Monday, February 2, 2009

Purity of Body

Did you answer one of those "purity tests" when you were in college (or whatever you were doing in your early twenties)? Despite being pretty inexperienced at that age, I tended to score as rather "impure" simply because homosexuality was seen as intrinsically more corrupt than heterosexuality. Apparently things have come a long way. For one thing, "The Unisex, Omnisexual Purity Test" specifically levels the playing field so that the hets don't have an advantage. (Or was that a disadvantage?) For another, though, I'm just completely stunned by the fairly new notion among young Christian adults that non-vaginal sex doesn't count as sex. Church Discipline has a really nice entry on this, and he argues (from Augustine, no less), that the kids have got it right—oral and anal sex are A-OK from a virginity standpoint... with the caveat that you're still tainting your immortal soul with lust.

Now, if that's the case, and modern Christians are fully embracing non-procreative sex as a fun way to wile away the evenings, then why-oh-why do these same folks get in such a snit about homosexuality?

More importantly, though: If they are right, and non-vaginal sex is not sex, then what happens to my nearly two decades as a practicing homosexual? I was getting really good at it! Now I'm a virgin again? Who wants to have sex with a thirty-seven year old virgin? I feel like such a loser.


CD-Host said...

Thanks for the link. Not sure how much of this is tongue in cheek. But the issue for evangelicals is what I had called virginity vs. chastity.

Chastity is a state of purity that can be regained even with loss of virginity. Virginity can never be regained. Homosexual sex is seen as an offense against chastity not virginity.

BTW this notion is not recent. Jerome "Notice that it is good virgins who are spoken of, for there are bad ones as well. 'Whosoever looks on a woman,' the Lord says, 'to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.' Matthew 5:28 So that virginity may be lost even by a thought. Such are evil virgins, virgins in the flesh, not in the spirit; foolish virgins, who, having no oil, are shut out by the Bridegroom."

And arguably the quote you have from Aquinas seems to dismiss virgin in the flesh as being relevant at all.

If you want a counter argument regarding virginity I think one could make an argument that given the existence of gay marriage, gay sex is a marital act and thus gays lose their virginity the first time they engage in anal sex.

But honestly even I who am pro gay rights think that argument is a stretch. I can't imagine the Vestal Virgins didn't touch one another during their 30 years in the temple. And there is not a single recorded case of any of them being buried alive (the punishment for breaking their vows) for lesbian sex or even it being raised as a matter of concern. And those are the quintessential virgins. In the ancient world there were people who took vows of life long virginity, both men and woman. It was an elevated state. Look at it that way.

CD-Host said...

After I finished writing you back another example occurred to me from a liberal community. In the BDSM community a woman doing a man with a strap-on is not considered having sex with them.

Bittersweet Sage said...

Hey CD, thanks for stopping in. Always a pleasure.

Tongue very much in cheek, by the way. Virginity (or the lack thereof) is not something I can take seriously, as it is merely abstaining from a perceived sin. While that may be laudable on some level, I have a lot more respect for people who are actively doing something "good" as opposed to people who are passively refraining from doing something "bad." I'll take Mary Magdalene(*) over the Vestal Virgins any day.

(*) Yeah... I know. There's no reason to equate Mary Magdalene with any of the female "sinners" in the gospels, but "woman sinner" doesn't make as clever a quip.