Purity Culture and Porn Addiction

For Fapstronauts who are disciples of Christ

  1. Maybe the reason why so many Christians have a porn addiction is down to the purity culture that many Christians have grown up in.

    I came across this article by David M. Schell
    Here's the last part where he touches on porn and the purity culture:

    When I was dating the girl I dated before I met my wife, I was struggling with a porn addiction. I use that phrasing because it was an addiction (I couldn’t stop) and because I’m confident that was caused by how wrong I felt it was. I had discontinued using pornography but the jack-in-the-box still popped up. Sometimes I won, sometimes the guilt won.

    I told the girl often how privileged I felt to be dating her and how I really was a wicked sinner and had done some things that she would find horrible, but she always talked about how much she liked me and how it couldn’t have been that bad and I tried to tell her, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it until near Christmas when our pastor told me that I should tell her. I did, and my fears that she would find it all horrible were confirmed.

    It took her a day or so to recover enough from the shock and horror to call me and break up with me. I honestly don’t remember much of the conversation, but one line stuck with me for years. I still remember like it was yesterday exactly where I was when she told me that her parents had asked, “I thought you wanted to marry someone who was pure.”

    I wasn’t pure, and there was no way that I could turn back the clock and get back to purity, and no forgiveness for this horrible sin was remotely possible.

    Why? Because purity culture is at its core a culture of self-righteous legalism. The less you’ve done, the better you are. I’m reminded of the parable of the rose that gets passed around a room until it’s lost all of its beauty and goodness from being handled. Everything you do sexually that is outside the context of marriage will destroy you forever.

    Little kids, plug your ears.

    Bullshit.

    Grace is big enough to erase all of it. This isn’t to say, “Oh cool, everybody should go out and have sex with everybody all the time.” This is to say that purity culture has no concept of grace. If you fall, you can’t get back up, and even if you do, your relationship with your future spouse will be forever marred by that failure.

    Bullshit.

    My life was marred for a long time, yes, but it wasn’t by my addiction. I have the words “I thought you wanted someone pure” burned deep into my soul. Those words affected my relationship with my wife. I always thought that either she or her family would one day realize that I wasn’t pure and throw me away like that rose.

    Healing started before we even started dating when I told her the story and she just loved me more (though she didn’t admit it at the time). That and our married relationship we’ve enjoyed for the past year have helped heal me to the point that it’s just a scar, and a fading scar, but it’s still there. I’ll probably still remember those words for a long time, but they don’t hurt anymore.

    Purity culture hurts everyone involved. It’s horrible to women, and it’s awful to men. It turns every day living in grace into every man’s battle against temptation – and by temptation, I mean women.

    Burn it.

    Burn it with fire.

    You can read the full article here.
     
  2. The Wrestler

    The Wrestler Fapstronaut

    705
    678
    93
    https://carissajoy.com/2014/06/23/why-my-purity-ring-didnt-keep-me-pure/
    My purity ring didn’t keep me pure

    The day I discovered that a purity ring doesn’t help young people live purely was a shocking blow. And it changed how I view Christian purity.

    I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition, so I know the ropes well. Campaigns that were intensely popular when I was a pre-teen, such as True Love Waits, promised that if I bought a ring and signed the included commitment card, Jesus would be happy with me, and I would be well on my way to a good Christian life.

    [​IMG]

    So, with sincere intentions and my neatest handwriting, I wrote my name in the blank that said “I, _________, promise to do this and that” and signed my name in cursive. I slipped on the ring bearing a “True Love Waits” engraving and quickly became accustomed to its presence on my finger. And there I wore it, assuming its constant presence as my only guard through high school. When I lost the original in the dirt at a softball game, I bought another one, which I wore so much that it cracked. I proceeded on with my life, resting securely in the notion that I was pure and holy because I hadn’t broken the promises on the commitment card yet… nor had I ever been given the opportunity to do so.


    When it came time to replace the cracked True Love Waits band, the next purity ring I wore was different. It was a thin, graceful band featuring an “unblossomed rose,” and I guess the rose represents my virginity or my body or something (which was glaringly awkward when people asked the significance behind it).

    [​IMG]

    I wore it as I entered my college years, proud to have graduated from the tacky campaign bands to something delicate and lovely, and at this point, utterly unconcerned with the meaning behind it. I had always worn it for the sake of Christian “tradition,” and I deserved to wear it because I had never had sex and I had never even kissed a boy because I was saving my first kiss until marriage.

    But of course, that’s not the whole story. Is it ever, Christian ladies? If you’ve been around my blog very long, you know that I’m not exactly an unblossomed rose anymore. My struggle with pornography — which, if I remember correctly, began frighteningly close to the time I received my first purity ring, possibly even before I received it — combined with a pretty lousy track record of setting boundaries with boys, has nearly obliterated any sense of emotional or physical purity that I ever possessed. The image you might have when you think of a young woman described as an “unblossomed rose” looks nothing like me.

    In one of his sermons, Matt Chandler tells a story of a sermon he once attended, which ultimately turned him away from the Christian church.

    The preacher passed a red rose around the congregation, asking each of them to touch it, smell it, feel it, enjoy it.
    At the end of his sermon, the pastor retrieved a rose that was wilted, bent, and broken. It was not the beautiful, pure rose that it had been at the beginning. It had been handled roughly, like so many women have. He brought it back to the stage, intending to demonstrate the effects of sin on a person with no virtue.

    [​IMG]
    With no pity or love in his voice, the pastor demanded to know, “Who would want this rose?”
    That’s the question I asked myself for a long time. As I grew older, I began to realize just how much of a foolish hypocrite I had been for wearing a purity ring with such lofty, “Christian” confidence and pride. I knew that I had not lived like the the worthy, holy woman that I advertised myself to be. I wasn’t worthy to wear the ring, and I surely wasn’t worthy to be given any merit by fellow Christians, or by God. And so I asked myself… who could ever want this? Who would want this pornography-addicted, dirty, foolish little girl who has chased after everything but righteousness? Who would choose me over a woman who has never given away her first kiss, never thought lustfully after another man, never been touched by anyone but her husband?
    I didn’t even know why Jesus would want me. If He could use a holy, pure woman for His glory instead, what would he ever want to do with me? And trust me. I graduated from the largest Christian college in the country, so I’ve seen and envied my fair share of pure, holy women who truly deserve to be used by God.
    Insert Matt Chandler’s response, the truth that wipes away those doubts with a promise that God himself has made to me:
    Jesus wants the rose. That’s the point of the Gospel.
    Jesus knows the dirt. He knows what shameful things I’ve done with the gift of sexuality that He gave to me. He sees me as I am – he’s not even faked out by the purity ring – yet he still loves me. But that’s not the best part. Jesus died to take away the dirt. Romans 5:8 says that while we were miserable, helpless sinners, Christ died for us. His death on the cross pays the penalty, which is death, for every mistake I’ve made. He restores purity to me, at the cost of His life.

    And it gets better, for that’s not the end of the story.
    What’s more, Jesus wholeheartedly desires my seemingly ruined purity, and He wants to do something about it. He wants to redeem it and use it for something purposeful. Yes, I have made bad choices, but from where I stand now, I can reach down to someone else who is drowning in an impossible ocean of impurity, offering them the same lifesaver that rescued me: Jesus Christ. He wants to use my mistakes to bring me to a deeper understanding of his grace, so that I can share it more authentically. He wants to instill compassion and mercy as defining traits in me, by showing them abundantly to me first. He wants me to love others as graciously and endlessly as He has loved me.

    I lost that stupid unblossomed rose ring when I was playing in the snow last winter. Incredibly, when it fell off my finger, I didn’t lose magical purity powers like Samson’s strength when his hair is cut. In fact, I was no different except for a naked absence on my ring finger.
    You see, purity rings are powerless. They’re just symbols, devoid of any meaning by themselves. The strength and diligence to believe and live in a manner of purity – that comes from Christ alone.
    These days, you can find my ring finger occupied by a ring with much more value. The ring I wear now bears the form of the cross. I don’t need a True Love Waits ring or even a well-meaning commitment card in order to be pure. When temptations arise, it stays on my finger, immobile and useless. For all the good intentions of those conferences and Bible studies, they’re empty on their own. The temptation to give into fleshly desires is far stronger than Christian slogans will ever be.
    No, I need something more powerful than the positive peer pressure of a purity conference or cheesy resources. The only power strong enough to combat the evil forces of temptation is the power of the cross – the power of Christ in me. Francis Chan said that no matter how strong the temptation, one reason is powerful enough to help you walk away: Jesus is better. And He is. His love is sweeter than the fleeting lust and attention of a man, or the pleasure of fantasizing about a future relationship.

    Beloved, remember: your purity ring won’t give you the strength to be pure, but Jesus can, and He will.
     
  3. "Jesus is better". What a great thing to remind yourself of in times of temptation.
     
    Deleted Account likes this.
  4. Vitabella

    Vitabella Fapstronaut

    34
    40
    18
    Interesting thread. Great post wrestler.
     
  5. Yes, I've had this in my Church as well :(
     
  6. Ketomi

    Ketomi New Fapstronaut

    3
    1
    3
    You have been forgiven and made pure by the blood of Christ. Be thankful that you didn't get married into the wrong family because it sounds like those parents didn't understand how grace works. Sanctification is a daily process. I might not be what I should yet be but thank God I am not what I once was by the grace of God!
     
    SigmaOne2000 likes this.
  7. Minsc

    Minsc Fapstronaut

    Perhaps this is one of the things which has kept me away from Christianity. Growing up and seeing the facades of those calling themselves righteous.
     
    Deleted Account likes this.
  8. SigmaOne2000

    SigmaOne2000 Fapstronaut

    10
    14
    3
    I find the whole rose petal parable funny because we forget that Jesus was Anointed by the Sinful woman. (Luke 7:36-50) When the Pharisees saw this woman touching Christ, they mocked him. But it was her love for Christ, her repentance, and humility that her sins were forgiven.

    What happens when we are forgiven? We re-inherit the kingdom of Heaven and the Grace of God as we see in the Parable of the Lost son. (Luke 15:11-32) I love this parable because while the son expresses his repentance and humility, "make me one of your servants," his father did not respond to him with pride or condemnation, but joy! "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fatted calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost but is found."

    I think that the "Purity Culture" has good intentions but like all humanly things, is susceptible to being perverted and corrupted.

    "The passions enslave people, destroy their reasoning, bind their will and make them sin. And from repetition of a sin, we have habit, which is when we commit wickedness even if we don't want to, and that then leads to perdition"
    - St. Nikodimos the Athonite
     
    Deleted Account likes this.

Share This Page