The way this concept has been interpreted by mankind is so laughable and lamentable that it just makes those who have become knowing wonder how this came to be so. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 7:1-2) advised to the effect that those who feel that they could stay celibate to do so but that otherwise it was better to marry if the individual could not cope with this.
Then in the 3rd century came the idea of asceticism and monasticism which advocated celibacy and various rigorous disciplines which were meant to bring one closer to God. All these, however, point away from true chastity. They point to physical virginity and so on. God is Divine and the understanding of the spiritual Laws of God requires that we exercise the spirit that is within us. What then is the use of keeping the physical body chaste while still indulging in evil thoughts, desires and so on.
The physical body has nothing to do with spiritual ascent. It is lifeless and must be dropped again on earthly death. What we take along with us are the results of our activities on earth, the results of our thoughts, words and deeds. These are our works which outlast the physical body and which determine how close we are allowed to come to the Creator. If in our activities we had indulged in evil, then on our earthly death we must find ourselves in places which are far away from God, even if we had been physically chaste.
What we should have been taught is not to keep our physical bodies chaste but to keep our spirit bodies chaste through pure thoughts, words and deeds. He who is able to keep his thoughts, words and deeds pure is truly chaste in the true sense of the word, in fact in the only valid sense of the word. He may be married but as long as his spiritual activities are pure then he is chaste. Evil thoughts sully our spirit cloaks because they are dark and heavy. On the other hand, pure thoughts make our cloaks lighter. It is therefore a question of making our spiritual cloaks pure, which makes it lighter and capable of ascending to spiritual heights.
This, like so many other things has resulted from the use of the intellect which has dragged down every spiritual concept to its own level. Is it then surprising that the concept of chastity has come to mean what it is today? This is what results when we use the intellect to make decisions of spiritual importance. We are misled, we follow wrong paths and we run the risk of becoming spiritually lost.
Many people who have lived physically chaste lives expect to enter the Kingdom of Heaven when they die. How shocking it must be for them when they are asked to reveal their hands and discover that there is nothing therein. They may have trifled away an entire lifetime, especially if they thought that this was all that they had to do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.