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Purity culture: a view from the opposite sex

Young man staring at the countryside in the setting sun

Purity culture is a topic I have discussed before (here). It’s a topic everyone in the Christian blogosphere has discussed before. In fact, it’s a topic that may be considered to have been overdiscussed. Something that isn’t as discussed is the male perspective. I don’t mean how men are hardwired for lust if they see an inch of a woman’s ankle and therefore are calling for women to be modestly dressed…plenty of column inches have been spent talking about that. Too many, in fact. I’m talking about men who are Christians and therefore want to have a Christian ethic in their lives when the world around them judges their masculinity based on their sexual prowess. They don’t see every woman as a walking occasion of sin, and they recognise their agency in the call to chastity that applies to us all, male or female, gay or straight, single or married. Today’s post is a personal opinion that does not reflect mine nor any official Church teaching. For the latter, please refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 6 available online here.

The author of today’s post is a thirty year old Anglican and has been a disability rights activist for fifteen years. He is also a local councillor and has had a long career in youth politics.

Making Sex about love

I was born in the late 1980’s; I was a 90’s child and as such am a part of the generation sex. The generation that doesn’t do relationships but instead bed hop between sexual partners and where STD testing has become the norm. Back in 2009; I was a part of a welfare team at the University of Derby Students’ Union; a welfare team that asked its officers to take a Sexual Health Test and then publish the results in the student magazine to raise awareness. I duly took the test and published my clean results. Unbeknown to anybody that it would be a miraculous infection had I have had anything as I was, for the want of the correct term, pure.

There are two reasons why I have remained as such until the ripe old age of thirty, my present age; firstly I am a Christian and I believe in pro-creation; but mainly my thoughts on monogamy and relationships.

There is obviously the biblical argument in favour of purity until marriage which is an ideal that many people aspire to but very few achieve. This argument; that God intended us to live as one man and one woman for the purposes of pro-creation is a beautiful concept and, as a Christian who has never been anything but monogamous, I believe wholeheartedly in the idea. The book of Genesis teaches us the story of Adam knowing his wife and conceiving children. There are many ideas and thoughts emanating from this particular scripture about forbidden fruit and vilifying the pleasure of the flesh. As I have already alluded; I am a Christian; and in many ways I am devoted to my faith, but my argument has always been that as long as I am faithful to my chosen partner and remain in a monogamous relationship; I should be able to express my love for that woman in the most beautiful and absolute way possible.

The second reason that I have remained entirely pure for so long is the emotion behind the act of sex itself. I am, as I have already alluded; a great believer in monogamy. Any sexual act should, in my eyes, only occur between two loving people. There should be respect; love and trust between the two people. I chose; early in my adolescence to hold out for the one person that I would spend the rest of my life with.

I recognise that I am in a minority; especially amongst men; but I made the decision to remain pure or the two reasons that I have stated based on faith and moral belief. That said; I may hold moral and religious views but I never judge anyone. It’s between a person and their conscience. However, it’s very sad how many people describe their first time as one that they would rather forget, a totally regrettable experience; and many have told me that they wished they had held out and waited.

I don’t know why so many regret their first time, what’s behind their choices, but I plead with the generation of today and tomorrow to consider all of this when making life choices: God created sex to be a fantastic experience and a great expression of love and emotion.

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