Before you read: Watch “Purity” using this link
When I was younger, there were 2 things I hated more than anything else: 1) talking about sex and 2) public speaking
Thanks to several Christian mentors and awkward conversations at church camp, I gradually changed from the blushing teenager who couldn’t even say “sex” to the senior college student who based a whole research project on sexual attitudes and purity culture.
As far as public speaking goes, well, we’re still working on that, which is why when I wrote this poem about purity, I was a little taken aback by the feeling that I needed to say my written words out loud.
I don’t like public attention, and I don’t like the sound of my voice (but does anybody?) so trying spoken word for the first time terrified the crap out of me.
However, I feel so strongly about the content and purpose of this poem that I knew if I didn’t share it, I’d regret it.
I think the reason why I was so scared to talk about sex when I was young is because I was scared of sex itself. And of course I was. For the most part, I was made to think it was dirty and wrong and sinful and everything in between. And the main culprit for this way of thinking is the Church.
I’m not pointing fingers, because I definitely think the Church has a difficult task placed before it: to inform young people about sex in the most honest way possible while also emphasizing the importance of waiting until marriage to have it.
In reality, the Church needs to tell young people about this wonderful, amazing gift that they aren’t allowed to open until marriage, which is like telling a toddler they can’t have dessert until after dinner, which, in their mind, seems impossible as well as light years away.
So obviously the Church doesn’t want to tell us how great something is, while also telling us we can’t have it, so they go for the “scare approach”and make us think sex before marriage is the sin of all sins.
And I get it, I do, but it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Through my research, experience, and conversations with other Christians (both men and women) I’ve come to realize how damaging this approach is to Christians’ view of sex and themselves. There’s not a switch to flip from “dirty” to “clean” the moment we get married and can have guilt-free sex. Years of being told something is wrong cannot be undone through a simple marriage ceremony, it just can’t. So when Christians DO start having sex, this mindset of the act being sinful and dirty plays tricks on their experience that is supposed to be enjoyed with their spouse.
This poem was born out of all of these thoughts, as well as my experiences, relationships, and struggles to truly believe that sex is a good gift from God instead of something to be feared.