In today’s culture where young people are bombarded with messages that encourage promiscuity, Liberty Counsel is encouraging students to take a public stand for purity on Valentine’s Day.
The 16th annual Day of Purity is a campaign that encourages students to wear white on February 14 to publicly promote abstinence and inspire other young people to save sexual intimacy for marriage.
The Day of Purity is based on First Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (NIV). Participants are also encouraged to wear a special LIVEPURE wristband on that day and throughout the year.
Liberty Counsel’s Director of Communications and International Director for the Day of Purity Holly Meade said, “The Day of Purity is an opportunity for young people to take a stand for purity and publicly communicate they will not be influenced by Hollywood’s images.”
There is a lot wrong with this.
Now, no one is saying that you should throw caution to the wind and have sex with the first person you see. Far from it. Sex is huge: if you’re in a relationship, it can change things massively and you have to be emotionally ready for that. However, the idea of “purity” is extremely flawed and that is putting it mildly. Purity culture bases a person’s value and worth–especially a young woman’s–on virginity. A woman can be seen as “less than” because she gave into the “temptation” of sexuality, whether it’s self pleasuring, heavy petting with a significant other, or full-on intercourse. You can read about it here.
A lot of young women who were tied up in this culture repeat stories of how they and their peers were told to spit in a cup that was passed around, or taking turns chewing on a piece of gum that was passed between the group. This was to illustrate what sex out of wedlock supposedly did to a person; it lessened them to the point that they weren’t desirable to their future partners. Some women spoke of being told of unbreakable blood bonds that formed after having sex, or how they would be giving away a piece of their souls.
Most people who have been given a proper education on sex know that this isn’t true. Some of the young women affected by this have learned that as well. But they’ve internalized this to the point where a healthy sexual relationship can be difficult; trying to get passed these myths can require counseling or, in some cases, therapy.
Making it worse is the idea that somehow, just because you’ve married someone you’ll be blissfully happy and completely sexually compatable. That often isn’t the case and I know this on a personal level. In my case, I was sexually active with my ex while we were still dating, but we had been together for four years. This was a long term relationship. I planned on sharing the rest of my life with him. It was a pretty big deal to me to finally go that distance. I thought it was going to be spectacular.
It was actually one of the most disappointing encounters of my life.
There were no fireworks. I didn’t scream like an actress in some porn flick. I felt pretty much nothing; in fact, I was downright bored during most of the “action”. If I hadn’t decided to have sex when I did, I wouldn’t be writing this post. Instead, I’d be stuck in a shitty, unfulfilling marriage with a clueless, selfish boy who only cared about himself. I wouldn’t be happy because I wouldn’t have known that my ex was absolutely clueless when it came to love making! (I sometimes think that half of the “guys can’t find the clit” jokes were inspired because of him. He was that terrible!)
In this instance, purity isn’t simply overrated, it’s dangerous misinformation.
This Valetine’s Day, instead of buying one of those bracelets that Liberty Council is hawking, try getting some actual information on sex and safer sex. Don’t stress about the imagined sin of being promiscuous or having sexual urges; those feelings are normal. A lot of people have them. Just stay safe and be smart: be ready for sex when you are ready, with whomever you choose and whomever chooses you. Practice safer sex and make sure you get clear cut enthusiastic consent. Leave the purity pledges in the past, where they belong.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Stay safe out there.