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January 30, 2008

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Laura

Wow! I think I like this guy!

There's a lot more to marriage than sex, and I'm glad to see that there's a celebrity who can see that.

Bravo Lenny! You have my support.

Anjuan

Our country is so far from truth that many people mistake it for a lie. There are clear benefits for anyone (but, especially men) to choose a life a celibacy outside of marriage: no unwanted pregnancies, no risk of STD's (lethal and otherwise), reduced risk of emotional damage from a lost relationship, reduced risk of being accused of rape, and easier assessment of dating partners apart from their sexual partners. Lenny should be applauded, and smart single men will follow his example. The devastation caused by being single and sexually active is clear.

Jenny

There's something I'm not clear on: If he's not trying to preach, then why does he even feel the need to talk about it?

Allison

Jenny, he talks about it because the interviewer from Spin.com specifically asks him about it. The interview knows about it because it came up on a Charlie Rose interview which Lenny did in 2004. I just watched the Charlie Rose interview, which you can see here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf25sl1qLOU

but skip ahead to 49:00 as that's when the topic comes up. Charlie Rose asks him about the women in his life so Lenny mentions that he recently made a decision to focus on finding the one special woman, being more committed to God, and thus remaining celibate until he finds her.

Sarah m

excellent ending paragraph--reminds me a lot of Anonymous, M.D. in "Unprotected". We salute you, indeed!

mandi

Wow. I'm proud of him!

spudmom

It has been my experience that people who claim to be 'open-minded' usually will accept any behavior more outrageous than their own, but not more traditional, moral behavior. The 'closed-minded' bigots usually live the principles they espouse to demonstrate that they believe that it is a better choice for personal, long-term happiness. We, too, sometimes act the same way when confronted with people who are even more 'traditional' than ourselves (we think that they are opressed or barbaric.) All people have the responsibility to advocate what they believe will better society, and to change by patience and persuasion those who they feel are headed to misery, but they don't need to be rude about it. Lenny is on the right track, but if he had some statistics to back up his beliefs, he may be more effective.

ChristineM

It seems that those who mock people for choosing to live a pure life do so because they view it as a threat to their own morality. Since nobody wants to be immoral they must keep everyone inline with their own ideology.

The first critical comment about celebrities going to one extreme or another lacked even the the most basic sexual education. One does not get pregnant by sleeping with multiple partners and birth control doesn't always work. In fact, "extremes" have nothing to do with the Hollywood baby-boom since all the celebs who've recently become pregnant have been in longterm relationships.
So that posters version of "moderation" fails everyday, in fact, I bet most of the 4000 a day American women who have an abortion were practicing "moderation" too

How refreshing!

Katie Gillet

Likely he wouldn't have said anything if not asked.

R.B.

Ugh, people attacking other people's sexuality make me shudder. From the people who brought you heteronormativity: mandatory sex, whether you want it or not! Blech.

How's this for a revolutionary idea: everybody should have as much sex as they want (not less, not more) and everybody else should get out of their faces?

While I'm wishing, can we do away with celebrities? Their treatment reminds me of nothing so much as ritual sacrifice.

Jen

Well, good for him! This is a refreshing change.

maryohayes

"From the people who brought you heteronormativity" - Huh?? This may come a surprise to some, but heterosexuality is indeed normative. It takes two different sexes in order to reproduce. Look around the world and all over the animal kingdom: it IS the norm! I don't think that Hollywood brought us "heternormativity."

Grace Leigh

It's great to hear that there are still some celebrities out there who can serve as positive role models. Thanks for sharing!

R.B.

Mary, by "heteronormativity", I don't *just* mean the idea that heterosexuality is normative. I mean the idea that men are supposed to satisfy a narrow gender role (which often means having an insatiable desire for sex) and women are supposed to satisfy exactly the opposite role (which often means having zero desire for sex, except as a means to something else like love or babies). I think that idea is probably contributing to people's freak-out reaction to Kravitz: they're like "ZOMG it's a man who's not a sex-driven beast!11!!". (This is even leaving aside the fact that people will rip celebrities apart at the slightest excuse.) Since you're the expert on feminism, maybe you can help me find a better term for the attitudes I'm talking about?

Oh, and I realize that babies don't arise from spontaneous generation. I'll just point out that this doesn't entail any moral claims about how people should have sex. Note that I'm not trying to persuade you to abandon your deeply held Catholic beliefs, because jeez, I know a futile task when I see one. I'm just pointing out that I am not, in fact, an idiot for not being a conservative Catholic like you.

Babies don't entail any moral claims about how people should have sex, R.B.?

So, you don't think there are any moral, ethical or even practical questions pertaining to the creation of human life, and how to nurture that life, and what family arrangements are best for it?

(By the way---I've never encountered a group of people, in this day and age, who simultaneously demand that men go around acting like wild animals, while the women should have zero desire for sex.)

TalkinKamel

You don't think that the birth of children, the creation of young, human life and the best way to nurture it entail any moral claims about how people should have sex? Aren't reproduction and the raising of children important topics?

(By the way---I've never encountered a group of people, in this day and age, who simultaneously demanded that men be sex animals, while women have zero desire, and be, essentially, sexless. "Heteronormative" is usually used by gay activists to describe the the belief that most people are primarily heterosexual, which they generally are. If I were you, I would pick out a different term. I'd also take a closer look at the actual world around you.)

Jane

i don't know, TalkinKamel, when teen boys who rape girls are said to be "rambunctious" (like the "Stag" group a few years ago), i think we havent gone too far from having men be "sex animals".

Jane, as I recall, those boys were pretty well castigated in the papers, and magazines, at the time, when the story came out. Their parents may have tried to to excuse it as "rambunctious", but I don't think anybody else was buying it. And, rather sadly, parents these days all too often try to explain away, or excuse, their offsprings' bad behavior, be they male or female. I don't see this as "herteronormative" (whatever that means), and I certainly don't see it among everybody, everywhere; I think it's just part of the confused, unhappy society we live in.

Also, I don't recall that, at the same time, the girls who went to school with those boys were being encouraged to be delicate virgins, hate sex and reject males.

There are evil men (as there are evil women.) But out society has laws against rape, and punishes it when it comes out. And, as I pointed out before, I don't see anyplace, even very religious communities, where women are told they must hate sex, and reject men altogether. And, of course, such societies usually have strict standards for men, too; their attitude isn't, "Well, it's okay for guys to go out and assault women, but you women had better be virgins!"

Lori

Many years ago, when I was in grad school, working diligently, I used to listen to some of the talk radio--just as white noise in the background. But some things would come through. Dr. Joy was regularly on the radio, and day after day I would hear women call her, and complain about their boyfriends/husbands. They beat them, they fooled around, they never talked to them or bought them presents, or took them out. And when dr. Joy would ask why the woman stayed with the guy, the woman would respond, "But the sex is great!" Which got me thinking...

The problem with premarital sex, it seems to me, is that people--mainly women, but also men--fall for the SEX, not for the PERSON. If people take the time to FALL IN LOVE FIRST, and only THEN, have sex--and what better outward sign and what better declarations of LOVE than getting married?

I applaud Lenny Kravitz, a public male figure, making this sort of promise to himself, and advertising it. Hopefully it will give others the same idea. I only wish I had come to this sort of realization--his or mine--some twenty-odd years ago. I might actually have gotten married in time to settle down, have children, raise a family. That is a boat I missed, and I blame, among numerous things, the fact that I fell for the lie of "sexual liberation."

Ken

Lori: I missed the same boat, for the opposite reason. I didn't want sex, I wanted companionship. I even saved myself for marriage (that's why I'm a 52-year-old virgin). But all the women wanted was The Orgasm, and since I didn't deliver, I was history.

I even caught hell from my parents for not putting out, and I'm MALE! I remember treating the closest I ever got to a girlfriend like a lady, like all the stuff in my pre-Sexual Revolution formative years, and after catching hell from my family for NOT even trying to bone her brains out, she dumps me for an abusive loser -- screw, shackup, marry, divorce a few years later. And she said she was saving herself for marriage, just like I was! And I believed her!

I have envied The Handmaid's Tale and Shari'a ever since.

TalkinKamel

Excuse me: "Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them."

And here's Ken's comment: "I have envied "The Handmaid's Tale" and Shari'a ever since. FGM + Honor Killings = Virgin Brides who WILL Stay Faithful."

Well, this comment appeared, so I guess the author approves, and agrees with Ken about the need for FGM, Honor Killings, and the imposition of Shari'a law, to us uppity in our place. In which case, I'm outa here!

Shame!

Mary O'Hayes

Talkin Camel, glad you pointed that out. Sometimes, the editors read the first few sentences and approve the comment. Obviously, we missed the boat on that extremely creepy comment, and it will be removed in its entirety. That was certainly not intentional, and nobody here supports FGM or sharia law or honor killings. Again, thanks for pointing it out.

Blakeney

I liked his music, but didn't know much about Lenny Kravitz. Now I admire his convictions - and his courage. It takes a lot of guts for any guy in this day and ages to talk about abstinence. For a male rock star to do it, they've really got to be brave.

Bravo, Lenny! And more power to ya!

Paul Clutterbuck

Yes, there is much more to marriage than sex. Marriage is about faithfulness to a covenant, where the two partners to the covenant actually swap ownership of each others' sexuality. When I marry, my wife will own that part of me, so she has a stake in what I do with it both before and after. In return, she gives herself to me, so I have a stake in her faithfulness to the covenant both before and after.

Last year I was engaged to a Jewish woman who was from a non-observant family. Several years ago she had been through a series of physical relationships, and it still showed in her history of depression and the jadedness in her face. We fasted and prayed together for days at a time so that she could regain control of her sex drive (which she finally did, for the first time in 10 years). Worst of all, she had lost her sense of the sacredness of intimacy, so that although we had been emotionally very close, once she decided it was over between us, she dumped me in a flash with apparently no compunction.

I turned 35 recently, and so far I've succeeded in keeping myself for my future wife. I simply haven't ever placed myself in an environment where anything could happen between me and someone else on a sexual level. While I'm saddened by so much that goes on in our postmodern culture, including the Baptist church where I worship, I'm encouraged by sites like this one, and the people who support them, that believing I have a stake in my future wife's past AND future doesn't leave me pursuing an impossible goal.

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