I have a new article up at NewEvangelizers.com.
A few months ago I was speaking to a friend of mine regarding how we teach chastity to our young people. The frustration she shared with me was that the entire burden of chastity seemed to fall on the women. They were expected to be the guardians of virtue and purity while men escaped much of the focus. If a woman is thought to have loose sexual values, she is excoriated and ostracized by a good number of men and women. If a man is thought to have loose sexual values, there is a lot of eye-rolling and tsk-tsking, but there is an underlying sense of, “Well, that’s just how guys are. Boys will be boys.”
I remember an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry asked Elaine if she preferred to be on a certain side when engaging in romantic activity. She said, “Women don’t have sides. We just play defense.” The expectation being that the man is expected to be the initiator of sexual activity and it is the job of the woman to slow that activity down. A female student once summed up the thinking this way (she said she got this from Facebook), “A lock that can be opened by any key is a bad lock. But a key that can open any lock is a master key.”
I believe that my friend had a point regarding how we teach chastity to men. The impression I have (which may be much different than your experience), is that we emphasize sexual responsibility with our young ladies with great gravity. This is not unreasonable seeing as how women bear so much of the tangible consequences of sex, especially pregnancy. But with men my impression is that we talk about it, but not with nearly the same sense of gravity.
I know that I am over-generalizing. There are some fantastic speakers out there now who are speaking about the destructive power things like pornography have on the male soul. But as a culture, we have not taken a firm stance.
I am not advocating we let women off the hook. They are called to be heroically chaste in our society. But so are men. Chastity is not an either/or virtue when it comes to the sexes. It is both. It only works when they work together. That is why chastity is like a waltz.
I am far from an expert, but I took waltz lessons right before a wedding. What struck me about it was that it required a very clear understanding of the rules and the steps, good communication between the partners, and above all keeping in time together. The dance would not have worked if only one of us followed the rules. We needed to work together.
I think that this is a very good model for chastity.
You can read the entire article here.