Abstinence: Why? Where? And, when it started (in Handbook of Sexualities)

The full article appears in the SAGE Handbook of Global Sexualities (available now).

Abstinence, whether temporary or lifelong, is a fascinating subject to most people because its practice has both detractors and admirers. The Catholic religion has elevated abstinence as a path to men’s and women’s higher, more spiritual nature. Traditionally, lust – or raw appetite not connected to procreative intentions – has been seen as sinful. Clergy must forego the pleasures of the flesh as part of their devotion to God. Purity of spirit is directly related to purity of body. In both Christianity and Islam, mainstream voices associate women’s social value with their ‘chaste’ character. Women’s virginity is often a requirement for marriage in Muslim societies; some communities even require ‘virginity tests’ at time of marriage to verify the woman’s premarital abstinence (Ahmadzai and Sadeghzadeh, 2017). Abstinence can also be valued for pragmatic reasons; certain countries in Africa endorse abstinence as a prophylactic measure to reduce HIV/AIDS transmission.

Critics of abstinence promotion consider abstinence an unnatural act. Judaism considers sexual intercourse a ‘mitzvah’ (a gift and fortunate deed). Many psychologists, medical professionals, and people in the natural sciences consider abstinence unnatural, even bizarre, since sexual intercourse is necessary for the species to replicate and usually necessary for personal and relationship satisfaction.

Whether one considers abstinence unnatural or not, dialogues on abstinence’s purpose and its presence throughout history hold interest for sexologists who seek to understand why it exists, who practices it, what it tells us about social control, and how it affects the lives of men, women, and society.

Topics in this article include:

  • Gender and virginity
    • Virginity tests
    • Who is abstinence designed for and why?
  • The roots of abstinence in the pre-modern world:
    • The early East and abstinence
    • The early West and abstinence
    • Europe in the early Modern Period
    • The New World (abstinence in the Early Americas)
  • Abstinence in 20th and 21st Century America
    • Early movements
    • The politics of unwed motherhood
    • Contraceptives and eugenics
    • The rise of the Religious Right
  • The push and pull with secular culture
    • The rebranding of modern abstinence movements
      • purity as self-control
      • sex-positivity (in marriage)
      • virginity as a spiritual trait
      • youth events
      • sexual education
  • Psychosocial impacts of abstinence

See full article here.

Is he taking it slow or just not that into me?

This article appears on the Andrew Christian website. Click here to be taken to the full-length version.

It has become a true talent to know whether the guy you’re seeing is serious about dating you or just killing time. As with most innovations in dating culture, this has a good and a bad side to it. The good: you don’t have to prematurely jump into a relationship just to lock it down before someone else does. The bad: a lot of guys take advantage of the gray area between “friends” and “more than friends” just to keep a full social calendar.

Sooner or later though, you get tired of the chase. How many dates can you go on without a clue as to where things may—or may not—be heading? If you’re to believe TV dating tropes, three dates is the benchmark, or at least that’s when sex is supposed to occur (if not earlier). But what if sex hasn’t happened yet and it’s date number six? Or, what if sex has happened but you can’t get a read on how he feels? You still like the guy, but according to all your friends (both real and imaginary), he probably isn’t as into you as you are into him.

Is this where modern daters are stuck? We either have to bench a guy for not being interested enough or be his bench warmer until he finds someone better.

Continue to the full-length article here.

The opioid crisis is hitting the LGBTQ community

This article appears on the Andrew Christian website. Click here to be taken to the full-length version.

A new study out of New York University’s School of Medicine finds that LGBTQ people are particularly at risk for opioid prescription misuse. Some of us may not be that shocked by the findings—after all, gay men have been in the vanguard of recreational drug use for decades. But we aren’t talking about party drugs here.

Opioids are highly addictive painkillers that interfere with almost every aspect of human life (from eroding basic motor skills to disabling our mental capacity for undertaking important life events). The prescriptions’ potential for destroying daily life goes beyond our subjective well-being; in 2017 nearly 50,000 people died from an opioid overdose. That calculates to about 130 opioid deaths per day between 2016-2017 according to the US Department of Health & Human Services.

This new report sheds light on a rarely discussed piece of the opioid epidemic: how and why the opioid crisis is hurting LGBTQ communities more than heterosexual ones. Researchers found that reported misuse among straight men (5.3%) and women (3.7%) was significantly lower than rates reported by gay men (10%) and lesbians (6.8%). Even more troubling, bisexual women showed a markedly high misuse rate (13.5%) as did bisexual men (8.3%), though to a lesser degree than the bisexual women sampled.

NYU’s findings are particularly interesting because they illustrate how gender and sexual orientation interact to produce specific societal trends. In this case, bisexual women seem to be a sociological phenomenon. I say this because, historically, women have lower rates of drug abuse whereas men (especially single men) are considered the exemplar of “at risk” populations. However, when we use sexual orientation as a second level of analysis alongside gender, a frightening new trend is uncovered with bisexual women showing unprecedented rates of opioid prescription misuse.

Why are LGBTQ people experiencing this striking difference in opioid misuse?

Continue to full-length article.

Gay marriage: Does a ring make a difference?

This article appears on the Andrew Christian website. Click here to be taken to the full-length version. 

There was a lot of built up anxiety (mostly from the right) surrounding how same-sex marriage would forever alter American family and mating patterns. TV pundits, conservative politicians and religious leaders often focused on same-sex parenting, adoption rights, relationship durability, and ominous “slippery slope” scenarios where hypothetically legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to a country where humans could marry whomever or, even more perplexing, whatever they felt like. Thankfully in 2015, sanity prevailed and the LGBTQ community achieved the right to marry.

But now, nearly four years after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, can we say gays and lesbians getting married has really changed anything?

Continue to full-length article.

Have yourself a kinky Christmas

This article appears on the Andrew Christian website. Click here to be taken to the full-length article. 

It’s officially November, which basically means it’s December 24 until we make it to Christmas. Whether you enjoy excessive holiday spirit or just the spirits you can excessively enjoy during the holidays, we can all get a little festive in the bedroom. So be extra good (or extra naughty) and try out one or two of these holiday kinks

Go to the full-length article.