Earlier this week on the Today show Dawn Eden had the opportunity to introduce the idea of chastity (and promote her book “The Thrill of the Chaste”) to a national audience. She did an excellent job answering the implied questions “Why remain chaste? Why forego sex while dating and wait until marriage?”
Dawn provided her own reason for choosing chastity: “you can’t seek permanence through impermanence”.
What a great statement. For me, that stimulated some thinking about what we seek in relationships and how we build intimacy with members of the opposite sex. Given that the panel was all women, I thought I would take a shot at expanding upon that statement, particularly with regard to a man’s need for respect.
First off, please note that while Dawn’s response is not a biblical quote, it is a biblical viewpoint, because God is the most permanent being we can possibly imagine having a relationship with. So permanence is this immensely desirable characteristic. Permanence means stability because the unknown is removed. It’s also immeasurably valuable, because we have no way of conceiving the value of a universal.
In searching for a spouse wouldn’t we desire those permament intrinsic qualities, as well as cultivating them in ourselves? In so doing we would be creating a relationship based on the quality of endurance and permanence, instead of impermanence.
But do we really express that desire when we seek relationships? Do we truly believe permanence is valuable?
Whatever attitudes we hold, whatever we believe to be true is eventually expressed to others. For instance, if we believe it’s okay to test sexual compatibility then immediately doubt is cast into the relationship. If that doubt is exposed to the light – what would it reveal about the true character of the person who wants to test compatibility?
Let me make that more concrete: Jo Arden Maeder suggests that women should test sexual compatibility then lie about their reasons to their men. We can test that by asking “Would she – Jo Arden Maeder, ever actually state to her ‘man’ that she was testing him for sexual compatibility?”
Some would argue a man’s greatest need is respect, while others would say it’s sex. The reality is a man’s greatest need is respect when it comes to sex.
Even promoting the idea of undertaking a sexual compatability test devalues and disrespects men because it reduces us to our sexual organs and performance in bed. With regard to sexual organs, in any other venue, when we are judged by an immutable characteristic, such as our skin color, age, sexual organs or body mass, we call such judgements discrimination. To even suggest the notion hints at misandry – and a quick perusal of the Today show site indicates that attitude in abundance. To focus on performance reduces men to a mere product who’s utility comes through providing pleasure to the one who seeks it.
Therein lies the crux of the problem – and so highly visible in that Today show segment and the like. Most feminine oriented media and magazines speculate endlessly about why things aren’t working and what needs to be done to fix them. This does a great job selling products, but in the end it reduces us all to merely being products, the kind prone to breakage and need of replacement. In other words, there’s no respect at all.
What made Dawn stand out in the crowd was her rejection of that idea and her focus on the imperishable and wonderful, and in the process she introduced something bright, sparkling and permanent into the lives of many: Hope.