A Purity Ball

The whole Purity Ball concept frightens me:

purityball.JPG

It just seems wrong for fathers to have this type of command over their daughters…

If girls choose to be abstinent? Fine.

If they choose to have a sacred-ish ritual over it? Umm… kinda creepy.

But to have their fathers swear to protect them from the “evils” of a hook-up culture?

*shudder*

But after dessert, the 63 men stood and read aloud a covenant “before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity.”

The gesture signaled that the fathers would guard their daughters from what evangelicals consider a profoundly corrosive “hook-up culture.” The evening, which alternated between homemade Christian rituals and giddy dancing, was a joyous public affirmation of the girls’ sexual abstinence until they wed.

Not weirded out yet? Wait for it…

“It’s also good for me,” said Terry Lee, 54, who attended the ball for a second year, this time with his youngest daughter, Rachel, 16. “It inspires me to be spiritual and moral in turn. If I’m holding them to such high standards, you can be sure I won’t be cheating on their mother.”

Because, without the Purity Ball, he’d be whoring it up with his daughter’s college tuition…?

And don’t forget this gem:

Every half-hour, Mr. [Randy] Wilson stopped the dancing so that fathers could bless their daughters before everyone.

At this particular ball, the girls signed no pledges. Just the fathers.

“Fathers, our daughters are waiting for us,” Mr. Wilson, 49, told the men. “They are desperately waiting for us in a culture that lures them into the murky waters of exploitation. They need to be rescued by you, their dad.”

There’s a section in Al Franken‘s book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right called “Savin’ It!” In it, he asks pro-abstinence-education figures (like John Ashcroft) to share their own abstinence stories. Essentially, the joke is that these people who believe all sex before marriage is wrong and evil and destructive did not wait until marriage themselves.

Were they damaged by pre-marital sex? Hardly.

I wonder how many of these fathers waited till marriage…

If they did, wouldn’t that be a much more powerful statement to make than the pledges?

“The culture says you’re free to sleep with as many people as you want to,” said Khrystian Wilson, 20, one of the Wilsons’ seven children, including five girls. “What does that get you but complete chaos?”

Ironically, as the article notes, “most teenagers who say they will remain abstinent, like those at the ball, end up having sex before marriage, and they are far less likely to use condoms than their peers.”

Feel free to share your stories of abstinence.

Or stories of how pre-marital sex absolutely wrecked your life :)

(If it’s not clear, I’m not against abstinence. If you choose it, more power to you. I just don’t think sex — with proper protection — is the evil they’re making it out to be.)

(Thanks to Maria for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism, Jesus[/tags]

  • Darryl

    This is creepy. And where are the moms in all this? Shouldn’t they be the ones working with the daughters on this, since they are the experts on what female sex is about? And where are the sons? Shouldn’t the dads be working with the sons?
    I was harmed by not having a better view of sex; the view I got was from the moralistic Baptist church.

  • http://madmansparadise.blogspot.com Asylum Seeker

    Abstinence stories? Does sexual ineptitude count as abstinence?

    Anyway, you’ve got to love fathers taking it upon themselves to defend their daughter’s virginity. It is a level of concern for his little girl’s sex life that seems to be oh so prevalent in media depictions of controlling fathers, but I never thought it was actually this bad. The hilarious thing is that I doubt that these fathers realize the implications of wanting so badly to preserve their daughter’s purity. Is it due to guilt over his own sexual escapades, and his first-hand knowledge of how willing men are to exploit women (having done it himself)? Is it due to a misogynistic distrust of his daughter’s ability to control herself, or simply misguided chivalry compelling him to protect his precious little girl from a cruel world? Or, of course, there is always the ever looming, disturbing, underlying, unconcious, unspeakable, and ideally unrealized thought that the daughter is kept pure out of a sense of possessiveness…with the father feeling entitled to…well…I dare not delve further…

    On a related note, the Purity Ball itself seems to be one among a number of long-standing methods of attempting to appear more moral than you actually are; just a formal way of being self-righteous and declaring oneself superior to everyone else (with a little contractual pressure from a concerned father as the cherry on top…no pun).

    “You’re not gonna have sex before marriage? You’re not gonna commit adultery? Modern-day saints, these people be! Throw them a parade! Oh, you actually just broke those promises in the last seven seconds since you stopped talking? Well…no-one needs to know about that…”

    Sigh. Our country would be much more “moral” if it weren’t for people who were so assured that they, themselves, are bastions of morality…

  • Mriana

    Somehow that seems like a furtility ritual more than anything. Still seems a bit sick to me, whatever it is.

  • http://www.evolvedrational.com Evolved Rationalist

    Sex is fun. Those prudes need to get over themselves.

    Yawn.

  • Polly

    Feel free to share your stories of abstinence.

    My wife and I were both virgins when we married.

    I don’t regret the decision to wait ’til marriage and I’d (most likely) do it again even if I were atheist from the beginning.

    I think this psychotic obsession with sex and controlling it (especially women) is the cause of so much hardship: socially, here in the good ol’ US, and lethally in Islamic societies where men actually kill girls for the most minor of “indiscretions.”

    All the same, if I were ever to have kids, I’d encourage them to abstain if they can (at least through college) and use protection if they can’t. It’s not impossible, I know because I did it and I pretty much raised myself.

  • Kate

    I’m always mystified by the false dichotomy that’s set up – abstinence or sex with a million partners. Where’s the in between? Where are the couples who are in a long-term, committed, monogamous relationship?

  • http://www.skepchick.org/blog Jill

    See, I think this is really unfortunate. Parents should be giving their kids all the information about sex, abstinence included. I know my parents were upfront about everything to do with sex and told me if I was going to do it, to be smart about it, and to be ready. So when the time came, I was well informed and didn’t make stupid choices.

    And is it just me, but the father’s signing the pledges is just uber creepy. Shouldn’t the girls be making this choice? Shouldn’t that be up to them? What benefit is there to them if that is taken away from them? And if they do have sex, where will they get the right information from?

    My head hurts!

  • Jen

    Feel free to share your stories of abstinence.

    When I was young and Christian, I promised God that I would stay abstinent. I even went through periods of my life where I decided to swear off dating because Josh Someone said he kissed dating goodbye, and that seemed to make sense. It worked through high school.

    After high school, I met a man who was sexually experienced. I was not, of course, and I explained that I wanted to remain virginal. He pushed and prodded and whined, and eventually, it happened. And it was awful, because I was not in control of the situation, and because added to what would have been a not-fantastic experience was major guilt.

    Eventually I shed the boyfriend and my belief in God, and I have since resolved to only have good sex and to always be in control of what happens. I have kept to this, and I have plenty of fun in bed, and yet sometimes, when I least expect it, I still feel guilt. It upsets me a lot because intellectually it is stupid- I know why virginity is prized, and that it is all about controlling women- and yet, all those Bible verses written by men with 700 wives still get to me occasionally. Stupid.

    I think about that sometimes when Mike Clawson talks about how mean Richard Dawkins is for saying religion is child abuse.

  • http://www.primordial-blog.blogspot.com/ Brian Larnder

    I was a fundie teenager and actually once turned down sex when it was straight out offered to me at seventeen. I remained a virgin until I was engaged at twenty and spent the next several months desperately trying not to have sex (which only made it hotter). I repented every time, but we kept doing it at every opportunity. Seems funny now after our eighteenth wedding anniversary, but the guilt was no joke back then.

    Now we have two teenage daughters and a teenage son and I’m raising them to make good decisions for themselves.

  • Julie

    Stories of how premarital sex ruined your life?

    Hm…I probably did it too soon. I think I survived, though. I lived in the Bible Belt South and felt super guilty, which is weird, since my folks are pro-sex hippies. Surroundings are powerful, I guess.

    I don’t think waiting until marriage makes any sense. (And to reiterate, I don’t think marriage makes any sense–see my comment below!) But it probably would have been better to just wait longer, and I bet there are a lot of us who could say that. It’s tough to say, though, because it’s almost impossible to separate our feelings about this stuff from our background, guilt, cultural upbringing, etc.. These people in the article keep talking about the “culture” that urges them to be sexual. But it’s more schizophrenic than that. We get messages about being sexual, but we also get messages about waiting and true love. We get a lot of b.s. messages, in short!

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ hoverFrog

    I thought a Purity Ball was a roll on deodorant. Silly me.

    The role of a father in his daughter’s sex life should be minimal if not non-existent. I can give contraceptive advice and honest opinion about boyfriends (or girlfriends) but this level of interference is just odd. I mean, really odd. A father’s role is supportive, not domineering.

  • Jane

    Ok, creepy is an understatement!

    I hate how sex is so immoralized in this country. It just makes it all the more taboo. It leads to secrecy, when there should be none. This is why other countries aren’t so up in arms when they see a woman’s breast on TV. Because it’s just that – a breast.

    Ugh. This is the kind of shit that is embarassing about this nation.

  • Charles

    The bottom line is no father should have this much interest in his daughter’s vagina.

  • cipher

    there is always the ever looming, disturbing, underlying, unconcious, unspeakable, and ideally unrealized thought that the daughter is kept pure out of a sense of possessiveness…with the father feeling entitled to…well…I dare not delve further…

    Somehow that seems like a furtility ritual more than anything.

    The bottom line is no father should have this much interest in his daughter’s vagina.

    You have all hit this right on the “head” – so to speak.

    This is just tribalism, possessiveness, the concept of “taboo” gone amok. Never fails to amaze me that evangelicals will get up to the most primitive shenanigans, but it’s all OK because they’re doing it in the name of Jesus. I guess he really does cover a multitude of sins!

    Every half-hour, Mr. [Randy] Wilson stopped the dancing so that fathers could bless their daughters before everyone.

    They LOVE the drama – it’s a large part of the package for them. When you see an evangelical preacher strutting about on stage, whining, proclaiming, being melodramatic, remember – this is their equivalent to performance art.

    And Jen, I agree – most of it is child abuse.

    The whole thing is just deeply unsavory.

  • McGregor

    I don’t know if you got my first message.

  • http://feveredintellect.blogspot.com Viggo the Carpathian

    OK, I am kinda creeped out by this one. It brings up a few too many childhood nightmares. I got the impression from my parents, despite having 8 children, that sex did not exist and if you tried to assert that it did, you were going to burn.

    I am exaggerating obviously but I have one sister who never married, one who probably never will, one who serially destroys relationships and one who unwittingly married a repressed and guilt ridden homosexual who killed himself in shame. All of these things are the result of religious thinking.

    As for myself, I have had a lot of trauma in my life because of sex, but sex was the symptom not the cause. I found myself as an adult without the normal adult social conditioning, religious isolation, and I didn’t know how to handle sex on an emotional level. I was not too young as much as I was inexperienced as a human being and that is the problem with this kind of religious meddling, it builds up false and unrealistic concepts and expectations so that when humans behave like humans there is shock and horror and emotional trauma.

    I have a daughter now, and though she is still very young, I intend to raise her to think for herself and make good decision based on knowledge and a keen understanding of human nature.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com arkonbey

    I’m a firm believer that sexual compatibility is as important to a marriage as emotional and spiritual compatibility.

    I’m not even talking about major kinks, here but even down to kissing.

    I also think that one thing that should be taught, especially to girls is the difference between f***ing and making love. I have no idea, of course, of how to teach this, but it might prevent situations like that experienced by Jen (above). Any man who who pushes, prods and whines at a girl to get her to ‘put out’ is looking for a f*** and should be turned away immediately. Making love is about, to paraphrase Heinlein, each partner caring enough to make the other’s pleasure a priority.

  • Elizabeth

    My husband waited until marriage to his first wife. (I’m his second.) He’s the only one of his VERY religious family who waited, and while they all say that their children should wait, he moans about all the hot women he passed up. He COMPLETELY regrets it, which I find hilarious. I’m waiting for the day to come when he asks me to roll play “The Girl Who Got Away” from high school.

  • chancelikely

    I was sixteen and already an atheist (although still closeted) when I inadvertently passed up my first shot at Doing It. I didn’t understand what my girlfriend was asking, since she really wanted to have sex, but couldn’t articulate it because it was wrong in her parents’ eyes, and therefore sort of in hers. Looking back on it, it’s astonishingly clear what she was hinting at, but I wasn’t blessed by the clue fairy until relatively late in life. I don’t know what I would have done if I had actually correctly parsed her weird statements. Is it abstention if you don’t know that you’re passing it up?

    I finally actually had sex at nineteen, with another girl who wanted it and whose hints were clearer this time. It wasn’t a loving relationship, it was basically a one-night stand that lasted a couple weeks. That’s the part I regret – that my first time was with someone I already knew I didn’t love.

    Mriana: is ‘furtility’ like ‘fertility’ and ‘futility’ at the same time?

  • Brian E

    I used to work with a woman who was absolutely obsessed with staying a virgin until marriage (for religious reasons obviously). However, she allowed her boyfriend to have anal sex with her because she somehow felt that was OK and kept her pure (in god’s eyes). Yeah…she wasn’t the sharpest tack in the box.

  • http://www.bernerbits.com Derek

    Does that picture remind anyone else of that one scene from Eyes Wide Shut?

    There’s just so much that’s wrong with this… even back in Christian High School we just wore rings and signed pledge posters…

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    I used to work with a woman who was absolutely obsessed with staying a virgin until marriage (for religious reasons obviously). However, she allowed her boyfriend to have anal sex with her because she somehow felt that was OK and kept her pure (in god’s eyes). Yeah…she wasn’t the sharpest tack in the box.

    Brian, I’m not sure what disturbs me more, the fact that she thinks anal sex keeps her pure (I have heard this before) or the fact that a coworker shared this level of detail about her lack of sex life with you. How does that conversation start around the lunch table? :)

  • http://www.bernerbits.com Derek

    How does that conversation start around the lunch table? :)

    I imagine someone mentioned something about “brown bagging it” and she misunderstood the context.

  • Spurs Fan

    What about the sons? Is there some sort of “purity football game” (or something more macho!) where moms bring their sons to pledge to keep them pure from sexual exploitation and until the marriage bed?

    What is it about these things focusing on females only? If you believe sexuality is the great no-no, why not include the males who are really good at getting into it?

    Spurs win! Go Spurs! (sorry Laker fans)

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com arkonbey

    Spurs Fan:

    That is a very interesting observation. It may fall under the ‘women must submit’ model of behavior. What the guys do is okay; all is forgiven (“sowing wild oats”). What the girls do is unforgivable (“slut”).

  • http://feveredintellect.blogspot.com Viggo the Carpathian

    “What is it about these things focusing on females only? If you believe sexuality is the great no-no, why not include the males who are really good at getting into it? ”

    [cue sarcasm]
    It’s payback for making us be civilized. Don’t you know that all of civilization is to meet the female need for stability and security to raise young. Its such a biological burden to bare and raise the young that the males of the species have to be turned away from their natural tendency to fight and kill. Males seek fertile females to continue there genes and females seek strong males for their genes but strong males are not always reliable so they impose society and culture to make us be more desirable as child raising companions. This leads to all male angst and thus to the controlling of female sexuality.
    [End Sarcasm}
    OK, I have to go wash my hands after typing that…

  • http://smartbykrae.wordpress.com K.

    In my high school ab-only health class, they actually told us that HIV can penetrate condoms. My group of friends and I were smart enough to know it was BS, but I can’t help but worry about the kids who didn’t know any better.

    And, as I tell my friends, there is no way I would marry someone without knowing they could get me off.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    It’s very ritualised isn’t it? I find a lot of behaviour in religious observance takes the form of ritual, like some sort of group OCD.

  • Karen

    There is a complete double-standard between boys and girls in this whole “purity” weirdness. Having grown men become guardians of their daughters’ virginity? Why not just reintroduce chastity belts and be done with it? Can you imagine how emasculating it would be to have mothers keeping tabs on their boys’ sexuality? That will never happen as long as men are in charge of conservative religion.

    Males are supposed to keep their raging, unbiblical libidos (which aren’t their fault due to original sin and the Satanic culture of the “end times”) in check by sheer will power and continual prayer. Alternatively, girls are not even supposed to have sexual desire. For girls, it’s all about keeping the boys at bay. It’s a mindset that is way out of touch with reality – like most of religious thought.

  • JT

    I imagine someone mentioned something about “brown bagging it” and she misunderstood the context.

    Dude I almost spat my drink all over the keyboard. Thanks – that has made my day!

  • Darryl

    Is it true that it is easier for girls to say no to sex than boys? Is that why they don’t have these ridiculous rituals for boys, because they know it’s a lost cause? Come on girls, tell us the truth, do you think about sex as often as men do?

  • Polly

    It’s all about guilt and, hence, CONTROL. Outlaw something that is completely natural and practically a necessity. Then, when the inevitable failure to live up to the standard is realized, kowtow the repentant sinner into the strengthening bonds of the “fellowship.”
    Wash, rinse, repeat.

    What you get is a support group for those trying to recover from being human. Which is, in essence, what xianity teaches.

  • Charlie
  • http://talesofordinarygirl.blogspot.com Ordinary Girl

    If you really want creepy watch the movie Pamela’s Prayer.

    And premarital sex didn’t damage me. I have a happier marriage than my parents because a) I didn’t marry my husband to leave my parents home like my mom did b) my husband didn’t lie to me about his previous girlfriends out of some unrealistic expectation and c) our marriage is based on a compatible relationship not some sky-daddy.

  • http://thatatheistguysblog.blogspot.com NYCatheist

    No, you’re all doing it wrong. You’re supposed to be abstinent after marriage!

  • http://www.bernerbits.com Derek

    Dude I almost spat my drink all over the keyboard. Thanks – that has made my day!

    ;-) My original joke was less clever and more graphic. I’m glad I rewrote it.

  • Milena

    Is it true that it is easier for girls to say no to sex than boys? Is that why they don’t have these ridiculous rituals for boys, because they know it’s a lost cause? Come on girls, tell us the truth, do you think about sex as often as men do?

    Haha, yeah, the whole vision of women as pure, virginal, and uninterested in sex is stupid. Girls want it as bad as boys, it’s just a question of social conditioning. That is to say, boys are told by popular culture that they need to seek out sex obsessively, so some follow the stereotype and confirm it, while the ones that don’t are taken as exceptions. At the same time, girls are told that they need to seek out love, rather than sex, so the ones who do confirm the stereotype are thought of as representative of our entire gender. In reality, I doubt there’s a significant difference, as long as the societal stereotypes haven’t been internalised by the people you’re comparing.

    As for purity balls, I always found the idea incredibly creepy, especially since it seems to me that a girl who chose not to follow through with a purity pledge would be viewed by her community as a deviant, which really doesn’t leave one with much of a choice in the matter. Plus, the whole idea that I should have to promise Daddy not to sleep around, while my (hypothetical) brother would never be made to publically announce his intended sexual future, much less promise anything to either of his parents, really ticks me off.

  • Milena

    @Charlie

    True, but notice that they are asking the boys to find a wife who is “pure”, not to remain so themselves.

  • Jodie

    I was a born again christian in high school, with a promise ring and TLW pledge all of my own. Shocker — this view point didn’t even make it to college, let alone through it. But, of all the trouble I could’ve gotten into between 13 and 18, I’m glad none of it involved getting knocked up. Saving it for….er, um, that magic time when I could get pills and condoms without my parents noticing was worth the wait :)

  • laterose

    Yeah, the integrity balls really don’t make it any less creepy or sexist. Since basically the boys aren’t supposed to have sex because they’d be ruining someone else’s wife’s purity. It’s still about keeping proper women “pure”.

    There was another story about purity balls I ran across a while ago that was even creepier. Basically the parents wanted the daughters to spend more time with their father, so the daughters went on dates with their father. Obviously there wasn’t any actual incest involved, but it still seemed like a really bad way to teach the girls that they have a worth other then a sexual one. Really, if there is any man who should be willing to spend time with you without defining the experience in romantic terms it should be your father. In case anyone thinks I’m making this up, watch the youtube video over at http://feministing.com/archives/007710.html

  • http://www.theasideas2.blogspot.com thea

    I’ve always believed that the best gift parents could give their kids is making their own marriage fun and fulfilling. My parents were not religious (nominal Catholics who were liberal democrats) but they had a great marriage and my mom said that respect was the secret.

    So, I waited until marriage to enjoy sex, because I learned from my parents how great marriage can be. When they were mad at each other, they were funny. Mom was Dad’s great love of his life. He met her after she had a secret baby alone in a big city, far from her hometown in the country that would have been scandalized by her affair with a married man. She was having a hard time, since her baby was adopted and she was trying to move forward in her life. When she told him about the baby, he reacted with compassion and love, first of all offering to be the baby’s father if it wasn’t too late to change her mind about the adoption. He was a college student and they both were dirt poor, living at a YMCA. But getting married and being a parent didn’t cause him to balk.

    Mom decided that the child was better where she was. Dad felt otherwise. They got married and later had me and three other siblings. When I was in college, I found out I had an older sister who was adopted and searched for her birth parents. It was a joyful reunion.

    But it highlighted even more to me what real love is like–my dad really adored my mom from the heart. I knew that they had a special relationship before the truth about Mom being a birth mom, and I was even more convinced after they told me.

    When we were alone, Dad confided to me that they should have gotten the baby back, and he greived the loss of her as much as Mom did. He also told me that if wasn’t for Mom having to leave her hometown to have a baby secretly in a big city, he would have never met her and if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be here. Dad is from Hawaiian culture where children are considered blessings, not inconveniences or bastards if they are born out of wedlock. Dad is also spiritual, who believes that everyone has a destiny. He also is a very moral person without being hung up on religiousity or piousness.

    Mom told me that it was best to wait until marriage, but if I chose not to I should get ready. I wanted the best. I believed I was worth the best. I could not imagine giving myself to someone who would love me less than my father loved my mother. He took care of her when she was sick and was there when she died in their bed at home. They were both 64 at the time. He is now 72 and married to one of Mom’s friends.

    And I married an honorable man who loves and respects me, he is worth the wait. Before he became a Christian in the Navy, he spent many ports of call drunk at bars and visiting prostitutes and even caught a veneral disease which was treated promptly. After he became a Christian, he chose to spend his time off the ships touring points of interest in the countries they docked at as well as doing work helping orphanages and visiting the local churches and making friends with local people. He stayed abstinent since he was 21 until we married when he was 33 (I was 27). I knew him to be a man of incredible integrity and honor, many of the qualities that I thought my dad possessed.

    Really, if these fathers really cared about their children–sons and daughters–they would do best to show their mothers respect and sacrificial love. Modeling self restraint and self respect in this day and age would go a long way.

    I’ve also read a book “Unhooked” a long while ago, forgot the name of the woman who wrote it who alluded that parents would probably save a lot of time and money instilling moral values in their children if they would just take them to church once a week. She didn’t believe that it made daughters virginal until their wedding night, but it showed a difference in how much longer those young women waited (first time in college) than their secular or non church peers (first time in high school) and how much more deeper their relationships with men were than their peers who couldn’t make the transition from a hook up lifestyle to a real relationship.

    And yeah, I’m a Christian. The evangelical type. And my parents are a big part of who I am today, even though they don’t share all of my beliefs. I’m really thankful for them, they are amazing.

    So, yeah, the purity balls are pretty much missing point, if you ask me.

  • Alex

    Abstinence? Not a chance.

    Can I give up golf, instead?

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  • absent sway

    Looks like I’m late to the ball *cracks up* but I couldn’t resist posting on this one. My experience with virginity included:

    -signing a pledge at the age of nine that I would not date, only court (talk about narrowing the playing field)
    -minimizing my exposure to sexual temptation by my strong conviction that waiting for marriage was best and refusing to be involved with anyone who felt otherwise
    -awkward, minimum interaction with guys (so much easier to not have sex when there’s no convenient partner)
    -massive guilt about pleasuring myself (youth groups, in my experience, talk about this like it’s only related to guys, making girls wonder what’s wrong with them–I know of at least one girl who didn’t consider herself a virgin because she masturbated)
    -disgust with believers who put more emphasis on virginity for women than they did for men
    -at times, plenty of loneliness
    -never being dependent on the approval of a boyfriend and having plenty of time to develop my own interests and to consider what I wanted in a relationship
    -eventually falling madly in love with a wonderful man (who was also a virgin), and so much frustration in trying to keep our hands off each other, resulting in the preservation of a mere technical virginity till I married him
    -physically painful intercourse once I officially lost it–things have improved steadily and we are happily married but it doesn’t work itself out naturally as easily as I expected

  • http://iloveteh.biz/ James W.

    Hey, something I’ve written about twice in a year (nearly three times)! Having grown up in the South, I was surrounded by these bizarre rituals and from time to time hear of them, again, from my brother-in-law who’s a Presbyterian preacher. Frankly, these things are bizarre. The whole abstinence thing is weird to me anyway. I tried it back when I was 13 or 14 but really, it lasted what amounts to the blink of an eye in my lifetime. I found that waiting for something I’d end up not getting once I got married was a waste of time. Maybe that’s some strange correlation as to why I’m against marriage as well.

    How my nephew’s remained abstinent with his girlfriend of 4+ years I’ll never know. I commend him for it but I just don’t get it. I don’t know if he ever went to an integrity ball but I somehow doubt it. Now that he’s recently graduated from high school, I should start asking his sister if she’s ever gone to a purity ball. They’re not the ultra-fundie crowd and don’t keep their heads buried in the sand — the church they started is the only one I could really ever attend, non-theist or not — but I could definitely see my niece ending up at one of these things.

  • Joann

    Okay, so I’m a Christian who believes in waiting until you are married before you have sex. I mean, just think of all the benefits you can enjoy if you wait, not to mention you won’t end up aborting a child or raising one out of wedlock (which could lead to child abuse and neglect). And since some couples don’t use protection while having sex, waiting can help you avoid spreading HIV, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases to others, too. Plus, you can avoid the heartache of a relationship that goes sour and breaks up before a marriage even occurs. But a Purity Ball for fathers and their daughters? Give me a break! Why aren’t there any Purity Balls for mothers and their sons?


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