Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Good For You" Meant Nothing, Because I Wasn't Pure For Me

Image source.
I want to expand on what I said in my previous post, Just Don't Call It "Waiting". In that post, I said that I respect whatever decisions people make about their own bodies/ sexuality/ love life, and I believe that you should have the freedom to look at all the options, weigh the benefits, risks, and consequences, and choose what fits your own situation. In particular, if you decide to be single and celibate, that's great! Good for you!

So, you may be wondering, back when I followed the purity teachings, if I heard that yes, you support people's decision to not have sex, would I have been happy to hear it? And no, the answer is no.

Because I needed more than "okay, good for you." I needed someone to tell me "yes, this is the right answer, and you are better than other people for doing this."

Because "that's your choice, good for you" only sounds like support if the reason you've chosen it in the first place is your own good. But that's not what purity culture is about. It's "God requires you to do this" and "you need to do this for your future husband."

I worked so hard to stay "pure"- to push away my feelings of attraction, to interrogate my motives for wanting to sit next to a cute guy, to pray and pray and pray about if my crush was the one that God had chosen for me.

I wasn't doing those things for myself. I did them for God. I did them for "my future husband." And when other people are the reason for what you're doing, you need other people's approval to know if it's worth it.

(Same deal with modesty. Working so hard to "protect the boys" and literally no way to know if it mattered or not. That's no way to live.)

Of course I also believed that living according to the purity rules would benefit me, protect me from heartbreak, etc. I knew all the logical reasons to support it, I could argue all day about why this was totally the right way and the only way- and yet, on some level it wasn't my choice. I learned, here's what God wants you to do, and here are the reasons to support it. Number one, boys are monsters. Number two, sex is dangerous. Number three, it will ruin your life. Etc. You can question, but you can't say "no I don't believe this." This is what God said. End of.

To sum up, "that's your choice, good for you" isn't good enough. Because, in some sense, it wasn't my choice, and I wasn't doing it because it would be "good for me."

Image source.

Here's an anecdote to demonstrate my point: A long time ago, I was on an internet forum, and I came across a post that asked, "I've never masturbated before- is that normal?" (Posted by a woman, if that matters.) And somebody had replied to say "It's fine, there's nothing wrong with you- some people just have a lower sex drive."

And I was like, "Hey! Don't insult my sex drive- I've never masturbated before and it's because God said, and I'm the only one doing the right thing." (And no, I didn't post that as a comment or anything, don't worry.) This commenter's attitude of "that's fine, if that's what works for you" made me angry because IT WAS NOT WORKING FOR ME.

(I mean, of course at the same time I told myself that everyone who's not obeying purity culture is secretly in agony. But man, I was jealous.)

(And totally found comfort in the "why do the wicked prosper" genre of psalms.)

And about that "don't insult my sex drive" bit: So... okay, some people are asexual, that's fine, it's not an insult. But what I want to know is, did anyone else have this experience, where you believed you had a super-high sex drive, despite having had no sexual experience whatsoever and only the vaguest idea of what sex even was?

I can hypothesize that there are two reasons for this: First,because purity culture teaches us that we can't let ourselves spend one minute alone with an attractive member of the opposite sex (did you know everyone is straight) or else we may spontaneously start having sex. In other words, if we just followed our desires, we'd all be having sex all the time. We'd probably forget to eat and sleep. (This is what people do on their honeymoons, yes?)

Second, I always had a desire to cross the lines, even though those lines were drawn super-strict, and I assumed this meant I had a desire for EVERYTHING. I wanted to sit next to a cute guy and talk to him, but this was not allowed because it would make me like him more- that's not "guarding my heart." There it is, a desire for the forbidden fruit. (ie having a conversation and listening to this guy's voice) Clearly a slippery slope into all kinds of evil. And because I always wanted more than what the rules said was allowed, I assumed that I really really wanted to have sex.

(And also, I figured "sexual compatibility" in marriage can be achieved by 2 virgins having a conversation before the wedding- "so how often do you want to have sex?" "how about all the time" "okay sounds good" I mean what else are you gonna say? All your life you've had a desire for something, something, something far more than what the rules would allow, and you assumed it was a desire for sex.)

What can I say? I'm so glad I'm not doing that anymore.


  1. "Did anyone else have this experience, where you believed you had a super-high sex drive, despite having had no sexual experience whatsoever and only the vaguest idea of what sex even was?"