A generation of girls made an abstinence pledge with the doe-eyed hope of a passionate wedding night only to discover their new husbands (who often were virgins themselves) had no clue what they were doing. Depending on how good your communication with your new spouse was, this night could still end up being sort of what you hoped and dreamed for. But, it could also end in frustration. Your first sexual encounter, what you had been waiting for and saving yourself for, could seem to be a disappointment.
As I waited to cross the street to get to the restaurant in my shorter than usual dress, it happened. At that moment as I waited for the light to change, a group of men rolled down their car window and hooted and hollered at me. It was my first experience truly being catcalled.
The Purity Movement of the 1990s and early 2000s encouraged women, like myself, to save sex for marriage. Unfortunately, sometimes the message sounded more like this:it’s wrong to be sexual.
Rather than looking forward to their honeymoons, women felt like their sexuality was a bad thing, and these same women reportedly had trouble “flipping the switch” to enjoy sex in marriage. It’s no wonder! They perceived sex as bad for so long that they continued to do so, even after they tied the knot.
Let me do you a favor and clear that up right now. Sex is NOT bad. It is good… in the right context.
Your neckline must be two finger lengths from your collarbone. You can’t watch that movie. Your shorts are too short. You shouldn’t date. Sound familiar?
Like many of you, I grew up in The Purity Movement of the 1990s and early 2000s. To be honest, purity seemed kind of cool at the time. There were giant conferences promoting it, teen pop stars modeling abstinence, and parents buying their daughters fancy rings if they committed to saving sex for marriage.
You could even say that purity was popular.
Purity... what does it mean? Why is it important? And why does God care? There is a lot of confusion surrounding the word.
Many see it as old-fashioned, oppressive, or even “cringy”. The word elicits feelings of shame and anger toward Evangelical churches that explained sexual purity poorly.
Is there marriage in heaven? If it is such a good and beautiful thing, shouldn’t it last for all of eternity? I was always puzzled and upset by Jesus’ response. My idea of the perfect fairytale had me believing that marriage was the ultimate.
Although one of our missions at Across My Heart is to encourage girls to save sex for their marriages, we realize that there are young (and older) women in the church who did not wait until marriage to have sex. This blog is for you. If you’re scared, I beg you to keep reading.
With everything that has come out with the #MeToo movement, it’s good to see that our society hasn’t fallen so far as to undermine sexual victimization and sweep our skeletons under a rock. Men and women have spoken up against sexual violence, raising awareness of its widespread effect, and helping victims realize they are not alone. Necessary changes are taking place and justice is being served. But as a member of this society, it still scares me to see the obsession we have with sex.
I remember the day when I received my purity ring. As a thirteen-year-old girl, I was mesmerized by the glittering of the garnet stone in the sunlight. My parents explained to me what it meant to be pure, and how the ring was a symbol of a commitment.
I don’t think I fully got it. Even though my parents did their best to help me understand the holistic design for purity, my young mind oversimplified the concept of purity and made it solely about the physical aspect. As a brand new teenager who hardly even spoke to boys, I thought that the whole “purity deal” was easy. Of course I would be abstinent! I had been taught that sex before marriage went against God’s Word. I didn’t think that I would need a reminder of my commitment to purity.
Love makes it okay to have sex. I’ve heard that line more times than I can count. But, no matter how good it sounds, I can’t find it anywhere in the Bible.
In fact 2 Timothy 2:22 urges us to flee from youthful passions so we can pursue love instead.
"So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).”