Roman Catholic tradition has consistently taught the marital act, governed by chastity, is the only legitimate sexual expression of love and life.  Author Coleen Kelly Mast sees chastity as the proper use of our sexual powers according to God’s plan.  Continence, sexual self-control, is completely in tune with physical, mental and social health.

Chastity is healthy sexual behaviour, consequently, permissive sex is unhealthy behaviour.  Casual sex is an unhealthy misuse of our God-given sexual powers causing venereal disease, AIDS, contraception, teen pregnancy, abortion, forced marriages, suicide, emotional problems, etc.  Sex can be cheapened, as we know, but then, inevitably it becomes costly to society as a whole.

Wholistic sexual health care balances the physical, the mental, the emotional, the social and the spiritual health of the whole person.  Chastity is, self-evidently, primary sexual health care because it is the most convenient and the least expensive.


Self-restraint possesses an enviable track record in family planning, in the single lifestyle in the Priesthood and the Religious Life, and in post-partum health care.  Virginity deserves much credit for bringing welcomed but unrecognized relief to a very problematic sexual situation.

Without chastity things could be much worse.  Self-control has done wonders for people concerned about weight control, balanced nutrition, physical fitness, and smoke, alcohol and drug abuse.  Self-restraint has produced better health where self-indulgence led to poor health.  Well, casual sex is sex abuse just as alcoholism is drug abuse.  Both are human abuses.

Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder as it allows our sexual health to grow stronger.  Chastity is good sexual health.  Good sexual health is everybody’s business when our taxes “foot the bill” for sexual health problems and our children, though unborn, pay with their lives through abortion – the most extreme form of child abuse.  Today, self-control is a public necessity, yet, media continues to “sell” sexual irresponsibility as the “good life.”  Adolescent sexual activity is a serious sensational health issue.

But there are sound, workable programmes on chastity, chastity skills and secondary virginity.  These programmes require committed role models convinced that chastity is livable, practical and realistic.

Current chastity programmes develop the sexual self-control, self-respect, commitment and secondary, virginity.  They caution against the myth of “spontaneous sex.”

Preliminary results from such programmes are most promising.  Teens do not want to have sex.  Teens do not want to have sex.  Chastity coupled with commitment works.

Birth control lobby

Tragically, contraceptive values and casual sex have become socially acceptable, supported by our tax dollars, while our sexual problems get worse.  Contraceptive wastage since 1969 totals into the billions of dollars worldwide.  What natural methods of family planning could have done with that! We are unable/unwilling to face the truth of chastity.

The birth control lobby has never been more aggressive nor more explicit in their objectives.  While they ridicule chastity as “moralizing,” “unrealistic,” etc., they relentlessly pursue their own agenda.  “We are not going to be an organization promoting celibacy or chastity, says Faye Wattleton, President of Planned Parenthood.  “Stopping teenage sex is not our objective.  Stopping teen pregnancy is, states David Perkins, Planned Parenthood media official.  Thus all types of behaviour are justified and nothing is considered wrong, except the condemnation of wrongdoing.

We are being educated to accept casual sex as a private matter where supposedly nobody is hurt.  Meanwhile our pre-marital sex casualties – AIDS victims, single parents, victims of IUD’s, the Pill, abortion, pregnant teens, etc. – experience the destructiveness of this fallacy.  Sex is not a constitutional right, like free speech, that can be exercised at will with no consequence.

Meanwhile, our children hunger for traditional Christian sexual values to escape the confusion around them.

The Hope

If society launched a chastity campaign for wholistic sexual health reasons against the cancer of casual sex as aggressively as they now wage war on smoking, drugs and alcohol, our sexual problems would be cut drastically and our children would have a legitimate guideline which most would gratefully and gladly accept.

Today this is possible because self-control is popular!  I believe society will eventually be forced to recognize the value of sexual self-control as the contraceptive solution self-destructs.  But out children are begging for such support now, which, compared to the hundreds of millions being wasted on contraception, would cost very little.  Such a campaign is workable, realistic and cost efficient – but we are still reluctant to commit.  The problem lies in our attitudes.


We must question our contraceptive assumptions.  Abstinence is ore realistic for youth than contraceptives.  Health is the issue: therefore, chastity is more pluralistic than condoms for AIDS.  Pluralism requires those who reject contraception – Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, etc., – to pursue their values as vigorously as other groups pursue theirs.  Chastity has not been tried when we persist in wasting good money on contraception.  Contraception does not constitute sexual responsibility.

Well, that’s really up to us, isn’t it?  Are we going to give them permission by tolerating contraception?  What we tolerate, we promote.  Roman Catholic teaching has consistently fought against these assumptions – and endured much ridicule.  Do we have the courage to provide the chastity alternative – to give our youth sexual freedom?

Can we “take” being mocked as “self-righteous” or ridiculed as being “unrealistic” by people we expected would understand?


Nowhere do these assumptions operate so blatantly as in the “safe sex” condom solution to the AIDS crisis. Isn’t it ironic that this crisis has succeeded in paralyzing the defense systems of both the AIDS victim and society – the former by a viral infection, the latter by a civil rights attitude that keeps public health from doing their job?  Chastity is primary health care.  It should form public policy on AIDS prevention.

Chastity will protect marriage and family values.  But society, church and family must co-operate to ensure this is a genuine choice.  Our actions and example must match our belief and commitment to ensure the sexual freedom of our children.

Health care

Society should financially support sex-free, drug free, alcohol free, and smoke free preventative programmes.  Preventative programmes constitute primary health care, therefore, our health officials should be vigorously promoting them.  Teen sexual activity is a serious national health issue.  It deserves preventative “sex-free” programming.  Don’t rewrite the health “handbook” for sex.

Clergy must also educate towards the sexual freedom of our youth.  Catholic clergy must regularly explain the Catholic position on sexuality clearly.  Pope John Paul has written much and spoken often on this topic.  Catholics have a right to know the mind of the church in this area and any possible scandal caused by silence can be avoided.

Youth should see solid marriages where chastity is modeled as a livable option.  Pre-marital chastity may not then appear at all bizarre to them.  Good communication, well established in the early years, will enhance later adolescent chastity discussions.  Love and a willingness to dialogue will override “sexual expertise.”  Parents and teens, together can satisfy youth hunger for true sexual values.  For the sake of our children, we must regain an appreciation of chastity so we can pass them this inheritance.