Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder…

More blather in the NYTimes about an earthshaking development at Princeton University! They must have a stringer working there (see earlier post about college student gambling). After all, a good portion of their readership is dying to see their children go to college there, or someplace like it. “Hey, Joe! It’s college rejection season! Got any news from the Ivy Tower? Well, get on it, bud!!”

Now we have an article about the Anscombe Society at PU, a group of students pledging themselves to sexual abstinence outside of marriage in the face of the raging hormones and the pornographic image culture of contemporary teen and post-teen life. Their spokesman says that “Sex is between people, not objects,” and that the “random hook-up scene is degrading to men and women.” [Quoted from memory.] Well said – couldn’t agree with him more!  But as Tina Turner might have sung,

“What’s abstinence got to do with it, got to do with it..?”

Is it possible to have sex within a caring and meaningful relationship outside of marriage? These kids think not. That’s their business, and I can’t fault them for it, but I can fault the NYTimes for its silly article that didn’t address any of the real issues here, e.g., why this group comes now (yes, they are almost all conservative Republicans and religious), have their ever been similar groups? Why they feel that wine and cheese parties with free condoms constitute an invitation to random sex when for some students it might be the first time that they were provoked to think honestly and clearly about sex in the presence of adults. Instead, the Times focused on the “People just can’t believe that we are saying this at an Ivy League school!” aspect. Huh, what is that?

Anyway, we have David Brooks telling us a few days ago that in the face of our commercial sex-fest, young people are actually quite reasonable and wholesome, and we have evangelicals ranting about the fleshpot that our country has become. I’d like to know what’s really going on in the minds of teenagers – I don’t pretend to know. I mean, statistically, not just what the ones I talk with. Lower teen pregnancy rates – is out-of-wedlock sex declining? Is oral sex rampant as some claim? Have teens caught on to birth control and safe-sex? Do we just talk differently, more openly, and more crudely? about all of this stuff.

On a related note, the much touted claim that 50% of all marriages in the USA end in divorce is now dismissed as poor statistics by experts…so, it’s pretty hard to know just what is going on.


4 Responses to Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder…

  1. Loyal Achates says:

    Running through the whole abstinence debate are a number of idiotic presumptions, the foremost being that marriage is the best thing in the whole world. It isn’t. It’s an artificial institution for which many people are not suited.

    Kids today are smarter than conservatives give them credit for being, and they realize that just because one is not married and middle-class doesn’t mean one has to stop being human.

    I hope I can post here without being set upon by the gang of flesh-eating insects that seem to inhabit neo-neocon.

  2. troutsky says:

    She has opened a hornets nest over there!Wonder how she likes her new friends? Religious radio (my new addiction) was going off today about how there is only one True Love on the planet for each person and you have to save yourself till you find the one and you will know the one when you find it, God gets involved somehow but the theology sort of lost me.Of course for just 25 dollars a month I could get the tapes and books and everything.Pretty tempted.

  3. Lichanos says:


    What institution of human society is not ‘artificial?’ Your point is apt, however.

  4. The trouble with sex…. is that most people are mixed up about it – not just teenagers.
    What do teenagers think about? : Who am I? Where am I going? What do I want to do with my life? Does anybody love me? What is fair? (Answer – I’m fair, the other guy isn’t – especially parents); What do people think of me? What’s that other guy doing and who does he think he is, anyway? Why don’t people treat me like an adult? Why do they think teenagers are stupid?
    Funny thing is, though, we get older but we don’t necessarily grow up. We are still asking the same questions, though some might change to, What have I done with my life? There are a lot of teenagers living in older people bodies – never grew up, whatever that means.
    I’ve met some pretty great teenagers in my life (teaching) and theycan be a pretty serious bunch, if you can only get them to talk seriously about themselves. There are a lot of productive and intelligent ones too.
    As for the abstinence, that’s a whole other discussion that has to be brought down to a personal, individual level.
    In this day and age of sexually transmitted diseases, there is some good merit in it, even if on a health basis alone.

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