There were the references to the naked Eve being introduced to Adam (which prompted him to exclaim, “Wo-man! And Paul’s admonition to secure marriage as a sexual outlet rather than “burn” with lust.Sometimes there were even candid references to Song of Solomon just to prove Christians weren’t the prudes they were made out to be. He “created sex.” Trust me, (male) purity gurus preached, it was so good it was “worth waiting for.” As Ted Haggard exclaimed to a reporter, Evangelicals had the “best sex lives” of anyone.(And we know how that turned out.) All of this has left evangelicals debating just how good their sex lives are supposed to be.
The conversation has been led largely by women who are reflecting on the gendered messages to girls within the purity movement. Writing as a devout Christian, she describes her struggles with her own “curvy” teenage self and the way women’s bodies were viewed as a threat to male piety.
Through their modesty and self-control, women were responsible for keeping the sexual urges of men in check throughout adolescence and dating.
Mc Dowell was also featured in a special abstinence-themed album with Petra and other Christian artists as well as a VHS “film essay”.
Throughout 19, Mc Dowell joined Petra concerts where he was given the stage to talk about abstinence during a break in song sets.
We’d garbled the gospel until it sounded like purity pledges and elevator pitch testimonies. It didn’t take me long to realize having sex outside of marriage wasn’t actually the very worst thing a person could do. Knowing that I was pretending to be something I wasn’t did. Maybe if we hadn’t signed those cards and stood at the front of the sanctuary it wouldn’t have hurt anyone.
Because how can you stand in the presence of God knowing that you’ve broken a promise to him?
Whether in his videos, or on stage with Petra, Mc Dowell, who turned 50 in 1989, had the persona of a kindly, sweater-wearing father who could blend dad jokes with “straight-talk” about sex organs and venereal disease. ” message was more holistic than simply delaying gratification.
But I suspect most testosterone-driven young men—guilt-ridden from fantasizing and masturbation as they were—fixated on the implied message that sexual hedonism might one-day reward those who could suppress the urge for it in the present.
Not long after I started going out with someone, the cheap purity ring slipped off my finger.
Then we started to break those promises and I didn’t think it was a funny joke anymore either.