An encounter on public radio . . .

Aaron Freeman: All right now, when you say abstain we mean abstain from intercourse?

Tom Wozny, of the new movement True Love Waits: Yes.

Freeman: Uhh, anything else OK? For example, the Coalition for Positive Sexuality says there’s lots of things in between no sexual activity and intercourse. A whole lot of things. Is that range of things all right with you? The nonintercourse stuff?

Wozny: Well, I think that’s what put our young people, our nation, where it’s at. It’s because that type of stuff is being promoted and it only leads to one thing. I mean, you don’t get into candy bars and stuff and not eat sugar or whatever. That leads to it.

Freeman: That leads to it? Well, where do you draw the line? For example, now I assume kissing is OK.

Wozny: Kissing is OK, depending–

Freeman: Hugging?

Wozny: It depends on where you feel yourself at that time. A mere kiss could lead some people to the backseat of a car. Or to a bedroom.

Freeman: Let’s see. “Just say yes” means having a positive attitude about sexuality. Any problem with that–a positive attitude about sexuality?

Wozny: No.

Freeman: Gay, straight, or bi? Well, you’ve got a problem with that, OK?

Wozny: I have a problem.

Freeman: I mean saying yes to sex you do want and no to sex you don’t?

Wozny: I have a problem there.

Freeman: What’s the problem?

Wozny: OK, when we say abstinent we mean total abstinence. “If it feels good do it” [worldly chuckle] comes up again and again.

Freeman: Well, what if we define sex–what if sex is wholly clothed? And just fondling and having great amounts of fun wholly clothed?

Wozny: It can still lead to the same–

Freeman: So you’ve got a problem with that, right?

Wozny: You are still having an experience with a person that should wait.

Freeman: Now where does this come from? Because there’s nothing in the Bible about this! There’s nothing about dry-humping being prohibited anywhere in the Bible. Now where does this come from?

Wozny: OK, if you go into the Bible and He talks about adultery–

Freeman: Yeah.

Wozny: The mere thought–

Freeman: Right. Someone else’s wife. This is unmarried people–there’s no adultery involved here.

Wozny: But it’s the motive, it’s the attitude behind it that–

Freeman: But there’s no intent for adultery. There’s no adultery involved in this.

Wozny: But you’ve already committed it.

Freeman: No, no.

Wozny: We’re talking about sexual intercourse now. You can take that as far as you want to take it. If we’re talking sexual intercourse, in your mind you’ve already done it. You’ve fulfilled yourself. You’ve completed the act in your mind. Because you–

Freeman: I guess what I’m trying to say though is that there’s not a real textual biblical problem with the nonintercourse stuff . . .

The discussion continued. It was heady stuff for serious thinkers.

Our own view is that Mr. Wozny stumbled over dry-humping out of unfamiliarity with the concept. What he proposes is a return to the 1950s. But like most members of the turn-back-the-clock crowd, he’s failed to grasp the lost behavior for which he pines in its historical context.

Abstinence, if such it could be called, was bulwarked by an elaborate array of maneuvers that fell under the rubric of maintaining technical virginity. Semisecret societies of technical virgins passed along these techniques from one generation to another. One such society was called the Thetas. Another was the Chi Omegas. There were many others.

On Mr. Wozny’s next visit to WBEZ he should skip the candy bars and speak squarely to his blue-ribbon audience. Graying Thetas and Chi Os must be urged to step forward and share their tribal lore before it’s lost forever. The sands of time are falling.

Nevertheless, we congratulate Mr. Freeman and Mr. Wozny on a stimulating discussion. This is why we intend to go on listening to WBEZ despite what happened to Stuart Rosenberg.