We need to talk about sex. That much is clear from the response to recent posts on the damage done to individuals and couples by the purity culture. People have shared story after story of heartache, guilt, shame, and unmet expectations (or in many cases, flat-out unrealistic ones). Setting the merits of abstinence aside for a moment, this outpouring tells me that our inability to speak clearly and honestly about sex is hurting us and our relationships.
As with most challenges we face, it all boils down to unmet expectations about sex and intimacy. Many of our sexual problems stem from the purity culture’s flat, one-dimensional portrayal of human sexuality. This culture teaches an idealized and one-dimensional view of sexuality with three major flaws:
- Their obsession with modesty and boundaries borders on a call for asexuality.
- Their idealism glosses over the reality that most people (statistics say that only 4% are still virgins at age 25) have sex before marriage.
- They promise couples that if they follow the rules, sex within marriage will be phenomenal without any effort.