Saturday, March 06, 2004

Abstinence Policy: Take Two

The Bush administration is very keen on sexual abstinence, but it really has very few tools to fight the war against demon sexuality. I have a proposal which could pave my way to the inner circle of the government, and perhaps make me the Secretary of Sin, Smut and Salvation. Besides, my proposal would amass the government millions of dollars in revenue, it would increase employment, at least somewhere in the world, and so it would have the backing of both the Neocons and the Theocons!

Here's the proposal: Equip all Americans with chastity belts.

These would be sold at motor vehicle registration sites, football and basketball games and Nascar rallies. A percentage of the selling price would go to the Department of Sin, Smut and Salvation to finance its operations, and all the keys would go there as well (or rather, to me). Any American could then apply for the key to her or his device by filling in a few easy-to-understand forms about why the key should be released. Valid reasons would be being married with less than seven children or belonging to the Roman Catholic clergy. Also being near death.

The belts would be made of excellent stainless steel and destroying them would be a Federal felony. I haven't yet figured out how to cope with airport checkpoints and such, but maybe people don't want to travel very much once chastity is guaranteed.

I do realize the public image problems my proposal has. Chastity belts have a bad reputation, especially among women, as we have been taught that they were used in the middle ages by the Crusaders to guarantee their wives' fidelity during the men's long absences. This turns out to be mostly fable, as the first real evidence of chastity belts only surfaces during the Renaissance. Historians now think that their use was always quite rare, though a female skeleton from the sixteenth century was found still in the belt.

Chastity belts may have been used in oppressive ways in the past, of course, but this doesn't have to be the case in my proposal. The belt could even empower its wearer. For example, some historians argue that there were women who used the chastity belt to protect themselves against rape, and from the nineteenth century onwards men could also have their own chastity belts to defend the wearer against "self abuse", "nocturnal emissions" and "insanity, imbecility and feeblemindedness". You might be surprised to learn that anywhere from 75 to 90% of current chastity belt wearers are men.

I firmly believe that chastity belts could be promoted as an egalitarian support in the struggle against sin. What a coup for the Bush administration in the culture wars! Something to appeal to its fundamentalist base, something to bring in lots of tax money, new jobs would be created in the steel industry and also in the fashion industry. Crime and sexually transmitted diseases would plummet, and peace and quiet would descend over this land.
If you are curious about what these devices might look like, check here. My first post on the current administration's abstinence policy can be found here.