Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Young and The Sexless

(The above photo taken from a photo album that chronicles an I'm Worth Waiting For! event -- note that the girl on the left has a red sticker that proudly announces, "I'm Worth Waiting For!")

Been mulling over the following quotation I read in this article from the July issue of Rolling Stone concerning a "new trend" among hip Christian youth -- pre-marital abstinence!

From the article:

Anna Broadway (one of aforementioned abstinent youths) poured her frustration into her blog, Sexless in the City, and revisions of a dense essay on John Cusack movies she'd written in graduate school, The Cult of the Orgasm as Romantic Mysticism. "In a world that functionally operates on atheistic terms throughout most of its supposedly separate and autonomous spheres," she writes. "What kind of ecstasy is left us, even, but that which occurs in sexual release?" In the movies, she writes, secular romance leads only to orgasm, but the real answer to her question is, of course, Jesus.

I thought this was a cool idea (substituting the "Jesus" part for the Hebrew G-d, otherwise know as HaKadosh Baruch Hu), because it feels like a somewhat accurate assessment of the pop-culture sexuality that pervades every crack and crevice of our society. "Relationships" are the new religion, because the New Secularist cannot (at least, publicly) acknowledge that anything outside of the Human Experience could possibly exist or be relevant. Thus, Human Relationships are the most important foundation/format/structure of the New Secularism, with Orgasm as the highest possible culmination of success.

I'm not even going to pretend to try and scratch the surface of this extremely loaded topic here -- I just have a few thoughts, and a question:

• If you read this article, you can see all these Christian kids saying stuff like, "Remaining abstinent is counter-cultural; it's revolutionary; it resists and critiques the mainstream." You also see these kids being held up as paragons of the new ultracoolness, exactly because virginity is so against-the-grain these days.

• From the article: Sexual regulation is a means, not an end. To believers, the movement offers a vision grander even than the loveliness of a virgin: a fairy tale in which every man will be a spiritual warrior, a knight in the service of the King of Kings, promised the hand and the heart and, yes, the sexual services of a "lady." That is the erotic dream of Christian conservatism: a restoration of chivalry, a cleansing of impurity, a nation without sin, an empire of the personal as political.

• The above sounds quite Tolkien-esque to me, as well as Rebbe-Nachman-esque -- the whole "fairy tale" bit, the "spiritual warrior" bit, the "chivalry, cleansing of impurity, nation without sin." Pre-marital abstinence really is made to seem quite freaking cool, with an abundance of enormous, macrocosmic payoffs.

Are Jewish youth leaders/educators pursuing this tack with Jewish youth on an institutional level? Should they be? Does such a hashkafa actually work, or does it just set young people up to fall and then hate themselves for not having been "cool" enough to wait for marriage? I know that this topic has been beaten-to-death repeatedly over at Jewlicious, but after reading this article, I was like, "Why can't there be a Rolling Stone article about how ultracool and countercultural Jewish kids who don't have premarital sex are?" Is it because there are no such Jewish kids?????? Or is it because abstinence really just isn't cool if it's not associated with Jesus?


At 2:01 PM, July 26, 2005, Blogger WanderingStu said...

Uh, gosh... So if I love Jesus, and don't do it before marriage, then God will give me a lady to serve my needs for all eternity? Nice. So let's replace "Jesus" with "the KB'H" and then us horny Jewish guys can be gifted a female vessel to use like a holy utensil too....

If the only way to promote abstinence to young guys is to promise them a suit of Jesus armor and a damsel/whore at the end of their long blue-balled quest, count me out...

Anyway, the "erotic dream of Christian conservatism" is an open prescription to various pain-killers, a Condi Rice pictorial in Penthouse and O'Reilly calling you every hour on the half hour panting and describing demeaning acts in a husky whisper.

As far as the holy orgasm: in River's Edge, for example, the orgasm isn't Keanu's top prize, it's seeing Crispin Glover lose his mind...

BY THE WAY-- Where's my link???

At 5:18 PM, July 26, 2005, Blogger Elayne said...

I don't think you're going to see this sort of nutsiness cropping up among many non-frum Jewish communities, and the more frum ones don't get the publicity that the ultra-religious Christian sects get.

At 10:08 PM, July 26, 2005, Blogger Michael Netzer said...

It's wonderful to be a Jew always trying to be like the Christians. It'll get even better when the Christians begin wanting to be like us.

And how exactly do they hope to forget about sex when they're always talking about it?

...And, Wanderingstu's comment reminds me of the 70 virgins reward that Muslim suicide bombers are promised.

At 3:08 AM, July 27, 2005, Blogger WanderingStu said...

After a nice morning chevruta on Poletet Shicvat Zera post-coital drippings, I just wanted to pop over and mention that the 70 virgins are actually raisins... imagine the suicide bomber's shock when he reaches heaven and gets a small allotment of trail mix.


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