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ABSTINENCE CLUBS

Chastity in Ivy League

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It isn't Indians alone who believe in the concept of brahmacharya - the West, too, has celibacy clubs in schools and colleges which promote sexual abstinence.

If celibacy needed an endorsement beyond the Atlantic it couldn't have come from a better place - America's Ivy League schools. Some of them have abstinence clubs, the most notable being True Love Revolution, formed in 2006 by a group of Harvard undergrad students. The idea was to draw people towards abstinence with cogent arguments, and make celibacy fun.

But Harvard wasn't the first Ivy League varsity to have a celibacy society. One year before True Love Revolution was founded, Princeton students had formed the Anscombe Club, named after the Catholic thinker Elizabeth Anscombe, a strong opponent of pre-marital sex. This was the time of sex education and the emergence of college sex magazines, and one of the reasons for founding the Anscombe Club was to offer a differing view.

The Princeton group relied heavily on logic and theory, and when its Harvard counterpart came up its members took care to keep it light. "We wanted to make abstinence look fun, interesting, " one of the founders told the New York Times. Today, the True Love Revolution website dishes out information on why abstinence is the only foolproof method to avoid pregnancy and whether one can draw a line between sexual intimacy and intercourse. The organisation also has a Facebook page and is attempting to spread out globally in its bid to encourage premarital abstinence and chastity among students.

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