Notes on Virginity: Idolizing My Inexperience

Elizabeth Esther has been writing some excellent pieces about the purity culture and virginity recently, and others have joined in. Obviously, I've written about this sort of thing a lot myself, but there was one thing in particular Elizabeth Esther's post got me thinking about, and that's just how much I was taught to prize my virginity, and not just my physical virginity but my relational and emotional virginity as well.By the time I was halfway through college, I hadn't so much as held ha … [Read more...]


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Married, with Friends

I recently came upon a book called Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It, by Christian author Jerry B. Jenkins. With the divorce rate steadily climbing and infidelity creeping into even the happiest marriages, in a society that trivializes adultery and its devastating effects, with temptation and opportunity coming at you from all directions - how can you keep your marriage from becoming a statistic?The advice from best-selling author Jerry B. Jenkins is this: plant preventative … [Read more...]


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A Novel Approach to Rape Prevention

Many Indian men have responded to last month's gruesome rape by arguing that Indian women must be careful what they wear or where they go if they want to avoid being raped. Don't wear "slutty" clothes, don't stay out late or go to this or that area of town, that sort of thing. Well, here's a piece of satire that responds by asking what it would look like if we responded to sexual assault by limiting men's freedom rather than by limiting women's freedom: Calls for Men to Be Blindfolded in … [Read more...]


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Research Challenges Assumptions about Gender and Sex

I grew up believing that men and women are different. I'm not talking just physically different, or just culturally different because they are socialized differently. I'm talking different. I was taught that men are designed to protect and provide, and women to care for children and nurture. I was taught that men wanted sex, and that women, being less sexual, were the gatekeepers. I was taught that men were just better at things like science and math while women were better at things like … [Read more...]


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On the Pro-Life Movement and the Rape Exemption

I just came upon this image of an anti-abortion postcard produced and handed out by the Students for Life of America.The image shows the pictures of four babies and asks "Can you tell which child has a criminal father? Should a child die for his or her father's crimes?" The intent is to attack the rape exemption. The argument is that a person's rights and value don't depend on how a person is conceived or who a person's father is.You know what I find interesting about this image? … [Read more...]


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The Purity Culture and Trust

I'm afraid I rather made my husband Sean miserable during our engagement and early marriage. For one thing, I found out that he had had sex with a previous girlfriend, and when he wasn't regretful for it, I did everything I could to let him know how much this hurt me in an effort to make him feel guilt and regret. For another thing, given that I was taught both that men constantly think about sex and that my husband thinking sexual thoughts about another woman was the equivalent of adultery, I … [Read more...]


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The Real World Damage of the Purity Culture

I frequently get emails regarding the things I have written about the purity culture (that world of purity balls, courtship, and emphasis on emotional and physical virginity). Sometimes these emails are heartbreaking. There's this, for example, from a woman who grew up as the oldest daughter in another large Quiverfull family, and got married young through a parent-guided courtship (for an example of how courtship is generally practiced, read this story): Things are pretty rough. My husband is … [Read more...]


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