FW: Celibacy: Everyday Presentations

Bosley_J (BosleyJ@ORE.PSB.BLS.GOV)
Tue, 12 Dec 1995 16:26:00 EST

On Monday Dec 11, dr.douglass drozdow-st.christian wrote (in part)

>>now celibacy, as i understnad it, refers to the voluntary refusal of
sexual intimacy and as such seems to be person centred rather than
derived from its relationship to soem other practice [ in this case, bob
seems to suggest that celibacy in everyday life is a reaction to or
explanation for reproductive failure]. what bob seems to me to have
categorized are discreet classes of 1] the unwed and 2] the
heterosexually inactive. Since the celibacy of the catholic priest is a
mystical vow, of the spinster is either a refusal or failure of marriage,
and of the homosexual is the absence of heterosexual sex, i wonder if bob
is typing too varied a cluster of phenomenona. and betraying a curious but
not uncommon bias which overdetermines issues of sex or lack of it in
heterosexual terms.<<

Without meaning to be critical of this "position statement" or of the
following typology, I simply offer for what it's worth, the definitions
contained in my desk Webster's New Riverside University Dictionary (1994

Celibacy n. [Latin *caelebs, caelib-*, unmarried] 1. The state of being
unmarried, exp. by reason of religious vows. 2. Abstinence from sexual

One of my former girl friends used to say when we got into some sticky
discussions, "Out with the dic!!" :-) so it's in that spirit I offer the
foregoing. While Webster's not the end-all and be-all of concept definition,
these definitions get looked up by a lot of school kids.

Couple of other observations--people who talk about "celibacy up until
marriage" seem to be talking through their hats, according to def. 1.

On def. 2, note the relatively narrow scope--no proscription of some level
of sexual *intimacy* like sucking face, etc.--just don't do the nasty!! And
how many minds has the Church (I mean to include all sects who think "sex
outside of marriage" is a no-no, not just the Catholic Church although it of
course is among the more psychotic on this issue--it and the Southern
Baptists, who don't dance because it looks too much like sexual
intercourse...) screwed up on *this* score??