Friday, March 11, 2016

Feminism Friday: Purity Culture

One phenomenon that has swept the U.S., particularly conservative Protestants, is Purity Culture.

Love, Joy, Feminism has a great collection of articles on the subject, the practices, and the problems with it.

I think one of the most damning commentaries on Purity Culture comes from Elizabeth Smart. The counter-example, then, is the story of the $20 bill. Crinkling it up in a ball, dropping it in the dirt, stepping on it - whatever you do to the $20 bill, it is still worth $20. It doesn't lose its value.

Further reading on Purity Culture vs Consent Culture. This is important, because Consent Culture can address so many things beyond sex. Consent Culture helps with recognizing other forms of abuse: physical, mental, emotional, financial.

Now, Catholic Natural Family Planning teachings vary from the far-right Protestant view of sex as an obligation.  Catholicism teaches that it IS appropriate for spouses to take a break from sex. In Marriage Preparation training, they cite Chapter and Verse of the Bible supporting periodic abstinence and the NFP methods.

But this also ties back to human sexuality spectrums, specifically the asexuality spectrum. While it is true that there are some people who would like to have sex anytime, anywhere, with just about anyone... that's an extreme point. There are also people who don't care for sex. And, assuming a standard bell curve, most people will be in the middle: enjoying sex some of the time, preferring one or some partners over others, or needing a relationship before being interested in acts.