I believe this is a valuable book for conversation not just for singles but for married Christians as well. The issues here so overlap with cross-gender friendship in the Christian community. This is not just a book for those who are single.
Christine Colon and Bonnie Field assume that all unmarried Christians should practice celibacy. "This is not to say that all single Christians should experience an undeniable 'call' from God or that they should make a life-long commitment to a living single, celibate life. It does not even mean that we believe that single Christians should not date or desire marriage. It simply means that Christians should abstain from sexual relationships for as long as they are single, whether that is for a short period of time of for their entire lives. We use the term 'celibacy' rather than 'abstinence' because the focus on abstinence tends to be on waiting for a future marriage. The type of celibacy we propose is focused on our relationship with God rather than a future marital relationship."
Chapter One: Repression & Neuroses: Negative Secular Views of Celibacy
"While the secular media does occasionally portray virginity and celibacy positively...most of the time adult sexual abstinence is portrayed at best as odd and pathetic and at worst as a serious disorder that must be corrected. While many media savvy Christian singles are able to sift through these images and evaluate them for what they are, the fact that they have permeated society can be frustrating. "
They observe that one of most fundamental ideas about sex and celibacy is that sex is seen as a biological imperative. They quote CBS commentator Andy Rooney, "The pledge of celibacy demanded of Catholic priests assumes that sexual desire can be suppressed by resolve. The fact is, sex isn't something a person can decide to have or promise not to have and then never have it. They might as well have ordered the church bells not to ring when struck."
Societies (and the Church) did not always see sex as a biological imperative, though. Colon and Field suggest Freud was a major turning point. They quote Angus McLaren from his book, Twentieth-Century Sexuality: A History, "in the course of a few decades (between the first and second world wars) one had moved in Western culture from a society in which abstinence was obligatory to one in which orgasm was obligatory."
Then Colon and Field take us through the narrative of sex and repression in pop culture. In Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget has a tough time deciding what underwear to wear for her first date with her boss. The "scary, stomach-holding-in panties very popular with grannies the world over" versus the black, lace thong that would be more enticing if sex occurs on the first date.
The rules and expectation for women in this narrative is that it is "appropriate" for them to lose their viginity somewhere in the first two years of college. They quote a character from Gilmore Girls, "Having sex at 19 doesn't make you a bad girl...It makes you a human being." The episode from Friends where, in an alternative reality, Monica is overweight and a thirty-year old virgin--and incredibly immature.
For men, the narrative of pop culture depicts them as "stunted adolescents who have refused to grow up." In pop culture, men who are virgins are seen as incompetent adolescents rather than skilled, experienced adults.
Another important point in the narrative of sex and repression in the pop culture, is that life is seen as incomplete without a partner. Songs from pop culture stress this. Over thirty artists have recorded the 1944 song, "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You." Over and over again in pop songs the message is clear: "life without a partner is not a life worth living."
Both in film and television the narrative of pop culture, "seems that the worst fate in the world is being single and dying with a partner. But wait, there is a worse fate than dying single and alone: dying without ever having sex."