Fundagelicals love them some purity culture. They buy copies of I Kissed Dating Goodbye and purity rings. Youth groups have purity dances where young girls go with their father to the faux-prom, and everyone is supposed to save their first kiss for the person they marry.
Purity culture has come under a lot of fire recently. No one is saying that people should become promiscuous and start sleeping around, but many of the ideas behind purity culture lead to an unhealthy attitude about women and sex.
Purity culture uses the doubled-edged sword of fear and
promise. Youth are taught that sex now will ruin sex for marriage. I remember being
told that if I had sex with someone before marriage or my future spouse had sex
with someone before marriage, then we would forever be comparing our spouse to
previous lovers. We were taught to fear becoming second or third best. (or
tenth or twelfth). The only way to avoid this comparison is to have only one
sexual partner ever. Both the man and the woman need to be virgins. Without any
other sexual experience to compare it to, your marriage sex will be the best.
The fear is that you ruin sex. The promise is that you will have the best sex ever. It is true that if Little Caesars is the only pizza you ever eat then technically, it’s the best pizza you have ever had. However, as many young people have discovered after years of sublimating sexual desire and labeling it as evil, it is hard to turn off the old programming and turn on the sexual feelings now that you are married. Turning off the old guilt scripts can be a challenge.
Purity culture is especially damaging to young women. It teaches them that they are responsible for men’s lustful thoughts. Purity culture teaches that since girls have bodies that boys find attractive, they can cause boys to sin. I’ve done a vlog on “Stop Blaming The Girls.” In a patriarchal society, it might come as a shock, that guys are responsible for their own lustful thoughts and need to stop shifting responsibility to the girls.
Purity culture shames girls for pre-marital sex. It teaches girls that their virginity is the only thing of worth about them. If they lose that, they are worthless. Girls become damaged goods. Fundagelical abstinence-only education is a sham. Check out my blog post on “Fundagelicals Aren’t Pro-life.” The religious Right sends our young people out into the world unprepared and guilt-ridden. When they do have sex, they are labeled with a Scarlet “S” for shame. Christianity isn’t about shame; it’s about redemption. Women are much more than an intact hymen. It is time we recognize that. Are we making virginity an idol? Which should we be in love with a person or a person’s virginity?
Joshua Harris, who wrote the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, ceased publication of the book and issued an apology. He has come to realize the damage his book has caused. To that I say bravo. There are many who are angry with him over the damage he has wrought and find it hard to forgive him. They consider his apology insincere and insufficient.
Fundagelicals developed purity culture and have an obsession with the sexual sins of all kinds. Of course, once they are married, any freaky fetish is possible. (See my blog Fundagelicals Get Their Sexual Freak On) Instead of developing people who live holy lives, they have developed a subculture of shame, guilt, sexual repression, sexual dysfunction and love for porn and freaky sex. It’s time for a sexual revolution to hit the church, and we get some actual facts and knowledge about sex. I Kissed Dating Goodbye was written by a twenty-one-year guy who was frustrated with dating. Most Christian books on sex are written by people that are not trained in human sexuality but hold degrees from Religious Right schools that teach outdated ideas of patriarchy and complementarianism.
Once we can develop healthy attitudes about sex, based on facts, and stop worshiping the false idol of purity, then we can develop a sexual ethic that works in the real world.
Thanks for reading, don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe if you haven’t already. Thanks to all my current subscribers. You can catch me vlogging at Rev’s Reels on YouTube or follow me on Facebook. Catch me live at Open Door Ministries in Westminster California at the Westminster Mall.