The Purity Myth

Mrs. - posted on 01/20/2012 ( 74 moms have responded )

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http://feministing.com/2011/12/06/the-pu...





I caught part of Anderson Cooper's show today and saw that he was talking about the whole purity ball phenom. In particular, I heard Jessica Valenti, the author of The Purity Myth, talking about how the whole idea of staying pure until marriage, of pledging to keep your virginity to your father (at the ball) until marriage, is really teaching a girl that her only value as a person is "what's between her legs".



I admit, I've always found the whole purity ball things creepy as hell, but couldn't quite figure out why beyond the whole obvious aspects (the whole dressing up in a wedding type gown to write out a sex contract with your dad thing at 13). When the author pinned down the self-worth-only-being-if-you-put-out idea, it sort of ironed out why in my mind. It is the same creepy feeling I get when watching that crazy Toddlers and Tiaras mom dress her daughter up as the pro in Pretty Woman. The idea that even as children, a little girl cannot escape adults already trying to shape the child's idea of who they are/what they are worth according to what they will eventually do when they are sexually active.



So I'm wondering, what do you think about the purity movement? Do you think it promotes the idea that a young girl's value hangs on the status of their hymen at marriage or do you think it does the opposite? Do you think, as the trailer suggests, that the purity pledge is a tool used by the religious right to dampen the forward motion of the feminist movement? Do you think purity balls are a good thing?

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I think they are creepy and weird. I think that, generally, girls are having sex younger and with more people now than they were in earlier generations but I think that this is the wrong way to go about keeping them celibate. I don't think that there is anything wrong with having sex before marriage because it is a pretty big part of a relationship to leave to chance. Parents need to not focus on keeping the girls' legs closed and instead on building their child's character and values, such as honesty and compassion and self respect. If you teach a girl to value herself for who she is I think she will be more likely to be a little bit discriminatory when choosing who to have sex with and , while she might not wait till marriage, she is less likely to sleep with guys for attention or because of peer pressure.

Johnny - posted on 01/22/2012

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I tend to think we'd all be better off if we could learn to separate sex from love. Enjoyment of sex can come at an age when one is able to be comfortable with one's own body, confident in asserting one's own needs, empathetic to others, and understanding of the physical risks of sex and sexual practices.



I wholeheartedly disagree with the linking of sex to marriage now that women and men have the tools to control their own fertility. Purity Balls just strike me as an archaic and backward concept promoting the religiously developed insistence that what we do with our sexuality is somehow linked to our morality. This is the case only insofar as we do not harm others nor are harmed by us in sexual pursuits. I find this connection of sexual purity to goodness quite ridiculous and illogical.



As well, the pledging of a young woman's purity to her father is a sign of ownership. The idea that any other person should own or have any say in your sexual choices is inappropriate. The role of the parent is to instill a strong sense of self, respect for self, and respect for others. Relationship success in all arenas, including sex, will stem from that.



It reminds me of the idea of a father handing over his daughter to her husband. Next these people will be performing hymen checks.

Denikka - posted on 01/20/2012

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I think that it's ridiculous.

Virginity was a way of *ensuring* that a man was raising his own children and a way to protect against disease. Ancient thinking.



I do not believe in saving yourself for marriage. That is my stance.

I believe that sex is too important a part of a lasting relationship to be left entirely up to chance. I believe that you need to know everything you can about your partner before you can make a lifelong commitment to them. And even then it doesn't always work out.



What I do believe in is saving yourself for the right person. Not necessarily the person you marry, but wait until you are with someone you love, who loves you and who treats you with respect and decency. Wait until YOU feel right about the situation.



I agree that the purity balls seem creepy. A girl, pledging her virginity to her father until he can pass it to her husband? Not in my books. Virginity IS a gift, it IS special. But so is sex. And it is MY gift to give to whomever I deem is worthy of it. No one else's decision.

Krista - posted on 01/23/2012

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I have no issue with people waiting until marriage. Whatever works for them, right?



I DO, however, have an issue with these purity balls. For starters, it's an enormous amount of pressure on a girl to remain a virgin. That pressure can lead to some pretty irrational choices. I also do think that it puts a little too much emphasis on how special and wonderful and marvelous these girls are...as long as they're "pure". They're not celebrating ANYTHING else about these girls except for their purity. I wonder what message that sends these girls about the value of their OTHER accomplishments?



And the whole father involvement thing gives me the squicks. So you could have a 30-year old virgin woman who is educated and accomplished, lives independently, and is a full-fledged adult in every sense of the word...but her daddy is the guardian of her purity? That's wack.

Sylvia - posted on 01/23/2012

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Tina, I'm sorry that happened to you and I'm glad you got out and things got better!



The connection to biblical notions of women's status is pretty telling. It's only relatively recently that women have been considered legal persons, able to control not just our own bodies but our bank accounts, our property, etc. (Only a few decades ago hospitals in some jurisdictions could not treat a married woman without her husband's consent. Think about the implications of that for a minute.) The "purity ball" thing is all about power -- it's like this icky transaction between father and husband-to-be where the daughter/wife is not a party to the transaction but the subject of it, and she's worth less if she's not "pure".



If one uses Laura's definition of "purity", or the shomer negiyah rules that Orthodox Jews (are supposed to) follow -- which mandate literally NO physical contact with unrelated persons of the opposite sex (after puberty, presumably; I've never been shomer negiyah myself so I'm fuzzy on some details), so when you get married your husband/wife is supposed to be not just the first person you've had sex with but the first man/woman other than family members that you've ever even, like, held hands with* -- then at least you can say your position is consistent. What astounds me is these stories about people doing "everything but" -- anal, oral, mutual masturbation ... in order to "stay pure" or "remain a virgin". That's just hymen-fixation. Because seriously? I totally fail to see how anal or oral sex is any more "pure" than penis-in-vagina sex. And what about gay teens -- are they "more pure" because they're having flavours of sex other than penis-in-vagina? Oh, wait -- the "purity ball" people probably don't think gay people should be allowed to have any sex at all, ever. Or get married, either. :P



*If you're thinking "Wow, that must lead to a lot of really short engagements among really young people", well, you're absolutely right.

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Candyce - posted on 11/11/2012

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I agree that the pledge should only be made to yourself, but if you wanted help to keep that pledge, it would make more sense for a young girl to turn to her mother for support and accountability, and for a young boy to turn to his father. I mean, they've been teenagers before, right?

Sylvia - posted on 11/11/2012

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It's no more creepy than dressing them like streetwalkers at 8 and telling them "everyone's doing it so you may as well too" at 12 and those are considered mainstream in our culture.



Not where I live it's not o_O

[deleted account]

It's no more creepy than dressing them like streetwalkers at 8 and telling them "everyone's doing it so you may as well too" at 12 and those are considered mainstream in our culture



------------------------------

No it's not mainstream.

Tracy - posted on 11/10/2012

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I don't particularly endorse the purity until MARRIAGE thing, BUT, I was a crazy teen with more partners than anyone should really ever have. I had no self-worth and each act made me feel worse about myself until the next person came along to show me the slightest bit of attention. I think sex should only be in loving and committed relationships. That doesn't mean that marriage is the only time, but just make sure it's someone who only improves your image of yourself. I think purity balls put far too much emphasis on sex in general. These same people wanting their children to not be interested in sex until they are older and married are creating a whole ceremony around thinking about sex. Not only that, but the moment you ban something from a person (of any age) you make it that much more desirable. I have a nearly 16 year old son and I talked with him all of his life about sex. I've gotten his opinions and such. At 13, I gave him a condom and told him how to use it and that it expires. At the same time, I told him I hope he doesn't use it. I explain that I hoped he would wait until he is older because sex has a way of changing the way you think and feel about yourself - for good and bad. I told him that I want him to be smart about who he chooses to have sex with because, as a man, he gets little or no say beyond the sex act itself should a life be created. To make sure that whomever he is ever with is someone he can be happy being the mother of his child. Part of that is knowing her, trusting her and loving her to begin with. Maybe that won't be the woman he ends up with "forever", but it will only make him a stronger person for taking all of that into account before he makes life altering decisions. All of this was said as I gave him a condom at 13. I then told him that I know things sometimes get out of control and we don't always make the best choices. I want him to be prepared as much as possible for moments he didn't plan on. We're only human and our bodies are meant to react to physical things. I then said that I hope he makes the right choices for himself, but only HE can decide what is right for him.



So, the purity ball is a strange thing to me because, maybe most specifically, it is designed for GIRLS only. Do boys have to make the same pledge?

Sally - posted on 11/10/2012

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It's no more creepy than dressing them like streetwalkers at 8 and telling them "everyone's doing it so you may as well too" at 12 and those are considered mainstream in our culture.

Michelle1544 - posted on 11/03/2012

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"purity" IS a myth !

Do we become impure or literally dirty after having sex ? What makes sex about "purity" and such thoughts is misogyny ! The purity balls are just an in-your-face look at those views , funny how so many find the balls repulsive but still want to hold onto the whole purity thing - It doesn't make sense and makes me wonder if people are really THINKING about it at all ..? or rather they are just falling back on their own pre-programmed thinking about women remaining unsullied.. They, after all , most likely received these massages their entire life from this patriarchal society we live in..



rant over. But ugh !

Karla - posted on 11/03/2012

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"The emphasis on female "purity" and pledging something so personal only to your father just disturbs me. If you must do it, wouldn't you have that discussion and agreement on values with your mother? "



Though I agree that making the pledge only to one's father is disturbing, I would suggest that if such a promise is made it should be made to one's self.

Lori - posted on 11/02/2012

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I read The Purity Myth, and a few other books by Jessica Valenti (♥ her!). I think the whole notion of purity is rather archaic, and that teaching purity to our daughters is actually very damaging. Purity Balls, they are the worst of a horrible thing, IMHO.

Candyce - posted on 11/02/2012

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It's CREEPY! My parents encouraged chastity until marriage and my line is no sex without ADULT commitment. The emphasis on female "purity" and pledging something so personal only to your father just disturbs me. If you must do it, wouldn't you have that discussion and agreement on values with your mother? Especially since she's the one who's likely going to help you in it. I hope my son keeps himself to himself until he finds a woman he wants to settle down with, but once he's an adult, that's his lookout. As a child, it simply isn't acceptable in my house.

Kimberlee - posted on 11/01/2012

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Thankfully it seems purity balls are dying out - at least I hope they are.



I have read the Purity Myth and would highly recommend it !

Jennifer - posted on 01/29/2012

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Ummmm, since when should a girl make that pledge to her DAD?!? Icky!! It actually brings to mind my grandfather, who molested me, and actually threatened to take my virginity and kill any boy I dated.............very scary to me. If a girl makes a vow like that it should be between her and God. Or, in the case of an atheist, her alone. Why would anyone else be needed? Those rings are stupid, and some big party? Ridiculios!

Pam - posted on 01/28/2012

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ewww that's a weird thing to do, put on a wedding dress and pledge to your father? is that some sort of patriarchy? lol just have the TALK there's no avoiding it at 13, sex is all around us and they just need to be well informed and trusted to make their own sound judgments on whats right for them and their bodies. Have the talk followed by some ice cream, and rock climbing or something that has therapeutically properties to increasing self esteem ;-) some people are brainwashed

Sal - posted on 01/27/2012

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im a bit late into this one but having read a few posts i thought i would throw in my 2cents worth..

**not having sex before marriage will not in its self ruin a marriage that is solid and based on love and respect.....a couple getting married just because they are horny maybe are facing some probs (a freind of mine was in her mid 30s a virgin married a guy from church after 3 months dating now 2 kids later thinks maybe she might of rushed into it for the wrong reason)...

*** having sex out of marriage doesnt make you a bad person, and no one has the right to make you feel it does...if you are honest with yourself and enjoy sex for what it is, the time you choose and number of partners you have is not important, it is only when you lie to yourself that having sex will make you happy popular or save a marriage or relationship or use it to manipulate someone that it is bad...sex is not bad..

**and i dont think that dads have any place in their daughters sex life, it is weird and icky....

Lyssa - posted on 01/24/2012

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my opinion is, staying "pure" until you're married isn't very logical. sex is a very important part of a relationship, obviously not the most important, but if you have a poor sex life, i would think the rest of your relationship would begin to suffer. i certainly don't think 13 or 14 year olds should be out there having sex with anyone. being emotionally ready is key, but if you wait until you're married and turn out to not be sexually compatible, then what?

Krista - posted on 01/24/2012

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Exactly. I would think that the parents would be better off spending their time actually talking to their sons AND daughters about dating and relationships and love, and sexual pressure, and how they should respect their bodies and their hearts.



I think that would accomplish a lot more than some fucked-up Freudian ceremony...

Sara - posted on 01/24/2012

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I can't help but wonder how many of these girls will actually keep their virginity until marriage. It seems to me as a parent that the bigger deal you make of something and the more off limits it is, the more it appeals to the kid to do.



The whole thing is just creepy.

[deleted account]

I think it's asinine and useless. I think it makes intelligent sense to be cautious in sexual activity to avoid unwanted outcomes but to pledge my virginity to my father is creepy and harkens back to a time when that was the only way to value a girl was her virginity and her dowry. Do we really want that again? I don't .

Mrs. - posted on 01/23/2012

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Good to know. I find myself in need of new words to express my disgust on a regular basis.

Karla - posted on 01/23/2012

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I had to look up "squick" in the urban dictionary. Some of the definitions are squicky, but I like this one...



squick

An interjection expressing physical disgust at an object, action, or situation.



Somewhat similar to ick, but implies more disgust than simple distaste -- something that elicits the gag reflex would also be worthy of a "Squick!"




http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.ph...

Krista - posted on 01/23/2012

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Rebecca, I honestly have no idea where I first heard the term "the squicks". It IS rather evocative, isn't it? It's sort of like being creeped out, but but in a more icky, unsettled kind of way.

Johnny - posted on 01/23/2012

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I have to say that I have a hard time understanding our continued valuing of sexual purity on it's own. I think it is great for people to control their own sexuality and make the choice with whom, how, and when they share it. Regardless of what that looks like for the individual. If one wants to wait until marriage because that feels like the right choice for them, fantastic. If a woman wants to "sample the buffet" before deciding, then great.



But I find that there is this idea that one of these decisions is the correct "moral" choice. I see no evidence to support that. Each route can have it's own trials and tribulations. If people do not treat each other with care and respect, neither total chastity nor open exploration will lead to a happy emotional state.



To me, valuing purity unto itself results in devaluing individuals. We should be valuing the right to make our own decisions in our own best interests about our own bodies. We should be valuing people for treating others and themselves with respect. I just do not get what purity itself has to offer.

Mrs. - posted on 01/23/2012

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Krista E., what is "the squicks"? As in:



"And the whole father involvement thing gives me the squicks."





I get what it must mean by the context and like the sound of it, just never heard that word before. I can't remember where you are from, so I don't know if it's a Brit thing, an Aussie thing, a younger person that me thing or a typo.

Sylvia - posted on 01/23/2012

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Now, what's interesting is the number of examples I can think of where couples met in high school or university (or, in one case, on the boat to Israel after high school!), got married shortly thereafter, had several kids, and are really happy. It's clear, however, that these couples are the exceptions, not the rule. As long as we're swapping anecdotes, I'll tell you about my (formerly shomer negiyah) friend who married (when she was about 21) the first guy she'd ever seriously dated, basically because she was graduating from university and didn't want to go back home to live with her dysfunctional parents, and who was divorced by the time she was 24 because her (ex-)husband, while a perfectly nice person, was just so totally not either (a) ready to be married or (b) the right person for her to be married to. And also about my (not shomer negiyah, but Anglican equivalent) friend and her husband who waited until their wedding night to do anything further than kissing, and are now very happily married but had a miserable first two years because in addition to not having sex they had totally not learned to communicate their needs (of any kind) to each other -- correlation, not necessarily causation, but it does show you that waiting until the wedding night doesn't somehow magically guarantee a happy marriage.



I hear a lot (usually from very conservative Christians--never heard this from a Jewish person) about how "G-d hates divorce". That may be so, but I'm pretty sure G-d hates miserable, loveless marriages even more :P

Sylvia - posted on 01/23/2012

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Krista, EXACTLY. So if you're a 16-year-old boy, you get to be assessed and judged on (for example) your kindness to children and old people, your math marks, your ability to be articulate, your driving, your personal hygiene, and your ability to get along with your siblings, but if you're a 16-year-old girl it all comes down to whether or not you've had sex? It doesn't get too much more wack than that.

Krista - posted on 01/23/2012

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And Sylvia makes a damn good point.



I look at my mother's generation. You were expected to wait until marriage. That's just the way it was. So my mom and her friends would meet boys when they were 16, 17, 18, 19 years old, date for a little while, and if things looked serious, it wasn't long before a marriage proposal followed.



I wonder if lustful eagerness prompted more than a few of those proposals.



Because really, you COULD say that the divorce rate is lower among my mom's generation...but are the marriages any happier? My mom and my dad split after 13 years. They were as different as chalk and cheese, and really, should have never gotten married in the first place. Among my mom's friends, there are several couples who are married in name only -- there is no love there. Just cold silences, separate vacations, and (in many cases) infidelity. I think if we all look at our mothers' and grandmothers' generations, we can think of a LOT of couples who should have NEVER gotten married. And perhaps, if marriage hadn't been the only avenue in which they could have satisfied their hormones, they wouldn't have been married, and could have gone on to find much more suitable partners.

Merry - posted on 01/23/2012

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In my mind purity means everyone stays clothed. And not touching rubbing etc even while clothed. No masterbating with eachother, no sexting' no naked pic swapping.



Pure, innocent, untouched. Idk. Like kissing and hand holding and long walks on the beach. No sexual or sensual acts.

Mrs. - posted on 01/23/2012

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And here's the weird thing, everyone has different definitions of "purity" even in the Christian community, right? I mean there was that study that came out a few years back about young purity pledges seeing a rise in STIs because they were using unprotected anal sex as alternative to vaginal sex. Remember, the whole Saddleback church thing and when Dan Savage defined the term "saddlebacking" to refer to purity pledges going round back to avoid the non-virgin stigma?



Maybe this needs to go in another thread, but is that considered more pure than just straight up vaginal sex?

Karla - posted on 01/23/2012

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From Kaitlin,

”The idea that you only have sex with one person for your entire life is incredibly special.”



But one can have sex with just one person their entire life without the purity ball and ring. Also, premarital sex does not necessarily mean you will have multiple partners. And as demonstrated by Tina P. above (sorry for your hardship Tina) one cannot always know for certain that their partner will be a good choice.



From Kaitlin,

”I think also that the 'feminist movement' is misunderstood quite a bit here- to be feminist does NOT mean that you can have sex with whoever you want whenever you want- it's not about birth control.”



I know you mean well, but I think you are misrepresenting the feminist movement with that statement. The feminist movement has nothing to do with sexual conduct, but rather it is about equal rights for women. So unless you think men should be having sex with whomever, whenever they want then your point is not about feminism aka equal rights.



And from Kaitlin, ”To be truly feminist you are embracing what it means to be femininie, not trying to be both man and woman.”



The definition of “feminist” is: advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men. It’s not about embracing what it means to be feminine; it’s about women having equal rights under the law of one’s country. The absolute only reason to try to redefine "feminist" is that one’s agenda is against equal rights under the law for women.



Edit to add:

The purity ball puts too much emphasis on sex and virginity; the side effect could very well be young women who, if they become sexually active, may feel they are less than acceptable. It does not address the varying lifestyles that are available and it is a judgment of those who for one reason or another have had multiple partners. We don’t really need those kinds of judgments.

Kaitlin - posted on 01/23/2012

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I don't like the idea of the 'ball' but I do like the idea of the purity until marriage. My husband and I chose to do so and it was VERY HARD but we did it together. It means a lot to us. The idea that you only have sex with one person for your entire life is incredibly special. I think also that the 'feminist movement' is misunderstood quite a bit here- to be feminist does NOT mean that you can have sex with whoever you want whenever you want- it's not about birth control. To be truly feminist you are embracing what it means to be femininie, not trying to be both man and woman.

Jamie - posted on 01/22/2012

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OMG Tina, that sounds awful! I am so sorry. I am so happy to hear you got out and found someone that truly makes you happy.



You are right, it makes no sense for people to abstain from vaginal sex and do other sexual acts. All are just as risky (emotionally and physically) as vaginal intercourse. I don't get it either.

Tina - posted on 01/22/2012

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I do remember reading what some people don't regard as sex including anal, oral etc...it really doesn't protect them. They are just as much at risk of STD's. I tried to do what I thought was right. I got involved with a man much older than myself who talked me into going to church didn't want to have sex until we were married. BTW he had been with partners in the past. He pressured me into doing stuff to him. That was okay but we couldn't have sex. What a joke. When we did eventually end up sleeping together. He told the church. And then the pressure was on to get married. I was guilted into marrying this guy. He turned out to be an absolute asshole. He never worked. He was an alcoholic. I worked my but off and got nowhere. I tried so hard to make it work and do what was considered right. I was depressed lonely. But finally got out of it. I'm just so glad we couldn't have kids. I did the right thing hooked up with a man I'd known for years we worked together at one stage. We now have 2 kids. We aren't married but we are commited to one another, love eachother. He works and rarely drinks. The whole purtiy thing sounds ok in theory but the problem is you don't really know the person you end up marrying. I thought I knew the man I was going to marry we dated for 3 years. It wasn't until we got married and moved in together that he showed his true colours. It's just giving power back to men. Giving a woman no say in her own body. We'd all like our girls to obstain meet a nice man fall in love get married and have beautiful babies. But the world doesn't work like that. There might be a few that get lucky like that but the fact is most times you have to meet a couple of bad eggs before you meet the one that is right for you.

Jamie - posted on 01/22/2012

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Laura mentioned the only verse I'm familiar with, as well.



There are verses about incest between father and daughter, that do not apply to purity balls at all. Lot and his daughters is the main one I am thinking of (That is mainly for the explanation of genetic lineage, and safe inbreeding between male to female offspring, in addition to not condoning it in humans.)



All verses about fathers and children speak about both genders, nothing specifically about daughters.



The Bible uses the analogy of father and child when speaking about human- God relationship.

There is also Bride and Bridegroom analogy.



Maybe they are taking from that? I really don't know much behind the creation of purity balls. It would definitely be interesting to speak to someone who has participated in one.

Merry - posted on 01/22/2012

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There's a common verse that basically says that for the purpose of marriage a woman should leave her father and be joined to her husband. So essentially it means in that day, a woman had to be 'cared for' by aman. So she would be under her dads care until she married.



There could be more, I'm familiar with the common verses but there's tons I don't know :)

Mrs. - posted on 01/22/2012

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I'm curious, to those who are well read when it comes to the bible, is there a biblical text or teaching from the bible that would back up a daughter pledging her virginity to her father?

Sylvia - posted on 01/22/2012

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Alisha, you seem to be saying that if your parents had told you you should "save yourself for marriage", you'd have done it. The thing is, MANY teen girls' parents (and some boys' too, presumably) are telling them very loudly that they shouldn't be having sex ... but they do it anyway. There's a lot more to the story than what your parents (or your teachers, or your minister/priest/rabbi) tell you you should do.



Karlia, ITA -- when I was 13, the VERY LAST thing I wanted to be doing was talking about having sex (or not having sex) in a public emporium. And with my FATHER? OMG. (My dad and I did not have a good relationship. I was, once I got interested in the topic, definitely able to have helpful discussions with my mom.)



I think one can make good arguments on each side with respect to waiting -- there are definitely advantages to delaying becoming sexually active, and there are also advantages to not waiting so long that you make yourself crazy. But the whole thing with the purity balls and the purity rings and the THEATRE of it all, I don't think that can be good for anybody. It's like focusing on grades instead of on actual learning -- it puts all the focus on *appearing* "pure" and, as Karla says, encourages cheating.

Karla - posted on 01/22/2012

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Jamie said ”Not to mention all the emotional trauma having sex too soon or with the wrong person can entail. I was the only one out of my friends that abstained and I definitely saw what it did to them if they did it for the wrong reasons (which happened to be almost all of my friends...)”



I think that is a crucial message that all people should be told. Movies and television shows make casual sex look easy and unemotional. I tell my kids that what the entertainment industry fails to mention is that very strong emotions are tied to sex. That is one reason that it is very important to be thoughtful about your sexual choices and encounters.

Karla - posted on 01/22/2012

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Alisha said, “I think that these fathers are dedicated to helping their daughter's make good decisions for their future, their children's futures and frankly all of their descendants futures. Our America is filled with broken families and children without fathers or with fathers who are not taking the care of them that they should be.”



Purities Balls seem to be designed for families that are already intact, so I would think that living example means more to children than a purity ball. I fail to see how this purity movement is going to effect children from broken homes if those parents are not participating.



I completely agree that having a functioning marriage and sharing parenting responsibility is a better scenario for raising children, but I do not agree that a purity ball needs to be a part of that.

(As a side note Alisha, could you put more line breaks in your writing, I have to scroll while I read and then it’s easy to loose my place with such a big paragraph, thanks)



And if we had “purity balls” for boys there would not be a problem… that’s a joke… pun intended… “purity balls.” I know, bad joke.



Anyway, when I think of myself at 13 I would have been mortified to go to a purity ball. The whole point is to not have sex before marriage – all emphasis on not having sex. At that age I did not want to think about sex, and if I did think about sex I certainly didn’t want my parents to know I ever thought about sex. I find the purity movement awkward at best.



Also, when I see a young woman (20ish y.o.) with a ring on her finger, and I ask about it, expecting that it’s a promise ring or engagement ring, and she replies it’s a “purity ring,” I find it awkward. I really don’t need to know a woman’s personal decision about her premarital sex life, and these balls and rings are a method to broadcast it.



In college my daughter had friends with these rings, and if they wanted to hook-up with someone, they would just go out without the ring on. It creates an atmosphere of deceit for those who are interested in having an active sex life before marriage.



My opinion is that we should educate our sons and daughters about making good choices in their decisions about sex; and thinking about what they want for themselves, but I also think that by the time they are choosing to become sexually active my main role is to help them get birth control.



(Though, having 3 grown kids and one underage, it has helped that none of them has became sexually active before the age of 18 – I would probably be disappointed and struggling if I had a 15 y.o. who wanted to be sexually active.)

Jamie - posted on 01/22/2012

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I thought this debate was supposed to be focusing more on purity balls, rather than a discussion whether or not to wait for marriage.



Clearly the people who waited until they were married are satisfied with their choice, so I don't understand why anyone would be criticizing it because they personally didn't choose to do so. If it works for the person that is what matters.



I see many positives in modern times to wait until marriage, too. I don't find it archaic at all. I am not saying that not waiting is wrong, either. I do think that there are definite risks associated in having more than one partner that definitely need to be addressed to all children, even if parents are advocating abstaining.

There are also preventative measures that aren't 100% effective either. Does this mean that I am advocating my children (boys, not that it matters) only marry virgins? Absolutely not. Should they make sure their future wife is clean of STDs? It would be nice to know before they have sex if there are any communicable diseases in their partner, but I don't think that is a deal breaker either. If they did know about something like HIV in someone who would be their partner there are medications to prevent catching the virus themselves. And yes, this definitely can be done prior to marriage, as well. It just is a lot easier to deal with all these issues in marriage or a very committed relationship.

Not to mention all the emotional trauma having sex too soon or with the wrong person can entail. I was the only one out of my friends that abstained and I definitely saw what it did to them if they did it for the wrong reasons (which happened to be almost all of my friends...)



As far as biblical text concerning abstaining until marriage, well Laura definitely took it out of the original context. It was written for that period of time to tell a message to that particular group of people. It is still relevant today, but like the entire canonized Bible, we need to read it in it's original text (in the entirety of the book) as well as add the second testament to it to get the entire picture of what the true message is. At least that was what I was taught in seminary. And that is also what I believe to be the best truth to the text. I find that something can be relevant truth without it being fact. - that was not intended to be preachy, just my apologetics.



but back to purity balls...ya, I don't get them.

Merry - posted on 01/22/2012

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Laura taking things out of context never is really a good way to make a point. The paparazzi does it to celebrities all the time and we all know their 'quotes' can't even be trusted as its so completely out of context.



I find it sort of rude of you to be so hateful against us who said we are Christians, and yes, hating on the bible is the same thing as hating on us.



You're not religious, fine, I get it. But you don't have to try so hard to make every religious person look like an ass

Hannah - posted on 01/22/2012

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I think that formalising the idea in a purity movement is going a little too far. Ultimately it is up to the parents to educate their child, male or female about sex and relationships. In the UK there is a debate in parliament on whether to introduce morals to sex education instead of just teaching the biology. Personally I believe things like this are a reaction to the recreactional idea, that sex is a sport just for pleasure and the continuing sexualisation of young people esp girls e.g. thongs for kids! Extremism is never a good thing, either way. When a person is old enough then it is up to them how they conduct their sex lives, I believe that sex should be special and with someone special but when my child's an adult it will be up to them to make their own decisions and mistakes.

Kate CP - posted on 01/22/2012

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The whole idea of waiting until marriage is very archaic. It was original intended to ensure that the potential husband wasn't having to raise and pay for a child that wasn't his.



Why don't we have responsibility balls? Where you go with a parent (whomever you're most comfortable with) and there are booths and tables set up to teach you about safe sex. I think that would be a much better, and more appropriate, tradition to start

Sherri - posted on 01/22/2012

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I am not comfortable with it but I also don't think that it promotes the idea that a girls value is simply through her genitals. It is simply a practice done that tries to teach girls to save themselves for marriage. I don't see how this is a bad thing.

Stifler's - posted on 01/22/2012

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I find it creepy also. I have no idea why anyone would do it. Sure don't have sex until marriage... but what does your dad or anyone else have to do with it and why do you have to announce it. Sex isn't a prize it's part of your relationship with your lover.

Isobel - posted on 01/21/2012

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Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will stir up your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side— 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, the men of Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, handsome young men, all of them governors and commanders, chariot officers and men of high rank, all mounted on horses. 24 They will come against you with weapons,[d] chariots and wagons and with a throng of people; they will take up positions against you on every side with large and small shields and with helmets. I will turn you over to them for punishment, and they will punish you according to their standards. 25 I will direct my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword. They will take away your sons and daughters, and those of you who are left will be consumed by fire. 26 They will also strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry. 27 So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt anymore



...evidently the punishment for sleeping with too many men is that God will give them permission to rape and maim you while killing your children...my kinda god

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