Purity Culture is a Dysfunction

Posted: February 25, 2014 in Personal Blog, Psychology

I need to hijack my own blog for a moment. I’ve been reading a lot lately and thought that I should write something about all those faith and feminism blogs on the purity culture.

There has to be a way to teach a healthy sexual ethic without it becoming just a way to shame people.

Here is the thing. I never really knew that is what they called it. Over the years I’ve seen and heard it all about some of the ideas that have used to support the purity culture. And I don’t really agree with it. And I have a theology degree. I can say what I want on the subject even if it won’t sell books or be popular. The purity culture has been so damaging to the developing minds of many teens and young adults. Oh, I did study youth ministry and when this came up ever so often, mainly outside of class, it was strange even then.

What I did learn is that basically there are some who see it as their mission to put down any one who does not meet their standards or ideals. And who really could ever meet those standards any way. Jesus was homeless and hung out with all kinds of savory and ordinary people.

Slut shaming needs to end, that kind of bullying is just mean and is uncalled for and is immature.

My question is… Why the hell are you even interested in how people should dress or what they do between the sheets? I’m not saying you are free to do the Fifty Shades of Grey stuff on the first date, as much fun as that can be, but why are others wanting to be all judgmental. The issue I see is that some want to bring shame on those who wear the wrong thing or do something outside of marriage.

I eventually started to think that some of my own experiences were way off bad. I don’t want to go in to details but I like a good snogging. I won’t lie, and it doesn’t come around often enough for my tastes. Just hours of snogging and playing around, it’s just so much fun with some one you love. Nibbling on her neck, caressing her cheek, and maybe even playfully exploring her ticklish spots during a photo shoot… wait, what was I talking about. Oh, yeah… how people are the ones bringing shame. Good thing God forgives, but I have learned that people do not like to forgive or forget things. And who cares what they think, right!

The purity culture finds its roots in a dysfunctional church that wants to fix it’s people instead of allowing the creator to have authority. The creator has the authority and is ever so forgiving, while this dysfunction does not through it’s control tactics. That is the real issue going on.

This purity culture thing follows some strange logic that basically means that even thinking something normal can be thought of as bad. Well, they don’t exactly differentiate between lust and normal human thoughts that we were made to have. The human race wouldn’t have survived with out those thoughts. You just can’t win with these people. There will always be something new that can be used to judge the next level of standards. It will be an ongoing cycle, no one would be allowed to ever have contact with another human again just to avoid any thought. Basically, avoid it at all cost. It will lead to a lot of unhealthy issues to even try to keep up with the purity culture. It will lead to some crazy ideas to even begin to fit in to that way of thinking.

Relationships are not an obligation
Dianna Anderson’s Consent Love Respect

The Other Journal article: naked-and-ashamed-women-and-evangelical-purity-culture

The full essay from Naked and Unashamed: naked-and-unashamed-women-and-the-evangelical-purity-movement

Go read Randy Elrod’s book Sex, Lies, & Religion, while he doesn’t address the purity culture directly, he does target the dysfunction and the results that it has caused. http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Elrod/e/B00325JEQ6

5 Things to Think About Before Having Sex

5 Uncomfortable Things the Church Needs to Start Talking About

When Purity Culture Hurts Men Too

And to round things out… Why sex is for marriage only, 8 benefits of waiting

5 things Christians should know about depression and anxiety

11 common misconceptions about people who have never been in relationships

And for those who need more about what some women experience…
The New Church Lady

Additional information on depression from Science Based Medicine: Depression Re Examined A New Way to Look at an Old Puzzle

I keep finding more information and even must read articles like this. Relationships are hard enough, but when you have outside pressure to be something you are not then anxiety will cause problems.
4 Truths About Sex in Relationships that no one wants to admit

And for another list: No Shame Movement

There is so much real information out there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and read a lot. I’ve spent way too much time in anxiety over saying too much and feeling emotionally threatened when I shouldn’t have. I know many more books and articles need to be written. Hopefully the list of other articles will help with perspective. Seems the resulting anxiety and depression will be keeping counselors busy for many years.

And from Dianna Anderson: Marriage is a Covenant not a Contract

From Kelsey Munger: Slut Shaming Evangelical Style

Rollingstone Magazine: Millennial Sexual Revolution, Relationships, Marriage

Joshua Harris I want my teens back

On Letting Go of Objects and Obectification

Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids What is being taught is that kids or anyone has to be good to loved. The idea is to love people, not wait till they are good enough to be loved.

And there is this… The difficulties of Running a Sex Inspired Startup

And from Candace Ladd…
true-love-waits-maybe-what-i-learned-from-surveying-my-friends-about-sex-and-purity-culture Especially pay attention to the part on those associating as LGBT, much work needs to happen in teaching to include everyone.

New Study On ‘Slut Shaming’ Shows It’s More About Economics Than Sexual Partners from Elite Daily

Purity Culture Not Pure Even the leaders and authors of the early days dealt with those who made up rules that oppress people.

Sarah Evonne’s Your “Virginity” Is Not a Gift and Other Thoughts I do realize there is a gap between what is taught on the upper levels of theology and what is practical on the everyday person. It is impacting people with unrealistic ideals and adding anxiety when it isn’t necessary.

4 Lies Church Taught Me About Sex There is still a lot of work to do on the way sex is taught. Guilt has been associated with sex even well into a marriage.

XO Jane: IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose My Virginity and I Wish I Hadn’t Waiting or not probably wouldn’t have changed her anxiety. And a reply- Christians Stop Staying Pure Till Marriage

The Surprising Source of Our Sexual Morals
and the source material available for download: Female Economic Dependence and the Morality of Promiscuity

How Casual Sex Can-Affect Our Mental Health The grass may not be greener on the other side.

This is a must read:
Rollingstone: The Forsaken A Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Are Being Cast Out by Religious Families More and more stories like theses are happening. When I was in Seattle I noticed a lot of the homeless were very young. What ever the reason, there is a problem of rejection that needs to end.

Masturbation and the Church’s Insistence on Policing the Bedroom Behaviors of Adults The post focuses on women who masturbate, which by the way is something that comes naturally. (ok, maybe pun intended)

10 Things No One Tells Men That Will Make Them Better Lovers Sad to hear that Sue is off the air, that got me through seminary better educated. Not much ever gets taught about actually having sex, and even if you think you are ready consent is the most important. Take your time with her to get things going, especially #7. And yes, you can feel it when that happens, even then it still doesn’t mean she is ready, just wait on her.

5 Bad Sex Ed Teachers

Philip Yancey – Christianity’s Negative Stereotypes

Single Saved and Still Thinking About Sex As if any of us ever quit thinking about sex. The conversations need to change and be open to what really is going on.

The Most Important Thing Teen Girls Should Do But Don’t and there are lot of comments to read too about staying away from shaming.

9 of the Biggest Lies Christianity Tell Her Us About Sex and Marriage

Why Don’t Guys in My Church Ask Women Out on Dates Lol, I’ve been avoiding that meat market for ever, but that’s just me. While some use a church to meet people, feel lucky if it’s not happening at your church. It is OK to casually make friends and build a support network.

Kink 101 For Purity Culture Survivors

How I’m Overcoming Shame In My Sex LifeEven those who save sex for marriage have to deal with feelings of guilt.

  1. Thank you for including a link to my blog post.

  2. I came here from the “Naked and Ashamed” article over at The Other Journal. If you read my post there, you’ll see the dire consequences this can have for an adolescent male, since that is a crucial stage in life where the psychology therein is being shaped and molded, often for the rest of his life. God is trying to lift this burden off my shoulders; He’s got his work cut out for Him.
    You also hinted around something worth noting too. The leaders and cheerleaders of the Purity Movement are self-righteous hypocrites who, I believe, have a desire for today’s youth to be as miserable and repressed as they are. In other words, they’re modern-day Pharisees. And from what I gather, Jesus didn’t seem to be crazy about them.

  3. Tim says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Daniel. I appreciate the list of resources you’ve puled together here.

    • I had been wondering if it was too much as I add to this blog over time, but there are a lot of hurting people. Maybe a few different perspectives will help someone in some way.

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