7 Reasons the Purity Movement is a Sham

In Canada, June is Pride Month, and this year I am going to throw my voice into the many voices. I like Pride Month: It combines the need to talk about sex, need to talk about diversity, and the need for more social justice in society. It also gets entertaining when the conservatives freak out that sex is being more actively talked about than it already is in such a sexualised culture! Usually the freaking out revolves around sexual purity, and their demands that sex should be saved until marriage.

The sexual purity movement. The movement, mostly promoted by Evangelical Christianity, teaches that God designed sexual intercourse to be between one man and one woman in a marriage relationship (sorry gay people and sex workers). By the way, on man and one woman are cisman and ciswoman because those people are most likely to be able to reproduce (sorry transmen and transwomen, you’re out of luck when it comes to being in the in crowd. Again. But keep reading!).  Proponents of this movement warn teenagers and young adults and the evils and down hill their lives will constantly be in should they dare to be in a sexual relationship with someone outside of marriage.

I’m sure many of you have heard of things like purity rings, the usual prologue between arguments against same sex marriage, and even the dire warnings on billboards of why sex is evil outside of marriage.  It is so sacred with American Evangelical Christianity, it’s almost replaced Jesus as what people think about when they hear the word “Christianity.” Yes, I say American Christianity because proponents are not as vocal in Canada in spite of it leaking up our way.

I for one am getting tired of it because I honestly think it is the biggest sham plaguing Canada and USA society in the postmodern era. It’s a sham. It’s a sham. It’s a sham. And I have 7 reasons why I think it’s a sham.

Ready for my List? Here are 7 reasons why I think the whole “saving sex until marriage” fad is a sham:

  1. The Bible never clearly states premarital sex is sin. It does promote women marrying their rapists, and widows marrying their husband’s brother if the husband dies; provides no comment on polygamy (beyond elders in the church should only be married to one wife), daughters sleeping with their drunken fathers, Abraham marrying his half sister, and barren wives giving their husbands their maidservants as breeding machines. You could argue “well, vadess40, you know that’s pulling those verses out of their geographical-historical context and textual context,” and I could just argue that if you looked up the popular literature promoting save sex until marriage you would not find in-depth analysis on the different passages that talk about sex, never mind read about the Song of Solomon. Song of Songs/Song of Solomon: The Bible’s dirty little secret and not mentioned by most sexual purity movement leaders.
  2. a41113884ae203248b577b2f757d7aef1c4a8946993efaf3b57995d2e17a8a9aIt’s not a guarantee a marriage will last, never mind be a good one. In fact, I am inclined to consider there is no guarantee a marriage will be a good one. No concrete cure all, no easy way to avoid divorce, and certainly no hard and fast way to ensure it will be good. How many people who saved sex until marriage are having extramarital affairs, or getting a divorce right now? Do you think it’s the  same or more than the amount of pro-life people getting abortions as we speak?
  3. Instead of promoting love of God and love of neighbour, it creates another hierarchy among humans. Instead of rich vs. poor, we now have who stayed a virgin until marriage vs. those who made a “mistake” and didn’t! Then there is the even further inner circle for the married couples who saved sex until marriage, and got their breeding on almost as soon as the honeymoon ended. What is the inner most circle? The people who in turn then ensure their kids don’t even dare sleep together unless they get married and get married fast. Where are the single people? Being encouraged to get married so they can have sex, of course!
  4. It repaints sex as something made by God into Satan’s curse. Sex is God’s creation that binds human people together, and creates new life. In theory it is supposed to be a good thing. Confession: I could not even write those two sentences with a straight face. Not because I do not believe those things, but I doubt any teenager learning to save sex for marriage will ever hear it from their leaders. Know what sexual purity movement has turned sex into on the popular level? Sex is this vile, evil thing that should be done, should not be talked about, should be thought about, and people should not even think about thinking about it. And if you think I’m joking, look up “New Ontario Sex Ed Curriculum.” I dare you to- It will be quite an entertaining read! And it honestly makes me wonder how parents really think they had children? Did they all adopt? Make carbon copies of themselves?
    That leads to another comment I must make: How does this attitude about sex actually prepare their children to have sex on their wedding night? If they get taught all their lives sex is evil, then how are they supposed to change their minds because they said “I do” to some person?
    sex-before-marriageSome Person: Wait, I thought you said again and again that sex is evil, dear? Why are you getting naked now?
    Married Adult Kid: You are correct, sweety. I did say again and again sex is evil because I was taught sex is bad, I should avoid at all costs, and not let our sexualised culture influence me to have sex. BUT now that I said “I do” and my perfect marriage needs me to, I’m going to do a 180 and say sex is good! Time to put out, sweety!
    Some Person: Oh, sorry, I’m staying a virgin til death do us part. Sex is evil, dear, didn’t your parents and other sexual purity church leaders tell you that?!
    Married Adult Kid: D:
  5. 761f5ca55085fa3d3bd82a327f3461eec876c94eee8c02a89d1dfaa5bdc872dcA lot of the people who preach it didn’t actually follow it. Guilty dog is usually first to bark. The ones yelling the loudest usually have the most skeletons in their closets. I wonder how many priests who were raping boys in a back room on Saturday preached about sexual purity, and no premarital sex on a Sunday? How many husband and wife youth leader teams actually waited until their wedding night to have sex? Maybe I’ll sneak into a youth group on one of those nights and measure the decibel levels of the people just to be sure, or see who can’t make eye contact with the youth under their care when they teach it, or when questioned about it.
  6. Encourages policing of non-Christians. While abortion is a separate issue, I’m going to bring it up again because often the sexually pure are the prolifers. Like I asked earlier: How many prolifers are in abortion clinics right now? How many married couples who went out of their way to enforce sexual purity will be filing for a divorce this year?  Why are pro-lifers showing up at abortion clinics, instead of asking their church to help them raise the new life in their womb? I think part of that reason is they would rather get an abortion, than face the shame and judgement of their fellow Christians. Why are people getting married prematurely? Because it’s the only way they can get away with admitting they are having never ending sex  to their pastor on a Sunday morning. “Judge not and you shall not be judged,” unless you screwed up and didn’t save sex til marriage. Then that rule is OUT the front door.
  7. Christians are more known for “save sex for marriage” than they are about Jesus Christ. You think I am joking about this? Nope, I am serious. Christians, especially those in the US of A, are more known for their rules about sex and policing other people’s sex lives than they are about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I dare you to go ask a non Christian what is the first thing that comes to their mind when they think about Christians. I am willing to bet my left arm and my entire Pokémon collection the majority of them WON’T say “Christians are people who follow this guy called Jesus.” If anything they’ll be called narrow minded, prudes, against sex, homophobic, and may they believe in being nice to people.

Now I know what some of you are thinking: What do YOU think about sex, vadess40? Well, I am glad you asked as I am going to list it now:

  1. Because I am an aromantic asexual, I do not want to have sex nor be in a romantic relationship. For that reason, I want to advocate that just because I am single does not mean I need to find a spouse, want to find a spouse, nor should be looking for a spouse. Lay off pressuring the single people, and let them enjoy their singleness if they want to! And fellow single people, and asexual people, don’t let anyone pressure you into changing your single status in the name of getting married and having those kids! While marriage and reproduction might be the norms, that does not mean they should be enforced.
  2. I think sex is a great power we humans have because in it is the ability to create new life; with great power comes great responsibility. Therefore, I think it is unwise to live a promiscuous lifestyle. To do so does increase the risk of things like STDs, accidental pregnancies, and can negatively impact how a person bonds with other people should they decide to settle down monogamously in the future.
  3. #2 does not give me the right to judge people for what they choose to do with sex. I will pass judgements on their actions, but I will not judge them for it. The difference? Bad choices are bad choices. Comparing someone else’ bad choices with one’s own bad choices does not justify one’s own bad choices. Bad choices and bad behaviour are bad choices and bad behaviour. However, bad choices and bad behaviour does not lessen a person’s value as a human being, nor does it make me holier than thou because I never made unwise sexual choices.
  4. Do I think people should save sex for marriage? If that is what they want to do and it is for the right reasons, then I say go for it. Does it give them permission to judge others, and place their chosen lifestyle on a nice pedestal over people? Not a chance.
  5. To that end, I do not think being a virgin gives me a special badge anymore than people who saved sex until marriage deserve a special badge. I don’t think I’m special because I’ve never engaged in coitus; I think it just means I have never engaged in coitus; pardon my French, but whoop de f***king do! I will not use it to stare down people who have engaged in coitus, and as you read above, I do not think saving sex until marriage gives people the right to stare down those who don’t.
  6. This is going to earn me black marks from my more conservative friends, but I don’t care: I don’t think making love, which I believe is different from simply having sex, is reserved for just between an adult male and an adult female, but rather it is reserved for two consenting adults in a loving relationship. And I could give a long list why but a couple of brilliant Christian authors already did it for me:  God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines;  and Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same Sex Relationships by scholar James V. Brownson.

Well that is a nice way to kick off pride month. The next article on it will be about my sexual orientation, and asexuality as a whole. Asexuals are real, we have something to add to the LGBTQIAA community, and we are awesome!

4 thoughts on “7 Reasons the Purity Movement is a Sham

  1. I honestly think that many of the things done to protect youth from sexuality and the knowledge of it constitute a kind of kink in itself, one projected onto children by parents unwilling to face their own interests squarely.

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  2. You nailed this one! Good read! If I had a dime for every youth group or dare I say College Group or chapel themed around sex and why doing it before your married is bad, or anything even remotely dealing with sex (lust, porn etc which I still think is wrong, but am hypocritical because I’ve still dealt with it) I’d pay off my OSAP in a flash. It’s almost perverted the way sex is talked about, in a hush hush and not at all blunt manner. Oh if we’re too blunt we’ll offend those who struggle. I asked a dorm mate “whats the first thing you notice on a girl”? He walked out and didn’t talk to me for the day.I think we need more blunt talks like that honestly. If we are TRYING to live Christ-like because all we can do is try right? I myself would rather save it for marriage (still a virgin at 32 which makes me a “loser” in today’s society, I’ll wear that loud and proud)… but what if I never get married, looking more and more like that with each passing year but I don’t give a s***. The whole “God chose someone for you” is total bollocks and I learned it the hard way. A lot.
    Whew. That being said, the moral policing behind this subject and its over arching themes is obsessive and borderline creepy. While I agree those in pastoral positions should have frank and honest conversations about sex, it should NOT NOT NOT NOT be used as a form of shaming, ridiculing and calling people out. Nor should churches and ministries become dating services for single folks. Check out the podcast “Tis a gift to be single” by Mike Sares, it’s worth a laugh and rather deep. Sorry for the rant, I appreciate your thoughts old friend! 🙂 Perhaps we’ve done more harm than good?

    -Fretz.

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    • Always great to hear from you, Fretz!

      We may have done more harm than good, but it’s not too late to change it. For example, starting with this little 2000 word article on why it’s all a sham. Personally, I’m going to enjoy my singleness to the fullest with or without people’s approval.

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