Is showering together unchaste?
Hey Paul, I have a question concerning chasity
My friend told me that he and a girl took a shower together!? I won't go into much detail, but apparently there was touching involved. My friend reasures me that he did not go too far and that he stayed chaste the entire time. He even said, "I've read Heather's book, nothing I did was unchaste!"
So my question is: was he staying chaste? And what should I do?
Thanks for writing and for asking such a great question; I think it is cool that you are looking for an answer so that you can give some wisdom to your friend; the world needs more people like you who are willing to be a friend to someone who is struggling and confused.
I suspect that part of the reason that you wrote is because what your friend said to you sounded off-base…and it certainly is. Taking a shower with a member of the opposite sex (outside of marriage, of course!) is definitely not chaste behavior! It bothers me that this guy quoted Heather’s book to justify his behavior; not only is that manipulative, but it is completely wrong! I know that Heather would wholeheartedly agree with me that taking a shower is inconsistent with chastity.
I would like to take a couple of minutes to explain my answer, and this explanation might help your friend. First of all, do you think that my wife Lisa would ever be OK with me taking a shower with another woman? Absolutely not! And the reason is that showering with someone is very intimate behavior…whether or not they are naked, partially naked, or even in a swimming suit. You didn’t say for sure if your friend and this guy had any clothing on or not, but even if they did this is not appropriate behavior.
The confusion may come from not completely understanding the difference between chastity and abstinence, or it may come from an incomplete understanding of chastity. Abstinence is simply not having sex, so I guess you could say that technically this couple might have been abstinent. However, chastity has two complimentary definitions
- Understanding and respecting sex and all sexual things so much that we keep them in marriage, and
- Purity of mind, heart, and body
Your note was not clear what kinds of touching happened between these two people (whether it was sexual or not), but even viewing other people’s private parts is a violation of definition #1, and this is not because God is a killjoy. Rather, it is because our private parts are meant to be a special gift only for our spouse; our sexuality is so awesome and valuable that it is meant to be shared with only that one person we marry.
And taking a shower outside of marriage is definitely not a pure act in terms of our minds and hearts, either. It definitely causes sexual curiosity and stirs up desires, even if they are not acted upon in a physical way. This kind of behavior also leads to people feeling more and more comfortable doing more and more intimate things, which is neither a good nor a healthy pattern of behavior.
Your instincts were right. There is definitely something wrong with this picture, and I know that Heather would be upset to know that a guy used her book to justify putting your friend into a compromising, potentially dangerous, and definitely unchaste situation.
I hope all of this information helps you, and that it might help your friend, too.
You also asked about what you should do. I would really encourage you to pray for your friend. It’s possible that she doesn’t value the gift of her sexuality as much as she should, and I think that if you keep making good choices yourself it might inspire her to live like you do. There is so much joy and self-respect to be discovered as we live chastely, and I hope that your lifestyle of chastity will inspire your friend to live for more…and not settle for less.
Finally, I would encourage you (and your friend) to read Heather’s book. You can actually borrow it from the St. Louis County Library. Keep learning about chastity, and keep praying for your friend! She is blessed to have a friend like you who cares about her so much!
PS You can even read a couple of chapters from Heather’s book here - http://reapteam.org/cfc-table-of-contents - including a chapter on How Far is Too Far, which might be helpful reading for your and your friend about this issue.