Converted Christian author spreads message of chasitity to students

By Megan Kelly

Dawn Eden, author of “The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On,” spoke to University students Tuesday night at the Newman Center. Eden, a once agnostic rock journalist who converted to Christianity, spread the message of chastity to a packed audience.

“As college students, you’re at a stage in life where you’re curious about sex, but at the same time you want to be loved,” Eden said. “Your ability to enjoy sex will be with you long after college, but if you indulge in pre-marital sex you’ll damage your ability to have intimacy and to have lifelong marital love.”

Eden was not always an advocate of chastity as she is now.

Eden was born into a reformed Jewish household in 1968 and began writing for rock music magazines in 1985. As a young adult, she began suffering from depression and became agnostic. She engaged in pre-marital sex with many different partners, desperately trying to find herself and fulfillment in life.

Eden was still soul-searching when she interviewed the lead singer of the band Sugarplastic in 1995. He told her he was reading the book “The Man Who was Thursday” by G.K. Chesterton. Eden picked the book up, not knowing Chesterton was considered one of the most influential Christian writers of the 20th century. Although she continued to act promiscuously, Eden began developing a curiosity about the faith.

Four years later Eden had a life-altering experience. She was lying in bed alone when she felt a presence in her room. She heard a woman’s voice saying, “some things are not meant to be known; some things are meant to be understood,” which frightened her. She then felt directed to read Romans 5:1, which stated, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“When I read that, it all came together,” she said. “From then on I believed, and I was healed of my depression.”

Since her conversion, Eden has been active with her faith. She started an online blog where she conducted an investigative report on Planned Parenthood. She also wrote down many thoughts on chastity that were eventually incorporated into her novel. She was even fired from her copy editing job at the New York Post in 2005 after she made unauthorized changes to an article that she felt had a cavalier attitude toward the sanctity of human embryos.

Last year she published, “The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On,” which described her spiritual journey and taught young adults what chastity is and why they should consider it.

“I wrote the book because when I first began thinking about chastity, the only books available were by virgins until marriage for virgins until marriage,” Eden said. “I wanted to write the kind of book that I had hoped would have been written for me.”

“Her book demonstrates a lifestyle of respect,” said Katharine Johnson, senior in Communications and a coordinator of the lecture. “I hope people attending the lecture will realize that chastity isn’t strange. It’s beautiful, useful and it helps us to see that we are individuals and not just one-night stands.”

Dr. David Delaney, assistant director at the University’s Institute of Catholic Thought, said that Eden’s message is important because it shows there are other satisfying options to being promiscuous.

“She speaks to what a lot of people, especially college-aged people, are starting to realize: that the lifestyle our culture promotes doesn’t live up to what it says it will be,” Delaney said.

“While we can not all be virgins, we can still all be chaste,” Eden said.