- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — The students who started one of Princeton University’s newest clubs remember the awkward moment when they realized they were in the minority: while watching a play called “Sex on a Saturday Night.”

The play is presented for incoming freshmen to inform them about sexual health and safety. To some students, though, there was just too much talk about sex.

“I remember sitting there and feeling really uncomfortable because every single character had either engaged in premarital sex or was talking about having engaged in premarital sex,” said Christian Sahner, 20, a junior from Maplewood, N.J.

So about a year ago, the students formed a group promoting chastity. Although similar groups exist at other universities, it is a first for the Ivy League. The groups first sprung up in the South, but the idea is catching on nationwide, said Jimmy Hester from True Love Waits, a Nashville, Tenn.-based group that promotes abstinence.

“In the early days, I would have said it was a Southern, Southeast movement. That’s where it caught on the quickest,” Mr. Hester said. “Now we hear from folks in Washington, Oregon, all over the place.”

The Princeton group is named after Elizabeth Anscombe, an English philosopher and staunch Roman Catholic who defended the church’s teachings on sex and died in 2001.

People who want to take part in the society’s activities don’t have to sign a pledge or take an oath. Some members might have experienced sex, and leaders say the group is open to everyone, even those who may be interested only in exploring the idea of chastity intellectually.

One of the main reasons the group was created was to let students who don’t want to have premarital sex know they are not alone, organizers said. They knew beforehand that sex would be part of college life, but many were surprised at how prevalent it was.

“My freshman year … it was really distressing to me to see my peers going out, getting drunk and having random sex,” said Clare Sully, 20, a senior originally from Princeton. “I hadn’t yet come to the conclusion that sex was only for marriage … [but] I was quite certain that sex was way too important to treat so casually.”

At the University of Colorado at Boulder, Jonathan Butler, 19, and five of his friends are starting the College Coalition for Relationship Education, a secular group designed to promote abstinence. They reached a similar conclusion.

“You don’t just have sex to have sex. You have to be emotionally ready,” said Mr. Butler.

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