A Wild Constraint: The Case for Chastity

Jenny Taylor, Author . Continuum $24.95 (166p) ISBN 978-0-8264-8712-4

More people remain single longer, if not for life, than ever before. In the face of this, coupled with popular cultural messages promoting an active sex life, Taylor’s advocacy for chastity is timely and provocative. Drawing on personal interviews, social statistics and references to sources ranging from Freud to Bridget Jones, Taylor (Faith and Power: Christianity and Islam in 'Secular’ Britain) chastises what she deems to be a dangerous degree of sexual freedom. The book is at its best when describing the possibilities and benefits of chastity for the individual and society. However, it is dominated by a querulous tone, decrying the damages of sexual licentiousness. Weakening her argument, Taylor doesn’t clearly distinguish issues of personal choice from issues of criminal pathology. While readers will share the author’s anger and disgust with abusive sex, many will remain puzzled about exactly when and how Taylor thinks sex should be limited. This is a thought-provoking book that should have been further developed. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/15/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
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