June 26, 2005

Machine-Gun Barrage, Eh?

The aim, they say, is to respect sexuality; not to debase it by giving in to crass bodily urges and the like. But judging from this Rolling Stone profile of abstinence-only Christian youths, not only do these people have the filthiest of minds, but the poor lads have no hope of ever getting beyond their own base lust:
The Every Man [a popular book series on abstinence] premise is that men are sexual beasts, so sinful by nature that, without God in their lives, they don't stand a chance of resisting temptation in the form of premarital sex, masturbation and straying eyes. …

"Your goal is sexual purity," write Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker. "You are sexually pure when no sexual gratification comes from anyone or anything but your wife." To achieve this, they argue, men must go to a kind of war. Citing Dobson, they note the "fact" that men experience a buildup of sperm demanding "release" approximately every seventy-two hours. For single men, wet dreams, if purged of sexual imagery, can act as "God's natural release valve." (Arterburn and Stoeker believe you can actually train yourself to remove the lust from such dreams.) "Your life is under a withering barrage of machine-gun sexuality that rakes the landscape mercilessly," they report. They encourage making lists of "areas of weakness." They seem particularly concerned with shorts: "nubile sweat-soaked girls in tight nylon shorts"; "female joggers in tight nylon shorts"; "young mothers in shorts, leaning over to pull children out of car seats." To avoid these temptations, men must train themselves to "bounce" their eyes off female curves.
Not to mention the fact that this entire chastity movement is, like pornography, obsessed with women as objects—the "purity ring" given by fathers to their daughters, and returned on wedding day, is the obvious example here. I sound like I'm smirking, perhaps, and I am. This is all very silly. If for some reason I wanted to convince a broad swath of youth that there was nothing more to life—or women!—than sex, thinking about sex, dreaming about sex, worrying about sex, finding sex symbols in everyday life, sex, sex, sex, etc., this is exactly the sort of movement I'd design. Don't think of a white elephant. Oh well, people can do what they want; it's just a little ironic that these young lads are calling their peers "sexed-up heathens." Uh-huh. But the article's wholly engrossing; give it a read.
-- Brad Plumer 3:20 PM || ||