I am 33, mentally and physically healthy, reasonably content, and single. Because I am single, I am also chaste by choice and conviction. I am not more given to sexual temptation than the average person, but neither am I less susceptible to it. I have the normal amount of sexual energy for a person of my age with the feelings that attend it.

By chaste I mean chaste; I do not engage in sexual activity. Furthermore, I do not indulge in the games too often played by singles wishing to relieve their boredom while remaining technically short of the line. I do not flirt with married men, have occasional flings with single men, or develop unhealthy attachments to other women. Not being an athlete, I am not prone to sublimation by means of hard exercise. As a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, I am scared to overeat. I overspend only occasionally. And I hate cold showers.

I am not a saint. Then how do I do it? I have heard that question in the church for years from both marrieds and singles. Asked with wonderment and speculative doubt, the query’s implication emerges: If, indeed, the truth is being told, something is amiss. Fear, perhaps; a lack of the joie de vivre; early problems with father or mother; frigidity?

Clearly, if one is single and chaste, he/she must at least be fighting the demon of lust on an hourly basis. An occasional lapse reassures the inquisitive of one’s normality; compassion and understanding abound for the fallen single.

There is little praise for the consistently sexually controlled single. Too often, it is mixed with granulated pity or powdered condescension. Ironically, while discipline and self-control are encouraged and admired in scholarship, athletics, music, and ministry, their absence is strangely excused in sexual matters. The secular myth has infiltrated the Christian consciousness: our sexual urges are overpowering and irresistible. There will come the moment when we “simply can’t help ourselves,” when “madness” will overtake us, when “it will be bigger than us.” To resist the madness is somehow a failure to comprehend true sexuality, to be pronounced neuter—if not audibly, then certainly subconsciously.

How do chaste singles do it? Very simply (not easily), we keep our commitment to our convictions. I offer this suggestion in our defense. It is just possible that we too are tempted strongly, that we too could lose control at a minute’s notice, that our weakness is as great as the next person’s. It is even possible that good sense, grace, or learning our lesson early on has kept us out of all the heady ecstasy.

Goals, hard work, solid friendships, and taking God at his word have played a part. Taking one day at a time, understanding our own natures, and knowing what to avoid all probably help. Believing that God has given us our singleness at the moment, that our condition is not an accident or a cosmic joke, also figures in. More obviously, perhaps we have learned that no one gets everything he wants. Everyone has an itch he can’t scratch, regardless of position or circumstance.

Chastity is a requisite of Christian singleness. Furthermore, chastity is possible. There will always be somebody to suggest that such thinking is legalistic, unreasonable, and unlikely to succeed. My reply can only be: “When it’s bigger than I am, so is God.”

Miss de Rosset is assistant professor of communications at Moody Bible Institute, Chicago.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.