“‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ [Book] Told Me to Stay Pure Until Marriage. I Still Have a Stain on My Heart” – Regarding: Dating Book by Author Josh Harris (with other related links about the IKDG book) and Criticizing “Purity Culture”

“‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ [Book] Told Me to Stay Pure Until Marriage. I Still Have a Stain on My Heart” – Regarding: Dating Book by Author Josh Harris (with other related links about the IKDG book) and Criticizing “Purity Culture”

August 24, 2016 update: I added a new link at the bottom of this post: people continue to attack the idea of sexual purity by publicizing backlash against the Harris IKDG book.


I myself have never read the IKDB book, which was written by Harris. I have read about the book on other sites in the past, and it is my understanding the book discussed how to date, and other such topics, and is not strictly about sex or virginity.

The author uses this review of the IKDG book to bash “purity culture,” and in so doing, touches on the topic or staying chaste until marriage.

I am in the middle of this debate. I cannot completely agree with all the critics of “purity culture,” depending on what they are criticizing about it and why.

I believe that the Bible teaches both male and females are to sexually abstain until marriage, so I don’t believe in tossing out this teaching all because some young women feel they have been hurt or oppressed by it.

On the other hand, how some Christians have taught about sexual purity has been lop-sided – males are typically not addressed, only females – and Christians could do a better, or more sensitive job, in how they present the concept of remaining a virgin until marriage.

With that introduction, here is the link, with some excerpts (and note, I am not in complete agreement with all views in this piece; however, I’m not a supporter of a lot of Christian dating advice. Christian dating advice tends to act as an obstacle to singles who want to someday marry):

(Link): “‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ told me to stay pure until marriage. I still have a stain on my heart

Excerpts:

July 27, 2016

In 1997, Joshua Harris published “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” a book that was in part a warning about the harm that relationships before marriage could cause. Harris evoked images of men at the altar bringing all their past partners with them into the marriage to reinforce the point that love and sex before marriage took pieces of your heart and made you less.

At the time, Harris was just 21, but he was already a rising star.

…He [Harris] was what we, as young evangelicals, wanted to be. And so we strove passionately to attain the ideal of premarital purity he laid out for us. Now, almost 20 years later, even Harris appears to be questioning whether his advice did more harm than good.

…But Harris’s book was hugely influential.

…On the surface, I am a purity-culture success story: I am a heterosexual woman, a virgin until marriage, now with two small children and a husband I deeply love. We attend church. We believe in God. And yet, for me, the legacy of purity culture is not one of freedom but one of fear.

Joshua Harris, author of the bestseller “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” recently opened up about the the criticism he’s gotten from Christians who grew up reading his book, and revealed that he’s in the process of “re-evaluating” some of its “damaging” contents.

Released in 1997, when Harris was just 21 years old and had not yet been in a dating relationship, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” discusses the problems with contemporary “recreational dating” and presents “biblical courtship” as an alternative. In his book, Harris also urges Christian singles to commit to “purposeful singleness,” as romantic relationships should exist only as a means to preparing for marriage

The book quickly became a staple among the Christian community, selling over 800,000 copies nationwide.

“‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye,’ with its inspiring call to sincere love, real purity, and purposeful singleness, remains the benchmark for books on Christian dating,” reads the book description. “Joshua Harris shares his story of giving up dating and discovering that God has something even better-a life of sincere love, true purity, and purposeful singleness.”

However, nearly two decades later, Harris, now a married father of three, admitted that over the years, a number of individuals have shared how his book (Link):  negatively affected them and promoted a damaging and unhelpful view of sexuality, relationships, and dating.

“I’m hearing these different voices saying, here’s how your book was used against me, here’s how it was forced on me, or here’s how I tried to – no one forced it on me, but I tried to apply it and it had this negative consequence in different ways,” Harris told (Link): NPR during a recent interview.

“I’m trying to go back and really evaluate, you know, where did my book contribute to that? Where was it too stringent? And where was that me and what I was writing, and where was that – the families and the church cultures and so on? So I feel like I’m on the front end of a process to help people in some way if I can apologize where needed and re-evaluate where needed.”

Harris, who went on to serve as senior pastor of Covenant Life Church for several years, also expressed disappointment that the message of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” has been interpreted and used by many as being a legalistic set of rules.

“I know that that’s not helpful,” he told the outlet. “That was not my intention. But I think one of the things that I’m changing in my own thinking is I just think people – myself included – it’s so easy to latch on to a formula. You know, you do these things and you’ll be great. You’ll be safe and you’ll be protected and you’ll be whatever.”

(Link):  Pastor Joshua Harris Apologizes for Problematic Advice in Bestselling Book ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’

(Link): Abstinence Author, Pastor Joshua Harris, Apologizes for Telling Christians Not to Date in ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’

Aug 26, 2016

Joshua Harris, the former lead pastor of Covenant Life Church, the founding church of Sovereign Grace Ministries in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is now apologizing to Christians he hurt when he advised against dating in his best-selling 1997 book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, calling it a “huge mistake.”

“Part of the reason this has been so hard for me is that I have so much of my identity tied up in these books. It’s what I’m known for,” Harris told writer Ruth Graham earlier this month in Vancouver, British Columbia, in a report for Slate.

“It’s like, well, crap, is the biggest thing I’ve done in my life this really huge mistake?” asked Harris, who stepped down as lead pastor at Covenant Life last year to pursue graduate studies at the evangelical Regent College in British Columbia.

In I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Harris argues that traditional dating is “a training ground for divorce” because it puts people in the habit of quitting relationships when things get tough.


(Link): The Contemporary Church Undervalues Celibacy / Virginity

(Link):  Are You Ashamed of Biblical [Sexual] Purity? by J. Slattery

(Link):  Eight Pieces of Christian Dating Advice that is Keeping Me Single. – from Stuff Christians Like.net

(Link):  Let’s Kiss Dating Hello – Ring By Spring Culture at Christian Campuses, by N. Sheets

(Link): Anti Virginity Editorial by Christian Blogger Tim Challies – Do Hurt / Shame Feelings or Sexual Abuse Mean Christians Should Cease Supporting Virginity or Teaching About Sexual Purity

(Link):  Article: 30 And Single? It’s Your Own Fault by  C. Courtney

(Link):  Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work

(Link): Five Unhelpful Things Singles Are Tired Of Hearing by R. Duncan / Eight Things You Should Never Say To Your Single Friends by K. Wilkinson

(Link): Following the Usual Advice Won’t Get You Dates or Married – Even Celebrities Have A Hard Time

(Link):  Gender Complementarian Owen Strachan’s “Being Single To Bring God Glory” Essay

(Link): Single Adult Christian Pressured Into Marriage by Her Church – And Regrets It

(Link): Married Female Christian Blogger Whose Mate Hunting Criteria is Guaranteed to Keep Marriage Minded Single Christian Men Single Perpetually

(Link):  It’s Not Your Imagination, Single Women: There Literally Aren’t Enough Men Out There – Re: Man Shortage – Follow Up Interview 

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link): Consider The Source: Christians Who Give Singles Dating Advice Also Regularly Coach Wives to Stay in Abusive Marriages

(Link): Slut Shaming and Virgin Shaming and Secular and Christian Culture – Dirty Water / Used Chewing Gum and the CDC’s Warnings – I guess the CDC is a bunch of slut shamers ?

(Link): Virgins and Celibates are Sexual – Not Asexual and Androgynous – You don’t have to have sex to possess sexuality

(Link): Sometimes Shame Guilt and Hurt Feelings Over Sexual Sins Is a Good Thing – but – Emergents, Liberals Who Are Into Virgin and Celibate Shaming

(Link):   I Waited to Have Sex Until I Was 26, And Now I Can’t Have an Orgasm (by a Woman Raised in Christian Purity Culture) – Provides Yet Another Reason to Ditch the Equally Yoked Teaching

(Link):  Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan

(Link):  Husband-Hunting is the Worst Part of a Christian Upbringing – Christianity Made Me Obsessed with Finding a Husband – by B. Ramos

(Link):   Living Myths About Virginity – article from The Atlantic 

(Link): Why Some People Become 30 Year Old Virgins (Article / Study)

(Link): On ‘Late’-In-Life Virginity Loss (from The Atlantic)

(Link): Virginity Lost, Experience Gained (article with information from study about virginity)

(Link): 105-year-old virgin says no sex the key to long life

(Link):  After Evangelical Virgins Marry, Then What? (New Study Discusses Problems Male Christians Have After Marriage With Sex)

(Link):  Stop Pretending Sex Never Hurts, By D.C. McAllister

(Link):  Secular, Left Wing Feminist Site That Is Against Slut Shaming But For Casual Sex Publishes Article That Inadvertently Makes A Case Against Casual Sex

(Link): Inconsistency on Feminist Site – Choices Have Consequences

(Link):  Problems Created by Conservative Christian Teachings About Virginity, Sex, and Marriage: Christian Couple Who Were Virgins At Marriage Are Experiencing Sexual Problems – Re: UnVeiled Wife (Marriage does not guarantee great sex)

(Link): Slut Shaming and Virgin Shaming and Secular and Christian Culture – Dirty Water / Used Chewing Gum and the CDC’s Warnings – I guess the CDC is a bunch of slut shamers ?

(Link):   Weak Argument Against Celibacy / Virginity / Sexual Purity by the Anti Sexual Purity Gestapo – Sexual Compatibility or Incompatibility – (i.e., Taking Human Beings For Test Spins – Humans As Sexual Commodities) (Part 2)

(Link):    Abstinence Groups: New Sex-Ed Study Misses Point of Urging Teens to Wait

(Link):  Why are young feminists so clueless about sex? by M. Wente

(Link): No Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity – Christians Attack and Criticize Virginity Sexual Purity Celibacy / Virginity Sexual Purity Not An Idol

(Link): The Myth of Safe Sex by D. Foley

(Link): Celibate Shaming from an Anti- Slut Shaming Secular Feminist Site (Hypocrisy) Feminists Do Not Support All Choices

(Link):  Our Bodies Were Not Made for Sex by T. Swann

(Link): I Shouldn’t Need An Excuse To Be A Virgin – (Secular Editorial Defends Virginity – More Rare Than a Unicorn Sighting)

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