A Christian pleads for a replacement for “purity culture” in the pages of the New York Times

A friend sent me the link to an article in today’s New York Times on Christian sex, with the note:

“You might want to check out this piece — again, in the NYT. I believe the writer has legitimate grounds for writing the piece, but why does it appear in the NYT? How many Evangelical readers of the NYT are there?  Could you imagine the NYT running this 15 years ago?  I cannot.  I’m puzzled.”

After reading it, I was puzzled too. It’s the kind of personal dilemma that fills the pages of HuffPost but has nothing to say to the wider culture—at least as far as I can see. And it’s part of the NYT’s drive to HuffPost-up its pages with personal stories that are just beefing and say nothing to the general reader.

Click on the screenshot to read the piece.

Ms. Beaty was once an advocate of Christian “purity culture”, full of pledges to remain virgins until marriage, purity rings, father-daughter balls, and the like. Studies show that these pledges and the like don’t work, and they didn’t work for Beaty.

But, like religionists who have given up their faith but still need a substitute for church, Beaty needs a substitute for religious guidance about sex:

It held out the promise that if I remained pure, then God would reward good behavior with a husband — surely before I turned 30 so that we could have lots of children.

Somehow God and I got our wires crossed, because the husband hasn’t arrived. Twenty years later, I no longer subscribe to purity culture, largely because it never had anything to say to Christians past the age of 23. Yet lately, I also find myself mourning the loss of the coherent sexual ethic that purity culture tried to offer. Is consent culture the best that we have in its place?

What, exactly, is “consent culture”? Is it a culture in which sexual activity between two consenting adults, who somehow are able to express that consent, is okay? If that’s what she means, then what is wrong with that?

To Beaty, it’s insufficient because “consent culture” has taken the sacredness out of sex:

 For amid the horrible teachings about women’s bodies and God’s anger over an exposed bra strap, the proponents of purity — or the best of them at least — were trying to offer us the gift of sex within marriage. As Christianity teaches that marriage is not simply a legal bind but a spiritual covenant, so married sex is a bodily expression that two people will be for each other, through all seasons.

As I continue to date with hopes of meeting a partner, I yearn for guidance on how to integrate faith and sexuality in ways that honor more than my own desires in a given moment.

Beaty, in other words, wants somebody to tell her that sex is more than just animal coupling, someone to tell her how spiritual it is. And that someone is not Darwin!:

All creation, including human bodies, by grace reveals deeper spiritual truth. In other words, matter matters. So when a person engages another person sexually, Christians would say, it’s not “just” bodies enacting natural evolutionary urges but also an encounter with another soul. To reassert this truth feels embarrassingly retrograde and precious by today’s standards. But even the nonreligious attest that in sex, something “more” is happening, however shrouded that more might be.

But sex is both the fulfillment of biological urges deeply imbued in our minds and bodies by evolution (after all, if there is a “purpose” to evolution, it’s the passing on of genes), and also a form of mental synching that contributes to a pair bond. Humans, after all, have to take care of their kids for a long time, and in general two partners are needed for the best results. Ergo, when you have sex—our ancient evolutionary sign of child production, a mental bond will start to form.

That is one evolutionary explanation for love, and that is the “more” that Beaty is seeking. Call it love, or call it “spirituality”, but whatever it is, sex is usually accompanied by deeper emotional ties. That is enough explanation for me.

But it’s still not enough for Beaty, because—and this is why the article doesn’t belong in the New York Times—she needs to know what Jesus wants!:

To be sure, consent is a nonnegotiable baseline, one that Christian communities overlook. (I never once heard about consent in youth group.) But two people can consent to something that’s nonetheless damaging or selfish. Consent crucially protects against sexual assault and other forms of coercion. But it doesn’t necessarily protect against people using one another in quieter ways. I long for more robust categories of right and wrong besides consent — a baseline, but only that — and more than a general reminder not to be a jerk. I can get that from Dan Savage, but I also want to know what Jesus thinks.

. . .While I hate the effects that purity culture had on young women like me, I still find the traditional Christian vision for married sex radical, daunting and extremely compelling — and one I still want to uphold, even if I fumble along the way.

Indeed, relationships can be rocky, and sex doesn’t assure you a perfect partner. Nobody, including Beaty, can get a guarantee that a sexual relationship won’t turn bad. But really, “I also want to know what Jesus thinks”? Oy gewalt!

Well, Ms. Beaty, why are you importuning the readers of the New York Times—who are largely nonbelievers and, at any rate, are unable to answer her plea—to tell her what kind of sex comports with Jesus’s views and Christianity? Ask some damn preachers!  And if she asks a thousand non-evangelical Christian preachers, she’ll get a thousand different answers.

But better that than foist her woes upon the readers of what purports to be the nation’s best newspaper. This kind of “HuffPost Her Stories” lamenting doesn’t belong in such a paper, especially because there’s no answer to Beaty’s dilemma.


  1. Historian
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    As of this moment, there are 649 comments and going up on this op-ed. Maybe some of these comments will help Ms. Beaty resolve her dilemma. The NYT claims it is resolved to promote diversity. Perhaps this is one way to do it.

  2. DrBrydon
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The NYT probably feels vaguely that it should have something religious in its editorials on Sundays. This piece was probably close at hand on Friday, and, not really caring about religion, the editor thought, “Done!” For her part, perhaps Miss Beaty thinks that Jesus is more likely to see her piece in the NYT?

    • rickflick
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Is there an Aramaic version of the NYT?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Possibly – printed to-order in an Israeli “settlement” somewhere on the West Bank.

        Ha. Ha. But serious.

      • Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        And how many people of any religion whatever, and those with none, can read Aramaic? If Jesus lived, he may have spoken it but probably couldn’t read it.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

          But, wasn’t he supposed to preach eloquently on the Torah at a young age? Wouldn’t he have had to learn to read for that?

          • Posted June 17, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            But the Torah is not written in Aramaic – it is written in Hebrew, so …

            • rickflick
              Posted June 17, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

              Oh, right…I’m beginning to think the whole Jesus thing is a mythicism.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    “How Should Christians Have Sex?”

    A quick and dutiful hump in the missionary position, with the lights off, for procreative purposes only has been the ticket for two millennia. Why fracture good order now, Xtians?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      “Oh Lord, make me chaste. But not yet!”
      Quoth one of the least-impeachable “Fathers of the Church”.
      But he wasn’t writing in Jacobean English, so he can safely be ignored.

  4. A C Harper
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Christians would say, it’s not “just” bodies enacting natural evolutionary urges but also an encounter with another soul.

    Plus God, of course, who is everywhere and all knowing.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      He really is a creep isn’t He?

      • Posted June 17, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        I was going to write, “With god in your life you can always have a threesome”, but I realized with the Trinity even that might be more complicated!

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    … Christian “purity culture”, full of pledges to remain virgins until marriage, purity rings, father-daughter balls, and the like.

    It’s all just American fundies’ watered-down version of sharia law and the Islamic purity police (like Saudi Arabia’s “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice,” the name of which echoes the bluenose society set up by that old censor Anthony Comstock).

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Ah, that’s what you mean by “bluenose“.

  6. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I dunno, in my experience girls (we’re talking girls, of course) from a strict religious background, be it protestant, catholic or muslim (the latter are just even more secretive about it) are no less promiscuous than those from a non-strict background. They are just more prone to fall pregnant, and their abortions need to be very much secretive.
    So no, there is nothing wrong about ‘consent culture’, and although sex may be highly emotional, there is nothing ‘sacred’ about it.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I never kept stats, but when I was a college boy, there was a prevalent stereotype about girls from all-girl Catholic high schools who went a bit crazy freshman year, their first time manumitted from the oppressive constraints of parents and nuns. Some of ’em couldn’t handle it and left before sophomore year. Maybe it’s a matter, as a nice Jewish boy from Long Island said, of Catholic girls starting much too late.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        I’m not really a fan of Billie Joel, and I do not see that Catholic girls ‘start too late’.
        On the contrary, rather too early, I’d say, before they have a grasp of contraception and STD’s and the like, which can complicate things.
        ‘Those irresponsible little fuckers’, as a (female) colleague of mine used to unflatteringly, but not heartlessly, describe them.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 16, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          Oh, I don’t think it’s that Catholic girls start too early; I think it’s that they (particularly the ones who attend all-girl Catholic high schools) are kept in a cloistered, benighted environment too long. Then, suddenly, with little preparation, they’re loosed upon a sexually liberated world to fend for themselves. Usually at the age of 18, though for some, it happens even earlier, at 15 or 16 or 17, over the course of a summer vacation when they fall in with a faster crowd or find a new boyfriend. At least that was the case back in my pre-internet, pre-cellular telephone, pre-cable-tv-even youth.

          And I’m not a huge Billy Joel fan either, though the fella wrote some tunes with quotable lyrics.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted June 16, 2019 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

            Like –

            “They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait
            Some say it’s better but I say it ain’t
            I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
            The sinners are much more fun”

            Right On Topic for this thread, I think.


          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted June 16, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            Of course it is the sexual education that is
            left too late, and lack of easy access to contraception, rather than them having sex too early. “Obvious” or “Serious” as they like to say here.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        4 replies and nobody has mentioned young Franklin?
        Is that Moon Unit on backing lyrics? How timely!

    • Christopher
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      As I recall from Richard Dawkins’ program, Sex, Death, and the Meaning of Life, the statistics of premarital sex, masturbation, internet porn, and the like were pretty much equal for goddies and atheists, or maybe it was the hyper-religious South and everyone else, the only difference was the guilt and shame. But then is there any basic biological necessity that a religion hasn’t declared sinful and evil?

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        The only difference was shame and guilt?
        No, there is also pregnancy and STD’s, which, in my admittedly limited experience (only a few thousand or so I did abortions on) is more prevalent in girls from a strictly religious background.

  7. Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    The “purity culture” is a bit like the Ten Commandments—neither has been tried on a large enough scale to get a representative sample.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure you are aware of why the 10 Commandments have never been tried out in a large arena, and why they fail even on a small scale. However, I provide the following in case there are others who are yet to be enlightened.


  8. Roo
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I assume the idea behind personal testimonials is that it helps us all to get to know each other and different points of view within the US, which is a huge and diverse country. I don’t have a problem with that in principle, although I think anytime you tell people they can have a platform on a large scale you ramp up a tendency towards high school angsty-ness that people thinks sounds Sewper Deep or like what others want to hear, and omit the day-to-day, shooting the breeze kind of talk that’s probably a good bit more realistic and what you would get from actually meeting different types of people in person.

    Regarding her conundrum about sex – I am a bit flummoxed that as a Christian she puts so much emphasis on sex in the first place. I have volunteered a good bit with Evangelical groups but was not raised in one, so perhaps I missed that element – in Christianity as I know it the attitude is more that sex is another carnal pleasure along with food, wine, nice things, and so on that one should become less attached to, not like a spiritual sacrament or some such thing. In the Catholic and Orthodox church, abstinence is encouraged (or demanded, depending on where you go,) even within marriages during Lent and on fasting days. I think her premise that Christianity offers something like esoteric tantra when it comes to combining spirituality and sex is mistaken in the first place and comes more from American culture than the Bible.

    • Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      “in Christianity as I know it. . .sex is another carnal pleasure along with food, wine, nice things, and so on. . .not like a spiritual sacrament or some such thing.”

      In Catholicism as I know it sex is considered “sacred” because it represents the closest that humans come to emulating God by creating new life. This is what distinguishes it from carnal pleasures such as “food, wine, nice things, and so on.”

      • darrelle
        Posted June 17, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        I think you are both correct and talking about quite different things. Procreation is sacred in Catholicism but sex without the intent or desire to procreate is considered a carnal pleasure. So much so that carnal pleasure has long since become near synonymous with sex.

        • Roo
          Posted June 17, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          That’s interesting – a lot of my family is Catholic but I have never heard the ’emulating God’ idea before. I’m not sure what the official teachings of the eastern church are but, from what I have absorbed vicariously, I feel like saying you were emulating God might come off as sacrilegious to many Orthodox people. I think the emphasis there is much more on prayer and God’s will, and seeing yourself as an active agent in procreation (I’m choosing to do this and I’m the one making it happen, etc.,) would be very much frowned upon. I feel like the understanding there is more that God is the one calling those shots and if you want to have children you should mostly focus on praying to God for them.

          An aside – if I’m remembering correctly, one of the very few times sexual desire is mentioned in the Bible is with Adam and Eve, and it’s explicitly meant as a punishment. Even in the New Testament, that isn’t reversed, Mary and Jesus are simply conceived in ways involving miracles. I know that people find inspiration for modern conundrums not specifically mentioned in the Bible from various quotes contained within it, but I think Ms. Beaty is going to have a hard time creating a framework on the topic of premarital sex, specifically, using Christianity as a guide. At most I think one could say that she could pray about the topic at a personal level and remember Jesus’s somewhat more laid back attitude about worldly things in general.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Most of the Times readers are atheist? I did not know that. However, even for the non religious this story would be an example of something. Possibly it explains another area of religious teaching that is not good and actually screws people up. They teach all that, save yourself for marriage as if sex is only okay if one is married. Sometimes religion even stresses kids and marriage as the reason for sex. No wonder this religious person is asking jesus for more information and that is sad. Not the kind of help she needs at this point and I don’t think I need to be an atheist to figure that out.

  10. Posted June 16, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Commitment in a long term marriage has taught me that the sorts of numinous bonds she is seeking are generally found only over the course of years in a long-term marriage. The bonds she is searching for honestly don’t [i]need[/i] to seem like they are entirely there when the dating starts to get serious, and you and your future partner start thinking and talking about tying the knot. The experience she wants comes later. It just takes time. And that really is the best part of marriage, I have found.
    Love grows. That is what I am trying to say in two words.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      That’s the sentiment captured in what’s maybe my favorite “love” songs ever by Bob Dylan, “The Man In Me” — the tune put to such great use by the Coens and T-Bone Burnett over the opening credits in The Big Lebowski:

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      “Commitment in a long term marriage has taught me that the sorts of numinous bonds she is seeking are generally found only over the course of years in a long-term marriage.”


      And if she tries to insist on it right from the start, she’ll either scare most guys off, or he’ll be lying, or just possibly he’ll be entirely sincere which is even more frightening, I think.


  11. Steve Gerrard
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Ms. Beaty has evidently discovered that she is now an adult, and like all the other adults around her, that she will have to navigate sexually on her own, and discover what works best for her, just like the rest of us. The good news is that many people find something that does work.

    I am under the impression that the NYT is no longer considered “the nation’s best newspaper” by a fairly large number of people. To me they are nothing like the NYT twenty years ago.

    • Capmor
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Twenty years ago it was 1999. By that point I’d given up on basically every paper except for the Financial Times, which I took with a lorryful of salt. The NYT was already thoroughly dismal back then, just less starved for money.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Dunno whether, as the Hitch claimed, religion poisons everything. But it sure as shit freighted its share of shame and guilt and angst on carnal relations. Ms. Beaty’s NYT piece sounds of the squeal of the oppressed.

  13. Sastra
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    “Help, help — I need an Authority to command me to do what I think I ought to do!”

    When you’ve gotten to that point, the technical fact is that you’re the authority behind the Authority, vetting commandments until they sound like they’re coming from what you yourself Judge is the right authority. Jesus is then like one of those rubber bands some people put on their wrists. You think a wrong thought, you snap it. Ow!

    Thanks for the reminder, Sacred Rubber Band Authority! No, I’ll pass on that slice of pie.

    What’s at the bottom of this fear I think isn’t being untethered per se, but untethered reductionism. If “ meaning” isn’t embedded into the fabric of the material, then matter doesn’t— can’t— matter. Where would significance “ come from,” if we are to appreciate things properly? Either sex is divine, or it’s profane.

    The writer needs philosophy, not religion. I’d suggest the wise Rebecca Goldstein, who wrote a lot of material on “ mattering.”

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Deep that, Sastra, as we used to be used to from you. Why are you so scarce these days?
      Note, I think sex is not divine. It may sometimes appear like that, but the divine does not exist.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        That is particularly so after a certain age. At least I’m told, maybe can’t remember.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 16, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          You need us to draw you an insert-tab-A-into-slot-B-style schematic, buddy? 🙂

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted June 16, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

            Yes, after 42 plus years of marriage you have this checklist.

      • Liz
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink


      • Sastra
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. I’m usually scarce in the spring: I garden. And then sit there — looking at it.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 16, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          Spring is probably a good time for a proper lady to make herself scarce, Sastra, given that (in keeping with the theme of the OP) it’s when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. 🙂

    • Roo
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      I was confused by this aspect of the article – Was she expecting a segment in the Bible on meaningful sex? I don’t think God said much on the topic – but on reflection, it occurs to me that Evangelical churches tend to have their own culture and culturally shared understanding of things. Often there are lots of conferences, retreats, groups to discuss various life situations and so on, and so my guess is that she feels she’s missing out on an in-group understanding of her life, as she is now in a situation that is not covered, and probably feels excluded. Obviously there is no in-group understanding of what sexuality means outside of marriage in a church setting – at least not a good one – so any retreat, sermon, church podcast, women’s group discussion, blog post, etc. on the topic of sexuality will be seen as not applying to her. If it’s more the community aspect that she misses, I hope that maybe she will find a nice Vaguely Spiritual community that meets and blogs about such things in terms of “energies” and so on, where she can still be a part of a group if that’s what she wants.

  14. FB
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know how Christians can have sex at all, knowing that their guardian angels, Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, are present in the room and watching them closely. Would they have sex with their parents, siblings, and children present? They should admit that they don’t really believe that Jesus is watching.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Yes, what was it Sam Harris said once. He is particularly interested in what you do naked.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted June 17, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Why sex should serve a purpose in a virgins-giving-birth world? If God’s will were not so contradictory, all people (a Womanity?) would be able to reproduce parthenogenetically after being cleared from sin.

      Accept Jesus as your savior and become clonable.

      • Posted June 17, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Didn’t the Raelians do something like this? (They do doctrinially think that the resurrected Jesus was a clone and that he was taken away in a UFO or something.)

  15. Posted June 16, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Stick a beard on it and call me jesus Ms Beaty. Concentrate on pleasure, fun and due diligence. Relax.
    The power of love, a force from above…. bollocks!

  16. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    How exactly is the NYT supposed to win? I’ve heard repeated criticisms at WEIT, saying that it’s going down the same lane as Huffington and is becoming a ‘woke’ echo chamber.

    Yet when they publish a different, conservative, ‘traditional’ opinion they get it in the neck for that too.

    But this is what the repeated pleas for ‘diversity of opinion’ look like in practice. This is it: this is about as reasonable as conservatives get about sex. On other issues they’re not quite so embarrassingly bad, but when it comes to shagging they seem incapable of separating it from its religiously sinful connotations.

    When asking for diversity of opinion there’s no guarantee that the opinions you end up with are going to be interesting or intelligent.

  17. Steve Pollard
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    “I yearn for guidance on how to integrate faith and sexuality in ways that honor more than my own desires in a given moment”; and

    “l also want to know what Jesus thinks”.

    If that’s her idea of foreplay, no wonder she can’t find a partner,

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Why ask Big J? Since it’s not on record that he ever got his end away, I doubt he’d have anything very enlightening to say on the subject.



    • darrelle
      Posted June 17, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      There it is right there, the footprint of the largest boot religion uses to control its adherents. Pleasure is selfish. Pleasure is sin.

      Hopefully the poor woman can learn that pleasure won’t hurt you and can be experienced simultaneously with being considerate of others and reasonably responsible.

  18. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    And now, for the bad joke of the day – Jerry Coyne could very well be getting lei’d at the airport in Honolulu today. Sorry about that one.

    • darrelle
      Posted June 17, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink


  19. Maurie Beck
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Ms. Beaty was part of the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering (YLG2016) in August 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia. This surprised me because Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world and has become more radicalized as part of the Saudi Madrassas movement to spread Wahhabi Islam worldwide.

    How did this Christian evangelizing even get permission to enter Indonesia, let alone hold a huge proselytizing gathering. I’m surprised they all didn’t lose their heads to Islamic fundamentalists.

  20. Roger
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    She’s overthinking this waay too much, although it would make a great soap opera.

  21. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I feel a bit sorry for this person.

    One more example of the harm this continuing absurd fantasy does to people.

  22. eric
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I also find myself mourning the loss of the coherent sexual ethic that purity culture tried to offer.

    How about “be kind, respectful, and empathic with your partner while not doing anything you strongly don’t want to do”?

    Disagreements about sex stuff are going to happen. Respect yourself and your partner enough to have the confidence to say no. Respect them enough to accept a no from them without throwing a snit. But be open to a yes when it doesn’t discomfit you too much.

    I guess this is a “hindsight is 20/20” thing. I’m guessing no amount of good advice from 30-60 year olds who have been through a lot are going to change the emotional stress of a 15-17 year old debating their first sexual experience.

  23. Posted June 16, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Well in order for ‘Jesus’ to be able to think, it first requires a brain. There’s no evidence for that so far. Relationships are tricky enough without involving mythical super beings that critique one’s lovemaking.


  24. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Hard to resist a bit of schadenfreude. (I’m a Bad Person.)

    But at her age – 40s? 50s? – her chances of pairing up with a nice guy are middling at best. And it seems to me that she’s being so precious and uptight about it that she’s stacking the odds against herself from the start.

    Obviously Purity Culture screwed her, but she can’t bring herself to bin it completely.


  25. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    She lost me at this point :

    reward good behavior with a husband — surely before I turned 30 so that we could have lots of children.

    • Gabrielle
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      In strict Christian circles (and others), the only proper role for a woman is to be a wife and mother, and the only route to that role is via a husband, hence the husband is the reward for good behavior. He’s like a prize!

      Actually, this was broad American culture up until the mid 1960s or so, when women were under tremendous pressure to marry young and have at least several children, preferably before the age of 30.

      • Posted June 16, 2019 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        “. . .up until the mid 1960s or so, when women were under tremendous pressure to marry young and have at least several children, preferably before the age of 30.”

        We tend to assume that what women are “under tremendous pressure” to do today is less burdensome and more fulfilling, but as with the question of whether pterosaurs have parental care, the truth may well be “we don’t know, as there’s a lack of evidence.”

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted June 17, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

          I’d say there’s plenty of evidence; which is that huge numbers of women _choose not to_ do all that fifties traditional-homemaker stuff. More and more of them in fact.

  26. zetopan
    Posted June 21, 2019 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    I am surprised that Christian religionists don’t consult “America’s Best Christian” for the best possible advice on sex and marriage:


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