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The men of The River grappled with pornography use, masturbation, lust and same-sex desire, all of which can potentially derail these men from their pledge.
The River, as a support group, works largely in the same way.
At the same time, these men struggle with what they describe as the “beastly elements” – or temptations – of sexuality.
And it is precisely because of these so-called beastly elements that these men find each other in the same space every week.
These men are able to confirm their sexual desires in a homosocial space – similar to Kimmel’s research in Guyland – from which Kimmel notes that the “actual experience of sex pales in comparison to the experience of talking about sex.” The men of The River believed that the time and work required to maintain these pledges would pay off in the form of a happy and healthy marriage.
Ciara, in discussing her commitment to abstinence with Russell Wilson, similarly added that she believes such a promise is important for creating a foundation of love and friendship. But while the transition to married life brought promises of enjoying their “sacred gift from God,” this gift was fraught.
Sarah Diefendorf does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.