Sarah Moon's post, The Magical Marriage Switch, illustrates the logical inconsistencies in some of purity culture's prime arguments by showing how their teachings about sex in marriage contradict and invalidate their teachings about sex while single. I've touched on this concept of magical transformation regarding marriage before. But Sarah gives specific examples of how purity culture will flip an argument on its head when marriage is introduced into the equation. Basically, anything that sex will ruin before marriage becomes something that sex will improve after marriage.
Anna Lynn's post, Christian Sex: What the Purity Movement Didn't Tell Us, gives a historical context for the purity movement and points out the topics the purity movement failed to address. It made me think about how I never had any concept I was involved in a "movement" while it was happening. I didn't know that the things I was being taught were in reaction to something else, or that it was anything new to Christianity. This quote in particular got my attention:
The purity movement’s mantra in answer to the sexual revolution was, “Don’t have sex outside of marriage.” Harris’ addition to the mantra was, “and don’t think about it either.”The "don't think about it either" brand of purity was the only kind I knew. Josh Harris' challenge to live so purely that you couldn't even allow yourself to think about sex with your soon-to-be spouse sounded impossible to live up to, but it also sounded right. Because to a naive teenager who only wants to please God more and knows nothing about sex except that it's bad outside of marriage, who was I to question someone as convincing as Josh Harris?
Now, with the benefits of hindsight, life experience, and understanding of the changing currents within Christianity throughout history, I can see the purity movement with a critical eye. The purity movement made "no premarital sex or even thinking about it" a huge part of my Christian belief system. It was so intertwined with everything I believed that it felt revolutionary when I realized I didn't believe in it anymore. I've stated before that I feel bitter towards the purity movement. That is still true, even though it's gotten better as I've been writing about it this past year. But when I look back over Christian history and see the various movements that impassioned people but, in the end, were nothing more than a fad, I am saddened that the movement I happened to get caught up in was so damaging to people's marriages, sex lives, and views of themselves. I feel angry because I feel as though I was used as a pawn in somebody else's game: someone who didn't care about me--only my virginity.