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Unread 08-03-2021, 11:15 AM   #1
Dwight Schrute
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Exclamation Purity Culture

A thought-provoking article summarizing the potential harmful effects of Christian "Purity Culture" on marriages and relationships. Posted in "Life Issues" as it might be an issue for some of you lifes.



https://jezebel.com/i-didnt-want-to-...for-1847361950

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Unread 08-10-2021, 12:26 PM   #2
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i have so many thoughts and feelings on purity culture, and they're all angry ones.

thank you for sharing this.
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Unread 08-10-2021, 12:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
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i have so many thoughts and feelings on purity culture, and they're all angry ones.

thank you for sharing this.

I hear you, and empathize. I've been in therapy for a while now, trying to find and root out this cancer from my life. blerg.
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Unread 08-10-2021, 01:35 PM   #4
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I have not responded because I was never influenced or affected by that stuff. By the time Harris wrote that book of his I had already kissed dating goodbye for a long time. I had been married for five and half years and had a six month old son. Other than knowing the book was written I have absolutely no frame of reference.
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Unread 08-10-2021, 04:02 PM   #5
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My first girlfriend's family were somewhat into Harris around the time we started dating. I read the books and was like "Oh this sounds like he took reasonable advice and then added a heap of extra rules to it."

I have no idea how someone can take generally sound advice of "Don't have premarital sex, don't put yourself in tempting situations, and treat your girlfriend well" and turn it into practically "Don't talk to her, don't even look at her" and make it sell well.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 03:32 PM   #6
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I grew up in a Baptist church during the right time period but I had never heard of the book or any of the books mentioned in the article. So I know nothing about it.

Reading the article, it appears that the writer is putting the blame on lack of sexual experience before marriage and obligatory sex in a marriage. I agree that extremes can be damaging and can be ripe for abuse. Still, at least some of the examples seem to be common problems in all marriges. The lady who felt the pressure to perform on her wedding night being an example. That pressure is clearly there in secular society as well. I think as a church, lack of adequate marriage counseling is a definite problem resulting in unrealistic expectations. So I think the conversation is good.

Are there sexual obligations in a marriage? I think there are. An obvious example is sex being only between husband and wife. The question then becomes what are the obligations? That gets a little more tricky. So without being too graphic for cgr, what are the sexual obligations in a marriage?
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Unread 08-11-2021, 03:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlj009 View Post
Are there sexual obligations in a marriage? I think there are. An obvious example is sex being only between husband and wife. The question then becomes what are the obligations? That gets a little more tricky. So without being too graphic for cgr, what are the sexual obligations in a marriage?
One of the purposes of sexual relations is for procreation. I would suggest the other reason (equally important) is for an intimate connection between spouses.

I believe sex was designed by God to be between one man and one woman within the confines of marriage. I do not believe there are any other appropriate sexual expressions.

I believe we could avoid a lot (not all) of the issues by having healthy discussions. Part of pre-marital counseling should address expectations and boundaries each individual may have. Those things should be dealt with before the wedding. Is it uncomfortable to talk about that stuff? Of course. However, I believe we are doing couples a disservice by not getting those things out in the open.

Just my few cents worth.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 05:18 PM   #8
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I agree but not everyone is given the control to be celibate. So, if the only sexual expression is to be between husband and wife, we have the problem of the mismatched libido which will occur in most, if not all, marriages at some point. Most divorces revolve around sex or money. And I believe mismatched libido is the most common sexual problem in a marriage. So, does the low libido spouse have an obligation? Is the high libido spouse abusive for pressuring the other? Personally, I don't think there is a universal answer. I think communication is key. And I think that love is usually missing from such discussions.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 05:26 PM   #9
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I think premarital counseling with a real, licensed therapist (or even a real, licensed sex therapist) would be very helpful to open up channels of communication. a good understanding of "consent" would be helpful as well, that might help head off some of the challenges of "expectation" or "entitlement".

I never read Harris' book; for me, at some point in the 90's, purity culture just suddenly was everywhere. I'm still untangling the mess, deep into my 40's. going to an actual, licensed therapist has brought the most progress. years of "pastoral" or "biblical" counseling just made things exponentially worse, glad that is far off in the rear-view mirror now.

a side topic to be sure, but curious how the biblical teachings on polygamy (or more accurately, polygyny) and having concubines (a married man having action on the side with an unmarried woman) contrast with the belief (from Paul's writings) stated above of the only acceptable sex being between one-man-one-woman, post-marriage? it's kind of a newer social construct (not necessarily a biblical one) for a man to NOT have multiple wives. some religious sects still follow polygyny today. the entire system seems to align with the patriarchal model - men can have pre- and post-marital sex with anyone they choose, while Jewish women are property of the man and cannot have sex with anyone but their husband. even the word referenced - porneia - is vague, as it doesn't seem to have an accurate English word to translate to. all that to say, I don't see this topic of sexuality is as black-and-white as modern white evangelical christianity would have us believe.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 05:36 PM   #10
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I can't recall a biblical teaching on polygamy other than it happened and usually portrayed in either indifferent or negative light. Either way, Jesus teaching on divorce seems to make it clear that some things that were allowed were not necessarily good.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 06:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlj009 View Post
I can't recall a biblical teaching on polygamy other than it happened and usually portrayed in either indifferent or negative light. Either way, Jesus teaching on divorce seems to make it clear that some things that were allowed were not necessarily good.

or to say it differently, it was a societal framework that the biblical writings existed within - neither right nor wrong, given the bible did not explicitly say that polygny (as one example) was wrong for the common layperson. (that, taking into account the guidance of Paul to Timothy at that particular time & place & circumstance for a monogamous elder/deacon).


all that to say, I don't understand how the concept of one-man-one-woman = the only acceptable framework for marriage. I guess the short answer is that is the societal framework of which we are accustomed to, so that is what we prefer to follow. but it's not a distinctly biblical one. my recollection of Roman history is that monogamy was the standard, and was adopted as the preferred societal framework which is by-and-large still in effect today. I know of a dear Christian couple that is polyamorous, and I couldn't find any grounds for looking down on them - biblical, or otherwise. it's not my cup of tea (I have enough challenges keeping my own business together), but it's also none of my beeswax what their marriage looks like.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 06:56 PM   #12
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Linda Kay Kline is going to be speaking on Purity Culture at the next Courage 365 Livestream tomorrow (Thursday). posting, in case anyone is interested. her book "Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free" is pretty fascinating. my daughter and I saw her on the book tour promoting Pure, she is a pretty awesome person.



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Unread 08-11-2021, 08:00 PM   #13
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Still, I believe that Jesus comments about 2 becoming 1 flesh established the biblical standard of 1 man and 1 woman. In addressing divorce, I think he was also addressing polygamy.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 09:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Still, I believe that Jesus comments about 2 becoming 1 flesh established the biblical standard of 1 man and 1 woman. In addressing divorce, I think he was also addressing polygamy.
that would be one interpretation of the Genesis metaphor, yes. there are of course others (ie. the two are bonded together sexually during coitus, their lives are intertwined in a social construct, they become one family unit, etc.). given it is believed Genesis was written at a time when polygamy / polygyny was a common and valid social construct (ie. during the exile / post-exile period), it's debatable that the author had our modern vision of marriage in mind (ie. one-man-plus-one-woman). we may have introduced our own modern societal bias into the interpretation.

I'd personally take issue with the use of the term "the biblical standard" as it's not as black and white as it appears. to imply that something is a the biblical standard, in my opinion, implies that it's the only correct one from the bible. a more honest way to say it might be that your personal interpretation is ______. but I confess that is a pet peeve of mine - none of us have this crap worked out. all of us base our theology on our personal interpretation of several sometimes vague, sometimes inaccurately translated ancient texts.

one could also argue that Paul's writings to Timothy on qualifications for elders leaves the door open for polygamy among Christians through its limited choice of words - for example, Paul indicates that a church leader should be monogamous, but doesn't state that all Christians must be monogamous.

or to say it differently, it's not very black and white. we all do the best we can.

but you did answer my question, for which I thank you.

*edit one thing I appreciate about CGR is that talking over differing opinions and interpretations helps motivate me to research. I just read some articles on Christian polygymy, which listed documentation showing polygymy through the time of Christ, into the early church period. it was still a practice, apparently among the wealthy (who else could afford it?). it seems to have been a fading practice more as a result of Roman laws and customs, which were monogomous. polygymy even continued on in more modern times. As an example, Martin Luther addressed it as biblically permissable:

"I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter."

anyhow, a genuinely fascinating topic.

*end of edit
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Unread 08-11-2021, 10:55 PM   #15
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Is there an instance in the Bible where someone having multiple wives hasn't led to major drama?
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But He was pierced for our transgressions
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