The Purity Culture and Sexual Dysfunction

sexual dysfunction

I just came upon a post today in which a skeptic Christian blogger responds to a letter a woman raised in the purity culture. In her letter, she discusses her frustrations and sexual dysfunction. No matter how many times it happens, somehow I'm always surprised to find my own experiences mirrored by other writers. Dear John,I have a simple-minded question for you. It’s about abstinence from premarital sex. How does this work? No, not the “How do I resist temptation and remain pure?” part. … [Read more...]

“How Many Kids Do You Want?”

When I was a child, when strangers found out how many siblings I had they invariably seemed to want to know how many kids I wanted to have when I grew up. And so they would ask me. They were shocked with the response: "As many as I can have!" or "More than my mom!" or "At least eight but not more than twenty!" For some reason I think these interested adults expected me to say "none!" or "just one!" It was like they thought I would feel so overwhelmed by so many siblings that I wouldn't want a … [Read more...]

Witches, Demons, Halloween, and Fear

When I was a Christian, Halloween always terrified me. Now don't get me wrong, I loved dressing up in costumes for our church's Harvest Fest, where we played games and got candy. What terrified me was Halloween itself, which I was taught to associate with witches and demons.I grew up believing that there were real witches who worshiped Satan and communed with demons. These witches were dangerous and powerful because they got actual power from Satan himself. We believed that God would win … [Read more...]

On Gratitude; Or, I Love My Parents

I've been thinking recently about my feelings toward my parents. Several readers have interpreted my criticism of Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull and fundamentalist religion in general as anger or bitterness toward my parents, and have said this in their comments or on their blogs. This bothers me not so much because it's inaccurate as because if that's the impression I'm giving I'm failing to effectively communicate what I'm trying to say. I've never said my parents are the problem here. … [Read more...]

Conversion Stories, Social Conformity, and the Problem of Memory

Have you ever noticed the way conversion narratives are created? If you've ever been a fundamentalist or an evangelical, you know the pressure there to "tell your testimony." Yet weirdly, these testimonies all seem to conform to the same pattern. It's like someone handed in an outline and they just filled in the details. What happens when fundamentalists or evangelicals - or anyone, for that matter - swap stories with each other is that these stories change. They become shaped over time to … [Read more...]

Frozen Promises; Or, Life is NOT a Journey

I was reading No Longer Quivering this morning, and the latest entry was especially poignant and thought provoking.I spent hours trying to decide on a purity ring. I wanted one with meaning, and I wanted it to be pretty. Besides, the more time I spent there, the more likely I was to convince my parents that I really wanted the newest Ludy book. After we picked up the purity ring, my dad and I had a talk about what it meant. I told him what I wanted, and I promised to remain pure until marr … [Read more...]

On “Passing” and Sticking Out

When I first left home for college, I wasn't afraid to stick out. I still shared my parents' beliefs, and there was something satisfying about the shock on a person's face when she learned that I had twelve siblings. I don't think anyone could have known me for five minutes without knowing that I was homeschooled K-12, because I let them know proudly. I gladly defended creationism in class, and the incredulous stares didn't bother me, because I knew I was right and they were wrong. I had been … [Read more...]