Christian Mother to Daughter: If You Remain Abstinent Until You’re 20, I’ll Give You $1,000

The good: Mother Katie Hughes talked to her daughters about sex when she felt they were ready to handle the information (at age eight). She didn’t avoid the conversations. She took them very seriously.

The bad: She had her daughters sign a contact with a reward for “good” behavior:

… in a nutshell, it’s an agreement between us as parents and our children, signifying if you refrain from the use of drugs, alcohol, premarital sex and or promiscuity and live a clean, moral life up to the age of 20, we’d give that child $1,000.00 as an ultimate reward for positive behavior.

Okay. Let’s talk about the two issues at hand here.

1) The pushing of “purity”

I don’t begrudge Katie for instilling her values in her daughter — they’re not my values, but they’re also not my kids. Keep in mind that Katie is a Christian, so it’s not surprising that the talks were sex-negative — she told her daughters to remain abstinent until marriage. (There was no mention of whether things leading up to intercourse were allowed or not.)

Needless to say, I see a huge difference between drugs/alcohol — which can do serious damage at any age depending on the kind of drugs and how much of them you take — and sex. There’s nothing “wrong” or “bad” about having sex — or at least doing any of the things that lead up to it — provided that you do it on your own terms, you take safety precautions, and you’re prepared for the consequences (physical/emotional) that may come with it. That happens at different ages for different people and there’s nothing magical about the age of 20. There’s also nothing wrong with anyone who chooses to be abstinent.

I prefer the blunt, honest way Libby Anne approached the subject with her (even younger) daughter:

I’ve taught Sally essentially all of her body parts. We usually do it during bath time. She knows her hands, her belly, her back, even her nostrils. And of course, she knows her private parts too. I don’t see any reason to teach her about all of her other body parts but skip those parts as though they’re some sort of secret, something we don’t talk about, something to be ashamed of.

Just this past weekend I had to have a conversation with Sally about masturbation. And she’s in preschool. (I basically just told her that yes, it feels good to touch yourself down there, and sometimes I do it too, but that it’s something we do in private, so if she wants to touch herself she should do it in her bedroom.)

That just sounds healthier to me.

What Katie’s doing is pushing a definition of “purity” that’s bound to fail as her daughters grow up, becomes more aware of their own bodies, have feelings for other people, and try to repress any urges they have because they think they’re doing something wrong by acting on them.

2) The money

That’s really where my eyes popped. $1,000 for following mom’s rules? Shouldn’t the reasons Katie gives her daughters for following her rules be enough? It’s as if Katie is saying there’s no real reason anyone should listen to what she says, so here’s a stronger incentive: Cash.

She’s undermining her own beliefs by doing that. It’s the same reason I don’t believe parents should give their kids money for getting good grades — they should work hard in school because that’s its own reward. If they’re doing it for the money, they’re doing it for the wrong reasons and it’s not helping.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Jasper

    Whenever I hear Christians talking about this “purity”, it makes me think of… I dunno, do I really want to Godwin this?

  • Tim

    This lawyer has spotted a loophole in the contract. There is an “and/or” in the list of what she is to aviod. That means she only needs to avoid one of them. She could avoid alcohol but be promiscuious or avoid drugs and indulge in everything else.

    Christian parents – ALWAYS get legal advice before drafting any contract.

    • tsara

      Can’t. Lawyerin’s Satanic.

      • WallofSleep

        I can’t find this one on the interwebs, and I don’t recall who wrote it, so I’ll be paraphrasing from memory. Please forgive me if I butcher this…

        Satan was out for a walk one day when he witnessed a lawyer beating an asp hard upon a table. At this he had to laugh, because it brought to mind the story of Cain and his brother Abel.

        … also, apologies to any lawyers (or snakes) who might be reading this.

      • LutherW

        What kind of a God would let her create such a flawed contract?

        • tsara

          Christopher Marlowe’s. Also, hers.

        • The Other Weirdo

          What sort of divine being would countenance such irony?

    • ortcutt

      Yes, but there’s the “and live a clean, moral life up to the age of 20″ clause as well.

      • Hat Stealer

        Seems like that’s a rather vague set of terms- would it stand up in court?

        • Spuddie

          When in doubt, a vague provision is interpreted against the person who drafted the contract.

        • baal

          I’m pretty sure this is not a legally enforceable contract regardless of the clarity of the wording used. Contracts with minors don’t bind the minor unless ratified at majority or some such rule.

          • Midge

            Sure, but the minor doesn’t get the $1,000 if Mom isn’t satisfied the contract was satisfied, right? If the contract doesn’t obligate the daughter to anything, it doesn’t obligate Mom either.

            My take is that Mom has found a way to open the discussion and that is a good thing.

            • baal

              Oddly enough no. Anyone who makes a valid contract with a minor is still required to perform their part. It’s a big part of why TV ads say things like, “offer not valid to under 18 year olds” or “parents must order”.

    • Belaam

      ” drugs, alcohol, premarital sex and or promiscuity and live a clean, moral life ”

      Might have to make an oxford comma question here. Is it drugs, alcohol, premarital sex and/or promiscuity, and live a clean, moral life? or is it a weird run-on with multiple “and”s?

      • allein

        I read it as they can choose premarital sex as long as they’re not promiscuous about it.

      • Sunny Day

        Forget the crap about drugs and sex, It’s the clean moral life that worries me!

        Christian morals:
        Bigotry
        Misogamy
        Patriarchy.
        Homophobia
        Protection of Pedophile Priests
        Intolerance
        Tearing down the wall between Church and State.
        Persecution of other religions
        Unwilling to examine their own beliefs.

        • Taneli Huuskonen

          I think you meant “misogyny” (hate of women) rather than “misogamy” (hate of marriage).

          • DavidMHart

            Well, a lot of them hate same-sex marriage, so I think it deserves a place on the list :-)

          • busterggi

            Oh I don’t know – the divorce rate among believers is highere than among atheist.

    • b s

      Another loophole:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG-6AP8DIOU

      I now also have that Garfunkle and Oats song stuck in my head.

      • LesterBallard

        Damn, I didn’t think of that. Love those two.

      • Stev84

        “Fuck Me In The Ass Because I Love Jesus”:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ36S3d1CaU

      • jdm8

        I think there were studies that showed anal sex went up a lot when teens decided it was a loophole to the whole virginity thing. So yes, ideology can backfire.

  • Christopher Salihe Payne

    Paying someone *not* to have sex isn’t really all that different from paying someone *to* have sex. So, basically, she turned her daughter into an anti-prostitute.

    • Hat Stealer

      I want to see what happens when you join a prostitute and an anti-prostitute together.

      • Christopher Salihe Payne

        Well, regardless of which way it goes, one of em’s going to be getting paid for not doing their job.

      • Michael

        Reality TV.

      • RedGreenInBlue

        They annihilate in a huge burst of sexual energy?

  • http://www.odonnellweb.com/blog/ Chris O’Donnell

    When you figure the number of hours from age 8 to 20 that you have to actively avoid all that potential fun, the hourly pay out on this contract hardly seems worth it.

    • allein

      Well, you gotta figure at age 8 they’re not really going to be all that interested in most of it. So start counting at, say, 12 or so…

  • C Peterson

    Someone who grows up thinking all of that is worth a mere $1000 hasn’t been raised very well.

    And frankly, I see no moral difference in paying somebody to avoid sex than in paying them to have it. Worse, maybe, since social sex is normal human behavior. Remaining abstinent before marriage is one of the major causes of failed marriages, after all. Bad advice.

    And while I agree that doing these things for money is doing them for the wrong reason, so is doing them because your religion requires it.

    • Regina Carol Moore

      I agree. When I saw “Mother pays Daughter not to have sex” the first thing I thought was that it’s the same philosophy as prostitution. Paying someone to do something (or not do something) against their own free will.

      • DavidMHart

        To be fair, paying someone for sexual services is not any more ‘against their own free will’ than paying someone for plumbing services, or accountancy services. For sure, fewer people are keen on it as a career, but (assuming they’re doing it because it’s the best money they can make at the time, and that they can choose their clients, i.e. they’re not under anyone’s coercion), a prostitute is just as much a free economic contractor as anyone else.

        • Regina Carol Moore

          That’s true. But adding the money as a deciding factor definitely turns it into something else. Especially when it’s your own kid. I mean, I want my kids (who are both adults) to have positive, fun sexual experiences. And I’ve always believed that the less I know about their sex lives the better off everyone is. (Except for explaining sex to them and if they need to talk or want advice). My sister thinks parents should be all up in their kid’s sex lives. I disagree. I think kid’s deserve respect when it comes to their own sex lives.

        • jdm8

          Assuming there is a choice in the matter. Sexual slavery, esp. for profit, does exist in the US.

      • meekinheritance

        Good point. I can imagine this being said, “Mom? I met this guy, and he’ll see your $1000 and raise you $1000. It’s your call.”

        • Mairianna

          Love it!!!

    • Agrajag

      That was my first thought too. I should give up on 4 years of amazing sex for $1000 ? Screw that ! I don’t think it would’ve been a good deal even with an extra zero added, frankly. And that’s not even getting into the other restrictions.

      • Midge

        What I’ve learned from actually talking to young people is that teenage sex is terrible. The girls are “putting out” because they want to have a boyfriend and they are both putting themselves in danger of a pregnancy that will be one big mess to deal with. Good idea to discourage it.

        This is just a fact and I have been talking to other women all my life, plenty of women: I have never met a girl or woman who looked back on old relationships with any nostalgia or sweet sentiment. A relationship that broke up was a mistake, a waste of time. And I’ve known women who were troubled for many years over having been treated in a degrading way by a high school boyfriend.

        Thats life. Its human nature. Maybe this mother isn’t putting her head in the clouds. Maybe she is using this as an opportunity to open the discussion with her daughters so that they can come to her for support. In other words, this is not the parent whose attitude is “I don’t want to talk about those things.”

        • GCT

          A) The answer isn’t to further mystify sex and make it more verboten. The answer is to change the culture so that women have better self esteem and people engage in sex for the right reasons (not that people never engage in sex).

          B) The mother isn’t opening any conversation. She’s using purity pledge tactics, which are bullshit and don’t work.

        • Agrajag

          I’m sure that happens, and it’ll happen more often in puritanical cultures where things like contraceptives for teens are taboo and anything other than “until death” is considered a failure.

          Either you’ve not talked to such a cross-section of women as you believe, or else you live in USA and the purity-culture there is even more mindbogglingly sad than I had hiertho suspected.

          I suspect living in a culture where teenage sexuality is -accepted- makes a huge difference.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Now that is a claim I’ve never seen before.

    • jdm8

      Financial “bribes” to act properly tend to backfire.

  • ortcutt

    This is almost exactly Hamer v. Sidway, although $1000 is pretty cheap. I’m surprised that she puts such a low value on her daughter’s purity. When the girl is 18, some young man might come along and make her an offer of $1500. Any economically rational person must realize that that’s a better deal. In the Hamer case, William Story II was offered $5000 (which is $125,000 in today’s money). That’s the kind of money she should be talking about.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamer_v._Sidway

    • allein

      Yeah but she’s doing this when they’re 8 years old…hell, 100 bucks was a fortune when I was 8 (that’s what my parents’ started our first savings accounts with when we each turned 8 and we were pretty stoked about that). She’s just taking advantage of the fact that they are unlikely to grasp the real value of money at that age.

  • Ryan

    So this means that ALL this girl’s virginity is worth is $1001? Nice job MOM.

    • Michael

      Nope, closer to $750 when you factor in inflation.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        There’s a lot of very creepy people who would gladly pay that much to have sex with a virgin …

      • Ryan

        Ewww! Yeah, I didn’t think of it that way. Yeah, if you take into account her current age AND inflation then I guess you are correct. However, you should also factor in the cost of being arrested for statutory rape so that bumps the cost up a bit. However, I wasn’t going for creepy here (even though vintage mom started it). I was thinking that once she became “of a certain age (sixteen in my state)” that her boyfriend or girlfriend could simply “outbid” her mom and all it would cost would be $1001.

        • Michael

          My point was that when they outbid her $1001 would be worth less than it is now. So when she gets a notion of inflation she sees the value of her virginity declining day by day…

          • randomfactor

            1.4 cents per hour (counting non-asleep hours only) by my back-of-the-envelope calculation. She could make better money recycling bottles.

            • Michael

              You can totally still recycle bottles when you’re not having sex.

      • ortcutt

        She could assign the contract to someone else now for $750, invest in high-yield bonds and profit. S&P would need to assess the purity risk though. Goldman Sachs could get into the market for purity bonds and start to securitize these things.

        • Michael

          I only have half an economics degree, I didn’t understand that.

        • Spuddie

          I love the idea of securitizing purity. But I feel its a market which is fraught with fraud and lacks the ability to be readily audited. Then again, it couldn’t be any worse than what was done with mortgage backed securities a few years ago.

          But then there probably would be some form of purity insurance for the investors.

        • eric

          I don’t think it will work; every potential investor will want to short the market. To make it work, you have to find at least one person who thinks the bond will pay out. :)

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Ooohhh, a conundrum! Would Christians push for amendments to prevent secularizing purity pledges because Jesus, or take advantage of it because Capitalism?

          Actually, never mind. We know the answer.

  • S

    Meh, girls lie about the amount of dick they get anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anonomouse.fred Anonomouse Fred

    What good is your morality if you have to pay someone to follow it?

    • Spuddie

      What kind of morality is it if you only do something out of fear of punishment?

      Christian morality = sociopath on a leash.

      • Monika Jankun-Kelly

        They’d get offended, but “sociopath on a leash” is exactly how many of them see themselves. Human nature is “sinful” and flawed, and anything good like love and compassion comes from God. Our will is not just suspect, it’s probably evil, thus our will must always be subordinated to God’s will. It’s a bleak view of humanity.

        • Spuddie

          I know. I like to rake Christians over the coals about it when they start making stupid claims like atheists have no morals and all morals came from Christianity and whatnot.

    • Agrajag

      Precisely ! I don’t want my kids to do the right thing for fear that we parents will be angry otherwise. I want them to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Fear of punishment isn’t going to make anyone moral. If anything it’ll make them -pretend- to be moral while observed, i.e. they’ll keep the activity hidden.

      If there’s one thing I -don’t- want my teenagers to do, it is hide tricky parts of their lives from me. How can I guide them and help them navigate tricky waters, if they cannot confide in me ?

      In practice this contract works out to: I’ll pay you $1000 if you lie to me and successfully fool me. Not a good thing.

    • El Senor

      That’s what I was thinking. I read that blog when it had maybe a half dozen “I like this!” replies and didn’t really want to say right there how it sounded like a rather creepy bribe, but I find it creepy and it strikes me as just another bribe.

      I think I had alcohol once before I was twenty, and that was it. I’d have given up those few shots for $1000. How about a $900 consolation prize?

  • LesterBallard

    Uh, how will they confirm her virginity? Just take her word? Or . . .

    • Spuddie

      You are now going into fridge nightmare territory here.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Fridge Horror at its best… or worst.

    • Stev84

      Lots of Muslim countries do virginity testing. I’m sure something can be arranged.

      • LesterBallard

        Like they’d let a brown heathen anywhere near their daughter’s vagina. That belongs to Jesus, her father, and her husband. And if they’re from the deep south, her brother (s).

    • ortcutt

      If they don’t pay, her parents will need to prove breach of contract. They could request a physical examination under Rule 35 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.

      http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/rules/urcp/urcp035.html

      • ~SoACTing

        What about the fact that the girls isn’t of legal age to be able to consent to sign a contract in the first place??

        ~ SoACTing

        • ortcutt

          It’s voidable (by her), but not void. She has no reason to want to void the contract, so she should be able to collect when she’s 20.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Paying someone money to have sex is called soliciting. Would paying someone to not have sex be called unsoliciting?

    • Bdole

      I think it should be called “primmping.”

  • Alice

    From contract: “The parties desire to live together eternally with “No Empty Chair” at the table.”

    WTF, WTF!?!? She’s a child not a spouse, you creepy control freaks! Children are SUPPOSED to grow up and leave home. I have no words for how fucked up this entire situation is.

    • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

      I think this is a poetic way of saying “we plan to go to Heaven and we don’t want our baby sent to Hell because she had premarital sex.” Which is also creepy– does God throw kids in Hell for all eternity if they have sex once before marriage? And are the parents really so perfect that they’re certain THEY will be in Heaven?

      • ~SoACTing

        Kind of flies in the face of the whole “works don’t get you into heaven” gig!?! Nope, but apparently, works (at least certain types) can keep you out.

        Where it really falls apart for me, and perhaps someone can clarify, is how to explain the requirement of “Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ” as something that IS NOT a “works-based” belief system…??

        ~ SoACTing

        • Alice

          Because it takes mental effort instead of physical effort? I have no idea either. I think the reasoning is that God supposedly creates the faith in a person, so they are not actually doing anything. But then there’s the whole free-will versus pre-destination mess.

      • mdoc

        I never understood how it could be heaven if a loved one went to hell.

        • tsara

          My guess is drugs or lobotomies.

        • Baby_Raptor

          I asked about this once.

          I was told that God will “make you forget” about your loved ones being in hell so you can focus solely on him.

          Yeah, that’s not Fucked up at all.

    • ortcutt

      It’s a crazy Mormon thing. They want to live near Kolob for eternity with her.

  • anniewhoo

    But with $1,000, her daughters are going to be able to throw one hell of a 20th birthday party! Just think of all the sex and drugs they’ll be able to afford!

    Basically, she is teaching her daughters that people with money have the power to (attempt) to control them. Not the message I’d want my daughter walking away with…

    • LesterBallard

      Inflation. Probably not as much.

      • Michael

        Still have $750 equivalent to get them started.

  • Hat Stealer

    In my opinion, staying abstinent until you’re at least 18 is a good idea anyways. But you achieve that by teaching responsibility and good judgement- not through binding legal obligations coupled with momentary reward. Once you start to rely on that, you’re not parenting anymore- you’re dangling a carrot in front of a donkey. Responsibility should be taught for its own sake regardless, not just because you want your kids to remain “pure.”

    • b s

      “your dangling a carrot in front of a donkey”

      Isn’t that what mom is trying to avoid?

  • JET

    Once again, I am amazed at how naïve parents can be. Most teenagers would take this as a challenge to not get caught drinking, doing drugs, or having sex. Which, of course, are things that all teenager hide from their parents anyway. Show me a parent who says their teen never lies to them, and I’ll show you an idiot.
    Parents like this miss the more important discussions they should be having with their kids: There are diseases out there that can kill you and 18 years of child support payments are a bitch. Please use a condom. If you drink or someone with you is drinking, don’t get into a car. There’s a big difference between heroin and pot.
    Parents like this are exactly why we need sex education in our schools.

    • ~SoACTing

      Ramen!

      ~ SoACTing

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      And some PROPER drug education, plz!

      • baal

        heh – what you want people to know that pot is largely irrelevant to your health but meth will damage your body and make you look like hell? Or that low doses of opiods are great for joint pain but due to how our breathing nerves work, high does (with out adaptation over time) will kill you even if your 80 year old granny with failing kidneys can take it? Or the hallucinogens don’t do much to you physically but a small but decent percentage of folks who take them have psych trouble with the unusual sensory input (major freaking out).

        I think my high school health class more or less said that any amount of any drug lead you to dying in a piss soaked alley or turned you into the zombies from Half-life.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Yup. I went through the “DARE” program, and they lied about everything.

          • JET

            Or in my day… “Reefer Madness.”

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              I love that movie.

    • LutherW

      And how about a smart kid who starts a bidding war, offers sex or not to the highest bidder. Or offers mom $1000 not to enforce a curfew until she is 18.

    • Agrajag

      Actually, with accepting parents, teenagers don’t hide it. Why would they ? Having your boyfriend stay the night in your comfortable bed is lots nicer than doing it in the back of some car or something. Atleast I’m not aware of anyone among my circle of friends who made any attempt to hide the fact that they where having sex. My girlfriends parents put out an extra mattress for me in her room the first weekend I stayed over, next time I was there, they asked if the extra mattress was really needed, to which Marianne said “not really.”, thereafter no extra mattress appeared. No drama. No panic. Hard to imagine if you’ve grown up differently, I guess.

  • Puzzled

    Time after time, research has shown that not only do extrinsic rewards and punishments not increase motivation, they decrease intrinsic motivation. Most important in this case is probably the normalization effect – by punishing something, you simply assign a price to it, and remove the actual badness. For instance, when a group of roommates use a chore-wheel with no consequences, they will more reliably get compliance than if they use a monetary consequence for not doing your chore.

    So, good news – the parent has failed to teach the child that sex is bad.

    • ~SoACTing

      Seems like you’d be letting a little science (which is a tool of satan) get in the way. :x:sarcasm off:x:

      ~ SoACTing

  • baal

    A promise to not perform…strange contract (from a contracts perspective).

  • Joan

    My parents were kinda old fashioned in that respect (but great parents), and Mom was always pretty adamant that I should wait ’til marriage before having sex. Well, I’m 58 now and still unmarried, so I’m really glad I didn’t follow that advice! However, I did wait ’til I was 20, and, years later when discussing it with Mom, she admitted that she was happy with that. She felt that I was old enough to know what I was doing and to be responsible about it, and for it to really have been my decision and not something I was being pressured into. But it never would have occurred to my parents in a million years to ask me to sign a contract or to offer to pay (bribe) me for following their wishes. I wanted their approval and wanted to make them happy. That was enough.

  • BobaFuct

    Condoms: $8
    Cheap hotel room: $49
    Having perfectly healthy and safe premarital sex with no external indicators (pregnancy) and milking your parents out of a cool grand: priceless.

    • Jonas

      Point – Given she has safe sex, and is effective – no pregnancy, and no STDs – what’s the proof? **Show ME YOU INTACT HYMAN OR ELSE **..
      — suppose the Hyman breaks because she take up horse back riding, or some other activity. How do you prove the negative – did not have sex, while deciding abstinence works for her dispute, or along with her religiously learned values?

      Shades of the Old Testament come to mind — Literal interpretations – new wives who can’t prove their virginity, and getting murdered.

    • Agrajag

      I think this is a very dangerous path for a parent. Because you know for a fact that most people have sex before 20. And if you attach a monetary punishment to being discovered at it, you virtually guarantee that your teenager will a) not be able to talk to you about any potentially difficult aspects of it and b) increase the chance that your teenager won’t have contraceptives handy. (because that’d be sort of a giveaway, no ?)

  • Belaam

    Weird to see a Christian define “ultimate reward” as $1,000. I guess Heaven is worth less than $1,000?

    I do love that it seems the parents are okay with the daughter doing drugs after she’s 20.

  • Stev84

    The comments there, all congratulating her, are sickening *barf*

  • Bdole

    Combining money and sex is not the message I’d want to instill in a child.

  • Belaam

    I made the mistake of reading the source…. it gets far more disturbing than Hemant mentioned:

    “My oldest daughter had recently been baptized at age 8, and I could feel the ‘mother tugs’ that I needed to take action.”

    “At the end of the discussion, we talked specifically about the beauties of procreation and the importance of saving those AMAZING and procreative powers for when she was a wife and mother. (I talked here about the connection of Mother’s Day) I used the opportunity to do something that my parents did for the children in our family.”

    Wow, so the mom had a similar pledge and sat down the daughter at age 8 to make her sign the same. And made sure to do it on Mother’s Day to stress that sex is for procreation. Though I’m a little unclear on the paradox of saving ones “procreative powers” until one is a mother.

    • Alice

      I also thought it was amusing that her sex talk was compiled from five different books to edit out the “just plain gross” details that she won’t even talk about as an adult. She’s so incredibly sex-negative. Yeah, sex is messy. So what? That doesn’t make it disgusting. I agree that an eight-year-old doesn’t need to learn everything about sex the first time the mother talks to her, but this is 2013. Her friends will eventually tell her everything her parents won’t.

      Trying to shelter kids only makes them rabidly curious. My mom gave me a couple of books about sex when I was a pre-teen, but they were really about puberty and did not explain anything about sex whatsoever. I didn’t have friends to inform me, so I learned everything I knew about sex and anatomy from TV and pornography, which were obviously not great sources.

      • Whirlwitch

        If you want your child not to have sex, I would say you should include all the gross details you possibly can. I know when I was 8, I intended to adopt children just so I wouldn’t have to have sex to conceive them. Sex seemed gross, weird and unpleasant from the descriptions I’d been given; which were factually accurate, I might add. I just didn’t grok the whole “drive” thing. Admittedly puberty made me change my mind.

  • eric

    Even if I wanted these goals, I’d see it as a terrible strategy for achieving them. The kid turns 20 and claims they’ve met the agreement. Now what?
    1. You accuse them of immoral conduct and refuse to pay up. Whether the accusation is true or false, how does that have a happy ending? What are you going to do, show them youtube video of them drinking? Yeah, I can feel the love in that conversation already. That will absoutely not distance you from your kid. [/snark]

    2. Or maybe you pay up. What do they learn from that? If you want me to behave, you should pay me for it? That they can get away with stuff behind mom and dad’s back and still profit from it?
    3. Or maybe the kid wonders why a supposedly smart adult is holding them to a contract they signed when they were eight. Does this mean mom and dad expect other eight-year-olds to honor legal contracts? Does this mean mom and dad don’t understand that minors can’t be legally held to contracts?

    The contract might sound like a good idea when the kid is young, but when it comes to the completion date, there are basically very few outcomes that say “I love you.”

    • Agrajag

      The contract is a bad thing EVEN if you think a healthy sex-life is a bad thing for a teenager.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    ‘Cuz a little extra motivation is automatically bad?

    My family will stoop to bribery to get me to participate in the now-traditional after-party Boggle game. (I’m holding out for Scrabble, but nobody will play with me!)

    • allein

      I could be bribed to play Scrabble with you.

    • Nate Frein

      I <3 Scrabble!

    • Baby_Raptor

      I’d so play Scrabble with you, Kitty. You’re awesome and Scrabble is awesome.

  • cipher

    Let’s talk about the two issues at hand here.

    The issue at hand is the amount, frankly. A thousand dollars – for years of abstinence? That isn’t even enough to buy a MacBook.

    She may as well enjoy herself.

    • JSC_ltd

      Heh, efficient breach.

    • Drakk

      They’re 8 year olds. A thousand sounds like everything they’ll ever need.

    • Max Exter

      Aside from that, what about when she received a better offer?

  • M. Elaine

    Shouldn’t the reasons Katie gives her daughters for following her rules be enough? It’s as if Katie is saying there’s no real reason anyone should listen to what she says, so here’s a stronger incentive: Cash.

    I understand what you’re saying and agree with you, but having been raised by a very conservative Catholic mother I can say that for these people the end result makes up for the absence of sincerity. When asked if one should bother going to church if one’s heart is not in it anyway, my mother believes just being in church is better than not being in church at all.

    In Katie’s case, I’m willing to bet she believes that even if her daughter abstains ’til 20 for the wrong reasons, the end result (virginity) is still a good thing and vital to her salvation.

  • Tobias2772

    “Needless to say, I see a huge difference between drugs/alcohol — which can do serious damage at any age depending on the kind of drugs and how much of them you take — and sex. There’s nothing “wrong” or “bad” about having sex — or at least doing any of the things that lead up to it — provided that you do it on your own terms, you take safety precautions, and you’re prepared for the consequences (physical/emotional) that may come with it.”

    Why the delineation between drugs and sex ? If you have acquired the maturity and judgment to take the proper precautions with them, you are not likely to be seriously or permanently damaged by either. The problem is that teenagers, as a rule, have not developed the maturity or judgment to handle these things without significant repercussions.

    I am not saying that this lady’s idea is worth promoting, but I have to imagine that if I had a child, I would prefer them to wait for fuller maturity and brain development before they engaged in any activities that could cause significant negative consequences. And I would rather that they were intrinsically motivated to do good things in all walks of life, but if that were a realistic expectation across the board, the world would be a much nicer place than it is.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I have to wonder if she had a son how much his purity would be worth.

  • Free

    Maybe excessive, but holding a standard seems to be a new concept for this generation. Setting a higher expectation I guess is bad. Rather it is for morality sake, which also effects society, or for educational motivation, I am actually encouraged to see parents challenging their children while on their watch. This current generation’s marks at least in education and other social constructs are dropping. (Please let me know if you need some sources to consider.) Now I do not agree with a cash motivation at all. However teaching purity involves a different set of motivations and self control (Yes, it is ok to say no to yourself for a greater good). Sex is not bad and is not looked as bad for the Christian. In fact, quite the opposite. It is looked upon as a chief relational gift and most enjoyed in the safe, protected, committed institution of marriage. Unfortunately, folks can’t fathom faithfulness for life and actually experiencing the peace, health and well-being of sex experienced this way. So, while I do not recommend money as a motivation, I am for parents and children believing and striving for a better way. (Again, if sources needed for the benefits of faithful, committed relationships-let me know)

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      So teach children that. Don’t put a price tag on their virginity- that’s just super creepy.

    • jeffj900

      I’ve learned the benefits of a faithful committed relationship. My wife means everything to me. No quick indulgence in sexual gratification could ever begin to approach the value of our relationship, our trust, and the years we have spent building it. Who would be so crazy to throw that all away for a moment of pleasure?

      But being a wild promiscuous fun-loving hedonist from the ages of about 15 until 35 didn’t stop me from finding that. In fact, I think it helps to get all of that out of your system. Having learned by first hand experience that such pleasure is essentially empty, fleeting, and unreliable is perhaps the best way. It reinforces my faithfulness, because I’ve done all that before. It just doesn’t tempt me any more.

      If I had led a life of self-denial and chastity, and only ever had sex with one woman, I may not be so secure in my fidelity today. Human nature being what it is, enforcing chastity during the teen years is probably a good way to increase the incidence of adultery and divorce in later years.

    • Goatless

      Nobody is saying that people shouldn’t hold themselves to a standard.

      What we are saying is that a. you shouldn’t put a price on certain things, b. that holding an 18 year old to a contract they signed when they were 8 is stupid and c. teaching girls that their worth lies in the state of their vagina is WRONG.

      I don’t think there’s any harm in choosing to wait until marriage. I do think there is a lot of harm in the way most abstinence-based sex education programs teach girls (and it is ALWAYS girls. Boys seem to get a pass on this, mostly) to relate to their sexuality. I am not a chewed piece of gum, a spat in cup, a piece of duct tape or any other of those wonderful metaphors.

      I’m sure you can have a life-long, utterly faithful and wonderfully loving marriage if you wait until after you are married to have sex. I’m equally as sure that you can have the same if you have sex before you are married, if you never actually get married (either because you don’t want to or because the institute of marriage doesn’t cover your relationship currently – please see the number of older LGBT couples marrying after 30+ years of being together).

      Also, while I’m sure you have evidence of happy, fulfilled couples who didn’t have sex until after they were married there are also people who did not transition quite as well from ‘sex is a bad thing that I must not do or think about’ to ‘hey I can have sex now and it’s wonderful, loving and awesome’.

    • Baby_Raptor

      1) Yes, we get it. Young people=bad. Every generation thinks that; you’re nothing special.

      2) Citation needed. People not adhering to what you personally consider moral being destructive to society is a claim often made. It’s never been held up. It’s also never been proven that educated people having safe sex outside of a relationship that has a piece of official paper has any real affect on anyone.

      3) WTF is a “social construct”? Is that another way to bemoan gays and marriage equality and abortion?

      4) You clearly have not read the bible if you think that it says sex isn’t bad. Marriage is held up as a last resort for people who cannot keep it in their pants. Nowhere is it held up as the end goal, and this amazing, loving thing.

      5) Who says that people can’t understand monogamy? Do you have any proof for this? Or can you simply not grasp that people may understand monogamy and decide that it’s not for them? Or that sometimes, people set out to be monogamous, but shit happens?

      6) If only having sex with one person for the rest of your life after marriage is what floats your boat, then more power to you. But, and read this slowly, because I know you’re going to have issues understanding it, that is NOT true for everyone. It is NOT a universal rule. I don’t care what you think your bible says, or what your personal beliefs are. Your standard is not the only correct thing. And yes, people DO understand what you think is best, and then decide that it is not best for them. There’s nothing wrong with this.

      7) Your way is “better” for you. Not everyone.

      8) Christ on a pogostick, you really need to learn to speak for yourself and only for yourself. Your views are NOT a world-wide standard, and you make a total ass of yourself when you act like they are. You show how blind you are, how very little respect you have for other people, and how egocentric you are.

      9) Never offer sources only if people ask. When you make claims, cite your shit. Hinting that sources exist but you won’t just show them is a sure sign of knowing you’re talking crap.

      10) Your ideal for relationships only have benefits for some people. Again, your views are not the only correct way for everyone.

      • Free

        Citation needed. Actually when responding in an irritating, defensive manner, it is usually not “universally” that something hit a nerve. Be honest sir. (with yourself)

        • Baby_Raptor

          I can’t make heads or tails of your response.

          Citation needed for what?

          Where was I being defensive?

          What about my response irritated you? Do you not like being called out when you’re wrong?

          I have no idea what your “universally” comment means.

          I’m a woman. You might want to look up gender-neutral pronouns–Not every person on the internet is a male, and assuming we all are is offensive and more than a bit sexist.

          And what do I need to be honest with myself about?

          • GCT

            Methinks Free is claiming that writing stupid stuff that makes you react means that he’s somehow right…simply because you reacted to it.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Put. Down. The. Fucking. Bong.

      Seriously, dude, whatever you’re smoking, it ain’t good…

      • Free

        I am sorry that you have yet to experience the reality of committed love and the security it brings. It may be that you can not tell yourself no to things. No to your impulses for the sake of another. Most of us are slaves to our desires and can not possibly fathom to consider that we need not be slaves. Again, I totally disagree with the money aspect. I do however applaud the higher goal.

        • Baby_Raptor

          You have no idea what Kitty has and hasn’t experienced. You have no idea what she is and isn’t capable of. The fact that she doesn’t have the same relationship preferences as you doesn’t mean that she’s a horrible person with no self-control. It means that she’s a different person, with different needs, wants and desires.

          Humanity is not all one hivemind. What works for you won’t work for every single other person in existence. To continue insisting that it does, and insult people who don’t live up to your views, just makes you a self-righteous jerk. It’s not reality. The sooner you come to grips with that, the better.

          • Free

            You are right and I am wrong to make a judgement about Kitty or anyone in this manner. Very sorry and do not mean to offend. (Sorry Kitty) I obviously can be self righteous at times. Thanks for the correction. My point is that I think it good to hold a higher standard out for our children for their overall well being. It seems too many people are hurt by what I perceive as “loveless sex” as well as drugs etc.. Hoping that if we held up a higher standard that was believed as attainable and not settle in many ways that we might, maybe there would be less folks carrying around some unneeded baggage. Totally disagree with the money as a motivation. Also disagree with simply doing these to just be good. It can be true that a parent genuinely loves their children and wants to be intentional about keeping them safe until they can decide for themselves. Thanks again.

        • baal

          “Most of us are slaves to our desires and can not possibly fathom to consider that we need not be slaves”
          This is a psychologically damaging way to think. Eating is not slavery. Sleeping is not slavery. Wanting to spend time with other people is not slavery. Wanting to help a fledgling who feel out of its nest is not slavery. Enjoying sexual behaviour is not slavery. These are normal human desires.

          Try on this idea, it’s ok to do what you desire so long as you’re not hurting other people.

        • tsara

          What about people who don’t actually desire sex or relationships?

        • Spuddie

          Wow, you really like making snarky, spiteful ignorant comments. How Christian of you. =)

          Of course why take a mature approach to a subject when you can engage in petty hostility under the cover of false piety

          • Free

            Touche!

    • Spuddie

      Honestly you using a standard which was always ridiculous. No generation ever paid much heed to the notion of abstinence in a serious way. That’s something delusional parents liked to tell themselves to deny the fact their children are becoming adults.

      This story amounts to a parent trying to control their children in a very inappropriate manner. What kind of morals does it teach one? That they only act in a way when there is a monetary reward to be had. Not very moral. But then again most notions of Christian morality are not really moral at all. That one does something out of fear of divine punishment or reward is not moral behavior, it is self-interest and fear.

      Purity is of no value. It promotes immature attitudes towards sex. Weakens marriage by making it more a function of youthful biological desperation and is damaging to the well being of women (since purity is only expected of them).

  • Beth

    My oldest could saw “penis” at 18 months. We were still attending church at the time. One Sunday while I was bowing my head as ask god why I was doubting so much, my little guy stood up on my lap and loudly shouted “peee-naaa-ssss! PEEEE-naaaa-sss!” while smacking his crotch.
    Is anyone asking this mother when she lost her virginity? My parents made a big stink about me remaining a virgin until I was married. I guess they didn’t think I could perform simple math since they were married 6 months before I was born.

    • jeffj900

      Ouch! “Sawing penis” makes me cringe. (I know, you meant “say”). :)

      In adolescence my little guy stood up in my lap in church on a few occasions too. I figured it was a sign from God that sex was natural.

      • Beth

        Haha, yes “say” is the correct word there.

    • Roy Gamsgrø

      Up until about 25 years ago, it wasn’t unusual for pregnancies to last much less than nine months. *nodnod* True story.

      • Beth

        Well I’m 30 so that sounds about right

  • jeffj900

    The offer of money seems to invite economic reasoning here. The daughter, if money is what matters, should be easily able to find more lucrative returns in exchange for giving up her purity. One thousand dollars is just not enough for that bargain to hold. Mom could be priced out of the market pretty quickly.

    It seems much better to try to teach the reasoning behind abstinence, and try to enlist the daughter voluntarily, than to involve the daughter in monetary bargaining over sex. If chastity is only worth a grand, it’s a far more cheap and tawdry commodity than one might ordinarily assume.

  • Ahab

    I have mixed feelings about this contract. On one hand, it’s good that she’s encouraging her offspring to postpone sex and avoid drugs and alcohol. On the other hand, once someone turns 18, isn’t their love life their business?

    • allein

      I was thinking the same thing. Why 20? They’re legal in every state at 18. (Leaving aside that they seem to be the types who think they should be able to control their kids’ sex lives until they get married, at which point, of course, their husband is in charge of that.)

      *by kids of course I mean daughters

  • Goatless

    I have to ask how she plans to prove this one way or the other.

    If the child in question does not come home smelling like alcohol or obviously hungover, if there are no photographs posted on facebook of her under the influence of anything and if she utilises birth control in an appropriate manner and therefore doesn’t get pregnant how would you prove that she had never drunk alcohol, used drugs or had sex?

    Mind you, they probably buy into the patriarchal bullshit that all women have hymens which only break upon penis-in-vagina sex and therefore it’s easy to tell if she’s a virgin or not.

    Also, when they say ‘drugs’ what do they mean. Because I can (and have) taken drugs. In fact, I have taken a number of very strong drugs.

    The mitigating factor being I was hit by a car, they were legally proscribed painkillers and I stopped taking them at an appropriate point.

    What happens if the daughter contracts an illness or sustains an injury which requires drugs? Or if they live in a state which allows medical marijuana? Does that count as ‘drug use’ if it is used to treat an injury.

    I can see ‘harmful drugs’ in there. My drugs were harmful if taken improperly. Over the counter painkillers are harmful if you take them improperly.

    One other thing I noted from the post ‘we talked specifically about the beauties of procreation and the importance of saving those AMAZING and procreative powers for when she was a wife and mother.’
    So is she expecting her daughter to have a virgin birth or something?

  • cary_w

    $1000 seems like a pretty paltry sum for good behavior.

    We have promised our kids (without any stupid contract) that if they lead, what we consider, “a clean and moral life” until they are accepted to college then we will pay for four years of their college education, with no loans if they choose instate and only minimal loans if they go out of state. Since they both chose (very wisely and thus proving they have lived a “clean and moral life”!) to get the hell out of Utah and go to school in Colorado, this will probably cost us at least $100,000 before they are finished. It’s a heck of a lot of money, but we feel our “clean and moral” kids are well worth it.

  • Carpinions

    Issue #2 is basically the mother/parents conceding that it’s going to happen at some point, so they might as well set a goal with a financial incentive and after that, fuck it, the kid is on her own. Never mind that it’s patently bad parenting, seeing as how incentives of that kind meant to make a kid behave well tend to have an inflation problem. We’ve seen these virginity pledges before, and we all know how wonderfully successful they are in fighting young adult hormones…

    Issue #1 is the most important one I think, by far. It’s certainly more grievous morally. I’ve really come to hate in a very real way the religious concept of “purity”. Purity of what? For what? Why? This is where concepts like Original Sin get really ugly. For one thing, I thought it was essentially impossible for any single person, under the inescapable stain of OS, to come anywhere close to anything considered pure in their god’s eyes. They say everyone is a sinner for having been born human. How then are young women supposed to truly be “pure” even if they don’t have sex? And why do we most often hear the word “pure” or “purity” used in relation to the behavior of women, and even more specifically whatever is happening with their vaginas? The religious concept of “purity” is one that, over the last couple of years reading about “honor killings” and FGM for “the protection of young girls”, has really become a boiling point for my blood, especially as the father of 2 daughters.

    • Whirlwitch

      Have you read the statement from Elizabeth Smart talking about how purity culture harms girls, and how being immersed in it was one of the things that prevented her from escaping from her captors? Essentially, after being raped, she saw herself as irrevocably damaged goods, and stayed with her rapist partly out of shame and a sense that no one else would want her.

  • Tel

    I think that the concept of sexual purity is the single most harmful thing about Christianity. For me it was worse even than the brainwashing-since-birth-that-you-are-bad-and-wrong-and-deserve-to-burn-in-hell, because I was abused (by my Christian brother) as a kid. I had no “unusually” bad effects from that, but when I became a teen and sexual purity came up, things became horrible.

    But you know what? When we talked about sexual purity in youth group, it was “Sex outside heterosexual marriage is wrong. [Yes, we had the dirty water talk.] Sex within heterosexual marriage is right.” They never, ever, EVER said something like… “Rape is wrong.”. Ever. Not once. Rape didn’t come up. It was implied that the only bad thing about rape was that it destroyed your virginity (although they came up with lengthy justifications for you still having sexual purity, because I think they knew somewhere that what they were saying was awful), and if you raped someone else, you’d destroyed theirs and you had had sex before marriage.

    Oh, and sex inside marriage was never rape. Marriage was a way of saying “Okay, I’ll have sex with you now, anytime.”

    Because of the obsession with sex inside/outside marriage, marriage actually was cheapened, being only a means to get sex.

    Sorry, rant over.

    • Regina Carol Moore

      Don’t apologize. Your points are excellent.

  • Dave The Sandman

    So she is paying her kids to behave in a certain way and do what she wants rather than what they may want.

    Congratulations little Mrs Morality – you just turned your daughter into a prostitute.

  • Matt Kovach

    thats not enough money, she should have offered her $20,000

  • http://twrl.github.com/ Tom Robbins

    Well, it’s an incentive for her daughters to study law and grammar anyway…

  • Kelley

    I am assuming that Katie Hughes has no sons or she should also offer them $1000 for being abstinent till they are 20 or married. Why just daughters?

  • Mandy

    That’s similar to what my mom did. I was raised in a strict Catholic family, where abstinence was demanded. My mom was obsessed with telling me and my brother how wrong it was to have sex before marriage. I was 21 when I finally started seriously dating someone (who is now my husband). I remember we’d been going out a couple months when my mom took me out to lunch and told me that she would pay for my wedding one day, but only if I remained a virgin until then. (Yes, I was still a virgin at 21.) I looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Mom, while I’d greatly appreciate you helping me with my wedding costs one day, my sex life or lack thereof is absolutely none of your business. So when the time comes, if you want to help out with wedding costs out of the goodness of your heart, that’s great, but you’re not going to know whether or not I’m a virgin.”

    • Midge

      I think you handled it really well about the wedding costs but, honestly, aren’t you glad you didn’t date in high school? I’m glad I didn’t date in high school and I’m glad my daughter didn’t date in high school. (She’s in her 20′s and has told me that, too.) Its not missing anything important.

      I have 3 nieces who dated in high school and all married their high school boyfriends. You’d think that would be a great thing and affirm that dating young is good, right? No, all of those marriages have always had a pattern of the husband feeling entitled to hold a threat over her, of replacing her. 15, 20 years later theres still a high school quality to those relationships. (Actually one of them is divorced because the husband DID replace her with another woman.)

  • Sarah-Sophia

    What I don’t like about the Abstinence Movement is that the message is that you can’t have sex and self-respect at the same time. There are many females who wait until marriage to have sex but end up married to a jerk because they thought being abstinent was all that mattered. Also having a legal contract on a woman’s body definitely sends the message that a girl/woman’s body is someone else’s property.

    • Spuddie

      Well Biblically, a woman’s body IS property. Abstinence only promotes young divorce, families with more children than they can handle and disappointment.

  • Mairianna

    I’ll bet Katie’s daughter will PARTY LIKE A HOT BABE on her 21st birthday.

  • busterggi

    Awright! Bizarro World has hookers too only you pay them for not having sex.

  • SeekerLancer

    After age 20 please feel free to become a drug addicted, alcoholic swinger.

  • Midge

    If it works, its great. I would go farther and strongly, strongly discourage “dating” in high school. There is no where to go with it; they are too young to marry. Unfortunately, our culture and even the schools themselves tell teenagers theres something wrong with them if they aren’t part of a “couple.”

  • advancedatheist

    Women’s premarital sexual adventures turn them into high divorce risks compared with virgin brides. I don’t know why atheists refuse to accept the statistical evidence for that, despite their bold talk about valuing reason and science.

    In other words, those “superstitious” people we tend to look down upon have some good intuitions about the consequences of human sexual behavior. And that has nothing to do with their belief in gods. We can’t observe our tribe’s supernaturals, despite what the people on those foolish “ghost hunting” shows on cable claim. But men have had to live with women all along, and our traditions incorporate a vast body of empirical and pragmatic experience with human behavior which we can’t arbitrarily dismiss just because it conflicts with post-Enlightenment notions of “rationality.”

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    You’re not being very friendly Hemant. How parents choose to raise their children is absolutely none of your (or the government’s) business.

  • Mack

    Hello Mr. Mehta! This was an interesting blog that you posted. As a believer of Christ I will disagree with some of the things you mentioned ,but do agree with some things you said. I hope when you get the chance to read my blog and my story, “Why I’m a Virgin” cordell79.blogspot.com. You will be surprised at how candid I am. As for abstinence I would teach that to my kids, but unlike that parent I would not force that on them. In other words I would just be upfront and honest about why God intended sex to be for one man and one woman for a lifetime. Plus I’d tell them the benefits and blessings of waiting as well as the good and bad of sex! But I must disagree pre-school i a little too young. No child is old enough to understand about sex. Now if you said 9 or 10 I’d be in agreement with you. I hope you read my blog. God bless and have a nice day!


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