PBP2012: Chastity

Temperance by Piero Pollaiolo

Chastity is something that rarely seems to be talked about in pagan circles, I guess it’s just something that is plain boring. I’m going to write a little a bit about it though. Indeed, I consider myself to be chaste, but not because I’m a prude (far from it, in fact). I chose to be chaste because it suits my nature.

It may seem a bit odd for someone devotes a lot of their time to a sexual deity like Dionysos, to espouse the values of chastity. But Dionysian worship isn’t all about sex and drunken revelry:

“On women, where Aphrodite is concerned, Dionysos will not enforce restraint – such modesty you must seek in nature, where it already dwells.  But for any woman whose character is chaste she won’t be defiled by Bacchic revelry ”

– EuripidesBakkhai 314-317

But do not confuse chastity with celibacy and abstinence. Chastity is about temperance, which fits in with the virtue of sophrosyne, moderation in action, thought and feeling. So chastity, to me, would mean restricting sex to be an action between people who have been cultivating a relationship for a while.

I’m certainly not going to pledge to life long abstinence, because I would like a companion one day. But, if I don’t find a partner, then it is no big loss to me. Maybe it is my Capricornian nature, but I’d rather have sex with a partner I trust, rather than have a quick fling.

Call me boring if you like, I couldn’t give two figs.

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7 Responses to PBP2012: Chastity

  1. I think that this awesome, coming from someone who spent her teens and much of her 20s living a very chaste lifestyle. I am a person who does not find sex all that necessary to my existance, and prefer when not deeply involved in a relationship, to keep the belt on so to speak.

  2. Weissdorn says:

    Wikipedia defines chastity as:
    “Chastity refers to the sexual behavior of a man or woman acceptable to the moral standards and guidelines of a culture, civilization, or religion.
    In the western world, the term has become closely associated (and is often used interchangeably) with sexual abstinence, especially before marriage. However, the term remains applicable to persons in all states, single or married, clerical or lay, and has implications beyond sexual temperance.
    The words “chaste” and “chastity” stem from the Latin adjective castus meaning “pure”. The words entered the English language around the middle of the 13th century; at that time they meant slightly different things. “Chaste” meant “virtuous or pure from unlawful sexual intercourse” (referring to extramarital sex), while “chastity” meant “virginity”. It was not until the late 16th century that the two words came to have the same basic meaning as a related adjective and noun.”
    Could it be that you practice a form a celibacy instead? Unlike chastity, which infers to conforming to the acceptable set of moral standards society dictates, celibacy is withholding from sexual relations until the sexual person deems it proper.

    • Ophiokhos says:

      I don’t know, thinking about it the line is quite blurred. But I have also heard of celibacy being a time of abstaining from romantic relationships in general. I think it’d be best for chastity to be redefined as a virtue of moderation in a society where casual sex is becoming the norm.

  3. Pingback: Miscellanea « The House of Vines

  4. pthelms says:

    I think it’s refreshing to look at chastity, even abstinence and celibacy, in the context of Hellenism, or even in NRMs in general. People often take different forms of paganism as a free pass do do anything they please, spiritually, morally, and even sexually (anyone going to any sort of pagan festival or gathering sees this sort of thing), and it’s nice when people can say, “No, that’s not the religion, that’s just them.” I digress though, great post!

    • Ophiokhos says:

      I wish there was more of a discussion on chastity, celibacy and abstinence among pagans in general. I get the feeling that some people use paganism as an excuse for doing what they want because paganism can be seen as a form of ‘rebellion’ against Christianity. So practises like chastity are derided as ‘Christian’, ‘Abrahamic’ or even patriarchal.

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