Chastity, Power Dynamics, and Enduring Spousal Love





Document Type

Book Chapter


This chapter takes the same approach and draws not only on their descriptions of human experiences but also on the findings of social science. It analyzes the power dynamics of Hume’s androcentric chastity and contrasts it with Wojtyla’s personalist chastity. The chapter evaluates both types of chastity by considering the findings of a recent study on teenage sex in Milwaukee gangs. It argues that the personalist secular chastity proposed by Wojtyla alleviates sexual power dynamics and provides a vector for developing an enduring spousal love. Androcentric chastity accordingly weakens marriage by separating the interests of husbands and wives, by excusing husbands from fully loving their wives, and by instilling into husbands the fear that their wives will sexually betray them. Alleviation of male guilt and hypocrisy by the widespread rejection of androcentric chastity may help explain the promiscuity unleashed by the pill and the sexual revolution of the 20th century.

Published in

Sexual Ethics in a Secular Age: Is There Still a Virtue of Chastity?

Citation/Other Information

R. Mary Lemmons. “Chastity, Power Dynamics, and Enduring Spousal Love.” In Sexual Ethics in a Secular Age: Is There Still a Virtue of Chastity?, 78-94, 2021.

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