“Sexual Purity” – What does that mean?
LDS, Inc. has a new multifaith video out talking about the benefits of “sexual purity.”
If people want to not have sex, great. Don’t have sex. But what gets me about this video is that it frames sexuality as some sort of “impure” act. By associating “virginity” with “purity”, the video suggests that anyone who has had sex is no longer “pure”. Such a suggestion seems like it is laying the foundation for sexual dysfunction. Here’s how I see the logic working:
- Not having sex makes me “pure”.
- Having sex makes me “impure.”
- The act of sex is the cause of “impurity.”
- Sex, therefore, is impure.
- I feel guilt over wanting sex, which makes me impure.
- I finally have sex once married and feel impure.
- Sex = impurity
How, exactly, is this “healthy” for people?
Don’t get me wrong… I’m well aware of the risks of STIs and pregnancy – I teach a course on human sexuality at the college level and cover all of these things in great detail. But I’m going to suggest Alfred Kinsey was largely correct when he said the only form of sexual deviance is abstinence (though, in all fairness, there are some asexual people who have no interest in sex, meaning it’s really not deviant for some).
The other part about this that bothers me is that we know, statistically, more than 90% of people have sex before marriage in the U.S. today (~95%). Videos like this imply that all of those people are “unhealthy” and, well, “impure.” I am not convinced that roughly 85% of Americans are “unhealthy” and “impure” because they had sex before getting married (I adjusted the number for lower rates in the past). I have a really hard time believing pre-marital sex is unhealthy when just the numbers suggest it’s not (not to mention the mountains of evidence suggesting it is perfectly fine).
There is also the issue of elitism and moral superiority. The video comes across as though anyone who does not abstain from sex is not as good as the people in the video. That bothers me (despite being someone who didn’t have sex before marriage). How is this the “moral high road”? What is wrong with sex before marriage or after marriage?
Finally, did anyone else catch a phrase or statement that positively framed sex in the video? And did they say anything about sex after marriage? I don’t think the video says anything positive about sex; it just frames it as impure. The end result is that people will associate sex with impurity, leading to guilt and later problems in life.
I think a better title for the video would be, “I choose to be purely ignorant about sex and the science around it”.