I Used To Love Purity Culture. A Lot Has Changed.

purity culture before marriage

I cried on our wedding night.

In our getaway car with our loved ones’ sparklers still in the rearview mirror, I started to weep. I didn’t know anything about my body, and I was scared. Terrified, even. Vagner immediately consoled me and promised that we could watch Netflix shows on our honeymoon instead if I wanted. (What a guy.)

It was a moment I’d waited for my whole life. I didn’t realize until then that I couldn’t view sex as pleasurable when I’d spent years terrified of it. Like many Christian kids, I decided I wouldn’t have sex until marriage as a teenager. I loved the idea of being “pure” and embraced sermons from trendy megachurch pastors who talked about God rewarding them for their obedience with an incredible sex life (strange in retrospect, I know).

Purity Culture and Marriage

In many ways, I am a purity culture success story. I made it to the finish line! Vagner and I dutifully only kissed for four years. Our marriage is happy and healthy, and I eventually overcame the overwhelming guilt that I felt at the start of my marriage. But the shame was hard to shake. I felt dirty. I was disgusted with myself, and I didn’t know what was wrong until I started talking to others who could relate.

I’ve talked to people who say they wouldn’t have married so young and fast, but they didn’t want to live in sin. I know women who find sex painful and grit their teeth to get through it years into marriage. Years! Even the more progressive church teachings of sex I’ve heard often center male pleasure. Whether it’s intentional or not, the damage is still real.

This is a hot take within Christian circles, but I don’t believe that sex is only allowable within straight marriages and haven’t for a while. If that makes me unbiblical, so be it. I have a complicated relationship with religion these days, but I know one thing to be true: love is more powerful than fear.

What’s Ahead?

How do we do better? That’s the question I keep returning to, and if I’m transparent, I have no idea. I’ve been asking my friends with older kids how they’re handling conversations about sex because I’m confused about how I’ll approach it one day. Thankfully, I have several years to figure it out. Until then, I’ll do my best to share more posts like these. If even one person finds it relatable, that’s enough for me.

I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments if you’d like! As always, thanks for reading.

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