From the archives. This article was originally posted on September 11th 2009
I have to hand it to my friend Phil for putting together one hell of an eye – opening article. Until fairly recently, I had never heard of a “Purity Ball,” which, in my defense, is not entirely surprising considering I really don’t keep up with Christian trends. I don’t say that to be mean, but honestly, how many of you Christians out there were aware of the “Great Sheitel Scare” of aught – four? Ok then.
So, it recently came to my attention that parties are being held wherein daughters pledge their “purity,” (for those of us playing at home, that means they’re promising that they’re gonna stay virgins) to their fathers. These can also be known as “Purity Weddings.” So, we’re getting a bunch of underage girls together and having them promise to keep their “purity” only for their fathers, until or unless they marry… and this time the groom has to not be their dad. And also, there may or may not be cake… which is the only reason I would go, frankly.
What About The Boys?
You know what though? I can totally get behind a culture that’s about preserving youthful innocence and not inundating children with sexual images and thoughts the way a lot of our modern culture does. Seriously, if I see one more ten-year old girl with a sparkle–studded cropped t – shirt that says something like, “My boyfriend’s out of town, what’s your name?” I may be sick. So, I get it; you want to make sure your child stays a child as long as possible. That’s cool. But here’s one of the places where I come into problems with this whole situation: where the hell are the boys? Really. Where are the boys in all this?
From an outsider’s perspective, you’re telling me two things:
1) either your daughter has not been educated enough to be able to make conscious choices regarding her life and sexuality without you constantly watching her, or she’s just too stupid, and
2) your son is either superior in this regard because he doesn’t require supervision, or you just don’t care about his immortal soul. Congratulations; your daughter is a penis-o-phobe, and your son is a pimp. Is that taking it a bit far? Sure it is, but I think these people believe that their intentions are easily recognizable and understood by all. They’re not. And we’re not even going to go into the fact that talking about “marrying” your own daughter has all sorts of disturbing sexual overtones.
No, You Can’t Have A Cookie
Not to mention the fact that by spending all your time focusing on the fact that you won’t focus on sex, you’re pretty much spending that time focusing on sex. You know what the worst day of the year for me is? Yom Kippur: the Jewish day of fasting and atonement. Why? Because on any other day I could possibly go the whole day forgetting to eat something, but when all I can think about is how I can’t think about food, it’s all I think about.
Maybe part of the reason I have never understood Christianity’s view on sex and virginity is because Judaism is so radically different in its concepts of what is “good” or “bad” about sex. Until I was about nine or ten years old, I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish community, and in fact I so rarely met anyone who wasn’t Jewish, that when we kept driving by a big house with a lower – case letter “T” on it, I had to ask my mom why the local people were so obsessed with the alphabet. Yes, for those of us playing, it was a church; the “T” was a cross. In my home, sex wasn’t commonly discussed because I was so young, but as I got older there were no hesitations in discussing sex with me when it came up. In fact, the entirety of my mom’s conversation with me about masturbation came down to three words:
“Wash your hands.”
Sex wasn’t bad, it wasn’t wrong or dirty, but there is a time and a place for everything. Some things are appropriate at certain ages, and others aren’t. Judaism, at its core, isn’t really hung up about sex, although there are certain quirks. For example, ensuring that your wife has an orgasm is what is called a “mitzvah” or a good deed. Ensuring she has one on Shabbat is a DOUBLE mitzvah. So, if you really wanna rack up those bonus points for G-D, start screwing. What I don’t understand is that if they believe that G-D created everything, then He must have made that happy–dance, too. Did you know there is such a think as “post sex guilt”? I hadn’t heard of it until college when a roommate explained it to me. Why bother? Why feel guilty about something that was given to you? I really don’t feel guilty about using that blender we got for our wedding… other than the fact that I didn’t send in the registration card, but who really does that? Anyway, with all this sex around me, you’d think I would have lost my virginity very early, but in fact I was one of the last people I know to have sex. It just wasn’t the right time, until suddenly it was, and then I did.
The point is: I really don’t think anyone needs a virginity ring, or a ball, or even a virginity pot–luck. I think what people need is an on-going dialogue that evolves organically from the world around you. Sex is on tv and in ads is everywhere, so why wait to talk to your child until some previously appointed day. When situations arise, talk to your kids, if you have them, about what you think and how you feel. It made a huge difference in my life, and I didn’t even have to sign some contract discussing the state of affairs between my legs with my dad. Believe me, we’re both thankful for that.