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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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What’s Not So Great about Great Sex

What’s Not So Great about Great Sex

(p.184) Chapter 8 What’s Not So Great about Great Sex
Making Chastity Sexy

Christine J. Gardner

University of California Press

This chapter argues that the evangelical abstinence campaigns are unwittingly raising a generation of young people with false expectations about the role of sex in marriage and about the sacrifice and commitment of marriage in general. By tying the abstinence commitment to one's religious commitment, the argument for abstinence threatens to weaken the religious faith of young people if the reward for choosing abstinence is never realized, whether because of singleness or the failure of marital sex to live up to expectations of greatness. However, the abstinence campaigns do get a number of things right. For starters, the campaigns are forcing the church to talk about sex. It may be difficult for the soft voice of religion to be heard against the blaring megaphone of mediated culture, but the campaigns are cranking up the volume, and teens are listening. The campaigns are also empowering young people—particularly young women—to respect their bodies and to make wise, healthy choices.

Keywords:   evangelical abstinence campaigns, sexual abstinence, young people, religious faith, marriage

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