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Making Chastity SexyThe Rhetoric of Evangelical Abstinence Campaigns$
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Christine J. Gardner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267275

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267275.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

Disciplining Sexuality

Disciplining Sexuality

How American Evangelical Youth Are Committing To Abstinence—And Sticking With It

(p.88) Chapter 4 Disciplining Sexuality
Making Chastity Sexy

Christine J. Gardner

University of California Press

This chapter looks at how American evangelical teenagers are negotiating the gray area between sex and no sex. Although all the respondents have pledged to practice abstinence, they regularly make choices as to what constitutes appropriate physical intimacy within the context of the abstinence pledge. Young people choose to limit their choices in acts of self-control, creating boundaries of sexual activity. Whereas a diversity of appropriate boundaries exists, young people seem to agree on an execution of the concept of purity in which respecting others trumps self-gratification. Abstinent teens use their personal agency to discipline their sexuality and choose to surround themselves with communities of support. Positive peer pressure can reinforce the abstinence message, but it also can lead to rebellion within the peer group. Going along with the crowd can sometimes weaken the abstinence commitment by masking a false pledge.

Keywords:   evangelical abstinence campaigns, sexual abstinence, sex, evangelical youth, sexual activity, purity

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