By Elizabeth Tenety
What the religious right has tried to achieve for years one pop goddess achieved this week in a single interview: Lady Gaga made chastity cool.
With her racy lyrics and penchant for going pantless, Lady Gaga seems an unlikely spokeswoman for abstinence. But she recently revealed to London’s Daily Mail that she is celibate and thinks it’s “not really cool anymore to have sex all the time.”
And not only did Gaga say she is celibate, but she’s encouraging her fans, whom she calls “little monsters,” to abstain, too. “I can’t believe I’m saying this — don’t have sex.” . . . “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. (And if you are ready,” she adds, “there are free condoms given away at my concerts when you’re leaving!)”
Abstinence is often associated with Catholic clergy members and religiously-inspired sex-education programming like True Love Waits. Although in the Daily Mail interview Lady Gaga did not make an explicit connection between her spirituality and her sexuality, she reportedly had a “strict Catholic upbringing” and prays before every performance.
Could a celebrity endorsement make waiting for sex cool?
In 2008, rock idol Lenny Kravitz told Maxim magazine that he had been celibate for the previous three years. “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, whose father is a former Christian minister, are champions of abstinence, and have donned purity rings as symbols of the “promises to ourselves and to God that we’ll stay pure till marriage.”
Jessica Simpson, also the child of a preacher, 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.”
What does Lady Gaga’s endorsement mean for abstinence advocacy? Can it be cool to be chaste?