A classic virtue.

It goes without saying that this is a controversial one. “Chastity” also has had shifting meanings and connotations over time and isn’t necessarily confined to sex the way we usually use the term today. It’s often mentioned in lists of virtues, so I included it here, though not very enthusiastically. Certainly lust drives people to do dumb stuff, so there’s that. Saying that chastity is a virtue can imply that sex is dirty, which has been a can of worms.

Complementary virtues

Contrasting vices

  • licentiousness
  • lust

Virtues possibly in tension

How to acquire or strengthen it


Notes and links

Mentioned elsewhere

Inspirational quotes

  • Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo \[“Give me chastity and continence, but not just yet!”\] ―Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
  • “The church is often called a killjoy for protesting against sexual license. But the real killing of joy comes with the grabbing of pleasure. As with credit card usage. the price tag is hidden at the start, but the physical and emotional debt incurred will take a long time to pay off.” ―N.T. Wright, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters
  • “Chastity does not pretend to extinguish our tender passions, or cancel one part of our nature: it only bids us not to indulge them against reason and truth; not give up the man to humor the brute, nor hurt others to please ourselves; to divert our inclinations by business, or some honest amusement, till we can gratify them lawfully, conveniently, regularly; and even then to participate of the mysteries of love with modesty, as within a veil or sacred enclosure, not with a canine impudence.” ―William Wollaston
  • “Sexual intercourse never helped anyone, and one must be satisfied if it has not harmed.” (attributed to the Epicureans by Diogenes Laertius)
  • “Chastity is one of the greatest disciplines. A man who is unchaste loses stamina and becomes emasculated and cowardly. If his mind is given over to animal passions, he is not capable of any great effort.” —Gandhi