Chastity is sexual conduct of a person that is deemed praiseworthy and
virtuous according to the moral standards and guidelines of their
culture, civilization or religion. The term has become closely
associated (and is often used interchangeably) with sexual abstinence,
especially before marriage and outside marriage.
2 In Abrahamic religions
2.3 Bahá'í Faith
3 In Eastern religions
4 See also
6 External links
The words "chaste" and "chastity" stem from the
Latin adjective castus
meaning "pure". The words entered the English language around the
middle of the 13th century; at that time they meant slightly different
things. "Chaste" meant "virtuous or pure from unlawful sexual
intercourse" (referring to extramarital sex), while "chastity"
meant "virginity". It was not until the late 16th century that
the two words came to have the same basic meaning as a related
adjective and noun.
In Abrahamic religions
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For many Muslims and Christians, acts of sexual nature are restricted
to marriage. For unmarried persons, chastity is identified with sexual
abstinence. Sexual acts outside or apart from marriage, such as
adultery, fornication, and prostitution, are considered sinful.
"Vow of chastity" redirects here. For vows of Catholic Religious, see
Evangelical counsels. For vows of chastity in other Christian
Churches, see Religious vows.
In many Christian traditions, chastity is synonymous with sexual
Chastity means not having any sexual relations before
marriage. It also means fidelity to husband or wife during marriage.
In Catholic morality, chastity is placed opposite the deadly sin of
lust, and is classified as one of seven virtues. The moderation of
sexual desires is required to be virtuous. Reason, will and desire can
harmoniously work together to do what is good.
In marriage, the spouses commit to a lifelong relationship which
excludes sexual intimacy with other persons. After marriage, a third
form of chastity, often called "vidual chastity", is expected of a
woman while she is in mourning for her late husband. For example,
Jeremy Taylor defined 5 rules in Holy Living (1650),
including abstaining from marrying "so long as she is with child by
her former husband" and "within the year of mourning".
The particular ethical system may not prescribe each of these. For
example, Roman Catholics view sex within marriage as chaste, but
prohibit the use of artificial contraception as an offense against
chastity, seeing contraception as unnatural, contrary to God's will
and design of human sexuality. Many Anglican communities allow for
artificial contraception, seeing the restriction of family size by
artificial contraception as possibly not contrary to God's will. A
stricter view is held by the Shakers, who prohibit marriage (and
sexual intercourse under any circumstances) as a violation of
Catholic Church has set up various rules regarding
clerical celibacy, while most Protestant communities allow clergy to
Celibacy is required of monastics—monks, nuns and friars—even in a
rare system of double cloisters, in which husbands could enter the
(men's) monastery while their wives entered a (women's) sister
monastery. Required celibacy among the clergy is a relatively recent
practice: it became Church policy at the
Second Lateran Council
Second Lateran Council in
1139. It was not uniformly enforced among the clergy until 200 years
later. Eastern Catholic priests are permitted to be married,
provided they are so before ordination and outside the monastic life.
Vows of chastity can also be taken by laypersons, either as part of an
organised religious life (such as Roman Catholic Beguines and Beghards
in the past) or on an individual basis: as a voluntary act of
devotion, or as part of an ascetic lifestyle (often devoted to
contemplation), or both. Some protestant religious communities, such
as the Bruderhof, take vows of chastity as part of the church
The voluntary aspect has led it to being included among the main
counsels of perfection.
Chastity is a central and pivotal concept in Roman Catholic praxis.
Chastity's importance in traditional Roman Catholic teaching stems
from the fact that it is regarded as essential in maintaining and
cultivating the unity of body with spirit and thus the integrity of
the human being.:2332 It is also regarded as fundamental to the
practise of the Catholic life because it involves an apprenticeship in
self-mastery.:2339 By attaining mastery over one's passions,
reason, will and desire can harmoniously work together to do what is
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church),
chastity is very important, quoting:
"Physical intimacy between husband and wife is a beautiful and sacred
part of God's plan for His children. It is an expression of love
within marriage and allows husband and wife to participate in the
creation of life. God has commanded that this sacred power be
expressed only between a man and a woman who are legally married. The
law of chastity applies to both men and women. It includes strict
abstinence from sexual relations before marriage and complete fidelity
and loyalty to one's spouse after marriage.
"The law of chastity requires that sexual relations be reserved for
marriage between a man and a woman.
"In addition to reserving sexual intimacy for marriage, we obey the
law of chastity by controlling our thoughts, words, and actions. Jesus
Christ taught,"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time,
Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever
looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her
already in his heart" (Matthew 5:27–28)."
LDS teaching also includes that sexual expression within marriage is
an important dimension of spousal bonding apart from, but not
necessarily avoiding its procreative result.
Chastity is mandatory in Islam. Sex outside legitimacy is prohibited,
for both men and women whether married or unmarried.
The most famous personal example of chastity in the Quran is Virgin
Mary (Mariam) :
"And [mention] the one who guarded her chastity, so We blew into her
[garment] through Our angel [Gabriel], and We made her and her son a
sign for the worlds." (21 :91)
"And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her
Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned
man.She said, "Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you,
[so leave me], if you should be fearing of Allah ."He said, "I am only
the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy."She said,
"How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been
Extramarital sex is forbidden and the Quran says:
"And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever
an immorality and is evil as a way." (17:32)
"And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul
which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not
commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will
meet a penalty.Multiplied for him is the punishment on the Day of
Resurrection, and he will abide therein humiliated -Except for those
who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace
their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful."
The injunctions and forbiddings in Islam apply equally to men and
women. The legal punishment for adultery is equal for men and women.
Social hypocrisy in many societies over history had led to a double
standard when considering sin committed by men versus sin committed by
women. Society tended to be more lenient and permissive towards men
forgiving men for sins not forgivable when women do them. At the root
of the contemporary wave of free sex for both sexes was apparently to
establish equality and remove discrimination between man and woman.
Instead of calling for equal cleanliness the call was for equal dirt.
Not so in Islam. and in a list of commendable deeds the Quran says:
"Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and
believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men
and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men
and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting
men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the
women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women
who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great
Because the sex desire is usually attained before a man is financially
capable of marriage, the love to God and mindfulness of Him should be
sufficient motive for chastity:
"But let them who find not [the means for] marriage abstain [from
sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty. And those
who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your
right hands possess - then make a contract with them if you know there
is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which
He has given you. And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution,
if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of
worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is
[to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful." (24:33)
The prophet's prescription to the youth was:
Those of you who own the means should marry for this should keep their
eyes uncraving and their chastity secure. Those who don't, may
practise fasting for it curbs desire. " (Ibn Massoud)
Chastity is an attitude and a way of life. In Islam it is both a
personal and a social value. A Muslim society should not condone
relations entailing or conducive to sexual license. Social patterns
and practices bent on flaring up the sexual desire are frowned upon by
Islam be the means permissive ideologies, pruritic art or neglect of
moral upbringing. Personal freedoms should never be taught as the
freedom to challenge God's injunctions or trespass over the limits He
Chastity is highly prized in the Bahá'í Faith. Similar to other
Bahá'í teachings call for the restriction of
sexual activity to that between a wife and husband in Bahá'í
marriage, and discourage members from using pornography or engaging in
sexually explicit recreational activities. The concept of chastity is
extended to include avoidance of alcohol and mind-altering drugs,
profanity, and gaudy or immoderate attire.
In Eastern religions
Hinduism's view on premarital sex is rooted in its concept of Ashrama
(stage) or the stages of life. The first of these stages, known as
Brahmacharya, roughly translates as chastity. Celibacy and chastity
are considered the appropriate behavior for both male and female
students during this stage, which precedes the stage of the married
householder (Grihastha). Sanyasis and Hindu monks or Sadhus are also
celibate as part of their ascetic discipline.
In Sikhism, premarital or extra-marital sex is strictly forbidden.
However, it is encouraged to marry and live as a family unit to
provide and nurture children for the perpetual benefit of creation (as
opposed to sannyasa or living as a monk, which was, and remains, a
common spiritual practice in India). A Sikh is encouraged not to live
as a recluse, beggar, monk, nun, celibate, or in any similar vein.
Celibacy is a must for all Jain monks and nuns. Chastity
(Bhramacharya) is one of the five major vows of Jainism. The general
Jain code of ethics requires that one do no harm to any living being
in thought, action, or word.
Adultery is clearly a violation of a
moral agreement with one's spouse, and therefore forbidden, and
fornication too is seen as a violation of the state of chastity.
The teachings of
Buddhism include the Noble Eightfold Path, comprising
a division called right action. Under the
Five Precepts ethical code,
Upāsaka and Upāsikā lay followers should abstain from sexual
Bhikkhuni monastics should practice
Five Precepts of the
Daoist religion include No Sexual Misconduct,
which is interpreted as prohibiting extramarital sex for lay
practitioners and marriage or sexual intercourse for monks and nuns.
Chastity belt (BDSM)
Law of chastity
Seven deadly sins
Theology of the body
Chastity at Dictionary.com".
Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
Chastity at Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford
^ a b "chaste - Origin and meaning of chaste by Online Etymology
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^ a b c "podictionary - for word lovers - daily stories, trivia &
dictionary etymology". podictionary.com. Retrieved 15 March
^ "chastity - Search Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com.
Retrieved 15 March 2018.
Jeremy Taylor (1650). "Chapter II, Section III, Of Chastity". Holy
^ Diarmaid MacCulloch, 'Reformation', Penguin Books, 2003, pg 28
^ "Our Vows". Bruderhof. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
^ "Life Among The Bruderhof". The American Conservative. Retrieved
^ "I. "
Female He Created Them . . ."", Catechism of the
Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
^ "II. The Vocation to Chastity", Catechism of the Catholic Church,
Libreria Editrice Vaticana
^ "What Is the Law of Chastity?". lds.org. Retrieved 15 March
^ Research Department, Universal House of Justice (1991). "A Chaste
and Holy Life". Compilation of Compilations (Volume 1). Australia:
Baha'i Publications Australia.
Media related to
Chastity at Wikimedia Commons
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Chastity
Look up chastity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Catechism of the
Catholic Church (III.2.I)
Early Shaker Writings Relating to Sexual Abstinence
Catholic Encyclopedia: Chastity
The Seven Virtues in Christian ethics
Great Commandment; "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two
commandments." – Matthew 22:35-40
Republic, Book IV
Augustine of Hippo
Sources: Paul the Apostle
1 Corinthians 13
Seven deadly sins
Source: Prudentius, Psychomachia
People: Evagrius Ponticus
Pope Gregory I