I just read The Thrill of the Chaste by Dawn Eden. I agree with the message of this book entirely. I am 100% behind Dawn Eden not having sex before she gets married. I don’t think words can express how much I am in support of Dawn Eden’s abstinence lifestyle choice. Judging from the evidence in The Thrill of the Chaste, I am more certain that abstinence is the right lifestyle for Ms. Eden than I am of evolution, atomic theory, and the theory of gravity. Combined.
I am just slightly confused why she is generalizing from herself to all women. (No, I’m not.) So I will now present a guide to how to know if you, like Dawn Eden, would benefit from not having sex until you get married.
1) All you want is marriage. I mean, there are less effective husband-finding strategies than casual sex. Joining a nunnery. Complaining on Reddit that there are no good men left. Axe murder. And it’s certainly possible to find a spouse from casual sex (in fact, that’s how one of my boyfriends and his fiancee met). But most of the advantages of casual sex are things like “having sex with lots of attractive people.” If you’ve never daydreamed about a zipless fuck with the hot guy on the bus, you will probably not enjoy casual sex. Might I suggest a book club? You could meet lots of guys at a book club.
2) You don’t quite get the ‘casual’ part of casual sex. If you tend to have casual sex with people, make up personality traits about them, fall in love with the imaginary them in your head, and then be heartbroken when it turns out– surprise!– the casual sex was casual… yeah, Dawn Eden, you really shouldn’t have casual sex.
3) You can’t have casual sex without objectifying people. Ms. Eden says that casual sex is, to her, inherently objectifying. I am like “buh?” because I have had lots of casual sex and I do not generally treat my sexual partners like objects. You can treat someone like a person with desires and agency and a rich inner life, and still only see each other once a week for two hours of torrid fucking. In fact, that’s what makes casual sex better than a session with your favorite sex toy. Not even to get into the issue of “sex with friends” (which, by the way, is highly recommended). Turns out, you can hang out, get Chinese, talk about what sins the Slug God would damn slugs to the Pit of Eternal Salt for, and then fuck! Miracle of miracles!
4) You feel sick and bad and violated after sex. Life rule: you should absolutely never ever ever ever ever have sex that makes you feel sick and violated afterward. If you feel sick and bad and violated after any sex that isn’t with your life partner, because to you sex is something special and sacred and romantic, then you should absolutely not have sex with anyone other than your life partner. I and the rest of the Sex-Positive Mafia have your back here. (I was going to put something like “as long as you admit that other people don’t feel sick and sad and violated after casual sex” but you know what? Fuck that. Everyone has the right to not have sex that makes them feel violated. Even dickheads.)
The necessary corollary: any person who tries to get you to have sex that makes you feel sick and violated afterward is, at best, so much of an asshole that it is a wonder they manage to spew words instead of fecal matter. (In the worst-case scenario, of course, they’re a rapist.) Secure adults recognize that other people have different opinions about sex and that doesn’t mean that they’re bad, wrong, uncool, or somehow threatening to the validity of your sex life.
5) Casual sex makes you more attracted to players and less attracted to nice g… okay this point doesn’t even make any sense. I know lots and lots of people who have casual sex! All of them are nice people! I do not know why Dawn Eden finds it so difficult to find nice people who have casual sex. Are they all hiding in Florida? Maybe geeks are better at casual sex? (Ms. Eden does not like geeks very much: she reassures the reader that not every guy you meet at trivia night will be a geek and defines “fanboy” using Wikipedia as if fanboys are these strange exotic creatures normal humans never encounter.)
Honestly, I think the problem is that Ms. Eden’s definition of “nice guy” is entirely unrelated to actual niceness. Being a “nice guy,” in Ms. Eden’s world, seems to mean paying for dates, giving flowers, opening doors, and not wanting casual sex. It’s true that people you’re having casual sex with very rarely give you flowers and usually want casual sex. But I am unclear on why I should prefer that definition over the “treats people well and respects boundaries” definition.
I have a final two points that aren’t connected to anything but I’m just going to say them:
1) Dawn Eden really sucks at Christianity. She seems to view it as a sort of dating service. If she prays enough and is a good enough Christian, God will give her a husband. Apparently the Fruits of the Spirit got mistranslated and they actually ought to say “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and a really hot husband who’s sensitive yet also manly.”
Also she seems to think of volunteering as something Dawn Eden does to improve Dawn Eden’s own personal soul as opposed to, you know, the lives of people in need. While generally I’m in support of any motivation to get people to help people, Jesus is pretty clear on the “help people for its own sake” thing. Besides, people who help people to improve their own personal souls have a bad habit of doing things that make them feel warm and fuzzy rather than things that actually help.
2) OXYTOCIN ABUSE! That’s right, it’s time for everyone’s favorite game, the Hot Showers Game!
When a man or woman [takes a hot shower], a hormone called oxytocin is released into their bloodstream. In women, oxytocin is known as the “cuddle hormone,” because women’s oxytocin levels go up when they’re simply cuddling. For that reason, and also because it’s released in nursing mothers, oxytocin is believed to facilitate emotional bonding. If the hormone is released during [hot showers] and there’s no one with whom to bond, then of course one is going to feel bereft.
Bonus points to the first commenter who guesses what I replaced with “hot showers.”