I’ve written several articles lately approving the new trends toward abstinence that have led to reductions in teen sexual activity, teen births and teen abortions. Expressing these views has brought howls of protest and filled my e-mail box to overflowing with verbal abuse from readers who hold the notion that uninhibited, promiscuous sexual activity is the key to the good life. They are happy to let me know, sometimes in the rudest possible terms, that I am unrealistic, prudish and sexually repressed.
The fact is that despite the wholesale repudiation of traditional Judeo-Christian moral values relating to sex and marriage by a large majority of the elites — as well as many of the general public — there are still some of us who think that chastity is a virtue and that virginity is one of the most priceless gifts a couple can give to each other in consummation of their nuptial vows.
The idea that valuing virginity equates to being sexually repressed is, of course, patent nonsense. One might as well try to make a logical argument that back in the 70s and 80s the avoidance of smoking meant that one was antisocial.
One recent correspondent was incensed when I reported a new study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that linked teen sex with depression. This person volunteered that he/she had been intent on getting rid of his/her virginity at the first opportunity. I wanted to ask how it was because magazines periodically run supposedly funny features recounting how various people “lost their virginity.” Inevitably, such features make for sad reading; the writers recount embarrassment, frustration, awkwardness and disgust for themselves and their partner.
Logically, the benefits of going into marriage unencumbered by the emotional fallout and the health consequences that often go with sexual experimentation and promiscuity have not changed. But we know — and have known since the days of the Greek philosopher Aristotle — that persons are persuaded not just by logic (logos) but by emotions as well (pathos). Moreover, the strongest arguments come from persons with credibility and charisma (ethos) who combine the force of logical arguments with emotional appeals.