Purity Culture

 Purity Culture: “Purity culture” is the term often used for the evangelical movement that attempts to promote a biblical view of purity by discouraging dating and promoting virginity before marriage, often through the use of tools such as purity pledges, symbols such as purity rings, and events such as purity balls.

This is such a toxic environment to grow up in. I grew up in this. We had a big “pure life ceremony” and our parents had to get us commitment rings. We were around 11-12 years old, which is way too young to be making any kind of choice about our current and future sex lives. We should be feel the pressure to stay “pure” with the fear of failure if we have sex, or kiss someone. 

Is it more ideal to wait till you find someone you love and are married? Yes, probably. But, is it realistic? No. And it’s awful to make young people feel bad about themselves for living life. Things happen. Good and bad. And guess what? Any young person should be able to go to an adult, if they want to, to talk about the first time they have sex, not hold it in because of judgement. No one should feel they can’t speak out to a parent or a leader about something because they’ll be looked down on or judged. Teenage years are hard enough. 

We were told that sex, any kind of sexual activity, was bad, you’d basically go to hell for it…. I recently posted on my Facebook a status to see why people left the same church I was at and the responses I got were, not shocking, honestly, but it felt nice to know that we all felt the same pain and all went through the same hell, we just knew we weren’t supposed to talk about it… I had one girl tell me that even though she’s married now she feels bad when having sex with her own husband because of how much this “pure life” was dug into us. That’s so sad and awful. I hate that. I hate that so many of us still carry that weight around this is every single day. 

I remember reading a book called “Redeeming Love” I loved that book, and I still do. I was probably 13 at the time, I hadn’t had sex yet, and I thought I was just like the girl in the book, because I had kissed a few boys, I was just as bad as the prostitute in the book. Looking back there’s something so sad about that. 

I went on to have sex for the first time at 15. He was someone I loved. I did end up telling my parents, only because one of the girls at church threatens to tell me parents, but I got in trouble. My parents didn’t want me to see him. So what did I do? We snuck around for the next 4 years while we dated. The last year of it they finally came around, but imagine the difference it would have been if they would have been accepting and talk to me about it, not necessarily agreeing with my choice, but not punishing me either…. We have to be there for our kids. We have to stop shaming them for being human. If you shame your kids when they tell you something, they will never tell you anything important again.

Teach your kids safe sex.

Teach your kids it’s okay to come to you when they need you or need to talk to someone.

Teach your kids it’s okay to be human.

-S

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