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Some people take a very odd, rather perverse pride in being abstinent, as if it were a badge of honor. This has been going on in many different forms all through history, the denial of physical pleasures of all forms.

Why is denial of physical pleasure such a good thing? I like to think the best of people, and I'd like to think that there's some rational basis for this idea. But there isn't.

It all springs from the old mind-body problem that's bothered philosphers for centuries. Apparently, the pleasures of the mind are 'good' because they are lasting, and the pleasures of the flesh are 'bad' because they are fleeting. How is that again? I missed something. Yes, maybe a 'fleeting' pleasure is less because it is not permanent, but that doesn't make it 'bad' or 'sinful'. I know that the pleasure I get from eating this nice, rare prime rib is fleeting, and will be gone in minutes. So what? That does not make it bad!

Sexual pleasure is the same way, although quite a bit more complicated. It comes down to this:
If you can find someone you care about (or even love), and they're clean, and you're smart enough to use birth control correctly, and you're both consenting (or even eager), then go for it. Knock yourselves out. Most of all, have fun with it. There's nothing wrong with sex. It's like anything else humans do; it can be good or bad. It just depends on how you do it, why you do it, and who you're with.

Is sex the be-all and end-all of existence that most teenagers think it is? No, of course it isn't. Maybe if sex wasn't so... ah.... romanticized, I guess, it wouldn't seem so bloody central to life. It's fun, or at least can be. It's pleasurable, or at least can be. It's a goodness between two people who like and respect one another, or at least should be.

What kind of person takes pride in avoiding this intimacy with other human beings? Don't tell me about disease or pregnancy; we all know that reasonable intelligence and foresight deal quite well with these. Get tested. Make them get tested. And use birth control. It is that easy.

What other reasons could someone have for avoiding this kind of intimacy? Fear of rejection? Yeah, pretty common. Disgust with sex? All too common these days, mostly from that 'romanticizing' and 'mystifying' of sex in our culture. Fear of intimacy? Probably fairly common. Indoctrinated fear of sex? Well, there is some scary shit out there, but any rational person can deal with them. Belief that sex is immoral? All too common is this belief. A person that thinks that an act of joy and celebration of life is inherently immoral. How fucked up is that?

Abstinence? Overrated. Try saying otherwise when you're holding a sweaty, exhausted lover in your arms, and know what the words 'life affirming' actually mean. It may be fleeting, and there may be more important things in life, but while it's there, it's there.

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