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More on “Sexual Purity” 10 November 2006

Posted by Todd in Christianity, Commentary, Gender.
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A few months ago, I mentioned this growing evangelical phenomenon of “Purity Balls“, where daughters and daddies make creepy abstinence bonds to each other. Here’s a promotional video from Care Net for the 2006 Purity Ball program. I’m stupefied by the sexism, infantalism, paternalism, and bald wingnuttery of the whole thing:

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Comments

1. mattblack - 10 November 2006

This makes me want to hurl for multiple reasons.

2. anomalous4 - 15 November 2006

The video in question has myseriously disappeared from the face of the earth. Or from YouTube, at any rate.

However, a couple of promo clips for the PB are up at the producer’s site: One Hat Design

3. skote - 19 November 2006

I noticed this thread after checking my website referrer logs today. “anomalous4” linked to my site saying I produced the YouTube video. This is incorrect… I have no connection to that video. However, I was hired to produce two promo videos for a local purity ball in IL, and as such have a few comments to make:

I am 30 years old and just got married five months ago. My wife and I were both virgins when we got married, and each of us considers ourself a gift to the other person. I can guarantee you that our sex life is in no way diminished because of our lack of “experience” or “practice”. In fact, I would argue it’s so much better than it ever would have been otherwise. There are no comparisons going on in our minds between our spouse and past lovers. Every step of intimacy we took was together–a unique experience for us both–and it was so incredibly special. There is a bond between us now that is not shared with anyone else in the world. I am so thankful that my wife kept herself fully for me, and she’s glad I kept myself fully for her.

When I become a father someday, I want to do whatever I can to help my children keep themselves wholly for their future mates so they can experience the same amazing pleasure and happiness I did. That doesn’t mean I’ll treat them harshly or lock them up in the basement until their wedding days… it means I’ll love them and earn their trust and teach them so they won’t want to give themselves away prematurely.

People who think these purity balls encourage incest, or the ownership of one person over another, or some sort of erotic love between a father and his dauther have got it completely backwards.

4. mattblack - 23 November 2006

Hi Skote-
I appreciate the sincerity of your response here. I also grew up religious and waited until I got married before I became sexually active. And while I certainly do not think these types of things (purity balls) encourage incest or some sort of quasi-slave relationship, I do think they are problematic for a number of reasons.
Covenant ceremonies of this sort are effective (if they are at all) because they set up a system of guilt and shame on top of what already exists. It’s a way of raising the stakes, so to speak, because not only are you commiting a sin if you engage in sexual activity but you are now also breaking a promise to God (perhaps a greater sin) and his earthly proxy–your father. It’s one thing to ask an adult to make this kind of commitment, but to bring a group of pre-pubescents together in a social situation before they have any inkling of their own sexuality and, for all intents and purposes, force them into this sort of covenant publicly seems, at the very least, unfair.
Despite the very understandable motivation of parents and church leaders to protect their children from the very real threat of pre-mature sexual activity, purity balls (and other cultural/religious reinforcements against sexuality) can, and often do, produce a sense of guilt that is monumental and not at all healthy– whether the child stays on the straight and narrow or not.
While I am glad to hear that you feel good about the sexual decisions you’ve made for yourself, you can in no way guarantee anything to anyone else. I regret making the same decisions you’ve made. I feel a sense of loss for the years of unnecesary guilt I went through because of programs and teachings with the same motivation as purity balls. And I find fulfilment and happiness in sexual relationships outside of a morality that teaches one can only find such things within the bonds of marriage.


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