How the purity culture made me afraid of men

Growing up, I was taught that there was one thing guys my age would want from me: sex. Because that’s, you know, all guys ever want from girls. I was taught that guys only think about one thing: sex. I was extremely confused by this at first because the “guys only want one thing from girls” and “guys only ever think about one thing” rhetoric began before I even knew what sex was.

Eventually, I ended up kind of scared of guys my age, because, after all, they were all sex-crazed maniacs who couldn’t help but undress me with their eyes during every conversation and might even want to date me just so they could have sex with me. They might pretend to be interested in me for myself, but I knew the truth – all they wanted was sex. Maybe it’s not surprising that I didn’t really have any guy friends in high school.

I covered my body with excessively modest clothing in hopes that I would be seen as a person rather than simply an object to be leered at and lusted over. I couldn’t bear the thought of a guy’s eyes crawling over me, undressing me and dwelling on my every curve – and, after all, that’s what all guys were doing anyway. I honed my homemaking and academic skills in hopes that someday a man would want me for those things rather than for my body.

As I grew older, I was also taught that one of the reasons it’s important to remain a virgin until marriage was that if I had sex with a beau before bringing him to the alter, he would have gotten everything he was after anyway and would leave me and never tie the knot. Because, you know, all he wanted – the whole point of him dating or courting me – was to have sex with me. Only by holding out until after the wedding could I convince a guy to marry me.

This gave me a very bad self-image. All guys wanted from me was sex. The only way I could convince a guy to marry me was to dangle sex in front of him like a prize – marry me and you get this! And then, wham! He’d be stuck! It also gave me a very bad image of the men around me. Guys my age scared me. I didn’t feel like I could understand them. They were all sex maniacs who were only interested in my body. Only by playing the game right and holding out just long enough could I trap one of them into marriage. And then he’d be stuck.

I knew I didn’t want that. I knew I didn’t want a guy marrying me just so he could have sex with me. I intentionally cared nothing about my appearances. I wore no makeup, took no care for my hair besides putting it up in rough braids or a pony tail, and wore the baggiest clothes I could find – often roomy skirts with oversized T-shirts. I put on extra weight. If I wasn’t attractive, I figured, then perhaps a guy would marry me for me instead of for my body. Perhaps a guy would want to date or court me for me, rather than because he wanted to have sex with me.

These ideas also made me look positively on arranged marriages and father-guided courtships. After all, if a guy came to my father asking to court and marry me, and my father put him through all sorts of hoops and tests to make sure he was a man who could protect and provide for me and be my spiritual leader, then it didn’t matter whether the guy was just interested in me for my body because I would know that I’d at least nabbed a man who could serve as a proper leader to the family we would form. A man willing to jump through all of those hoops would surely stick around as my protector and provider.

This also shows how little I trusted myself and my own judgement, in addition to how little I trusted young men my age. I was taught that a guy would do anything, say anything, be anything in an effort to get in bed with me. A guy would pull out all the stops in his efforts to charm and beguile, and susceptible female romantic that I was, I could not be sure that I would see through it all to properly judge a guy’s character. My father, in contrast, would be a much better judge of character, and would be able to see through any charade.

But it was not to be. I left the movement before I could go through a proper father-guided courtship.

When I had my first boyfriend in college I was very, very nervous. I was so suspicious of him. I was sure all he wanted was to have sex with me. I was sure all he thought about when he looked at me was sex. I was sure that his desire to date me was merely a desire to get into my pants (or rather, under my skirts). I was sure that if I had sex with him he would leave me, having obtained what he was after. I was afraid that he was lying to me, simply attempting to charm me, and that I could not trust my own judgement.

My poor boyfriend. It took some time for him to begin changing my view of men.

He told me that no, guys don’t think about sex all the time. Just some of the time. They think about lots of other things too. He told me that while he found me very attractive, he was dating me because he liked who I was inside. He told me it would be silly to date someone for just her body, and even sillier to marry someone just to have sex with her. (“Look, if all I wanted was sex, I know where I could get it without bothering about dating or relationships.”) He told me that basically everything I’d been taught about men was wrong. And then he backed it up with his actions.

Gradually, little by little, I began to see the guys around me as people rather than as one-dimensional dangerous sex-crazed maniacs. Gradually, little by little, I began to have real, honest to goodness guy friends. Gradually, little by little, I lost my suspicions and fears of half of the human race. And finally, today, I’m just as comfortable around men as around women. No more fear, no more second guessing, no more continual questioning of motives.

It’s often pointed out how the purity culture reduces women to the state of their vaginas. It’s much less noticed that the purity culture reduces men to the drive of their penises.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Anders

    The truth is we don’t just want sex. We also want beer. Ugh! Me man! Me have no interests except to satisfy my primal urges!

    Actually that second sentence is pretty sophisticated.

    Wasn’t there some U.S. senator who argued against homosexual marriages because gay men would just run rampant without a woman to civilize them?

    • Ysanne

      Your brain overloaded with that long and difficult sentence: How else could you forget to mention the male need to watch sports that involve a ball?

  • William Burns

    It’s really odd the way this contempt for men goes with an exaltation of patriarchal authority.

    • Libby Anne

      I’ve been thinking about this too. It seems like the idea is “men are sex crazed maniacs, therefore we need to control women so as to keep things from being totally crazy.” In other words, if women weren’t each safely under a man’s authority, you’d have a sex crazed mess – which is exactly what they say you get with feminism, when you make women independent and they become fair game for the nearest man (or such is the argument). Because men may be sex crazed maniacs, but women are also weak and easily led astray. Patriarchy controls all of that and provides maximum protection for everyone. But of course, you also have to remember that all of this was set up a LONG time ago, and modern Christian Patriarchy simply lays claim to it and stamps it with a Biblical mandate.

      • Anat

        And what does that say of the wisdom of a supposedly all-knowing divine being who created them like that? (They don’t get away with blaming it on the ‘fall’ because it was their god who set up the conditions leading to it in the first place.)

      • http://queereka.com Yessenia

        The apparent contradiction between “men are the best leaders” and “men are sex-crazed maniacs” can be resolved by remembering one thing: Patriarchy does NOT mean rule by the men. It means rule by the fathers.

        Fathers have a vested interest in perpetuating the myth that men who are not fathers are dangerous and not to be trusted. It gives them further control over their daughters, who are taught that their own judgment cannot be trusted, and over their sons, who are propagandized against aspiring to any sort of power.

        Both sexes must reaffirm the authority of fathers and dutifully create families before they have access to any real power. Women, then, are further oppressed, because being a father means, in this ideology, controlling your wife and repeating the cycle of control with their own children

  • kraut

    “It’s really odd the way this contempt for men goes with an exaltation of patriarchal authority.”

    Exactly what I thought too. One one hand men are supposed to be the leaders, the head of the household and on the other hand they are only sexually maniacs trying to get pussy?
    Something is way out of whack here. I just don’t get this way of thinking.
    But it seems par for the course to Christians who have no problem with the concept of disconnect.

  • Mr.Kosta

    “I covered my body with excessively modest clothing in hopes that I would be seen as a person rather than simply an object to be leered at and lusted over”

    Y’know, reading this sentence made me think the Quiverfull movement and the Taliban are closer than both of them think.

    • Steve

      It’s not just the Taliban. Much of Islam is big on modesty. Most demand to at least cover the hair. The Taliban just take it the furthest. But Saudi Arabia and Iran aren’t really far behind.

    • Amin

      It’s also interesting how the ultra-orthodox Jews can subscribe to this as well. The conservative flavors of three monotheistic religions are very much alike when it comes to how they see women as ‘impure’ and their general stances on patriarchy as the solution of this (self-created) “problem”.

      Kind of ironic that those most inclined in seeing their own faith as the ‘true’ one and thus the others as ‘wrong’ have such striking similarities…

      • Em

        “It’s also interesting how the ultra-orthodox Jews can subscribe to this as well. The conservative flavors of three monotheistic religions are very much alike when it comes to how they see women as ‘impure’ and their general stances on patriarchy as the solution of this (self-created) ‘problem’”

        For what it’s worth, impurity is not the issue at hand in Judaism. And even where “impurity” is a question, it really doesn’t mean what people think it does (it’s very different from “dirty”). Modest dress points to the idea that the sex appeal of women is one of the ways in which the surrounding chaos of the cosmos will creep in and disorder the nice, (patriarchally) structured society. The traditional ideal is that men focus on restraining their lust, and women help them out by not being too enticing. Is it right? Not according to our value system, maybe. But it’s not at all the same as the idea that women are dirty and inherently sinful.

      • BlackHumor

        It’s not really distinct; ultra-Orthodox Jews do totally have the same attitude and just because the theological justification isn’t exactly the same doesn’t mean it’s not the same old “men are sex-crazed maniacs/women are temptresses” meme.

  • Nathaniel

    These people accuse feminists of being man haters. Yet its these putzes who reduce me to a slobbering predator.

    Interesting how men are supposed to be only interested in sex, yet you were supposed to trust your father implicitly as an authority figure. I wonder what they would say if someone asked your dad whether he only thought of sex?

    I mean, he does have a penis after all.

    • Anders

      I think the point here is that married men have been civilized by their women. Who are supposed to be completely subservient. *headdesk*

    • Maryann

      I swear I have little hearts in my eyes. Here’s a man who gets it. This feminist does not hate men; I’ll be for your rights and well being if you’ll be for mine. That’s the humanist way.

  • JeseC

    “I couldn’t bare the thought of a guy’s eyes crawling over me”

    Freudian slip there?

  • http://www.oneutah.org glendenb

    From what I know about the purity movement with its attendant rituals and teachings, the intent is to make young women afraid of young men and young men afraid of themselves. Everything i’ve ever read about the purity movement and what it teaches the same theme keeps cropping up – fear of sex and sexuality. Starting very young, the purity movement teaches girls that they are pure and innocent – they teach that girls and women are morally superior with regard to sexuality and they must safeguard both their moral purity and their sexuality; in a very real way, the purity movement denies the reality of female sexual desire. By contrast, the movement teaches that boys and men are controlled by their sexual urges, urges which are inherently sinful and wrong. If a boy or man gives in to his sexual urges, it’s only a few tiny steps from having sex with his girlfriend to becoming a ravening beast who preys on everyone and everything in the neighborhood. “Giving in” to sexual urges is a path to destruction.

    Those twin messages of female purity and male baseness are all about the fear of sexuality being and/or becoming uncontrollable. Since female sexuality almost doesn’t exist in the world of the purity ball, and since male sexuality is intense and all but uncontrollable, it falls to women to place limits on male sexuality and men to struggle internally to control their urges. Sexuality becomes this huge fear filled thing, surrounded and badly controlled by social taboo and personal self control. The release valve of marriage is supposed to be a good thing, to save men and women from the wickedness of sex. All that denial seems to make the problem bigger and scarier.

    So, of course you were afraid of men. That’s what you were taught – fear. I’d be so bold as to suggest that fear is an indispensable piece of fundamentalism. Fear of displeasing God, fear of pain, fear of punishment, fear of sex, fear of nonbelievers and outsiders, fear of being wrong, fear of authority figures, fear of the world. The fundamentalist way of managing all that fear is to offer strict rules; follow the rules and you are okay. Break the rules and you get punished. How many times have we heard various fundamentalists decry things like contraception because it “removes” consequences? Without fear of consequences people will do whatever they want and the whole world will go to hell in a hand basket. In a very real way, the fear of men you developed was the intended outcome because the fear of men would keep you from having sex which would keep them from having sex which would keep the whole system of control and virtue in place. Of course that’s pathological but from where I sit, so much of fundamentalism seems pathological.

    • John Morales

      Consequences.

      Yes, that is what I was thinking as I read this; without contraception, coitus outside of marriage is problematic because it can lead to unwanted pregnancy (and by extension, that which could lead to coitus is therefore also problematic).

      • Ysanne

        To split a few hairs, without contraception marital sex can lead to unwanted pregnancy as well.
        The question is, how sure can one be about the father?

        Genetic parentship seems to be of huge interest to most men (not exactly surprising), especially ones in the role of providing and being in charge, so they’d all be for rules that make sure “their” woman bears their children.

      • http://www.godgab.org Changa

        Indeed. In most African cultures, the family line was passed through the women, so the paternity was of no consequence, and sex could be freely enjoyed with no negative consequences – children were never a negative consequence for adult women with family (male and female) to assist. Of course, the missionaries fixed all that right up.

    • Steve

      And interestingly, the denial of female sexuality and desire is a very new thing.

      For much of Christianity, women were seen as lustful, seductive, lewd and led by their emotions. The reason why they should be controlled is precisely because they were considered very sexual and sensual

    • ScottInOH

      Spot on, glendenb (3/3, 9:55 a.m.). Well said.

  • Lyra

    There’s a saying that originated out of this kind of thought process, and it’s something along the lines of, “Why would a man buy a cow if he could get the milk for free?” I know this saying is meant to convince women to wait until marriage to have sex, but all I can think is, “I am NOT a freaking cow to be bought, sold, or not bought! I am not some entity that you get to view as a commodity, to be desired and kept solely for what my body can provide.”

    Here are the same people who will insist that porn objectifies women, and yet they are out and out placing women in the same category as material possessions. Oi.

    • Anders

      But you are cattle. And if you hadn’t been going to all those Eeeevil feminazi meetings you’d understand that.

    • Kit

      I usually respond with “But would you buy a car without test-driving it?”

      I just think sex is a key part of a relationship. If you’re going to get married and only have sex with that person for the rest of your life, they have to at least be sexually compatible?

      Usually at that point, their heads explode because they can’t really conceive of a woman with a sex drive. I haven’t needed to do that in awhile because since moving to the big city, I haven’t really had contact with evangelicals.

      • S_Morlowe

        That’s what I was taught as a child: you try on your clothes before you buy them, you have sex with the person before you marry them. And I was brought up Catholic (well, in Ireland…where ‘Catholic’ these days is more about tradition and heritage than actual belief for the majority. I know a lot of people who say “I’m Catholic, but I don’t believe in it or anything”). The whole purity culture is completely foreign to most modern Irish people, and the few people I did know who decided to wait did it for personal reasons and most definitely did not preach abstinence as anything other than a personal decision. It’s interesting to see the quick turnaround, just a few short years after the Magdalene Laundries and other atrocities.

      • spamamander, hellmart survivor

        My mom used that line with me- “You would never buy a car without taking it for a test drive.” I’ve used it with my oldest daughter as well. Sexual compatibility is important if you’re making what you hope is a lifetime commitment. For some people it may not be an important aspect of their relationships, but for most it is to some extent, so why set yourself up for failure by not knowing how you mesh?

  • Utakata

    /de-lurking

    Just so you know, I’ve been to enough wharehouse parties where the baggiest of clothing and over sized t-shirts can really look hot on some people. Ditto for rough braids and pony tails.

  • http://kkriesel.blogspot.com K. Kriesel

    Absolutely loved this, you articulated a rare issue very well. I was raised extremist-Catholic, a girl was supposed to fear the wrath of a man she had not served well. It’s interesting that, from your upbringing, men were considered flawed in that they were oversexed – in mine, women were flawed for disobedience. There were most likely seeds of both of these emphases in our backgrounds too.

    • Steve

      That’s because seeing women as sexual, lustful and emotional beings is the traditional, Christian perspective That’s how it was from the beginning. Whereas men were rational and thinking, which is one reason given against higher education for women.

      Denying women’s sexuality is really a very, very recent aberration

  • jemand

    Fanny has written some about this: http://fanniesroom.blogspot.com/2012/02/happy-barfentines-day.html

    “Under PW’s view of proper hetero relations, men essentially buy sex and housekeeping from their wives by being the “breadwinner.” PW tosses the word “love” around, but he doesn’t seem to be talking about love. What he is talking about is a commercial exchange of goods and services.

    Under this view of marriage, a man doesn’t want in equal partner in life, he wants a domestic/sex worker who he deserves things from because of all his hard work. Andrea Dworkin famously noted that, “[Right-wing women] see that traditional marriage means selling [sex] to one man, not hundreds: the better deal.” PW’s version of marriage seems to be a case in point of marriage as an exchange rather than a partnership.

    Happy Valentine’s Day! *Swoon*”

    So often, and not just in fundamentalist cultures, do I see rhetoric and turns of phrase that utterly dehumanize any woman who sells sex for money… and then simultaneously, do I see much rhetoric and turns of phrase that absolutely equate heterosexual relationship to an economic transaction, selling sex to “one man” rather than many, but still, fundamentally, selling sex. In other words, whores are worth nothing, also, every woman is a whore.

    It’s troubling how common this is, even in mainstream society. Women who sell sex for money are NOT worth nothing, are NOT worth less than other human beings, also, relationships are NOT just transactional economic setups, relationships can be set up on the basis of mutual companionship.

    • Ysanne

      And isn’t it ironic that with the average frequency of sex in a typical marriage, it’d be way cheaper and more convenient to just pay a cleaner/housekeeper for a couple of days a week, and have sex with a prostitute every now and again.

  • Dianne

    Because, you know, all he wanted – the whole point of him dating or courting me – was to have sex with me. Only by holding out until after the wedding could I convince a guy to marry me.

    This one never made much sense to me. Because if you believe this then logically the day after your wedding night you’re going to wake up next to a guy who has no more interest in you AND you’re stuck with him for life or until you divorce him, which, I understand, is frowned upon in your average Christian community.

    If you just had sex with him and then he deserted, at least you had the chance to find a new guy. And if that never happened because you were “ruined”, at least you had privacy and a life of your own without dragging a guy who was no longer interested in you around. And, best case scenario, if he did stick with you, you know it’s because, contrary to the teaching, he does like you and want to be with you rather than because you’ve forced him to.

  • Anders

    Do you show your love for him by respecting him, keeping yourself together, keeping his stomach full, making love to him as often as he wants it without dropping things he enjoys off of the menu, being a smart shopper, and doing domestic chores (if he is the breadwinner)

    Who thinks this is erotic? It’s disgusting! I just can’t understand this worldview.

    • Kevin Alexander

      “Who thinks this is erotic?”

      What’s erotic got to do with it? Sex is for procreation, pleasure is from SATAN.

      • Anders

        Damn. I always forget that.

        I think St. Augustine declared that part of the Fall was that we were no longer in perfect control of our genitals.

      • Steve

        St. Augustine was a sexually dysfunctional freak. He hated his own sexuality and struggled with it for his whole life. And like Paul, he then projected his own hangups on everyone else. No matter Christianity turned out the way it has, given the screwed up people who made it up.

      • Anders

        I think he goes on for seven pages about how horrible a person he is for stealing a couple of pears. I have problems with guilt but I’m an amateur compared to him.

    • http://www.brooksandsparrow.com Angelia Sparrow

      Respecting your partner, looking good for zir, feeding them often (a favorite tactic on non-neurotypical science/engineering students and stray cats alike)? That’s all hot. It says “I see you as a person. I enjoy your company, and want you to enjoy mine.”

      Making love to your partner, often, in the ways you both enjoy, without dropping it down to rushed quickies, or “average Friday night run-throughs?” VERY hot.

      Smart shopping and domestic chores aren’t as hot, but I enjoy my weekly grocery shopping time with the husband. It’s all part of the ongoing connections we make.

      As for the main post, the thing that strikes me is the idea that guys only want sex ONCE with the girl in question. There is no coming back for seconds, or exploring over the course of weeks. Just once and he’s gone. Whoever is saying that has minimal knowledge of human interaction ca 1986 and later.

      (My opinions on men have been shaped more by rape culture, which is an outgrowth of societal patriarchy)

      • scott

        I think that whole idea of “once and done” idiocy comes out of yet another patriarchal meme: sex as conquest. Take over some more territory, notch up another victory, and move on. It can’t even be about getting the best sex for the *man*- why would anyone want a series of fumbling, nervous first-time encounters?

        This reminds me of the fraternity “sex manuals” that pop up from time to time. The man’s getting *worse* sex than he could otherwise have, just so he can push more women around.

      • Arctic Ape

        I suspect the fearmongering about immoral premarital sex and guys leaving you after one sack is a traditional, ritualized way of saying that once you start a sexual relationship, you’ll likely be pregnant very soon and yhen the guy will leave because he doesn’t want to take responsibility of children. In traditional society the question of economic support was so important that love and compatibility were relatively irrelevant issues.

        Now we have contraception but the fundies don’t approve of it because they’ve learned to think that premarital sex is inherently immoral, destructive for relationships and dangerous of women’s romantic interests.

  • 24fps

    Yes, there’s a tremendous culture of fear involved, but I also think the most destructive aspect is shame. Without the shame, there’s little fear, is there?

    We are taught to be ashamed of our bodies in so many segments, nearly all, really, of north American culture. Even the non religious subcultures regularly use slut-shaming to circumscribe female behaviour. It’s more extreme and focused differently in patriarchal Christianity, but the echoes of it exist all over. The lack of sympathy for the girl who is sexually assaulted because her clothes were too tight or short, or maybe because she “had a history”, the implication that women who unabashedly like sex are less worthy than women who are less outspoken about it, the idea that sex is “dirty”… These are all common tropes within nearly every substrata of our culture.

    It all boils down to the idea that sex, what we do with our bodies, is shameful.

    The puritans are not so far in our past at all. We still feel those reverberations.

  • http://curiousmusing-curiousmind.blogspot.com Leila

    Wow, this post couldn’t have come on a better day for me. I had a mini breakdown regarding this type of indoctrination today; just when I think I had broken through it, I reminded myself today rather harshly that it still affects me.

    Since I was old enough to understand what sexuality was, I was told to guard it away from men because all they would want is my body, like you said. And I was a precocious kid; I learnt that lesson pretty early as a result. Unfortunately, I also grew up in a society where a lot of the men DO think in that frame of mind, so I also learnt very quickly that if these men would act this way, then ALL men I meet would be the same. This caused emotional problems for me when I left my birth country and attended high school and college (ages 11 – 19).

    It wasn’t until I left home for university that I decided to be a little more open around guys my age and even managed to get my first boyfriend. But even that was a rocky ride; he had to cope with my fears over sex and relationships and he was immature when it came to serious relationships, so he found it just as hard to reassure me at times. We managed though; we did stay together for almost 4 years. Unfortunately, we both also had to contend with my mother’s interference, with her constant reminder to me that once he’s had his fill of me, if I “opened my legs to him”, if I didn’t get him settled down and converted, then he will leave me for another “cheap whore”. And yes, those were her words to me. So it’s no wonder that those scars still run deep. We did end up breaking up, my mum being the smaller reason in a bigger picture, but it did affect us.

    Even now, I can feel those old bristles. I’m stll wary of guys now, though not as bad as I used to be. I do have trust issues when it comes to guys, but they’re not as bad as they used to be. It’s just frustrating when they come back to bite me in the arse.

    Oh, and this is coming from someone raised in a Muslim environment, in case anyone is interested. Nothing new when you consider how similarly patriachal these societies are.

  • purpleshoes

    Here’s the thing: my mother is an atheist. My father is an agnostic. I might have been raised in The Patriarchy, broadly speaking, but I wasn’t raised in a Patriarchal Environment in the religious sense.

    I still internalized these beliefs about men from popular culture, tv, and peers, to the point where I was also afraid of men for a large chunk of my adolescence. I think fear of men is something that our culture actually works pretty hard to reinforce. The idea that the way to win is to hold out until you’re legally bound to a rampaging penis monster who can’t possibly understand you is a special touch from traditional religion, though.

    I think this is another example of how a religion can be used to concentrate, justify, and promote broader cultural ideas that spring as much from unthinking prejudice and convenience as some kind of Scriptural exegesis on why someone’s God thinks b**ch*s ain’t shit.

  • Nutmeg

    Wow, you’re in my head.

    Thanks for this.

  • http://pasttensepresentprogressive.blogspot.com/ Latebloomer

    I found your blog through NLQ, and I’ve been reading your posts for the last few weeks….this is my first time commenting though. So hello :).

    I was also raised in a very conservative homeschooling community that taught extreme modesty and forbid friendships between single men and women. You explained so well the feeling of desperately trying NOT to be attractive, fearing even a small sexual glance. I was not required to wear dresses/skirts, but my wardrobe was full of very baggy t-shirts and loose mom-ish jeans, and I never bothered with my hair or makeup. God forbid that I conversed with anyone my age who had a penis…. I would not even allow myself to mention boys in my private journal except along the lines of “I saw a godly-looking boy at church today. It encouraged me to know that there are godly boys in the world. I hope God brings me a husband soon.”

    “Gradually, little by little, I lost my suspicions and fears of half of the human race.” Along with that, I lost my fear of looking attractive. So nice to be free of that mental prison, hey?

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  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com tommykey

    Eventually, I ended up kind of scared of guys my age, because, after all, they were all sex-crazed maniacs who couldn’t help but undress me with their eyes during every conversation and might even want to date me just so they could have sex with me. They might pretend to be interested in me for myself, but I knew the truth – all they wanted was sex.

    Speaking from a male perspective, the viewpoint described above creates a false dichotomy. As a man who has friendships with women who are not my wife, I can freely admit to finding some of them attractive and, under different circumstances, wouldn’t mind having a sexual encounter with them. But we’re capable of compartmentalizing our feelings. As long as there is genuine friendship and mutual respect, there is nothing wrong with having such feelings without it leading to anything more than that.

    • Jean

      From: Tommykey ( March 4, 2012)

      “As a man who has friendships with women who are not my wife, I can freely admit to finding some of them attractive and, under different circumstances, wouldn’t mind having a sexual encounter with them.”

      See women, that proves the point. So does this mean thatwomen need to be aware that the men who they come in contact with, generally want to have sex with them. Is it reallyalways on their minds? So, does this help to prove the point that men do really only want to make it with any and all women they can get? So women, should we continue to just give it to men we are not in committed relationships with? Are we are just pieces of meat to men? Do they really care about women, or just what is between the legs? What would happen, if women suddenly realized what men think of us and stopped giving it to those men who they are not married to, or in a committed relationship with ? What implications would we get from this? I’m just asking.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        I’m actually not seeing that “proving” anything. Did you read the rest of what the above comment said?

        “But we’re capable of compartmentalizing our feelings. As long as there is genuine friendship and mutual respect, there is nothing wrong with having such feelings without it leading to anything more than that.”

        My point was not that men never think about sex. I mean, women think about sex too, and think guys are attractive. I see men all time that I think are attractive. Does that mean I should be portrayed as some sort of sex crazed monster, or that I can’t be friends with men besides my husband that I find attractive? No! Just because I find someone attractive doesn’t mean I only ever think about sex when I’m around him, or that I am going to cheat on my husband or am not satisfied with my husband. THAT is the point I was making.

      • LisaI68

        I have (and have always had) friendships with men who weren’t/aren’t my
        husband. I’ve found some of them attractive and, under different
        circumstances, wouldn’t mind having a sexual encounter with them. Does
        that mean that I only think about sex? Does that mean that those men are
        just pieces of meat to me? Of course not. It just means they’re
        attractive, and if I weren’t committed to someone else, and if they were
        interested, we might have a sexual relationship of some sort.

        I’ve never had to worry about a male friend and sex – not ever. My first post-pubescent male friends were a couple guys I hung out with in 8th grade. I’ve had male friends ever since. While I have found myself in a couple bad situations (attempted rapes), those didn’t involve anybody I knew – and I was bailed out of one of them by another random male. Men are people. Some of them are jerks. That doesn’t mean they’re *all* jerks.

  • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

    The boys got talks about how respecting women meant never havign any sort of sexual interest in them and how some women would try to seduce us and we had to avoid those and find the godly ones.

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  • Rilian

    I used to see boys just as people, but then I had years of them acting friendly only to then try to put their hands and lips on me without my permission. It seems that 99% of them either ignore you or try to coerce sex from you. I *wish* you were right about them.

    I know this is totally “bigotted” or whatever, but I can’t change the fact that that’s my experience. I had lots of friends who were boys when I was little but past age 12 or so it became impossible.

    • lucifermourning

      it’s really sad to hear that this has been your experience.

      it is not, however, everyone’s experience. i’m a 28 year old woman and the majority of my friends since high school have been guys, none of whom have behaved inappropriately toward me.

      i do think that behaviours will run in social groups. so where you find one sketchy guy, you’re likely to find more, because the norm in that group is to treat women as objects. conversely, lots of other groups have the norm of treating women as normal people, and being decent and respectful when they are interested in something more.

      if all the guys you know are incapable of treating you as a person, then i’d suggest meeting other guys.

      • Rilian

        I recently moved, so here’s hoping.

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  • sweetamy

    I don’t think young men have sex on the brain. Sex with women is very unappealing. Young Christian men are bullied and brainwashed into sleeping with their highly undesirable and sexually boring wives. Females smell so bad, and their vaginas smell even worse. Sex with American women is deeply unnatural. I don’t know why the churches force young men to have unnatural sex with women. Women are so ugly, so unsexy, and so unnatural. The truth is most guys would prefer NOT to sleep with their girlfriends. Most men only sleep with women because the guys are afraid of being called gay if they don’t pump girls.

    • John Morales

      If a troll was trolling, this is what it would write.

  • Mecia577

    I’ve had a hard time articulating this to friends who were not raised this way. My mother divorced my father when I was 10 (shocking in our fundamentalist church, so of course we had to leave it for another fundamentalist church) and started spending all her time with women leaving abusive relationships. She also started teaching me that men only wanted sex, and that they would lie and manipulate to get it, and that as a female I would be helpless to resist. Once a boy touched me I would be reduced to a mess of hormones and emotions and I would let him do anything his abusive, sex-crazed mind came up with. So I was taught to both fear males for their power and myself for my weakness, all wrapped up with the belief that any and all sexual feelings outside of marriage were a horrible sin. Of course once I hit puberty I also had the competing desire for attention from boys my age. It was a horrible internal struggle, simultaneously needing and fearing male attention. I wore make-up and did my hair in the hopes of being attractive and therefore acceptable as a person, but as soon as a boy showed interest I panicked and drove him off. I must have been extremely confusing to them. It took a lot of years and some patient male friends to help me realize that the majority of males are multi-faceted human beings just like me, and that sexual attraction and respect for me as a person are not mutually exclusive.

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  • HurricaneCass

    I grew up in a strongly religious, though thankfully not controlling, environment, and of all things I went the other way. The constantly hammered message was that boys were only out for sex and that was that; so I said ‘ok then, we’ll do it that way’ and went and made myself as desirable as possible, and had a lot of sex. After all, if they wanted sex and they’d say/do anything to get it, why not take advantage of that? I’m not ashamed to say that because there were a lot of horribly repressed teenaged boys in my area that had grown up on the same teachings and internalized their half of the belief system, I ended up doing quite well for myself. I was never without a date. I was never without attention. Things got bought for me, dinners got cooked for me, I had my own pack of dedicated protectors should anybody try to start trouble for me. Ok, so my parents and grandparents decried me as a ruined woman who should be cast from the window to preserve the rest of the family, but to me that felt like a small price. I had power, I had freedom, and I also stood out against all the other girls who desperately avoided boys at all costs.

    It’s fascinating to me how different people take and use these messages. I don’t know if mine is a quirk of personality that wasn’t broken well enough, or some flaw in the methods with which these messages were delivered to me, but when I found myself at the crossroads of ‘doomed but powerful’ or ‘helpless but virtuous’, the power was far more appealing than the intangible reward. I grew out of it and settled down eventually, and I think I’m far better off for having been so happy to explore in my youth. I know my body, I know what I enjoy and where my boundaries are, and I have no problem asserting that.

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  • http://buolangs.edu jiakakakkakeme

    This is the precise How the purity culture made me afraid of men diary for anyone who wants to assay out out about this issue. You notice so such its virtually debilitating to converse with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new extend on a subject thats been typed roughly for age. Precise foul, but outstanding!

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  • Frank Wunder

    So you’re the victim of bad instruction and you choose to blame the purity culture.

    Ok, I can agree with you that the purity movement can be taken to extremes, but at the same time I would hope that you, as an intelligent woman, would have come to a point where you were able to think for yourself and make the decision to change your own worldview and not have to wait the “right” type of man to come along and change your mind for you.

    When I meet a girl who is terrified of me because I’m a man and have masculine qualities I politely ignore them because the problem is not me, it’s an emotional and intellectual immaturity and I really think I need to be held responsible for bad instruction or jaded teaching.

    We have enough consequences to deal with. Someone’s immaturity and unwillingness to think through thing is just an annoyance.

  • blues

    Seems like you can never win ah? What is a spiritual young woman to do if she doesn’t want to have sex without some sort of commitment then? What if she is friendly to men yet strong in her path with god and wants to respect both the guy and god? I think you missed the whole point of the purity movement, it is really about focusing on love instead of the body. I never heard of “men just think of sex” you are speaking of here. The example of Jesus is to love everyone no matter who they are but today men are very short on this principle, looking around I see more and more heartbreak from people who really don’t give a damn about each other but pretended for a while, women need to be smart and open their eyes instead of selling themselves short and becoming like every other girl in need of reassurance from men. Lots of men still marry everyday, if you become the opposite girl and just have sex with him so easily you are indeed proving it’s all about sex. Marriage is not about sex. It’s to ensure a strong bond from two people who love each other and protect your future offspring, it is to ensure a man is serious about you and is not going to keep in in line with two other women, seriously no wonder people don’t get it and throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • Maryann

    This actually put tears in my eyes. What a beautiful transformation. Thank you for sharing such a positive view on men, on women, and on the relationships between them. Thank you for looking at feminism as part of humanism. Thank you for shining a light on patriarchy’s harm to everyone, not only women. Thank you for proving, though personal experience, that purity is a sham that has nothing but negative consequences for human interaction. Thank you for rising above it all. Just… thank you!

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