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Opinion | Sexuality

Lady Gaga: Champion of Abstinence?

The wave of celebrities touting a "celibate" lifestyle actually undermines the movement.

Lady Gaga can make anything cool: Muppets as clothing. Bows made out of human hair. Pantslessness. Abstinence.

Wait … what?

"I can't believe I'm saying this—don't have sex," said the 24-year-old pop star in an interview with Britain's Daily Mail. Gaga, the heir to the Madonna/Freddie Mercury glam-pop throne, known for her catchy dance music and outrageous wardrobe, went on, "it's okay not to have sex, it's okay to get to know people. I'm single right now and I've chosen to be single because I don't have the time to get to know anybody. I'm celibate, celibacy's fine."

Her message, as the article points out, is more about choice than abstinence itself. "Something I do want to celebrate with my fans is that it's okay to be whomever it is that you want to be. You don't have to have sex to feel good about yourself, and if you're not ready, don't do it." She adds, "And if you are ready, there are free condoms given away at my concerts when you're leaving!" And this, in the context of an interview to promote a MAC lipstick that supports global HIV/AIDS projects—a lipstick Lady Gaga hopes will make women "feel strong enough that they can remember to protect themselves … [so] that when your man is lying naked in bed, you go into the bathroom, you put your lipstick on, and you bring a condom out with you."

Not exactly the champion of abstinence many seem ready to make her.

Part of the problem seems to be confusion over what the word celibate actually means. Take, for ...

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