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Why I don't agree with "Purity Balls"

Why wouldn't I agree with something that encourages young people to wait until marriage for sex? I know the headline of this blog probably caught you by surprise! You're thinking, "oh my gosh, she really IS getting a bit controversial with this "WHY" blog series, and she's A LOT more liberal than we thought!" Okay, calm down. Of course I agree with young people pledging to wait until marriage for sex. Let's make that perfectly clear up front. There is no wavering with me about that. God ordained sex for marriage.

First of all, please don't get these other ministries mixed up with the True Love Waits campaign/ministry. I think True Love Waits is great because the boys and girls take the same pledge. But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let me break it down here...

What I do not agree with about these particular ministres (Passion & Purity/Purity Balls) and some like them are the way they portray the role of boys vs. girls, and in some cases the actual slant of the pledge they encourage these young people to take. In fact, in the case of one, the boys don't even take the pledge. It's the girls who are the entire focus. I was first made aware of this through CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality) which is a ministry I wholeheartedly believe in. To see their article about this, go to their blog by clicking here.

The truth is first of all, that boys and girls should be taking the same pledge of purity. I have never heard of a mother/son event and I just wonder why. And truthfully I think there's something kind of weird about girls pledging their virginity to their fathers, or even boys to their mothers. It's just...strange. Sort of creepy. I thought I was alone in this but then after reading the CBE article and googling the topic, I found a lot of people think the same thing, and not just unbelievers - many Christians feel this way. My initial thought is not so far "out there."

I believe in making this type of pledge to God, but making it to your Dad seems just kind of...icky to me. I asked Larry about it and he agreed. Since he's about the most even keeled person I know, I knew I wasn't so bizarre to think this since my hubby is the least bizarre person I know, I trust his instinct.

Basically the main idea behind the passion & purity ministry and the purity ball ministry are good. Waiting for the wedding night - that's what it's all about. However there is a message presented in these ministries that reinforce a very dangerous line of thinking that has hurt women, marriages, and the church for years. This is the notion that men are the sexual creatures, the dynamos who are hormonally charged up and have to constantly be fought off, and girls as those who wouldn't have to worry about any of this in life if they didn't have to spend all their time fighting off these hormonally crazy, pesky boys! The pledges themself reflect this message. The girls are presented in these presentations as more passive, more responders than initiators, and less interested in sexuality, as simply the "gatekeepers of purity."

This whole mindset reinforces the old mentality that sex is a man's game - that the initiation, the desire, the pleasure - is his, while the woman is simply one who yields, receives or...simply allows. It is the wording of the pledge that concerns me, in that boys and girls are not encouraged to make the same pledge, but a different ones that sort of imply that the boy is the one who has these overwhelming desires, and the girl just needs to worry about guarding herself from the man until the proper time. CBE's article puts it this way: "Another thing that needs to be addressed is that girls and women have sexual drives and needs as well as boys and men. This assumption that men are aggressively sexual and women are to be passive resistors of temptation is a horrible patriarchal myth that needs to end. Both men and women have sex drives, and both men and women have access to the fruit of self-control that the Spirit gives us. We should be teaching our teenagers how to cultivate self-control and set boundaries that will help them keep these pledges they make. It goes without saying that girls should be making their own pledges to take control of their lives and bodies as do the boys."

For anyone who says, "is it really that big of a deal that things are worded a certain way in a pledge these kids are taking? Shouldn't we just be grateful for these ministries that are encouraging kids to stay pure?" Well, to anyone who says that, I say you probably are not a pastor who has counseled countless people in failing marriages because of this flawed teaching. These kids grow up to be...married people in most instances. And many of them have to be re-trained all over again to have a proper view of sexuality within marriage.

The fact of the matter is, normal and healthy married women love sex. And there are a lot of women out there who are not normal, nor healthy! I always preach in my messages on this topic that married women who are whole, healed and walking in their destiny love sex. They initiate it, desire it, and don't just allow it - they ask for it. And the truth is, girls ARE interested in sex, and not just because boys are. I'm convinced, healthy girls are extremely interested in sex but as time goes on they become frigid women many times because of FALSE TEACHING. Girls need to realize that if they get married and don't feel a drive - there's something amiss with that. Something that needs to be fixed. They need to realize, if they are married and don't initiate it at least some of the time - something is wrong. Something serious...something not to be taken lightly or just put up with. They aren't just created to be passive receivers. They are not just "gatekeepers" who simply open the gate on the wedding night and then continue to open it thereafter when their husband asks for it to be open.

I am all for ministries that encourage kids to stay pure and give them whatever resources possible to help them do that. But I'm against giving them any inkling that it's a man thing and that the woman is simply there to allow, or to please him. A woman is to be a equal giver/receiver in God's wonderful gift of sexuality. To teach our young people anything else diminishes God's wonderful plan for this area of their lives.

Truth be told, some of these girls who attend these seminars probably think to themselves..."I think something's wrong with me...he's the one who constantly has to fight me off of him, in trying to stay pure...he's the strong one and I'm the weak one. I'm the one who can't keep my hands off of him. I'm feeling urges that are sometimes so difficult to deal with. Am I abnormal?"

No, she's not abnormal. She's a healthy girl with a healthy sex drive who needs somebody to tell her, "Honey, you're absolutely normal and within the bonds of marriage this drive you feel is going to be an incredible blessing to your husband! God has ordained you to one day pursue him and chase him around the house. But not yet. Not now. So don't chastise yourself for having this's God's gift to you, however we need to talk about how you can use God's power can help you to stay pure and not act on this drive until you are married."

The days of sex being a man's thing are SO over. As a church we really need to get beyond this. Not just for our sake but for our kids.


Swaroop George said…
Really good blog...

Keep up the good work..

Anonymous said…
Another reason I don't like Purity Balls is because they are so's painful enough for kids growing up without dads in the home without giving them another occasion to point out that they are different! My Honor Star crowning was very special and was an experience I'll never forget...but I was painfully aware of the fact that it was my mom who walked me down the aisle, and not my dad. You're right - let's use our resources to teach ALL kids - regardless of gender, family status, or whatever - that staying pure until marriage is the way to go!!
That's another great point I never thought of. Great point. We have to be so careful.

I have never been a big fan of the whole mother/daughter or father/daughter thing, or father/son thing for that very reason, haven't done it a lot in our church and last year when i did a mother daughter tea I made it clear ALL women and girls were welcome and encouraged to attend because we are all daughters of the King.

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