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Chastity is a value of some systems of sexual morality and a consequent practice in use in some cultures and specially in some religious groups, consisting in the absolute prohibition of performing any sexual acts or, in a milder sense, certain sexual acts.

The groups that propose it may consider "purity" as an essential means to reach a particular intellectual or spiritual condition, or they may consider that chastity allows to achieve a required self-control or a self-consciousness. In many religions chastity is imposed to the respective sacerdotal[?] orders.

"Chastity" can be used to refer to other sexual recommendations:

  • Sex should be solely for the purpose of biological reproduction. This form of chastity limits sexual activity to fertile heterosexual couples who are not using contraception.
  • Sex should be solely between married couples. This is more properly known as monogamy for married couples and abstinence until marriage for unmarried couples.

Chastity is a virtue expected of the faithful of many religions, including Christians and Muslims.

There is a distinction between sexual abstinence and chastity, depending on the degree of voluntarity in the absence of sexual activity.

  • Abstinence is normally used for completely voluntarily abstaining from some activity.
  • Chastity is more properly used for cases of requested or forced lack of sexual activity, as in some monastic or sacerdotal rules.

See: Religious aspects of marriage, promiscuity, chastity belt, asexuality

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