This week I have decided to write my blog post on the “Purity and Promiscuity” section of the Week 3 reading assignment, this includes the article “The Purity Myth”, and the video “SexEd”, and “The Virgin Daughters”.
When discussing the ideas of “Purity” and “Promiscuity”, I’d first like to get a read definition of both those terms. According to Marrium – Webster Dictionary, “Purity” means “lack of dirty or harmful substances” or “lack of guilt or evil thoughts”. and “Promiscuity” means “having or involving many sexual partners” or “involving too many people or things, not in a careful or proper way”. According to Urban Dictionary, a popular website with a collection of crowdsourced definitions of slang words and phrases; “Purity” is “something that is for drinking water, not people” or “to stay a virgin until marriage that even though Christian teenagers are having underage, premarital sex anyway”, and “Promiscuity” is being “sexually indiscriminate: having many indiscriminate or casual sexual relationships. choosing a partner for sexual intercourse without care.” Regardless of the location of the information, we get the gist.
Even in the most unemotional, sterile terms, purity is seen as a lack of something bad, and promiscuity is seen as including or taking in a lot of things, even bad things. Of course, objectively, these are just words and definitions, but in relation to sex, the words take on a new meaning. Purity now means not having sex, until marriage, because sex is seen as dirty and bad and harmful; and Promiscuity now means having lots of sex, unsafe and wrong amounts of sex, with anyone at all.
In regard to education of sex and upbringing of the youths of this world there are a few ways to go about this, of the many the big ones are Comprehensive Sexual Education, some sort of Sex Ed., Abstinence Only Sex Ed., and the Purity Movement.
According to SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Educator Council of the United States), Comprehensive Sexual Education includes information on healthy relationships, medically accurate information about reproduction puberty & anatomy, sexual orientations, gender identities, body image, sexual behavior including fantasies dysfunction & masturbation, sexual health including contraceptives pregnancy abortion SDIs & sexual abuse, and society and culture including gender roles laws & media, the value of abstinence, skills to make responsible decisions about sexuality, and alcohol and drug’s effect responsible decision making. Most schools in the united states have some sort of Sex Ed, and as mentioned in a Video from John Oliver called “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sex Education”, “there is no required standard for sexual education in the united states, only 22 states require some form sexual education, and only 13 of those 22 require it to be medically accurate”, so any public school in any of those 13 states can give a wide range of information and pass it off as sexual education, even if it is completely false.
According to the NAEA (National Abstainance Education Association) Abstinence Only Sex Ed. has a program called Selectiong Authentic SRA (Sexual Risk Avoidance). This program includes information that is “holistic and empowering while presenting all topics within the context of abstinence as the best choice”. According to Advocates for Youth, these “Abstinence Only” programs have a “narrow focus and clear message that not having sex is the right thing to do”. Lastly the Purity Movement, in a documentary by Real Stories on Youtube, we see the life style that the members of the Purity movement live. This movement was born out of the Christian idea that people shouldn’t not have sex until after one is married. But in this movement even the first kiss and the act of holding hands are reserved for their wedding day or after. This movement came about after fathers saw the way that some young women, who didn’t have close relationships with their father, would go to other men to seek the love that they weren’t getting from their fathers. This is of course a generalization, but it has some merit. A “Purity Ball” was created to celebrate a father’s relationship with his daughter and reaffirm her pledge to purity before marriage. In the movement young ladies are brought up in a way that makes they almost uninterested in dating unless it is for sure going to lead to marriage, but when dating does occur, it is a dinner including parents and friends.
All of these forms of Sexual Education have some stance on the Purity promiscuity debate. For Comprehensive, it is a choice, no judgement either way, they just want their students to have all the facts. For some sort of Sex Ed, they want their students to have certain bits of information, and depending on that type of information their stance on purity and promiscuity may be different. For Abstinence Only, they are very clear, there is one choice, no sex till marriage, anything outside that is promiscuous and bad, purity is the only good option. For the Purity Movement, even holding hands is promiscuous. People who do not follow the guidelines to a T are judges and thought of as a lesser person, as shown in the Documentary. Again, purity with a capital P is the only option.
While I personally don’t agree with all of these forms of Sex Ed. I believe that that best form of action in educating the youths of america about Sex for them to have all of the possible information, no matter how uncomfortable that it might make them or if it goes against their beliefs. In the documentary about the Purity Movement, one young girl never received an form of Sexual Education, and it certainly wasn’t the comprehensive education that would likely serve people the best. She intern broke her purity pledge and ended up getting pregnant because of a lack of education and knowledge about safe sex and the consequences of unsafe sex. Everyone has the right to their religion, and since the Purity Movement is related to a certain Religion, it is hard to say that it is the wrong way to teach children about sex. While it is totally ok to teach children about purity as a part of your religious practices, personally I do not think that it is fair to deprive them of the educational resources that they can receive through Comprehensive Sexual Education.
I suppose that the best scenario would be to have Comprehensive Sexual Education in all schools. Obviously it would teach students about contraceptives and safe conceptual sex in a way that they mightn’t be getting at home, but it would also mention things like gender identities, STDs, and body image that almost certainly would not be mentioned at home.
“Support SIECUS!” SIECUS. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2016. <http://www.siecus.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.ViewPage&pageId=514>.
Zeilinger, Julie. “John Oliver, Laverne Cox and Nick Offerman Just Gave Us the Sex Ed PSA America Needs.” Mic. N.p., 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 19 June 2016. <https://mic.com/articles/123634/john-oliver-laverne-cox-and-nick-offerman-just-gave-us-the-sex-ed-psa-america-needs#.WfwryHXPa>.
“Our Lives: The Virgin Daughters – Real Stories.” YouTube. YouTube, 09 Jan. 2016. Web. 19 June 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zofpxsiA_R0>.
“NAEA – National Abstinence Education Association.” – FAQs. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2016. <http://www.abstinenceassociation.org/faqs/>.
“Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs: Ineffective, Unethical, and Poor Public Health.” Advocates for Youth. Advocates for Youth, n.d. Web. 19 June 2016. <http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/publications-a-z/597-abstinence-only-until-marriage-programs-ineffective-unethical-and-poor-public-health>.