Gone are the days of sock hops and fountain drinks — replaced instead by fleeting sexual interaction.
But Princeton University's newest student organization, The Anscombe Society, which has garnered national attention over the last several weeks, seeks to promote chastity and restore the traditional views of courtship — something noticeably absent on this campus.
During my time as a student here, I have come to realize that "hooking up" is tolerated more often than being a virgin. Regrettably, students who choose to practice abstinence are often branded with a proverbial scarlet letter "V." And because of this supposed stigma, it seems that those who choose to practice this lifestyle are few and far between.
Let's face it. My views on sex have prompted many to call me puritanical, and others to believe my father is the Bible-toting Ned Flanders on "The Simpsons."
Given the current situation on this campus, I am reminded of a line from the chick flick, "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton," when Pete tells the love of his life to "guard your carnal treasure" as she boards a plane to have a date with a famous movie star. Unfortunately, this campus is not conducive to those who choose to save their "treasure."
The Anscombe Society — and others like it around the country — seeks to promote and encourage "an atmosphere where sex is dignified, respectful, and beautiful." The organization appears to be a respectable response to the currently prevailing attitudes towards sex on America's college campuses.
This university, though, is more charitable to such organizations as Sex Out Loud — a group that seeks to promote sexuality through sex education and activism. The activism they refer to includes providing "facilitators" such as sex toys, porn, erotica, role-playing, and S&M to students — all paid for by student segregated fees.
Something tells me that Abstinence Out Loud would be less well received.
What accounts for this intolerance of abstinence by college students, though? Over the years, the attitude toward sex among college students has increasingly become that of acceptance. Several factors have contributed to this widely held view of the intimate act, including the sexual revolution, creation of effective and inexpensive contraception, widespread cultural acceptance of infidelity and divorce, and a culture that has detached itself from a firm commitment to family.
As Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" plays in the background, it's easy to see that a significant amount of college students adhere to the steadfast mantra of live in the present with no consideration for the future.
But why must there be such hostility to groups that promote chastity and the individuals who comprise them? The intent of such organizations is to engage the university community in a dialogue about issues regarding sex and relationships. These groups also seek to provide support to those who choose to remain abstinent during their college career.
Doesn't this campus advocate tolerance? Maybe we should practice what we preach.
Nonetheless, these organizations on college campuses seem like a more plausible solution than the alternative.
We could be students at the University of Notre Dame, where sex is stated in the student code of conduct to be a "genuine and complete expression of love" that requires "a commitment to a total living and sharing together of two persons in marriage." Those found in violation of this policy could be subject to suspension or permanent dismissal.
Perhaps I should have given more thought to their offer of admission a few years ago.
This campus should realize that college students who practice abstinence are not anti-sex. Rather, they are waiting for the right person and for marriage. Those who do not practice abstinence may associate the decision to postpone sexual activity with the Christian "True Love Waits" campaign — complete with a ring or commitment card. But it's more complex than that. It's a lifestyle choice — regardless of a symbolic gesture.
Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if those who practiced chastity were indeed forced to wear the proverbial "V" on their clothing. At least they would be more identifiable to those who seek them out for a relationship.
Darryn Beckstrom ([email protected]) is a doctoral student in the department of political science and a second-year MPA candidate in the La Follette School of Public Affairs.