Growing up in purity culture

What is lust? What isn't? How can I guard myself...
Forum rules
Post in this section can be seen by guests and search engines.
MrMarried
Hammock
Hammock
Posts: 1068
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am

Re: Growing up in purity culture

Post by MrMarried »

Btw, I remember seeing references to promise rings in movies and on TV. Sometimes the character is an uptight religious hypocrite, a girl who pretends to be a virgin but is promiscuous or there is a character that loses her virginity in spite of her commitment, and this is presented in a positive light. Hollywood writers or producers seem hostile toward an obviously healthy stance against sex before marriage.
DaveW
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:23 am
Location: Maryland
Contact:

Re: Growing up in purity culture

Post by DaveW »

PeggyCarter wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:25 am"Moral responsibility for being raped" wow so when I was sexually assault it was my "moral responsibility for being sexually assaulted".
The "Purity Culture" was by no means a monolith. Such things seldom are. Yes there were places that pinned the blame 100% on the woman for any kind of sexual assault. Fortunately, there were not that many places.

Most of the places DID place an undue amount of burden on women to keep the men folk from lusting, which IMO was entirely unjustified; at least from a scriptural standpoint. They pointed to "dress modestly" scriptures, which if you look at the context in scripture and the social understanding of the culture in which it was written, had very little to do with how much skin was being exposed. Rather it was about the OTHER modesty - not flaunting your wealth or social status.
DaveW
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:23 am
Location: Maryland
Contact:

Re: Growing up in purity culture

Post by DaveW »

I believe when I was in jr/sr high I came in at the very beginning of it (early 90's). I vaguely remember at a youth event/conference there was talk about "true love waits", or at least along that gist. I also remember they challenged the youth to commit to waiting.
I was in college and the congregation was into Bill Gothard's version of it. He had some pretty messed up ideas. No dating. Stay at home under your parents' authoritarian rule until you get married. If you are 70 and single you still have to obey your 90 year old parents as if you were a toddler.

If you fall in love with someone (or even have a crush) and do not marry them, you give away a piece of your heart that you never get back and as a result you do not have a whole heart to give to the person you DO marry. Lust was defined as any sexual urge, feeling or curiosity before you get married.
Last edited by SeekingChange on Fri Jul 15, 2022 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed quoting issue
KatieMarie
Hammock
Hammock
Posts: 1011
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2022 8:30 am
Location: United States

Re: Growing up in purity culture

Post by KatieMarie »

Growing up I was definitely taught at Church, school and at home that I was supposed to remain “pure” until my wedding night. I wore a Purity Ring, and tried to block out the thought of having sex, or even masturbating for a long time. I’m not going to criticize anyone who believes that it works, and is positive. For me, it was repressive and not mentally healthy. When I finally allowed myself to explore me, I decided that it wasn’t something that I wanted to do anymore. I refuse to be ashamed that I am a sexual being, and I refuse to feel “dirty” for self pleasure, or now that I am married, embracing the joys of sex. I might not have waited until we were married to give myself to him, but we were engaged, and planning our wedding. My DH does not think that I am “damaged goods” because he is the one who I gave my virginity to.
The main purpose of life is to live it with the man I love.
mjake
Cot
Cot
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2023 11:59 pm

Purity Culture's lack of redemption

Post by mjake »

Seems like most managed to survive Purity Culture, despite it's "scared straight" sort of message for an audience of which 70% will fail to maintain virginity until marriage. Most.

Anyone else here who was seriously scarred by Purity Culture? In my wife's case, she was one of the "failures" and bought into the message that she was no longer worth much, and losing your virginity was that one "sin" different from all others (which you could "recover" from through your relationship with Christ... something the Purity Culture failed to mention was possible).

My wife was so badly affected by her failure she got caught into a shame cycle of promiscuity, trying to add so much excitement to her life that she would take her mind off the shame she felt. Not enough time for shame, as it were. When that wasn't enough, she became dissociative, leading two entirely separate lives (one as the nice young woman in church, the other with boys climbing through her window at night) and finally adopting a narrative that she was, in fact, still a virgin and saving herself for marriage.

I married her believing her false narrative. Crazy thing is, I wouldn't have been scared away had I known the truth. But the damage done was massive.
User avatar
DoveGrey
Blanket on a secluded beach!
Blanket on a secluded beach!
Posts: 1902
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am
Location: Either in the backcountry or wishing I were...

Re: Purity Culture's lack of redemption

Post by DoveGrey »

mjake wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 12:13 am
Anyone else here who was seriously scarred by Purity Culture? In my wife's case, she was one of the "failures" and bought into the message that she was no longer worth much, and losing your virginity was that one "sin" different from all others (which you could "recover" from through your relationship with Christ... something the Purity Culture failed to mention was possible).
I wonder how many people enter bad marriages because of this notion. I personally know two women who married men only because they had this idea that at least they were marrying the man they first slept with. In one case, the man himself had used it as a weapon - "We have to get married because we had sex, and I'll tell your family what you did if we don't marry." That marriage lasted twenty miserable years before she decided she'd had enough.
mjake wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 12:13 am I married her believing her false narrative. Crazy thing is, I wouldn't have been scared away had I known the truth. But the damage done was massive.
I can imagine the dishonesty was painful for you to discover. It occurs to me that she believed a false narrative about you as well. Not one that you told, but one that she'd been duped into believing by others. This one's the narrative that no good man will ever want a wife with a past. Purity culture is big on that. It's insulting to a man such as yourself who is mature in faith enough to realize premarital sex is not The Unforgivable Sin.

I am sorry you were both so unfairly affected by this. To enter a marriage where both partners have false assumptions about each other has to be stressful.
Myers-Briggs INFJ - The Advocate

"She will do him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
"

~23 years and counting~
MrMarried
Hammock
Hammock
Posts: 1068
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am

Re: Purity Culture's lack of redemption

Post by MrMarried »

DoveGrey wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 5:28 am
mjake wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 12:13 am
Anyone else here who was seriously scarred by Purity Culture? In my wife's case, she was one of the "failures" and bought into the message that she was no longer worth much, and losing your virginity was that one "sin" different from all others (which you could "recover" from through your relationship with Christ... something the Purity Culture failed to mention was possible).
I wonder how many people enter bad marriages because of this notion. I personally know two women who married men only because they had this idea that at least they were marrying the man they first slept with. In one case, the man himself had used it as a weapon - "We have to get married because we had sex, and I'll tell your family what you did if we don't marry." That marriage lasted twenty miserable years before she decided she'd had enough.
The Old Testament required a man who took an unbetrothed woman's virginity to marry her, but that was only if her father would allow it. He still owed the bride price for virgins to the father of the potential bride either way. This could have been a way to keep the naive young daughter from marrying the proverbial scumbag, or the high risk man who'd taken the virginity of a bunch of other girls. I would imagine a lot of fathers let them marry since the pickin's might have been slim if she lost her virginity.

Feigning virginity and letting herself be married off as one was potentially a death penalty crime if the husband who was a victim of such a ploy were to press the matter. At least in the time of David, virgins wore special clothes that identified them as virgins. (That would make wife-hunting easier for young Christian men looking for virgins if it were the custom today.)

Expecting one's spouse to have lived a sexually moral life prior to marriage is a reasonable expectation. It is our sexually immoral culture that is messed up. Men in the 1950's, characters in Regency Era dramas, or young Christian men today that want to marry virgins are not villains for their desire. If a man is okay with something else, that's up to him.

Priests were not allowed to marry a 'defiled woman', but the restriction in the Old Testament was not extended to all the people. (I know this is Old Testament, but the Bible says, 'For by the law comes the knowledge of sin.)

There was a bit of (old) research in the Journal of Marriage and Family by Teece in 1990 that shows that the rates of 'marital disruption' were much lower among women who were either virgins, or married the only man they had had sex with. Those who'd lost their virginity prior to marriage also experienced the lower rates. They didn't find statistical significance for male virginity in this study.

I have read something similar on a blog many years ago, but that women having had more sexual partners correlated with higher divorce rates, maybe a direct relationship. It was from a blog, though, using Australian public data, and had not gone through the peer review process. I didn't run the stats myself.

In the case you mention, the man threatening to tell her parents seems rather desperate. As a man, I was glad my wife really wanted to marry me. I suppose I could understand a man being so desperate to end up with a woman in that case. I would imagine there are a lot of couples who sinned by sleeping together where they married and their marriage turned out okay. Just like you could replace the first half of that story with a couple who fell very much in love, were happy to marry, then lived so many miserable years of marriage together, because they didn't know how to get along or whatever.
MrMarried
Hammock
Hammock
Posts: 1068
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am

Re: Growing up in purity culture

Post by MrMarried »

Btw, if I were a single young man, I might consider looking for a bride in 'purity culture.' I find 'promise rings' to be odd. And the idea of trying to create a cultural practice of a daddy-daughter ball, that seems a bit weird to me.

My kids got involved in a church youth group that has a lot of homeschool kids, in addition to our church youth group. The home school kids, from what they say, tend to be well-behaved. I figure some of the folks doing the daddy-daughter ball have homeschooled girls, and they teach the girls how to make candles and soap and stuff like that. It sounds almost like the Amish, culturally, but with electricity and cars instead of candles and buggies.

But compared to a girl who grows up going to school, cussing, sneaking out, watching porn on her cell phone, yelling at her parents while she calls them by their first names, who sneaks out and gets tattoos, smokes marijuana.... the home school, soap-making purity culture girl sounds a lot more like wifey-material.

These are stereotypes, here, but our culture is pretty messed up, and while there are things about purity culture that sound odd to me, it sounds better than fornication culture or rebellious teen culture.
User avatar
SeekingChange
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 7238
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:45 pm
Location: All I know is I'm not home yet

Re: Growing up in purity culture

Post by SeekingChange »

MrMarried wrote: Sat Jan 28, 2023 7:56 am These are stereotypes, here, but our culture is pretty messed up, and while there are things about purity culture that sound odd to me, it sounds better than fornication culture or rebellious teen culture.
They are both their own form of slavery... the self-righteous are just as lost as the sinners, maybe even dangerously more so, because they are less likely to see their need for a Savior.... why not actually look for someone who has found freedom in Christ, no matter their background? Why not point our children to that freeing truth?
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
User avatar
k.a. forest
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2022 9:58 am

Re: Growing up in purity culture

Post by k.a. forest »

I did not experience purity culture (or at least I don't think I did). The churches I had gone to usually did not discuss sex. From what I know about purity culture, I'm glad that I did not get caught up in it and it wasn't forced upon me.

The only person I know that was worried about my virginity (and hymen) being intact was my mom. :roll: I don't think men these days even care about that.

People need to be presented with facts. There needs to be a God-centered discussion on sex.

Does anyone else wonder why churches in the present and past act like sex is evil and shouldn't be discussed? Where does that idea come from?
Post Reply

Return to “Lust & Immodesty”