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that other “oldest” profession…

July 7, 2014

Had some young colleagues over the other night and an interesting conversation broke out – at times getting quite animated – about a ‘profession’ that is as old as writing itself. A profession that is talked about in the bible, in all the sacred scripture actually, of all religions.

It has been practiced by all cultures. It has been both worshipped and vilified.

But not like that other oldest profession that our current conservative government has completely botched in trying to create new laws around it’s legality; what we were discussing, was the relative merits of living a celebate life.

Celebacy, like prostitution, has been around for an eternity. Statistically, at any given point in time, there are a significant number of people practicing celebacy – either for personal or religious or spiritual reasons.

I, however, in a turn-of-phrase-second-glass-of-wine moment where I am talking to twenty-somethings quipped “I have never trusted anyone who has decided to be chaste. It smells of fundamentalism to me.”

Oh, the howls that ensued.

My girlfriend, who knows my sense of humour best, while bemused, bantered in that I was the village idiot.

Others, who know me less well, and who have friends who are practicing chastity while they wait for Mr. Right – were very much less amused.

I was even accused (politely) of being a mysogynist.

In my defense I quoted Nietszche (chastity is anti-living), noted the eroticism of Anais Nin, and the passion of Henry Miller.

But to no avail.

I was reminded that there are many sound reasons why people choose to be chaste – and who was I to judge?

True enough.

Of course I know there are a myriad of reasons why people make the choices that they do. You could write a library on the subject. Plus we live within a culture that despite the 24/7 availability of porn and the sexualization of adolescent girls is not particularly sex positive in any real or healthy sense.

A recent survey revealed that 85% of young people will have had no sex education by the time they have their first sexual encounters. (No wonder we make such a mess of it early on.)

Not surprisingly, North Americans as a culture, statistically, have some of the least amounts of sex in the world. Only the Japanese have less sex than we do. 

Europeans have about 3-5 times as much sex as we do. (Anglo-protestant middle-class Torontonians – statistically – have the least amount of sex of all Canadians. According to Statistics Canada.)

So, of course there is more to chastity than a fundamentalist bent.

But I still don’t trust them…

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