Purity Culture and Sexual Shame Essay

Purity Culture and Sexual Shame Essay

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The scene is the same in Christian youth groups across denominational lines. The youth leader holds up the object of a purity--an unmangled rose, a paper clip with elegant and manufactured curves. Cue the entrance of sexual sin and shame--greedy fingers disfiguring the frail flower, violent grip bending the paper clip beyond repair. The leader explains that sexual sin is the one thing that harms you irreversibly, that makes you ‘damaged goods,’ that could ruin your relationships and spiritual journey for the rest of your life. Christendom is a key influencer in US culture surrounding sexuality of young people. The methods of educating youth in mainline protestant denominations on their spiritual obligations regarding sexuality are misguided and laced with weak theology, leading to risky sexual behavior and the fetishization of purity.
Many illustrations described in curriculum for Christian youth to demonstrate the value of purity depict having sex as a form of ruining oneself. One in particular “indirectly compare[s teenagers who have had sex] to a glass of water every kid in the room had spit into” (McFarlan-Miller). This develops a culture that says the entire worth of a person depends on the preservation of their virginity. Live Different is a series of lessons published for youth groups. This youth curriculum teaches youth to only have sex in the “right place” and the “right time.” It answers its own questions by saying the right place and time are in the bounds of marriage, and when you’re older.
One of the main scriptural points in the lesson is from Song of Solomon that expresses that the heart should not ‘arouse love until it so desires’ and argues that “this verse points to there being a right time for “love” to be aw...


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...Opposing Views And Continued Conflicts." Journal Of Religion & Health 51.1 (2012): 162-178. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
Fahs, Breanne. "Daddy's Little Girls: On the Perils of Chastity Clubs, Purity Balls, and Ritualized Abstinence." Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 31.3 (2010): 116-142. Project MUSE. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. .
Harms, Luke. "On Modesty And Male Privilege." Mutuality 20.1 (2013): 15-1. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
McFarlan Miller, Emily. "Virgin Territory: How the New Abstinence Movement is Trying To Shape Our Lives." Relevant. 1 11 2013: n. page. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.
Warner, Michael. The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life. New York: Free Press, 1999. Print.
Youth Ministry 360, . Live Different: What The Bible Says About Sex and Holiness. Nashville: The Edge, 2010. eBook.

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