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purity culture

Purity culture - the patriarchal set of beliefs that made sexual purity the highest calling on a woman’s life and her primary source of value

If you’ve been around evangelical Christianity for very long, you are probably trying to untangle the web of destructive beliefs created by purity culture. Even though it peaked in the 1990's, it is still present in many circles. If you grew up in this environment, your sex education (if you had any at all) was probably limited to some basic anatomy, followed by a lot of mixed messages. Young women were told that their developing bodies were problematic and needed to be covered up. Sex was absolutely denied before marriage, only for women to be expected within marriage to keep their husbands so sexually enamored that he would not be tempted to cheat on her. Instead of teaching men self control, women's bodies were blamed for men's lust, infidelity, and porn use. Women’s bodies were treated as if they were the source of all lust, without placing the responsibility on the lustful eyes of those looking at them. 

All of this led to women being disconnected from our own bodies. Some of us feared, denied, or hated being female. When the culture treats your body like an object (whether shunned or celebrated), how can a woman be safely embodied? Is it safe to be feminine?

 

Maybe you 

  • Kissed dating goodbye, married very young, and now you question the wisdom of that decision

  • Waited for sex until marriage, only to be deeply disappointed

  • Are afraid to wear certain kinds of clothes for fear of attracting attention

  • Your young, developing body was shamed and you were told to cover up more

  • Have completely lost touch with your femininity and sexuality

  • Feel pressure to sexually satisfy your husband, but there’s no pleasure in it for you

  • Your sexuality was so shut down that you still have very little libido

  • Threw off all the purity restraints and explored your sexuality in ways that put you at risk or hurt your soul, and now you’re really confused

 

Working through all these layers of shame, disconnection from our own bodies, disconnection from our sexuality, and fear of desire is hard work, and it helps to have support. When you start to uncover how deeply you’ve internalized these confusing messages about your body and sexuality, it brings up a lot of pain and anger. I’ve had to walk through this process myself. My religious upbringing was in what I would call the “shallow end” of this movement, but it still damaged me. I would be honored to come alongside you as you heal and recover this beautiful part of who you are. 

It's not where you thought you were going;

it's so much better!

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