Where is male chastity?

One of the great pleasures of reading things written long ago is the way it knocks holes in my easy assumptions, for instance the assumption that our culture is somehow unique in its obsession with sex. We act as if we are the first people ever on earth to adopt as a universal standard the sexual attitudes of teen movies and frat houses.

This was not so, of course, ever. Go read about Greece and Rome. Or for a more on point take for my blog, here is John Wesley in the midst of a litany of woes about the morality of his native England.

Indeed, where is male chastity to be found? among the Nobility, among the Gentry, among the tradesmen, or among the common people of England? How few lay any claim to it at all! How few desire so much as the reputation of it! Would you yourself account it an honour or a reproach to be ranked among those of whom it is said, “These are they which are not defiled with women: For they are virgins”? And how numerous are they now, even among such as are accounted men of honour and probity, “who are as fed horses, everyone neighing after his neighbor’s wife!”

The two quotations are taken from Revelation 14:4 and Jeremiah 5:8, if you are interested.

You don’t need Hollywood, apparently, to live in a culture that scoffs at virginity and lauds adultery.