Dawn Eden: 'Chastity Is for Rebels'

Rock journalist-turned-Christian Dawn Eden speaks to Beliefnet about her discovery that sexual liberation is actually a prison.

Dawn Eden, a writer and editor, is a self-described "agnostic Reform Jew" and veteran of the New York City singles jungle who became an evangelical Christian and then a Catholic. In her new book, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On, she describes her conversion from a "Sex and the City" lifestyle that made her miserable to a realization that saving sex for marriage was a liberating experience. She also encourages unmarried women to think of themselves not as "single" but as "singular"--defined by their relationship to God, not a man.

The myth is that women who don't have sex get sex-starved and feel like jumping on the next man they run into. Do you feel that way?

I used to. When I first started

practicing chastity

, I felt that I was depriving myself for Jesus, so to speak. I was making this big sacrifice, and God had better darn well appreciate it, because it wasn't easy. And I had to be all buttoned up and uncomfortable around men when I was really attracted to them. What I discovered is, first of all, that is not a recipe for prolonged chastity. You are going to fall off the wagon pretty quickly if you take that attitude.


And second of all, it's not really chastity. It's a word that I learned recently, which I'll use in my next book, called continence. It's simply the equivalent of abstinence, of physically preventing yourself from having sexual activity. But chastity is really from the inside.

So I began to practice that when, instead of concentrating on the fact that I was depriving myself, I concentrated on being open to all the blessings that the people around me had to offer, men and women. For example, you start to go to a social gathering, not thinking, "Oh, I hope I meet that one special guy," but just, "Oh, I'm looking forward to meeting everybody there." When you open up your perspective, you begin to experience the joys of chastity.

Do you feel sexual temptation these days? And what do you do? Say a prayer?

I do find the Miraculous Medal prayer helps a great deal: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." But for those who do not practice the Miraculous Medal prayer, then, what I would advocate is just stepping back, as often as you can, and looking at what you're doing, and what the person you're attracted to is doing. Ask yourself: "Am I setting myself up to let this person use me for sexual pleasure? And am I using this person for my sexual pleasure?" 

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