Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Chastity is a virtue in which purity is maintained by abstaining from sexual activity outside of marriage. In its religious connotations, it is distinct from the concept of virginity in that married partners are considered chaste as long as they remain faithful to one another. Whereas virginity might be considered a temporary identity, something to be lost, gifted, or exchanged with another person, chastity is a moral state of being historically linked to other virtues such as temperance and thrift. While the doctrine of chastity in most Western religions applies to both men and women, in practice, expectations of chastity have been unevenly applied throughout modern history. With the advent of abstinence-only sex education as the national standard for sex education in the United States, discussions of chastity have a new contemporary relevance. While our understandings of sexuality and sexual behavior have changed over time, sexuality has always had a ...