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 ...

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