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"I Take It Up The Bum" Jewelry

chastity ring1.jpg

Aww, how charming. Now, you can buy a chastity ring, like this "14K Yellow Gold Unblossomed Rose Chastity Ring for Ladies," to show off your pledge not to have sex before marriage. Why don't they shorten the name to "Women As Chattel Jewelry"? It's catchier, and more to the point. Of course, just because a lady's wearing a gold band or a rock doesn't mean she won't be getting her rocks off -- and maybe via the back door!

Bill Maher explains what chastity pledges really lead to on Salon (irritating commercial viewing req'd):

New Rule: Abstinence pledges make you horny. A new eight-year study just released reveals that American teenagers who take "virginity" pledges of the sort so favored by the Bush administration wind up with just as many STDs as the other kids.

But that's not all -- taking the pledges also makes a teenage girl six times more likely to perform oral sex, and a boy four times more likely to get anal. Which leads me to an important question: where were these pledges when I was in high school?

Seriously, when I was a teenager, the only kids having anal intercourse were the ones who missed. My idea of lubrication was oiling my bike chain. If I had known I could have been getting porn star sex the same year I took Algebra II, simply by joining up with the Christian right, I'd have been so down with Jesus they would have had to pry me out of the pew.

For a bunch of teens raised on creationism, these red state kids today are pretty evolved -- sexually, anyway, and for that they can thank all who joined forces to try and legislate away human nature, specifically the ineluctable urge of teenagers to hump.

Yes, the "What do we tell the children?" crowd apparently decided not to tell them anything. Because people who talk about pee-pees are potty-mouths. And so armed with limited knowledge, and believing regular, vaginal intercourse to be either immaculate or filthy dirty, these kids did with their pledge what everybody does with contracts: they found loopholes. Two of them to be exact.

First of all, I hate the term "losing your virginity," which makes it sound like you might have left it at the mall when you put down your shopping bag. Quite frankly, it really isn't the big deal it's cracked up to be. When I was growing up, my mother simply suggested that "premarital sex" wasn't such a good idea, or something equally vague, and that was that. That's probably why I didn't have actual sexual intercourse until I was about 22, with a boyfriend-turned-friend, in his parents' cabin in Morristown, NJ. It really was no big deal. In fact, it was pretty funny, and that friend now has a boyfriend of his own. Oops! Seriously, had somebody been giving out rings for remaining "chaste" when I was a teen, I would probably have been in much more of a rush. Idiots. Idjuts.

Posted by aalkon at December 25, 2005 10:54 AM

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It'd be easier for middle-aged folks to admire (without abject envy) the greater sexual fulfillment younger people seem to be having if there was some demonstrable payoff for everyone... Diminished violent conduct by those generations or something. They say divorce and illegitimacy are down a little, but who knows. If we say kids don't seem any happier, we sound like fuddy-duddies, and we probably are... But the Boomers' sexual revolution had some terrible consequences.

Posted by: Crid at December 25, 2005 1:44 AM

I don't think the rings and the promises are the problem. Pornography is everywhere and kids have access to it via the Internet like never before. Even websites, purporting to "educate", such as Planned Parenthood's teen site describe "options" such as oral sex, anal sex and more. It's assumed now that kids have sex - of all sorts...and that "fact" is casually presented on a continual basis through outlets of all sorts - television, movies, education, etc. Nobody I knew in high school ever talked about oral or anal sex and it was a HUGE deal to have intercourse...except for in the "burnout" crowd - or a wayward jock or two, and even then it was only a few people. Nobody, except the very "slutty" girls, "danced" for money.
Pointing the fingers at organizations, churches, groups, and the like, and blaming their message of abstinence for the reason oral and anal sex has increased in those kids exposed to such a message is preposterous. (Because it's not just increasing in the "promise ring" kids.) No, "mainstreaming" of pornography, I believe, is the real problem. What kids are exposed to today is NOTHING like we ever were.

That's my view.
Happy Holidays

Posted by: Claire at December 25, 2005 8:46 AM

Sheesh Claire ... sanctimonious much? What do you do when you're not scolding about the evils of pornography and television? Gripe about low-rider jeans?

Oh, pornography ... yawn. I got myself on the Pill and started having sex with my boyfriend when I was 17, and I don't think I'd seen porn more than once or twice. Seems like a lot of girls in my class started having sex at 15, but it was a small town. I don't see what the huge deal is. People used to get married at 13 or 15 and half of those girls hadn't even started menstruating yet. They were setting up households and buying furniture at an age where today's kids are in their sophomore year of high school. But now we don't think kids are old enough at 16 or 17 to even have sex? If they're not mature enough at 16 or 17 to handle having sex, maybe they SHOULD be. You should be mature enough to use a condom if you are mature enough to drive a car. Aside from pregnancy and STD's (both of which are easily prevented), I don't see why teenagers having sex is a big deal. All this gasping and hand-wringing over it ... yet teenage pregnancy rates have fallen over the last ten years.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at December 25, 2005 9:13 AM

I told my then-teenaged son, when he was in high school, that he'd be better off NOT having sex with the girls he liked because of the automatic inclusion of psychic baggage. A great deal of emotional energy is expended in intimate realtionships (unless someone is sociopathic) and I suggested that his energies might be better spent on his musicianship and rock band stuff.

He managed to escape High School without a broken heart, had lots of girl friends, and well, the bands are still evoling. He quietly watched the misadventuires of his male friends who were screwing their girlfriends and he decided that the melodrama and heartache weren't worth it. Now he's 23 and seems pretty well equipped to handle a great deal of Life. He has been getting A's in his senior year at college and while he still doen't have a singular particular ladyfriend, he does have a load of lady friends. He is having a load of fun.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at December 25, 2005 10:09 AM

Since when did "a broken heart" become the equivalent of losing a limb? It certainly isn't pleasant, but guess what? Hearts heal. And most of what happens to high-school kids isn't heartbreak, by any reasonable definition.

Posted by: Nance at December 26, 2005 4:28 AM

Nance, you shoulda been there in '73! Never seen anything like it. OUCH.

Posted by: Crid at December 26, 2005 12:48 PM

Sheesh Pirate Jo...demagoging much?

Bill Maher said that abstinence is what causes all these teenager to have anal sex. Clair pointed out that pornography might have something to do with it, which is so reasonable even you should have a hard time disputing that.
So your sermon on openmindedness wasn't really called for.

Posted by: Jimmy at December 26, 2005 4:30 PM

These kids aren't avoiding sex altogether, they are, as Maher noted, seeking "loopholes." Porn shows all kinds of sex, not just the loophole kind, Jimmy. In other words, yours seems like flawed reasoning to me.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 26, 2005 4:34 PM


My kid avoided wasting his energy on relationshits with nitwit girls. I think "avoiding sex altogether" by choice is a damned fine choice to make sometimes.

He's still calling his own shots and is never at a loss for female company. Where's the problem?

Posted by: Deirdre B. at December 26, 2005 7:00 PM

Deirdre, I think it's really smart not to (to borrow from Albert Ellis) "awfulize" things (like sex and drinking and drugs), thus making them much more exciting...but just to be honest with a kid like you were. Hey, this could be a big time-sucker...maybe you don't want to do that? Words like "NEVER!" and "FORBIDDEN!" are actually code words for kids, meaning, "DO THIS IMMEDIATELY...AND OFTEN."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 26, 2005 7:57 PM

Abstinence may not be popular, but it is the only way to avoid all risk of STDs. Whether abstinence pledges work may be debatable; whether abstinence works isn't.

Sex is attractive because it's attractive and feels good, not because it's forbidden. Setting yourself on fire might be dangerous, but I don't see a rush of trendy self-immolating kids dousing themselves with gasoline because their parents told them playing with matches was bad.

These days, the most forbidden taboo is to suggest anyone should exercise that most feared, hated and anachronistic of all behaviors: self-control.

Posted by: TallDave at December 27, 2005 7:50 AM

But, people are ultimately not going to abstain...and why should they? I didn't abstain from sex before I was in a relationship -- quite the contrary -- and I don't have three heads, one of them, a big cold sore. You have to exercise reasonable prudence -- which I made an effort to do. (Oh, look...self-control gets naked!) Promoting condom use is realistic. You can tell people to exercise your brand of sex-free self-control until you're blue, but in the absence of a fairy tale world where everyone behaves wisely all the time, please suggest they carry Trojans.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 27, 2005 8:07 AM

Dave, sex is fun. It can even be good for your mental health. Setting yourself on fire is the antithesis of fun. You can also avoid getting hit by cars if you stay home under your bed, vowing never to cross the street. Fun = bad is so Puritanical and simplistic.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 27, 2005 8:12 AM

"Women As Chattel Jewelry"??

Is someone forcing women to wear these rings or is it their choice? If the choose to be celibate do they have to wear the ring? Don't get me wrong, I'm firmly against celibacy (double entendre?), but "Chattel"?

Posted by: EdC at December 27, 2005 1:45 PM

It's the valuing of women for their virginity, Ed.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 27, 2005 3:21 PM

Deirdre, I think your approach works because it is truthful and realistic. You aren't trying to pretend your son isn't interested in sex and will never do it - you are just laying out the honest possible drawbacks of it.

As to my previous post, I think portraying sexually active teens as "slutty" or "burnouts" is incredibly sanctimonious. I'd guess more kids in her school were having sex than she realized - but given the holier-than-thou attitude, no wonder she wasn't the first to know.

I did not intend to address a supposed causal relationship between chastity rings or porn and various types of sex. I just think all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over teenagers having sex is unwarranted. In cases where bad consequences happen, it is because the kids have not learned to grasp the connection between actions and consequences, or they were uninformed about the possible consequences of certain actions. If parents take a head-in-the-sand approach to their kid's sexual education, there will be more of the latter.

I found Amy's link from a couple weeks ago to be interesting - where the writer observed the change in parental attitudes once their kids were out of high school.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at December 27, 2005 4:09 PM

PJ, you were so off on your interpretation of my "rant."
Nowhere did I condemn anyone. Nowhere did I say I was better than anyone. And I certainly did not say all sexually active teens were slutty - I said that the girls who danced (in strip clubs) were considered slutty back then - and that is a generalization. I'm using "labels" that were present in high school to present an example, not to "judge" anyone. I believe, if you read my comment again, my only judgement is against the proliferation of the pornography, not against any person. There is a big difference in what I said and what you are claiming I said.
In claiming that pornography may be responsible for leading kids down "other" sexually active paths, rather than abstinence, I am certainly not proclaiming any "holier-than-thou" attitude.
Thank you, Jimmy.

Posted by: Claire at December 29, 2005 8:09 AM

Claire, Thanks for the clarification. I apologize for mistaking your comments as your own opinion and not a statement explaining the views of others.

As to whether pornography or chastity rings either one cause kids to try experiments, I don't know. My guess is that the primary influence for most teenagers is other kids, but I don't know how something like that gets introduced to the teenage community in the first place. It only takes a few, then these "trends" seem to spread like wildfire. For the average teen, I'd guess they are simply doing it because their friends are.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at December 29, 2005 3:09 PM

Who asked for an apology? And what kind of apology is that, anyhow? "Sheesh", PJ.

Posted by: Claire at December 30, 2005 2:35 PM

Microsoft and Peter Jackson postpone the making of a%

Posted by: Miles Berryman at February 1, 2007 10:30 AM

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