The thing that bothers me the most about purity or chastity movements is their inherent misogyny. It's always women that need to remain pure (as opposed to filthy, I suppose), women that need to remain chaste. Oh, sure, more modern groups will pay lip service to the idea of male purity, but it's always women that get compared to cows and gifts.
From the Pure Love Club:
"I choose to be pure because that's what God, my future husband, and I want. I know God wants it because he says so in his word. I know my husband wants it because it is such a special gift. A friend once used the analogy that purity is like a beautifully wrapped present. If too many people are allowed to handle it, or open it, by the time it gets to the one its meant for, your future mate, its ripped and crumpled. And even though your future mate will accept it, he/she will probably be disappointed it wasn't as beautiful as it started out as. I want to stay pure because I want to be able to give myself wholly to my husband and have no regrets. Those are the reasons I want to stay pure. Not only for myself, but also for God and my future husband."- Michelle
Well, by that logic, Michelle, you should seal yourself in a small closet to prevent your ever interacting with anyone, seeing anything or hearing anything that might crumple the delicate tissue paper that is your
Who we are is an amalgam of our experiences, of where we've been and what we've done and who we've done it with. This notion that women should not change, that we should remain innocent little girls forever, first to be protected by our fathers, then by our husbands, but never by ourselves, is misogynistic at its core. I am perfectly capable of charting my own course and making my own decisions, and my experiences do not make me less, they make me more.
We will end with a story about ripped and crumpled gifts.
Our second Christmas together, the Hubby was attending school full time and I was the only one working, and we had no money. Once we were done buying presents for everyone else, we had no money left for ourselves. I managed to scrape together enough for a pack of guitar strings, but it didn't seem like enough. If you live with a guitarist, you know that guitar picks end up everywhere: behind, in and under furniture, under rugs, etc. So, I scoured the house and came up with a handful of picks. Half of them were probably useless, as the tips of picks get ground down by the strings after a while. I wrapped it all up in white printer paper.
I handed the Hubby that sad, battered gift Christmas morning* and he loved it. He loved it because I gave it to him and because sometimes it is the thought that counts. The moral of the story is, if you choose to share** yourself with someone, they should appreciate it, no matter what's gone on in the past. Anyone who doesn't appreciate the beauty of you isn't worth sharing with anyway. To put it bluntly, do you really want to spend your time apologizing for the past you can't change? And why should you want to change it? It made you who you are. And that's worth loving.
Check out the Cynical Nymph for an excellent tangentially related post on women's bodies as public property.
*Hubby wrote me a song. I love that song.
**You can share your sexuality with someone, you can't give it to someone. It's not an ipod.