animal acts out his passions.

I choose to be a man.

98 itsnobody May 27, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Everyone knows that ALL girls want and enjoy sex…its a biological fact…the reason things are like this now is because women want it that way and ENJOY casual sex….

99 nick May 27, 2008 at 8:10 pm

I thought this article was very good but something needs to discussed a bit more and that is love. It was mentioned in the original article a few times but never defined or seriously discussed. Those who promoted the promiscuous point of view never mentioned it or talked about it except to say that they thought you could be promiscuous and then transition to monogamy no problem.

The big problem as I see it is that being unchaste makes you the type of person who finds true love repulsive. So what is true love? St. Thomas Aquinas points out that the pagan Aristotle perceived two kinds of love. The first kind of love (which I will call desire) is the love of something because of what it gives us. I love good food because it tastes good and makes me feel good. The second kind of love (which I will simply call love) is when we love something for it’s own sake and not for what it gives us – and this is the starting point of friendship.

If you really love someone though you don’t just wish them well, you actually give of yourself for the sake of their own true happiness. How much you love is measured by how much you give.

This points to the problem of lust and why being unchaste makes love repulsive. Several people have brought up the idea of needing to find out if they’re “sexual compatible” with the other person, that they learned some really neat sex tricks from other partners or porn, that wide-oats need to be sowed, etc. The problem with all of these is that it’s all about providing pleasure, ultimately for yourself. Even the people who want to provide pleasure to their partner get a great deal of pleasure from the pride of “performing well” and from the gratitude that they receive. But none of these things involve sacrifice. None of these things involve giving up what you have for the good of another.

The problem with promiscuity is that something can create a new life and unite two people together in an intimate way that involves (at least) two people and uses it for one’s own person pleasure. That’s called being selfish. And that is why unchastity is not manly. Because men think of others before themselves. And men who are great lovers reserve their first thoughts for the beloved. And people who think like that and love like that give their bodies totally to the one whom they have already totally committed their lives.

100 R June 7, 2008 at 5:36 am

Funny, all the armchair psychologists trying to read your mind – you got burned in a relationship. You also “didn’t get any at community college.”

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