The Slippery Slope of Purity

I have a few major school projects due in the next few weeks.  So of course, I’m procrastinating from the 35 and 25 page papers by focusing on a 5 minute part in a small group presentation.

We are to analyze how a particular discourse talks about the topic by choosing a few representative texts and uncovering assumptions from them.  We need to say what messages are being conveyed and what attitudes and beliefs are allowed to be expressed about the topic as a result.  Then we end with some conclusions about the effects of such messages on those who hear them and on those who are most affected by such beliefs and attitudes.

I was placed late into the group analyzing discourses around the Purity Movement.  The other group members are looking at: legal discourses, pop-culture representations of the movement and journalistic representations of the movement.  One person is looking at Purity Balls as a discourse in itself and trying to be neutral about it.

No one is looking at any discourse from the actual Purity Movement.

I have 5 minutes.  At first I was going to talk about church sermons or the Purity talks given to teens.  Then I wanted to look at the literature given to young teen girls.  I was astounded at the fairy-tale imagery used.  It makes sense, though.  Our culture views captive princesses, dragons and prince Charmings as much more romantic than pubescent bronze-age girls sold into polygamous marriages and murdered if she has sex with someone who didn’t pay for it.  We are supposed to be like Mary, but no one wants to be an impoverished teen age mother and no one wants to share their rich prince with 700 other women.

Even the names of the books invoke our mythology of the mythology of the Dark Ages.

Before You Meet Your Prince Charming (about locking yourself up in a tower to preserve your heart and your hymen)

Happily Ever After (be Cinderella, because being abused will be rewarded by magic)

Awakening From a Deep Sleep (yes, Sleeping Beauties, allow Jesus to awaken you, not some dirty boy’s kisses, sigh)

and my favourite

The Princess and the Kiss, (aptly referred to as The Princess and the Hymen)  aimed at toddlers,  who kiss everyone they love especially dogs, to make them feel bad about being affectionate in the hopes that they will grow to be unaffectionate teens.

But then, I wondered if the online ‘accountability’ groups wouldn’t be more fun.

I read Kristina’s blog post about her engagement, which took place at Arby’s with parents there as chaperones.  In fact, her own father puts the engagement ring on her as rings represent a transfer of authority.  The last comment was too much.:

“fyi, there is no way your knees are 6 inches apart sitting at that table.”


When I told the story of my engagement, no one chastised me for being less than a foot apart.  They wanted to know if we kissed.

I did take part in accountability groups, and yes, the main focus was on not having sex and reading your bible.  Kissing was discouraged and we were to revere those ‘strong’ couples who were keeping their kisses until marriage.  But, we all knew what really went on:

In fact, even those who engaged in dry-humping- which is grinding with clothes on until one of the couple gets an orgasm or someone walks in on them- were sometimes those who were saving their kisses for the altar.  One of those couples actually did kiss before marriage and it still bugs them, 3 kids later.

My roomie’s boyfriend was a self-proclaimed virgin who pressured my roomie to let him have anal sex with her so he could keep his virgin status.  While disrespecting her boundaries and at times physically hurting her, this #$%# looked down on my roomie because she knew what sex was.

James Dobson came out with his 12 Steps to Intimacy.  Step 3 is actually talking to the person.  Who knew that everytime I talk to someone I’m 25% of the way to ‘real’ sex.  For couples wanting to get married, Dobson discouraged any physical intimacy past step 8, which is putting your hand on someone’s head.  Otherwise, people who weren’t in romantic relationships were to stop at step 7 – being face to face.  Yes, as in looking at someone face to face.   Some forms of kissing are allowed here, but only for family members.

However, these rules weren’t enough to guarantee purity and new rules were formed!  Now, instead of saying no hymen breaking, the new precaution is no romance!

Rule 1- No emotional promiscuity.  After all, everytime you care for someone, you give away a part of your heart you can never get back meaning there is less love for the next person.

Rule 2 – Never apply this logic to being able to love your children.

Rule 3- Do not even think about sex except to confess your sinful desires, hold someone accountable, or to reassure you and your friends that by not having sex now, sex later will be the best ever!

Some of the peer accountability messages on online forums dedicated to young girls were hilarious.  Most broke my heart.

I cheered at reading comments written by a sister of a lesbian who was trying to convince the others that love is beautiful and homosexuals are people with great value.

I laughed at the reply which was [paraphrased] ‘ but homosexuality is a sin!  God hates it and we were all born sinful, we just don’t have to act on it.  Hope this has encouraged someone.  In Christ’s love ___’

I cried when I read the desperation of a girl who enjoys porn and masturbation on the same site:

Okay, so this is embarrassing but I’ve been struggling with porn and masturbation for years now. I’m gonna say…6-ish years. I know that I can still stop this if I try, but is it too late? Like will God even care if I quit now? Or has it been long enough to say that I’m basically not a virgin on my wedding day?


No, it is not too late. God certainly wants us to repent of our sin, especially when that sin has had a hold on our lives for a very long time. 

There is real danger in making the choice to continue sinning ... There are many places in the Bible where it mentions God giving people over to their own sinful desires or hardening their hearts toward sin. You do not want to get to the point where you’ve chosen to sin so often that you no longer care if it’s wrong. 


Now the definition of virgin has grown from hymen unpoked by a male  (which they realized wasn’t strict enough to stop homosexuality) to no kissing, to no falling in love, to no thinking about sex.   Homeschooling and restricted internet is a big part of this movement.  I wonder if illiteracy will be next?

No wonder the picture of a princess locked in a tower is popular.

No wonder I’m having trouble deciding what to talk about in my 5 minutes.

7 thoughts on “The Slippery Slope of Purity

  1. D'Ma says:

    You’ve only got 5 minutes?!? I’d have trouble with that as well.

    One question: If there’s no falling in love why would anyone ever get married? Are we all meant to be in arranged marriages? I think not!

    • prairienymph says:

      Arranged marriages are a natural progression here, just look at any quiverfull website. I remember a mother who had started telling her toddler that she and her husband knew what was best for her little girl in everything. If she could trust her parents to catch her at the bottom of the slide and give her good food to eat, then she could certainly trust them to find the best husband for her. This woman was encouraging other parents to do the same.
      Besides, romance is of the devil. Love is an action, not a feeling. You vow to love your spouse no matter what you feel or don’t feel. That was part of the reason I was terrified of dating for so long. I thought ‘falling in love’ was ‘falling for make-believe’. I should look for good marriage material first and fall in love later.

  2. Jon says:

    Denial of a young woman’s humanity is just downright cruel. What is really the point of purity. What’s next, genital mutilation to help insure it?

    • prairienymph says:

      In 1951 a Christian manuscript encouraged cauterization of the clitoris as a cure for masturbation and for other feminine problems and Blue Cross insurance used to cover clitorectomies until 1977. I worry that this has never gone away. At least in Canada, male circumcision is declining.
      I’m going to go punch something now. Or eat chocolate.

  3. chanson says:

    Wow!!! Very disturbing…

  4. Quester says:

    Sounds like nearly enough info for your 35 pager!

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