Chastity also known as the state of being Chaste.
For those who struggle with this somewhat archaic definition what we are really talking about here is abstaining from all forms of sexual intercourse. To put it simply NO SEX.
Let’s get this out of the way first both genders can be chaste. All the Abrahamic religions reserve sex for marriage only. Many of the Eastern religions include cloistered monasteries, vows of chastity and view marriage as sacred. There are varying degrees to which all of the different religions define, preach and act on Chastity within society.
It is a rare man today, who wants to date a chaste woman. It is a rare woman today who
makes it out of her teens a virgin. Do we have two-caste system, a double standard? Women who are datable and women who are marriageable? Haven’t we advanced beyond the Victorian Age where “good” women were presumed to have no sexual desires? It does make you wonder why we laud the man famous for his promiscuity while still demanding women retain their purity.
Slut, horrifying word when applied to young girls beginning to express themselves and define whom they will be in the future. Chastity stripped by acts of violence, does this count against you? I have often
wondered whether rape and loss of that all-important proof of virginity is the only consideration for being unchaste. From the age of 11 to 15, my classmates hung Slut around my neck as a Scarlet Letter, not because I had earned it by my acts but because others stripped me of my Virginity in a brutal and senseless act and there was no adult to defend me.
Did this make me unchaste?
My peers defined me in my formative years my first marriage at 15, thereafter. Though my much older husband knew the circumstances of my lost hymen, he blamed me anyway. His anger resulted in closed fists and harsh words leaving scars I carry even today. That I entered our marriage lacking said proof of chastity, made me less in his eyes, made me untrustworthy. Despite the circumstances of my loss, I was branded with Slut across my forehead in neon red, on this he and my mother agreed though they had never met.
Am I a Slut because I am normal and have pursued normal sexual relationships whether within marriage or not? Does any society have the right to judge me, especially if I do not agree to the labeling based on a set of religious / societal rules I do not subscribe to? I am nearly in my mid-fifties; I have had more than one husband and certainly a couple of other partners worthy to share my bed over the course of my lifetime. My Chastity is comfortably compromised, or is it?
How should I really judge myself against what I consider an archaic definition of the Virtue of Chastity? I know that I am a woman integrity, I have remained true to the vows and promises I have made to each partner I have had over my lifetime. That I have taken a different route and chosen different paths no dispute. The struggle to define Chastity as a Virtue in terms that make sense to me, as a woman though, that remains an open question.
Having not concluded my search for answers, I will continue the pursuit of the Virtue of Chastity for the twenty-first century woman tomorrow.