Give Chaste Love for Valentines Day

Manila Bulletin, February 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

Give Chaste Love for Valentines Day


Byline: Bernardo M. Villegas

Whether married or single, what a person can give to his or her beloved on Valentines Day is chaste love.

Actually, chastity is not a negation. It is an affirmation of love, the strength to reject all impure desires and actions so that one can give himself entirely to the person he loves. It is good news that in a field research conducted on 4,000 Filipino youth aged 13 to 24, the idea of remaining chaste until one gets married is still the prevalent attitude. Despite all the influence of what Dr. Jokin de Irala, the Research Director, calls the "veterinary approach" to sexuality in media and some educational circles, the study showed that young people in the Philippines are not, on the whole, sexually experienced and have wholesome attitudes to sex as well as high-minded life goals.

Three quarters of the study sample had not had sex (81.3 percent of those under 18 and 61.8 of those 18 to 14) and their main reasons were that they were not married and that "waiting is a special gift for the person with whom I will share my life." Very few agreed that it is all right to have sex "for fun," and around three-quarters believed that "love forever" requires sacrifices. Among the minority who did have sexual experience, love was the most frequently cited reason, but only seven percent (mainly females) indicated love as the sole motivation. Other common reasons were: "I felt like it;"' "I wanted to know what it was like;"' "I was afraid to lose him/her;" and finding oneself in an uncontrollable situation.

It was clear from the study that most reasons for having pre-marital sex could be prevented with character education, thus preventing later regrets, especially teenage pregnancy. The strengthening of character or the cultivation of virtues should be the most important component of education for sexuality. True, as the survey showed, the young people want to know more about the biological aspects of sexuality and procreation: Pubertal changes, pregnancy (66 percent of males and 85 percent of females), condoms and contraceptives (about 65 percent of females and males) and sexually transmitted infections (around 80 percent). But above all, they want to know about psychological and emotional aspects of sex. Around 80 percent of both males and females want more information on topics such as readiness for dating, falling in love, judging a date's character, and managing their feelings. And most important of all, they want to know how to distinguish between desire, sexual attraction and love. As Dr. De Irala commented, these are the aspects of relationships that will help them avoid early sexual experience.

Character education is, of course, imparted primarily in the home. Parents must communicate the values of chaste love to their children. Dr. De Irala highlights two main areas for this parental guidance. …

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