Category Archives: abstinence

Obama’s Trivialization of Virginity

This week marks an especially repugnant page in President Obama’s catalog of attempts to woo young female voters.  In an online ad titled “Your First Time,” featuring actress Lena Dunham, the President’s campaign drew an offensive and distasteful parallel between losing one’s virginity and the “awesome” experience of voting for Mr. Obama.

Explaining that it’s “super uncool” to abstain from the election, Miss Dunham says she became a woman when she voted for the President, and was honored to “do it” with a guy who cares about her right to taxpayer-funded birth control.

President Obama enjoys indicting his opponents as propagators of a “war on women.”  But what is truly demeaning is to suggest that the womanhood of female voters depends on his reelection, and a few newly minted goodies that will make it easier to have uncommitted sex without regard for the sanctity of life.  Just as insulting is the packaging of these views in an ad that hyper-sexualizes women and treats chastity as a quaint concept.

Read the complete article here.


Sex, Discourse, and Harvard

When I arrived at Harvard, I did not appreciate the need for a group known as True Love Revolution. Yet, I did not know what it represented or the important role it served on campus by endorsing premarital abstinence and sexual integrity, upholding the institution of marriage and the family, and advocating true feminism. The group, which was formed in 2006, introduced a view regarding sex-related issues that often goes unheard. While these topics are incredibly salient in college, I was amazed by how often they are presented in a way that ignored the moral dimension of human sexuality.  This concern stimulated my interest in the group and motivates my involvement today.

This semester, the True Love Revolution seeks to continue the conversation, but we have renamed ourselves The Harvard College Anscombe Society. We have named ourselves after Elizabeth Anscombe, a Cambridge professor and celebrated British philosopher of the 20th century. In her work, Anscombe defended many principles shared by our organization, including chastity and the importance of marriage and the family. Inspired by her intellectually rigorous support for the group’s beliefs and by her witness to those values as a wife and mother, our group has renamed itself in her honor. The Anscombe Society joins other universities such as Princeton, Providence College, University of Texas, University of Pittsburgh, and Stanford in honoring Anscombe’s legacy. Although our group’s platform remains unchanged, our new name highlights the philosophical foundation and intellectual mission of our group.

Over the past six years, we have noticed that too often, “consent” is upheld as the only standard for determining what behavior is acceptable.  There is very little discussion of whether or not any choices are morally good or right, depriving students of an important lens by which to judge their own behavior. Thus the rejection of the notion that our sexual choices have a significant moral component seriously harms our peers. We believe that the views we espouse are not only morally true in the abstract, but also better choices for a healthy and fulfilling life. Thus, we have taken our role in presenting our views seriously, through such means as guest speakerseditorials, and debates. We have also found creative ways to spread our message, such as the Valentine’s Day campaign in which the True Love Revolution distributed chocolate kisses to freshmen with a note that said, “Why wait? Because you’re worth it.”  This semester, we have invited Karin Agness, the president and founder of the Network of Enlightened Women and the director of academic programs at the American Enterprise Institute, to discuss true feminism.

The Anscombe Society remains a secular organization that looks to what sociology, psychology, medicine, philosophy, and human experience suggest are the best ways to acheive the good of the person and the common good in the realm of sexuality. We seek to continue a tradition of stimulating campus and national discourse on a conscientious view of sexuality that strengthens marriages, fortifies civil society, and contests the merits of a hyper-sexualized culture.  We are excited to find support among national leaders, our faculty, and students, and we urge our classmates to think deeply about these issues and to subject the prevailing orthodoxies of our society to real scrutiny.

Luciana E. Milano ’14 is a government concentrator living in Pforzheimer House. She is President of The Harvard College Anscombe Society. This article was originally published in the HarvardCrimson. 

Register for the Intercollegiate Conference on Sexuality, Integrity, and the University

5th Annual Intercollegiate Conference on Sexuality, Integrity, and the University

Friday evening & Saturday, November 2 & 3, 2012
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey

Regular registration is now open. Register here!

Regular Registration will be open September 15 through October 5
Fees: Student Fellows – Fee waived; Students – $45; Non-students – $75
Refunds can be issued through October 22 for registered attendees who cannot attend the conference. Please note student fellows are individuals who have applied to become official fellows of the Love and Fidelity Network. Most are leaders of campus groups. For more information about student fellows, please visit the Getting Involved page.

The Love and Fidelity Network’s annual conference aims to connect college men and women to leading scholars and experts in order to equip them with the best arguments and resources in support of marriage, family, and sexual integrity.  Participants will also find ample opportunity to network with and learn from each other, and attend sessions to help develop leadership skills in bringing the “love and fidelity” message back to their respective campuses.

Conference Program

Conference attendees will hear from renowned scholars whose work spans from the philosophy surrounding the meaning of sex, to the connection between marriage culture and the economy, to the social effects of changing family structures. In addition, participating students will also have a chance to learn more hands-on techniques for branding their group on campus, using social media to advance their group’s mission, and building alliances with other communities on campus.

Friday, November 2, 2012

6:00 – 8:00 PM     Registration and Check-in

8:00 PM     Welcome and Opening Remarks
Dr. Paul Kerry, Brigham Young University

8:30 PM     A New Look at Home Economics:
How the Cultural Withdrawal from Marriage Contributes to Economic Weakening
Dr. Patrick Fagan, Marriage and Religion Research Institute

Saturday, November 3, 2012

8:00 AM     Breakfast

9:15 AM     Talking About Sex:
Its Nature, its Meaning, and How to Discuss it with Friends
Dr. J. Budziszewski, University of Texas, Austin

11:15 AM   Are the Kids All Right?
Lessons from the New Family Structures Study and the Public Debate
Dr. Mark Regnerus, University of Texas, Austin
Dr. Ana Samuel, Witherspoon Institute

12:45 PM     Lunch

2:30 PM       Why Knot? First Comes Love, Then Comes What?
Roland Warren, National Fatherhood Initiative 

4:30 PM    Winning the Campus: Breakout Workshops

A) Shaping How We Are Perceived : Branding Campus Initiatives
Patrick Dennis, Dennis Creative

B) Extending Your Reach: Communicating with Social Media
Mike Matthews, The Mobile Culture

C) Building Alliances on Campus
Dr. Robert P. George, Princeton University
Audrey Pollnow, Princeton University
Luciana Milano, Harvard University

D) Supporting Students in the Classroom and Beyond:
A Discussion among Faculty
Dr. Robert P. George, Princeton University
Dr. John Londregan, Princeton University

E) Linking Faith and the Language of the University:
A Discussion among Campus Ministry Leaders
Ali Smith, Christian Union

6:00 PM     Dinner

7:15 PM     Lessons from the Ground:
Student Leaders Share their Successes, Obstacles, and Advice

8:30 PM     Closing Remarks
Dr. Paul Kerry, Brigham Young University


The Love and Fidelity Network seeks to provide hotel accommodations in Princeton for undergraduate students participating in the conference on Friday and Saturday nights. Due to limited availability we will give preference on a first-come, first-serve basis. The sooner you register, the more likely it will be that we can provide accommodations for you and your group.

True Love Revolution officially renamed The Harvard College Anscombe Society

True Love Revolution is officially renamed The Harvard College Anscombe Society. We have renamed ourselves after Elizabeth Anscombe, a Cambridge professor and celebrated British philosopher of the 20th century. In her work, Anscombe defended many principles shared by our organization, including chastity and the importance of marriage and the family. Inspired by her intellectually rigorous support for our group’s beliefs and by her witness to those values as a wife and mother, we have renamed our organization in her honor. Our mission remains unchanged, but we think that this new name will be very important in continuing to build our club and further its mission on campus.

“Then there is the True Love Revolution, a Harvard group formed in 2006 ‘to give students a moral and political option in issues relating to sex and marriage.’ Its members believe that liberationist attitudes toward sex, sexuality, and relationships damage students’ health and well-being.'”  -Professor Ruth Wisse

In “Welcome To Freshman Disorientation,” published in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse, discusses how “student opinion at elite schools has lately been growing more varied.” She presents the mission of  True Love Revolution and mentions groups at Harvard like Harvard Right to Life and the Harvard Republican Club, suggesting that “conservatives in particular have become more outspoken.”  To read the complete article, click here. 

True Love Revolution Recognized in Wall Street Journal

Investing in Future Relationships

For a while now, there has been a lot of discussion of what the actual benefits are for remaining abstinent. What is there to gain by waiting? According to a study by Dean Busby, a professor at the Brigham Young University School of Family Life, the decision to refrain from premarital sex can provide a boost to the chances of a good marriage.

In the recently published study, researchers at Brigham Young University took a look at some of the factors that affect the success of a relationship, particularly the effects of premarital sex on future marital satisfaction. The timing for introducing sex into the relationship seems to have a lasting impact on the outcome of the relationship, with the general trend being that couples who wait longer seem to have stronger relationships. The study used data collected in a survey to try to gain a quantitative assessment of people’s behaviors and if that relates to the strengths of their marriages.

Although there are numerous possible explanations for these results, it would seem that this study highlights the crucial role that communication and emotional and mental compatibility play in a relationship. Sexual compatibility is of significant value in a marriage, but is not of itself enough to sustain a marriage. A healthy, happy marriage needs to be grounded in communication and openness between spouses, and some researchers believe that by postponing sex couples are giving themselves the opportunity to develop their relationship in these other fields. This seems to pay off later on, when the relationship has to withstand the difficulties that people confront throughout life. By giving their marriage a solid emotional foundation, couples seem to be investing in both the physical, sexual part of their relationship and their overall future satisfaction.


TLR President named one of Harvard’s Most Interesting Seniors

Rachel Wagley, True Love Revolution’s current President, is featured as one of Harvard’s 15 Most Interesting Seniors in The Harvard Crimson magazine’s December edition.


Chivalry and Dependency in Twilight

The media debate on Twilight rages on – does it promote abstinence? Is it a positive or negative depiction of relationships?

This video features Jason Evert speaking on why Twilight is so popular with girls. He argues that Twilight’s main character Edward Cullen is attractive to girls who yearn to be protected and to meet a man who “yearns for the good of his beloved”. Cullen takes leadership and initiative in the relationship, creating a fan base of girls who cannot find examples of strong “manly” leadership in modern culture.

The problem lies in the obsession that ensues and in heroine Bella Swan’s loss of her identity in her attraction to Cullen (…and the issue that Cullen is a monster). Watch Evert talk about Twilight’s redeeming qualities of chivalry and strength and leadership and deeper problems of emotional dependency.

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No sex= success?

One of the quirks of studying at a school as well-known as Harvard is that, before graduating, most of us will be asked at least once what the secret is- how did we get in here? Aside from hard work and good grades, something ostensibly sets us apart from the pool of applicants. Maybe some of us got in because we were abstinent in high school?

While the admissions committee definitely does not inquire to applicants’ sexual history, nor does it make its decisions based on those criteria, this aspect of our lives seems to play a part in our academics. Earlier this week, the New York Times cited a study done by the CDC, on the “Association Between Health-Risk Behaviors and Academic Grades.” The survey indicates that students who got good grades in high school were less likely to be sexually active. In fact, less than one third of the “A” students had ever had sex, compared with over two thirds of the “D/F” students. Although the study states that this association does not imply any sort of causation, there is a significant relationship between sex and success for young people that is worth further study.


News Flash: Lady Gaga Makes Abstinence Cool

Lady Gaga in London’s Daily Mail: “I remember the cool girls when I was growing up. Everyone started to have sex. But it’s not really cool any more to have sex all the time. It’s cooler to be strong and independent.”

I wouldn’t call Lady Gaga’s endorsement of abstinence truly persuasive, especially as her statement leaves ample room for fair questions (Did sex used to be cool back in the day? Is abstinence now just a trend for cool girls?). But True Love Revolution is not usually in the habit of complaining when celebrities take a stand against sex-crazed Hollywood culture or the music industry. Nevertheless, celebrity endorsements of abstinence leave something to be desired as they conflate short-term abstinence with the true connotations and meaning behind the word.

Elizabeth Tenety is more persuaded, declaring in the Washington Post that Lady Gaga’s interview “made chastity cool.” While Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance song lyrics don’t exactly suggest putting the stops on sex, she encouraged her fans to leave sex behind. “I can’t believe I’m saying this — don’t have sex.” She continued later, “It’s OK to be whomever it is that you want to be,” she said. “You don’t have to have sex to feel good about yourself, and if you’re not ready, don’t do it.” To be fair, Lady G did add, “And if you are ready, there are free condoms given away at my concerts when you’re leaving!”

Lady Gaga, along with contestants on the most recent Bachelor series, are helping spur a new feminist movement that doesn’t view sexuality as the key to empowerment. I’m open to debating their effectiveness and even their intentions, but with magazines, music, TV shows, and movies portraying premarital sex as normal, it’s interesting to note that the stars of these mediums are urging young people to think twice.

Tenety in the Washington Post doesn’t stop with Lady G. She mentions Lenny Kravitz’s 2008 interview with Maxim magazine where he reveals that he’s been abstinent for three years, saying, “It’s just a promise I made until I get married. Where I’m at in life, the women have got to come with something else, not just the body, but the mind and spirit.”

The Jonas Brothers sport their purity rings left and right, and in the words of Joe, they represent “promises to ourselves and to God that we’ll stay pure till marriage.” Tenety points out that Jessica Simpson “famously waited for sex until her wedding to ex-husband Nick Lachey” and ‘”the world’s sexiest underwear model,” Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima told GQ in 2006 that she was a virgin and that as a Catholic she believes that “Sex is for after marriage.”’

If celebrities flaunt themselves sexually or continue singing sexual lyrics, can their stated commitments to abstinence truly benefit the discourse on the reasons abstinence is beneficial?