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So, what particular purity line were you fed? Judging from the comments, I'm not the only one who the latest Lindy West masterpiece on purity hit REALLY HARD. I mean, I'm a lifelong feminist who reads and writes about this stuff constantly, and I had never made some of the AMAZING connections she made in that article.


So what I want to know is — what was the (infallible, of course) argument / metaphor / simile / aphorism / rhetorical device you were fed to teach you that purity was more valuable than gold, or whatever?

Mine? Well, I can't really say that there was just one. There were many (conservative Christian upbringing), although none quite as gross as some of the ones I've seen in the comments. But the one that stands out to me, the one I can still hear in my mother's voice, is this:

"Honey, women are the brakes. You control how far something goes in a relationship. And boys will go as far as you will let them, so you have to be the brakes and set the limits."

I remember thinking... why? Why... why would I be the only one in the relationship concerned with limits? Why, if I'm in a relationship with someone whose values presumably approach my own (especially considering I was encouraged to date within my faith) would I be the sole arbiter of how far things went sexually? Why wouldn't he have the exact same concerns that I did regarding maintaining moral standards (aka virginity)?


"Well, in the heat of the moment" (which I won't be caught up in, too?) "it's easy to let your guard down, and you have to remember your self control and set limits for both of you."

Again, WHY. Why just me, and why not BOTH of us? Why couldn't I have enough trust in the guy to believe that he would have his own moral standards and wouldn't just abandon them at the first chance he got, too?


That placing of responsibility for keeping myself from de-valuing into "sluthood" squarely on my shoulders, and removing it totally from the boy who would presumably be doing everything in his power to push me into "sluthood", made me angry. And I'm glad it did, because it helped me see from a very early age that there were some questions I needed to ask, and to not stop until I understood exactly what this world was trying to tell me.

So now, dear Jezzies — share your stories. What were you told? Is there a line, a phrase that stands out to you in how purity was explained or presented? I know from Lindy's comments that there were quite a few dirty cup / licked cupcake / battered present metaphors (the last one, I did hear in a sermon several times), so bring em on — let's hear what you had to hear growing up.

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