Criticism of Purity Teachings by Christians via a Woman’s Personal Testimony
Before I issue the link and paste in a few excerpts from the testimony, a few words of clarification.
I believe the Bible teaches that sex is for marriage only. This view is under attack.
There is a trend lately among Christians, and from ex-Christians, usually by women who have felt wounded by Christian views on sex, to speak out against sexual purity and virginity teachings one usually hears in churches or sees in Christian publications.
I understand they are hurt and angry. I’m sorry they’ve been hurt by Christian teaching that makes them feel like used merchandise for having sex outside of marriage, or tells them they are damaged goods.
I will say one totally annoying component of these discussions is that a sexual abuse victim usually chirps in to say “what about me?” The thing is, when Christians discuss purity, they almost always have consensual sex in mind.
I’ve seen only a small sliver of alleged Christian groups, such as some Independent Baptist Churches, who blame women for being rape or molestation victims. The vast majority of Christians do not think of sexual assault victims as being to blame or as being “damaged goods.” Sexual assault victims are not to blame for having been violated.
When I personally discuss sexual purity, I am discussing it in terms of consensual sex. Unless I make a post specifically about sexual abuse and rape, always assume I’m referring to consensual sex.
Most of the rejection of sexual purity and virginity- until- marriage teachings I see come from women who were molested or raped. Then there are women who had consensual sex at some point and resent any Christian judging them for this behavior, or for the behavior itself being judged.
While I still believe the Bible condemns consensual sex outside of marriage, I also believe that most churches, preachers, and Christians present discussions of purity, celibacy, and virginity in a way that can be hurtful or too judgemental. It’s not the concept of sexual purity that is wrong, but how it is presented.
Perhaps I will write a long post discussing the attacks on virginity at a later time, but I wanted to preface the following editorial to make my views clear.
This is hosted on Slate:
(Link): My virginity mistake
BY JESSICA CIENCIN HENRIQUEZ
I took an abstinence pledge hoping it would ensure a strong marriage. Instead, it led to a quick divorce
[The author says she took a purity pledge when younger, remained a virgin until marriage, and the sex she had with her husband on their wedding night was unremarkable]
Three minutes later when he [her husband] finished [having sex] he appeared pleased with himself and I was glad that it was out of the way.
…This was not lovemaking. There was no bond, no sanctity – this was not the amazing sex I was promised from the pulpit. This was disappointment three to four times a week.
But I accepted sex as part of the gig and though it was regular, it was regularly awful for me. It wasn’t all his fault. I admit that I was not a willing student but he was no teacher, either.
Our bodies wanted different things from one another, so what we ended up with was a horizontal battle. I would hear married girlfriends talk about the joys of make-up sex and continue to sip my coffee in silence. We would fight, and then have bad sex and then fight some more.
Every flaw in our marriage and in him seemed much more miserable when combined with the possibility of faking orgasms until death did we part. There was no relief.
[Commentary by Christian Pundit, blog owner:
The woman who wrote this later reaches this unfortunate conclusion you see below that people should have sex with a partner before marrying him, to make sure both are sexually compatible – I would say, you don’t need to have sex before marriage. It sounds to me that she did not communicate to her husband what she wanted in bed. Or, why did she and her husband not try seeing a sex therapist or marriage counselor?]
Had we had sex before our relationship transitioned into a contract, I would have known that there was no passion, no spark, nothing happening between our bodies. I would never have agreed to marry him because sex is a significant part of a relationship and therefore a significant part of our relationship was failing. With the failure of our sex life, I felt like less of a woman, no longer a sexual creature but more of a plant. Sitting there, day in, day out, wilting while I waited for someone to take care of me.
Without having sex before marriage, I blindly walked up an aisle and committed myself to a man who didn’t know me and gave my long-held virginity to someone with whom I had no more chemistry than a second cousin.
Soon after our divorce, he got remarried to someone who suits him better than I ever could have. And years later, I can confirm that I am not that woman who has no interest in sex. I don’t quilt. I haven’t compiled a grocery list in bed in years, and I now know that sex can be amazing … with a bartender who only knows your first name, a pilot you meet on vacation in Costa Rica and yes, with the right guy – sex in a marriage can be beautiful. The key is to figure that out before you find yourself walking down an aisle in a dress that costs more than the family car (my mother has since reminded me).
- –(End editorial)—
I do agree with her that conservative Christian organizations and churches need to stop promising virgins awesome, mind blowing sex upon marriage. You may not get great sex if you wait for marriage. That is misleading and not the entire point of marriage and sex anyhow.