FW: Celibacy: Everyday Presentations

Bosley_J (BosleyJ@ORE.PSB.BLS.GOV)
Wed, 13 Dec 1995 14:21:00 EST

Damn I'm getting interested in this thread despite myself!! Douglas D-St. C
offers this in part:

>>i don't think voluntary refusal of sexual intimacy is quite as vague as
bob suggests, and that is likely a measurable phenomenon, tough less so
than marital status but he is, of course, right....spouselessness and
sexlessness are different animals, my point being that his typology
elided this point by assuming celibacy is a unitary phenomenon in itself
[ and both our types lists demonstrate it is not]<<

A couple of observations on this...the *behavior* in question here, it seems
to me, is the "vow" or whatever and the behaviors that flow from it as a
consequence, some of which reported in folklore, etc. are probably as
interesting as most sexual actions, e.g. taking cold showers, engaging in
compulsive activities to block out sexual imagery, etc. I'm sort of kidding
here but only half...and there *is* the issue of the voluntary refusal--a
private act--vs. how well it gets executed--in the public arena. (I assume
that we are ruling out masturbation as a degenerate case...no pun intended.)

>>the other relates to the problem of the "vrofi" being too intimate to be
reliably observed...i suppose my response would have to be that we treat
assertions of 'vrofi' in the same way we treat assertions of beliefs ion
general...neither is empirically verifiable since both are too intimate
to be observable in a reliable way...so i'll take the assertion at its
face value...i am not sure bob is suggesting that the only thin we can
study is that which has a high inter-observer coherence value....since
that would certainly be awfully limiting<<

See foregoing comment too, but let me say that as someone who works for an
organization that generates economic statistics that have profound effects
on the lives of American citizens, if we had to restrict our data to
*observables* of even "non-sensitive" actions, we'd be out of business. All
we have to go on when we post the unemployment statistics every month is the
honesty of a respondent in each of about 60,000 US households--not to
mention that person's knowledge about the behavior of the head of household
if that person is not the one being interviewed, etc. You can bet that some
of these people give us bum data--but it's all we can afford to get, and so
we use it...

>>and apropos of j bosley's note about websters defintion of celibacy..pain
in the ass that i am i got on the on the phone and asked 6 of my
cathcolic friends what celibacy meant to them in relation to their
priests and all six said something along the lines of ' vowing not to
have sex'<<

But the second Webster's def didn't say "vow"--it said "abstain"

>>operationalize your terms, my old stats prof would scream...which is what
bob and i are doing, from two different realms of action and activity [ a
key distinction hre being that bob's typology refers to states, while
mine refers to activities]<<

And it's what I'm trying to be helpful about, and I think both approaches
are legit and interesting, for what that's worth.

John B.