Chastity is not just a female perspective. Rishik’s decision to live a chaste life has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on all his relationships. Let’s find out why.
What was your idea of sexuality like before?
It was in secondary school that my idea of manliness began to form, and to me a man’s measure depended on how desirable he was to girls. If a boy had a girlfriend, he was popular, and the more girlfriends he had, the more popular or desirable he was.
So I poured a lot of my life into this goal. Trying to meet girls, even though I was in an all-boys’ school. Trying my best to “win them” over, to charm them.
How did this misconception of sexuality impact the way you lead your life?
Before I came to know God, I had no personal belief or conviction in abstinence or chastity. I saw it as an out-dated conservative belief, and another hurdle in my quest to convince girls to have sex with me. Staying a virgin, at that time, felt like an embarrassing secret, and I strongly desired to have sex with as many girls as possible.
It was during my time in university in London that I tried harder than ever to have sex, rather than focus on studies. One consequence of this was that I started losing control of myself, drinking, smoking, and turning to porn and masturbation, rather than pursuing things which gave me life, like music, running, or my studies.
Even when I finally lost my virginity, I didn’t find happiness. Instead I found shame, and emptiness. The women I slept with didn’t love me, and used me as much as I used them . Those I lied to, with sweet nothings, to talk them into bed, I could never face again the next morning, and relationships and friendships were thrown away for fleeting pleasure.
Even when I finally lost my virginity, I didn’t find happiness. Instead I found shame, and emptiness.
Where are you today in your journey of Chastity?
By God’s providence, I returned to Singapore, and joined the youth community in my parish. It was during this time, I met Catholics who loved me, journeyed with, and challenged me to grow in knowledge of the faith, as well as challenged me to live an authentic Christian life.
It was also through this community I discovered a spiritual director, and a community of brothers who were accountable to each other for their struggles with chastity. I was introduced to a radical new idea of manhood, that meant sacrifice and love. A new idea of manhood that meant strength in restraint and selflessness.
What does it mean to live a life of chastity in a world that preaches otherwise?
It means being resolute with my fiancee about not engaging in sex before marriage, and not putting ourselves in positions that may lead us into temptation. We make sure we are not alone at home together and don’t go travelling together. But it’s more than just the physical aspect, as chastity means purity even in our thoughts and the way we conduct ourselves when alone.
The decision to stay chaste during this relationship bore so many fruits I am thankful for today. Where in the past I used to be selfish, quick-tempered, self-righteous and arrogant, I suddenly found myself being patient, kind, and gentle. Qualities I never had before, but which I was developing because I could see how my behaviour, my words would hurt my fiancee, and I wanted to love her and protect her.
Chastity has lifted the blindness of sin that previously led me to view my female colleagues and friends as objects, or as potential sexual conquests. It has allowed me to experience freedom in loving them without expectations or ulterior motives. I believe this has helped grow and purify my heart, and helped me grow in love, as God designed.
Only in a sacred union of marriage, where I am faithfully committed to my spouse, whom I have chosen, am I able to give my body as a gift of love, and receive her body as a mutual gift of love.
Totally, faithfully, freely and fruitfully.
How difficult is it to speak with friends who have differing views and tell them about chastity?
It’s hard to connect with my peers, especially when most of them are living lives of sexual insobriety. At most, I can lead by example. I have noticed that even the little things I say or do can be very shocking and challenging to them. A friend of mine once asked if I had ever travelled with my fiancee, and she was quite shocked when I said I hadn’t. She told me that she feels couples should live together or at least travel together before getting married. I definitely piqued her curiosity, and opened her mind to the idea that there are people, even guys, who don’t believe in pre-marital sex.
What words of wisdom do you have for Christians who desire to live a chaste life?
I am made in the image and likeness of God, and my body is sacred. I know that each of my brothers and sisters is also God’s creation, and their bodies are likewise equally holy and to be afforded dignity and respect.
Only in a sacred union of marriage, where I am faithfully committed to my spouse, whom I have chosen, am I able to give my body as a gift of love, and receive her body as a mutual gift of love. Totally, faithfully, freely and fruitfully.