The Purity Culture and Sexual Incompatibility

I was raised in what I call "the purity culture." I knew that some people argued that premarital sex was important in order to see if two people were sexually compatible. I'd heard the idea that you should "try a shoe on before you buy it." However, I was taught that those ideas were dead wrong.I don't remember the specific reason I was told that those arguments were wrong. There was the "why would you marry someone based on how the sex is" line and the "but you'd never know the difference … [Read more...]

Emotional Incest, Part 4: The Pain

In Part 1 I discussed the definition of emotional incest, in Part 2 I discussed its relationship with the stay-at-home daughter dynamic of the Christian Patriarchy movement, and in Part 3 I discussed other ways emotional incest can occur as well. I am now going to turn to the problems and pain emotional incest causes.Emotional incest causes a multitude of problems, but I'm only going to address the three I see as most significant: first, it creates a relationship triangle between the parents … [Read more...]

On “unconditional” love with conditions

To all of you who comment - I love you guys. You frequently say things that are really insightful, things that make me think. Reader Anotherone made just such a comment recently regarding fundamentalist parents and conditional love: I think a lot of fundamentalist parents love their children in supremely conditional ways, and the lightning fast retraction of that love comes right after the phrase, spoken with sickening gravity, “we need to talk.” At least, that’s how it was for my family.Of … [Read more...]

A reader asks: Am I angry at my parents?

A reader recently asked about my feelings towards my parents: Do you harbor any feelings of *resentment* towards your parents because they indoctrinated you? In previous posts you have used some harsh language to describe your upbringing, how it hurt you emotionally then, how it has hurt you emotionally now. Do you target any feelings of anger back at your parents? Some other atheists and I recently discussed this online, and most of them felt sorry for their parents and a bit disappointed in … [Read more...]

Sibling v. Sibling: Giving the Child the Rod

This is part of a series in which I am re-posting a number of posts I've written in the past on issues involving parenting and Michael and Debi Pearl. I think these posts may be of interest to new readers, and if you're a reader who has been around with me since the beginning, they may be worth a re-read. This post was originally published here.   I don’t know exactly when it happened, but at some point early on my mom handed me the rod. She told me I was to spank my younger siblings if they … [Read more...]

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...]

An Examination of Emotional Manipulation

My husband brings in the mail. "There's a letter for you," he informs me. "Who is it from?" I ask. "It's from your parents," he says, and puts it on the table in front of me. I look at my mother's handwriting, and my heart rate starts to rise. I feel my stomach twist, and I want to do anything but open that letter.My cell phone rings and I look down at it. It's my mother calling. I feel my pulse rising and I mentally ask myself if there's anything she could have heard from a friend or … [Read more...]


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