Everyone is always telling us to “not have sex”. If you have sex, you’re going to get pregnant or get a STD. So, you just shouldn’t do it. This concept depicts abstinence as the only option.
Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Our bodies are good and beautiful; they are meant to be loved and not used. Because of the way our culture twists the meaning of our sexuality and misrepresents our bodies, we have grown up thinking that abstinence is the goal. Abstinence is good, but chastity includes an understanding of the purpose of our bodies and sexuality.
Love is not just about feeling good, although this is a part of love. Love is an active decision. It is a decision to give oneself to another and to do so totally. Pope John Paul II uses the term total self-donation for this type of giving. It isn't about what we can get, but instead is willing the good of the other person.
People talk about finding “true love,” but what is it? Pope John Paul II explained: “For love is not merely a feeling; it is an act of will that consists of preferring, in a constant manner, the good of others to the good of oneself.”
It’s not enough to feel attractions or simply to want love. We must strive to know what is best for the other, and then make an actual commitment of our wills to bring about this “good” for the other.
Chastity is the virtue that directs our sexual desires and attitudes toward the truth of love. A virtue is a firm habit of doing what is good. To view chastity as a positive virtue we must see that it is much more than abstinence, which means “not having sex”.