I have a Samhain ritual to attend tonight, and I’m honestly a bit overwhelmed and considered playing hooky from the blog today. Then I saw this post on “purity pledges” at the Friendly Atheist.
It reminded me own my own fundamentalist Christian youth and of something I once read on a Pagan forum years ago. A man said it was his hope his daughter would have several marriage partners before she was married. He said he believed if his daughter was educated about sex and had pre-marital sex, then he wouldn’t ever have to worry she would think abuse was normal. His biggest fear wasn’t that his daughter would have sex outside of marriage, but that she would have only one partner who would take advantage of her, and that she wouldn’t know that the abuse she was experiencing wasn’t normal. He worried his daughter would be trapped in a horrific marriage with an abusive sex life and she wouldn’t say anything to anyone because she would think it was normal, because she didn’t know any different.
When my niece was in her late teens my sister and I were open to answering any questions and finding any answers she needed about sex. Not just the nuts and bolts about safety, STDs and pregnancy, but about what sex is actually like, what is normal and even our embarrassing and funny sex stories. Even though I know we gave her a much better sex education than my sisters and I received, and that she’s in a stable longterm relationship and seems quite happy, I still worry about her. She’s intelligent, talented, beautiful and can handle a crisis pretty well, but I still worry that she may be pressured sexually or that her sexual knowledge may brand her a slut. I also know that the worry is entirely mine to own, and I will have the same worries when she is 60.I don’t have children. My ancestors would like me too. Maybe one day I will adopt. But in case I ever have a daughter or a son, or a genderqueer grits-eating Witch-child, here’s my advice regarding “purity”:
You are already pure and nothing can change that. You are a smart, talented individual with a bright future. Part of that future is sex and like anything else in life it takes education, responsibility and experience. I wish you as many lovers as you desire, and more, I wish you many friends, both women and men, who you can discuss sex openly with, without shame. I hope sex never becomes a weapon in your life, used to harm, control and abuse. I hope you are always aware of the healthy respect and trust that exists between lovers, and are quick to note when that respect and trust is violated. I hope your life is vibrant, satisfying, fulfilling and full of love, and that your sex life reflects that. I don’t care about your sexual orientation, whether you marry, or how many lovers you have. I care that every aspect of your life is full of respect, trust and honesty, and that includes your sex life. Don’t let anyone shame you into thinking that your body is impure. I love you, the Gods love you, and if I’ve been any kind of mother, then you love yourself.