We tried pawning our purity rings but apparently they aren't worth anything. On this episode, we're tackling purity culture, Christian dating, and all of those horrible Christian relationship advice books. Get ready to learn why we kissed "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" goodbye. We've even got a few pick-up lines for you to try on your next trip to the mall.
#ChurchToo: How Purity Culture Upholds Abuse and How to Find Healing by Emily Joy Allison - Really well researched, definitely recommend if you’re recovering from purity culture, she explains a ton
Clint: The man leading the youth group in the True Love Waits documentary was such a character. He’s like the proto-youth pastor.
Jey: I don't know if man is the right word. He looks like he's 20 years old and he's like, “I know that marriage works because I've been married for five months.”
Clint: He somehow looks like he's both 40 and 12 at the same time.
Jey: It is absolutely true. The youth leader in it turns and tells everyone, “I know a pick up line that's going to work every time.” And then he's like, “Say you're in an office.” And I'm like, first of all, this is sexual harassment but OK.
Clint: Pretty sure harassment is not on the top of his list of concerns. What was the pickup line he used?
Jey: Do you like music singers?
Clint: Sure. Of course, I mostly listen to CCM…
Jey: Okay, how about movie actors?
Clint: Oh, movie actors! Love movies. Tom Cruise is my favorite.
Jey: Okay, So say Tom Cruise walks up to you right now and asks you to take you on a date. Would you say yes?
Jey: Well, he's sure not going to so what if I can?
Clint: My god. So bad. I'm going to try that on someone though.
Jey: Please. At the next sex party that you go to.
Clint: I feel like you're not going to get a very genuine reaction at something like that. You're already a sex party so it’ll just seem like a joke. I need to use it on someone who will think I'm being serious.
Jey: I think a mall.
Clint: I was thinking more like a bar or something. Who goes to malls anymore?
Jey: I haven't thought about that.
Clint: I think we’ve finally figured out why your pickup game is so bad. You’re just looking in all the wrong places.
Clint: Hello, everyone, and welcome to How Gay Thou Art, a comedy podcast about growing up queer, Christian, and hella confused. My name is Clint Keller, he/him.
Jey: I’m Jey Austen, they/them. Okay, so today we're talking about the purity movement and how it made me gay because they told me not to have sex with guys. And I said, Gotcha. But then I get in trouble for showering with other girls on mission trips. But like, we weren't lesbian. We were just really close friends, you know?
Clint: I really don’t think that’s what they meant. But we always forget to do this so before we get too far in, what are our sources for today?
Jey: I watched pretty much everything I could on YouTube. I put together a really cursed playlist. If you want to follow along, there's the True Love Waits documentary on there.
Clint: I watched that one too, bought it actually.
Jey: Yeah and then I found out it was free on YouTube. I'm so mad.
Clint: Are you kidding me? It was $4 to rent but only $8 to buy, so I figured I might as well buy it just in case I needed to watch it again for research purposes. Now it’s going to live in my Amazon library forever and you’re telling me it’s free on YouTube?
Jey: It's free on YouTube. And there's a director's cut that I still need to watch.
Clint: Son of a bitch. I'm very interested in this Daddy I Do documentary you have listed here. You didn’t tell me about that one and you know I would’ve watched it.
Jey: So Daddy I Do is a very bad documentary. It's just another one of those like no comment documentaries. But Daddy I Do is about purity balls. I watched the Hillsong documentary.
Clint: I watched that one as well.
Jey: Then there's the True Love Waits documentary, which is just 45 minutes of filming in the nineties. It follows a youth group. I think we watched that one together too. And then the best source is #ChurchToo.
Clint: Yeah that one’s really important, written by Emily Joy Allison. I also read Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free by Linda Kay Klein. It is depressing as shit. But some of it’s funny.
Jey: That's something I do want to address - so the purity movement did hurt a ton of people. And while I do understand that, I in no way want to minimize the abuse that people experienced at the hands of purity culture, but this is also a comedy podcast. And so I think that it's empowering to laugh at our shared trauma. So I hope you enjoy it and we can laugh about like how I never heard the word clitoris til I was 17 instead of being like, “Oh fuck, why are we not educating these children?”
Clint: The lack of sex ed that comes along with purity culture is one of the darkest parts of this whole affair. It’s not only sad but it’s dangerous.
Jey: Because they've equipped a generation of people that don't know anything and that can lead to sexual abuse. And as we are recording this, the SBC, the Southern Baptist Convention, in 2019, it was reported that they had 700 cases that they have known about.
Clint: Yeah it’s just been an unbelievable series of big revelations and all of it has been propped up by purity culture for decades now. Speaking of which, for the uninitiated, what is purity culture?
Jey: As defined by Emily Joy Allison in her book, purity culture is the spiritual corollary of rape culture created in Christian environments by theologies that teach complete sexual abstinence until a legal, monogamous marriage between a cisgender heterosexual man and a cisgender heterosexual woman for life. That's important, mainly because it teaches that there is only one way to be.
Clint: Yeah queerness has no place in purity culture. It’s not like you can save yourself for a lifelong gay marriage in this theology. Straight, hetero marriage only. OK, so purity culture is the overall concept. The basic idea is waiting until marriage for sex, well, intimacy of any kind. There’s more to it that we’ll get into but what are the main organizations that are pushing this theology? The first one that comes to mind for me is Silver Ring Thing.
Jey: So we've got purity culture and then purity programs. The main ones were True Love Waits. And then, yes, the Silver Ring thing.
Clint: So what’s the deal with the rings? Because they aren’t the same as like, a promise ring, right?
Jey: They're worn to symbolize chastity. So your commitment to abstinence. So usually a pretty ring would be worn after you take an abstinence pledge, pledging your abstinence until marriage. Or it can be seen as a promise ring to Jesus.
Clint: Because who needs a boyfriend when you’ve got Jesus, right? The creepiest part of these things to me are the way dads are involved.
Jey: Yes, and especially the girls' fathers with daddy-daughter balls or purity balls - not to be confused with purity testicles. It's when you keep your testicles pure. Not a single sperm will be spent outside of marriage.
Clint: Which is an actual biblical commandment by the way. Funny how verses that only apply to men rarely make it into the evangelical rulebook.
Jey: In Daddy I Do - it goes over purity balls and interviews the creator of them who is like, going to purity balls with his little six year old. Like, they're just babies. And basically, it’s that the father is taking a pledge with the daughter. He's pledging to make sure that she maintains her purity until he hands her off to her husband.
Clint: The whole ownership aspect is just gross, like the dad owns his daughter’s virginity. So are these rings nice? Are they actually valuable or is it like, costume jewelry?
Jey: Usually they're made out of silver.
Clint: That checks out.
Jey: Silver Ring Thing - they sell a special ring on their site and it has a ring disclaimer that comes with it that says, The Silver Ring Thing Ring is not, “a piece of jewelry. The ring is worn as a symbol and constant reminder of the vow pledge to God Almighty. Therefore, the ring is only available after participating in one of two programs, The Silver Ring thing live shows, click here, or the Silver Ring Thing 434 program, click here.
Clint: Oh, so you can't just buy them?
Jey: No, you totally can. You can go to a Christian bookstore and just buy one. But if you want the official Silver Ring Thing one, you're supposed to go to a Silver Ring Thing. I think actually what this is, is just finding another way to “let's sell books, let's sell things.” But this way it's like early beliefs and like ways to control people and we’ll sell all of these for $19.95. It's just scams.
Clint: Oh, so they are junk. I mean, $20, come on. You don’t value your purity too much at that price point.
Jey: I got my purity ring, but it wasn't like one that had a Bible verse on it. It was just a ring. That's the symbol. But I still did buy it from a Christian bookstore.
Clint: Well that’s a little less tacky, at least. The official one on their website looks completely ridiculous. It has 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 engraved on it. Not the whole verse, just the location.
Jey: It's their motto verse.
Clint: Ok let’s look this up. “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication. That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.” What a creepy thing to put on your 10 year old’s finger.
Jey: Yeah, it is fucking creepy for a ten year old.
Clint: What really struck me while watching the True Love Waits documentary is that they talk about sex all the time. Like, of course sex is at front of mind for all these kids. It’s literally the only thing being discussed.
Jey: Purity culture used sex to sell abstinence. And you'll see this more and more as we get more into it. But the Silver Ring thing literally sold a shirt that said “How to have the best sex ever: Silver Ring Thing.” But it was you have the best sex ever by waiting till marriage and not educating yourself on sex at all.
Clint: And we covered this in our previous episode about Christian sex toys but that has proven to be a total lie. No one who abides by the tenants of purity culture is having the best sex ever. It’s like saying you’ll be the world’s best football player but only if you don’t play football a single time in your entire life before you step onto the field to quarterback the Super Bowl. It’s unhinged. But there were people in my life growing up who knew this was nonsense so they made a more pragmatic, albeit depressing argument. I would hear people say that how good or bad your sex life is once you get married is irrelevant because if you only ever have sex with one person, you won’t know any better anyway. The worst thing you can do is have amazing sex with a one-night-stand because that just sets you up for a lifetime of disappointment.
Jey: I remember youth pastors just going and like, “Have you guys seen my smoking hot wife? Sex is amazing, you guys. And this is why you should wait till marriage. Because when you wait till marriage, you get to wake up to a girl every morning.” What if I want personal space? I have a friend who literally her and her girlfriend have separate apartments in the same building. And that sounds like a dream. You can sleep together when you want. And I literally mean sleep together. I don't need you in my space all the time. Get the fuck out of my bed, ya know?
Clint: Let’s dig into the companies running these programs a little more. Tell me about True Love Waits.
Jey: True Love Waits was a program mainly for youth groups and churches. It was created in 1993 by the Southern Baptists, and then it was sponsored by Lifeway Christian Resources.
Clint: Which is the publishing arm of the SBC. They’ve been pumping out books for over a hundred years now. Most people probably know them from their brick and mortar stores but fortunately, I think most of those have closed now.
Jey: So, like, Lifeway is selling all of these books and then every new generation of kids, there's a new book. Their main thing was getting people to sign pledge cards. So like for the Athens Olympics. Could you imagine going to the 2004 Olympics and then just seeing like 100,000 cards of people saying they don't want to have sex? Like what? Okay.
Clint: So were they getting people to actually sign pledges at the Olympics?
Jey: True Love Love Waits’ International display and rally during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, 460,000 cards from 20 countries were displayed at the theater located near the Acropolis.
Clint: I see. So this was just like a publicity stunt.
Jey: It was 100% a publicity stunt. And Joshua Harris was influenced by True Love Waits.
Clint: Joshua Harris being the guy who wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye and has now sorta recanted the entire thing.
Jey: So he moved to D.C. or someplace. And when he got there, there was the National Leadership Summit on abstinence. And you have people like nailing their abstinence pledges into the National Mall. And so he's influenced by that. So he writes his book about how Christians should pursue courtship instead of dating because dating is unholy based off of True Love Waits. So huge, hugely influential program. In addition, True Love Waits promoted sexual purity that encompasses not only abstaining from intercourse before marriage, but also abstaining from sexual thought, sexual touching, pornography, and actions known to lead to sexual arousal. So how this played out in like my home church was we would teach the five love languages, which is also a Christian thing by Gary Chapman or whatever. And they would teach, you know, that every single person needs acts of service and whatnot. God, what are the other ones?
Clint: Words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch.
Jey: Right. So you can have all of those and those are okay, but physical touch, you got to keep at zero.
Clint: A lot of people don’t know that the love language thing has Evangelical origins but it definitely does. You know what really I find striking about this is that adults - grown-ass people - have somehow been convinced by the church that they don’t have enough self-control to manage their own dating lives. They go through all this trouble and make all these rules because they believe that people - particularly men - cannot be trusted to control themselves sexually. It’s equally ridiculous and dangerous.
Jey: That's the thing is they try to teach you that, you know, you're going to sin, but they also teach like men are sexual creatures that can't control themselves. So it's the woman's responsibility to dress modestly so that you're guarding his heart, not causing him to stumble by having sex with you, with his eyes.
Clint: So True Love Waits was mainly a church program but I remember these kinds of things being taught outside of church too.
Jey: And that's what's interesting about the Silver Ring thing. They did it in schools. It's called Unaltered now.
Clint: Wait, they’re still doing it?
Jey: So it is still around. Yes. But it's called Unaltered now. They were founded in 1995 by Denny Patton, who is interviewed in the Daddy I Do documentary, and the program encourages teens and young adults to remain abstinent until marriage, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It was funded by the US government.
Clint: It says here that they got $1.4 million in federal funding. Yikes.
Jey: Yes. And then the ACLU sued in 2005 because they were using their tax dollars to promote Christianity. And the founder even says he's like, “You can't tell if my program works or not, because my program, the goal of it is to plant seeds of Jesus Christ. So, like they have statistics on abstinence pledges, but that's not what we are doing here. We're planting the seeds of Christ. And you can't you can't have statistics on that.”
Clint: I feel like that could definitely be quantified.
Jey: They used Usher and hip hop of the time and like, rock and concert stuff to appeal to teenagers. Then during the gathering would get the participants to convert to abstinence until marriage and get them to purchase rings. Their whole site is just basically like, “How can I sell you more things to promote this?”
Clint: Very similar to Christian summer camps where they convince kids to make big life commitments in environments where emotions are at their peak.
Jey: Absolutely. They have a 12 step faith centered follow up program that you're supposed to follow after the Silver Ring thing.
Clint: Oh dear God.
Jey: So you're supposed to buy a ring. The ring costs $20. You're supposed to buy a Bible from them. It's an abstinence study bible. Then you're supposed to buy a four session DVD Bible study. So all that is going back to this parachurch organization. Instead of sex being a normal, natural thing that most people do. And it's a very human urge. It's no, you have to be above the world. So join our 12 step program. You're basically a sex addict, even though you haven't had sex yet.
Clint: It’s like joining AA before you’ve had your first beer.
Clint: Let’s dig into the background, the history of this a little bit.
Jey: So in the 1970s, you had the sexual revolution going on, and then in the 1980s was the AIDS epidemic, which largely affected queer communities. And in the nineties, as a response, Christians kind of became really calloused towards AIDS and were saying that, “Well, that's God's curse on you for not honoring Him by having a biblical marriage of one man and one woman,” which defining biblical marriage is a little bit interesting…
Clint: I know I ask this all the time but what the fuck is a biblical marriage? There are dozens of different relationship dynamics in the Bible, none of which are reflective of marriage as we practice it today. Polygamy is biblical. Concubines are biblical. Male ownership of women is biblical. All kinds of shit can be labeled biblical. Anyway…
Jey: So there's a lot of stuff that's playing into purity culture. So you've got the abstinence only sex education. You also have a lot of pro-life and anti-abortion stuff that goes into it. I got some of these like sex ed books from when I was a kid, so I got I Kissed Dating Goodbye and I got Datable. I don't know if you could call them sex ed. They're more like.
Clint: More like sex mis-education.
Jey: Exactly. And that's important because there was a study that found that like two thirds of abstinence only sex education was found to have incorrect statistics and facts about stuff.
Clint: Of course, because if you provide real stats, it’s much more difficult to scare teenagers away from sex.
Jey: The Silver Ring Thing guy, like in the Daddy I Do documentary, was like, “I wouldn't give my daughter condoms because that's not safe sex. It's not proven that condoms work every time, so let's not use them.” But see, here's the thing is they're trying to teach that, like STDs and pregnancy are all consequences of your sin. And so you should have consequences of sin. So we're not going to teach you how to sin safer.
Clint: That’s one of the reasons the religious right opposes abortion. And it’s why you see a growing group of Evangelicals fighting against birth control now too. They want sex to have consequences. We’ve gotten to a point where sex can be practiced really safely and that’s a major problem for the purity movement. And it creates a major conundrum for the pro-life movement as well because it has been proven time and time again that the #1 thing that curtails abortion is comprehensive sex education and open access to contraceptives. But that directly conflicts with purity culture, which most pro-lifers also support. But at the end of the day, it’s not about teen health or STDs or fetuses or any of that. It’s about control.
Jey: Absolutely. The founder in the Daddy I Do documentary, at one point he's talking about abortion and he's like, “If you can abort or not abort your child, why can't you have sex with your child? I'm not saying I would do that.”
Clint: Jesus fucking Christ.
Jey: And I'm just like, Bro.
Clint: That's not the slam dunk he thinks it is.
Jey: But if for some reason church is making you not have sex with your child, like you need to keep going to church, but like-
Clint: Yeah, if anyone needs to stay in church, it’s him.
Jey: Don't stop, please.
Clint: This is a good time, I think, for this story. As I was reading the Pure book, she interviewed a woman who did the whole purity thing to a T. She met her partner at a conservative college. They dated, didn't have sex, both were virgins when they finally got married. It took them four months to figure out how to get his dick inside of her. Four months. They were trying all kinds of stuff, but they didn't know about lubrication or arousal.
Jey: That's the thing, man. With one of my exes, we used coconut oil because we didn't know what lube was. We were like, “Oh, it's the same as lube.”
Clint: It might be fine in a pinch but uh, woof.
Jey: Yeah, it's fine in a pinch, but you shouldn't use it every day for a month.
Clint: No, no, no, no. You’re gonna want to get some water based for that.
Jey: Yeah, Well, look. See, this is why sex education is so, so important. Teaching all of this stuff to kids don't have sex, don't have sex, don't have sex, but not teaching them what sex is means that they are not able to know what is inappropriate.
Clint: Exactly. And it just makes me so fucking angry what is happening in American culture right now around parental rights and sex ed and queerness and “grooming.” Sex ed doesn’t harm kids; it protects them. As we’re learning from all this SBC stuff, actual grooming has been happening in the church for a very long time. And it has been aided and abetted by purity culture every step of the way. Ignorance is dangerous. And yet, they want to scapegoat drag queens. The absurdity is almost too much to handle. It gets me so fucking wound up.
Jey: Right. Exactly. And this huge focus on marriage. Like, I remember like in college there would be like, the concept of ring by spring.
Clint: That’s a huge thing, at least at the colleges I went to.
Jey: Yeah. So, like, by the spring of your junior year, you were supposed to get engaged so that by your senior year you have your whole senior year to plan your wedding and then you could get married and all of your friends could get to come.
Clint: That's exactly what I did and it worked out great.
Jey: I'm sure your ex-wife is a lovely lady.
Clint: Eh, not really. But the pressure around this idea is immense because purity culture is alive and well on college campuses around the country, particularly Christian ones.
Jey: We can't have sex right now. So we'll just get married as young as possible. And then you've got to have like sex isn’t a tool for pleasure. So that's why I didn't know the word clitoris. And they only taught, like, you have a uterus because that's where the babies go. It's just about procreation and getting more babies.
Clint: It’s so fucked up how much of Evangelicalism is focused on making babies and subsequently indoctrinating those babies. You wanna talk about grooming like, fuck.
Jey: It's also really interesting and important how a lot of these like rules played out on teenagers because if you're like creating all of these rules at a sexual level, it's like that's some of the most like intimate moments that you will have as a person. And now if the church is being involved and you have to admit to a pastor or like you would have to tell your accountability partner in the church that I was in, any time you masturbate or any time you do any of anything sexual, whether it's like watch porn or think about a person like all of that, you have to have accountability.
Clint: I want one of those now, just someone who has to listen to my sexual exploits every week while they continue to abide by the rules.
Jey: Like I thought I was asexual for a long time because I was just so repressed. And then I realized that sex isn’y a sin or bad. It's completely natural. And then I made up for lost time and became a hoe.
Clint: I remember when we first met, you identified as asexual.
Jey: When we first met, I didn't even say cuss words. I think I just started saying cuss words around you.
Clint: I ruined you.
Jey: You are such a bad influence on me. And here we are now.
Jey: Did you grow up in purity culture, Clint?
Clint: 100%. I didn't have sex until I was 19. I had been out of the church for about a year at that point. Of course, I was homeschooled so I didn’t really have an opportunity to have sex until I was in college anyway.
Jey: But you didn't go through any, like, True Love Waits program or anything like that.
Clint: Nothing official. I remember a lot of people reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I never read it because I wasn’t dating anyway. I didn’t have anything to kiss goodbye. Sex was definitley discussed in youth group but not with the frequency of what we saw in the documentaries we watched. The churches were just so strict that it wasn’t really an issue. No one was having sex. I did read Preparing for Adolescence by James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Similar to what you were saying about learning the word clitoris, I had never heard of masturbation before reading that book. Of course, once I knew what it was, I had to try it so I like, started masturbating because of James Dobson. I do owe him that much. What about you?
Jey: I didn't grow up with any True Love Waits program. We did study, I think Datable in my youth group and I did read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but not because anyone forced me to, just because I was a little annoying, holier than thou brat who wanted to find the most holy way to do everything. And so I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and my parents were divorced and I was secretly closeted, gay, not gay, but like, but whatever the fuck my sexuality is, who knows? It changes day to day, but not straight. And at that time I didn't know that. And I was like, “Well, it's just easy to give up, guys, because who likes guys anyway?”
Clint: You were just straight as an arrow, weren’t you?
Jey: I was talking to my friend today and I was like, “Did you know the average person's body count - it changes every time I read it - but some statistics were saying it's only three people in your whole life and some were saying seven.” And I was like, “I don't know what my body count is, but I definitely know that I am keeping that number up there, like I am keeping that statistic on the higher end.”
Clint: 3 people in a lifetime? I call that an average Friday night. But listen, I’ve gotta hear the story of when you first learned what a clit is.
Jey: When I got to college, New Girl was popular, and there's an episode of New Girl where Jess doesn't like saying the word penis. So I would always call penises Mr. Wiggles.
Clint: I hate that so much.
Jey: I'm sitting around in my dorm room with my ex, and two friends that were dating and explaining that I don't like saying the word penis. And the girl is like trying to stand up for me. She's like, “Yeah, no, don't worry. I have a friend who has a problem with saying the word clitoris.” And I was like, “What's that?” And they were like, “Oh, honey.”
Clint: What did you think it meant when you first heard it?
Jey: I just thought it was another word for vagina or something. I don't know. So they were like, “You don't know what clitoris is?” And like, looked at my boyfriend or whatever. And then they're like, “A clitoris. Like, chicks have penises, too. They're only like two inches long, though. Like, you have them above your vagina and, like, it's a chick penis. And I was like, “Wait, I'm supposed to have a penis?” So I ran into the bathroom and I started, like, poking around. And then I was like, “Oh my God, this just hurt us. Nothing feels good.” So I ran back and I was like, “Y'all, I don't think I have a chick penis.” I thought I was intersex.
Clint: You knew intersex but not clitoris. Fascinating.
Jey: Yeah, but I am non-binary so I love that. That was my first conclusion was I'm not a guy or a girl.
Clint: It is very prophetic. -Now I remember purity rings being a thing with celebrities for a hot minute.
Jey: Miley Cyrus had one. Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato both had one. The Jonas Brothers had one, Jessica Simpson had one. Jordin Sparks.
Clint: Here's my question, and I know there’s no way to know this for certain but over/under, how many of these celebrities do you think kept their purity pledge?
Jey: We do know for certain that a lot of them have recanted. So like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato have.
Clint: Oh so they’ve publicly said something about it?
Jey: Yeah. Back in my day, Joe Jonas released this, like, whole big interview thing. I think it was like on Tumblr or something like talking about just because I signed a True Love Waits pledge at 11 doesn't mean that like-
Clint: When I went to homeschool prom, the Jonas Brothers were one of the only secular bands that was allowed to be played specifically because they were pro purity culture at the time.
Jey: I remember that my friends I went to Christian school were allowed to listen to the Jonas Brothers.
Clint: And Hannah Montana too. I never put these dots together, why Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers were both allowed at homeschool prom. It was just those two, Owl City and then the rest of it was just CCM and a chaperone yelling at us to stay further apart. We were social distancing before it was cool.
Jey: Oh, yeah, you got to leave room for Jesus.
Clint: So here’s the million dollar question - is this effective? Does purity culture keep people from having pre-marital sex?
Jey: None of this shit is real. A 2001 study published in the American Journal of Sociology found that only 12% of more than 2.5 million adolescents who had made a virginity pledge by 1995 remained abstinent until marriage. But abstinence pledges do delay sex for an average of 18 months, but that those who break their pledges are a third less likely to use protection.
Clint: Of course not because they were never taught safe sex practices. Here’s the thing - despite the way the religious right carries on about teen pregnancy and moral decay, I actually think that they want unintended pregnancies because it locks people in. It often locks them into marriage. It locks them into poverty.
Jey: They believe that the only way to reverse the moral decay of any youth culture is to inspire a change in the conduct and behavior from those within the culture. That was on their website.
Clint: I just feel like there are much bigger problems in youth culture than sexuality. We have school shootings on a weekly basis. Suicide rates are through the roof. We would be lucky if all teenagers were doing is having sex.
Jey: Yeah, but teen pregnancy is a huge problem.
Clint: Only because we don't teach high schoolers how to not get pregnant.
Jey: See, exactly. But we can't teach them how to sin safely. So we're not going to teach them how to not get pregnant. We're just going to teach them that you should only get pregnant when you're in marriage and then just-
Clint: How long can we go on with this until everyone just admits that it doesn’t work.
Clint: I am so excited for this. We have some quizzes from purity culture books here. I think I’m going to learn a lot about myself. You know how on dating apps people will put their BDSM test results? It gives percentages for the things you’re into or whatever.
Jey: Yeah. You gotta put your test results though.
Clint: Instead of that, I’m putting my results from this purity test on my profile.
Jey: I think you should. Right next to your BDSM test results. So Dateable is a fun one because it was geared towards youth groups.
Clint: And it’s part workbook, right?
Jey: Datable isn't part workbook, but they have a bunch of drawings in it that make it look like someone's already taken a pen and like, written up the whole thing. So flipping through this, I do want to get you to take some of these quizzes, but I want to go over some of the worst parts of this shit too.
Clint: Let's do it.
Jey: They would have write-ins. So like “Justin, I have a question. I started liking one of my best friends. I really want to go out with him, but I am worried that it might hurt our friendship. What should I do?” Alexis, 15. And then immediately, “Alexis, before you date anyone, especially a good friend, remember that it will not last. You will break up and it will not be easy. It never is.”
Clint: Well he's probably not wrong.
Jey: I know. And he's like, “It will always be weird between you. It will ruin your friendship.”
Clint: Okay, well, that part doesn’t have to be true. That’s just heteronormative nonsense.
Jey: But there's some other gross stuff in here. So like, “Think about your grandfather because all of his old friends are looking at your breasts when you wear that stuff. But that's the truth. If you dress like a piece of meat going to get thrown on the barbecue, it's that simple.”
Clint: It says that in this book?
Jey: Yeah, it's disgusting. “Every man is staring at you when you wear those tight little shorts. Every man is staring at your butt when you wear that tight, revealing shirt, every guy is looking at your breasts. Think about that next time you get dressed, think about your grandfather because all of his old friends are looking at your breasts when you wear that stuff.”
Clint: I really don’t understand that impulse. When I’m in public, I barely notice anyone else even exists.
Jey: Yeah, exactly. And this is teaching that everyone is thinking about sex at all times. Like it says, “Have I mentioned that guys are visual? They get turned on by what they see. So listen, please, please don't tease us, show us your hot little body and then tell us we can't touch. That’s being a tease.”
Clint: What. The. Fuck.
Jey: “You can't look sexy and then tell us to be on our best behavior. Check yourself. If you're advertising sex, you're going to get propositions.”
Clint: What an unhealthy worldview to impress upon kids. Everyone is out to get you. Everyone wants to bang you. That’s some paranoid shit. That'll make you crazy.
Jey: Absolutely. The Big Rub Down: Sex Games 101 - one on one massage parties are bad. The next page, tickle fights.
Clint: OK well I have to agree with him here. Tickle fights are very sexual.
Jey: “A little tickle here. A little giggle there. It's just harmless fun and flirty. Or do they fall into each other's arms, kiss passionately, and spend the next hour having sex? It sounds crazy, but it is true.”
Clint: For starters, a couple church virgins who tickle each other into a sexual frenzy are not going to be going at it for an hour.
Jey: They're not having sex for an hour. I want to be honest. That man is doing three thrusts because he does not believe in foreplay.
Clint: What’s crazy is that it goes so much further than not having sex. You’re not supposed to have a sexual release of any kind. No sex, no masturbation, no porn, not even a sexual thought.
Jey: I still don't watch porn.
Clint: I know, I know. I think it’s an important part of your deconstruction journey.
Jey: Look, I'm trying. It's just- It's just so low budget.
Clint: Oh I can get you some primo stuff. I got the sauce.
Jey: Oh, man, I can't wait. Okay, so you ready for this girl quiz?
Clint: Hell. Yeah.
Jey: All right, we're going to find out your type. I'm going to keep score.
Clint: There's a lot of scoring keeping in purity culture.
Jey: Yeah, but this is a quiz, and I need to grade it.
Clint: Is this something I can fail?
Jey: It is possible for you to fail, actually. There is a right and a wrong answer. It is very clear which one is right and which one is wrong.
Clint: All right, let's do it.
Jey: Mark the space by the thing you prefer in your man. So I'm doing that for you. First one. Would you like your man clean cut or with tattoos?
Clint: Tattoos of course. I can tell by your face that I got that one wrong.
Jey: Do you want Mom to hate him or like him?
Clint: Like him. I don’t need any additional family drama.
Jey: Okay. Quiet or goofy?
Clint: Wait, one of these is wrong?
Clint: Let’s go with goofy.
Jey: Goofy. All right.
Clint: I don’t need somebody who’s sulking all the time.
Jey: Yeah, goofy was the good one.
Clint: Really? You're supposed to want a goofy dude, huh?
Jey: Yeah, because it's just like Dad.
Jey: Do you want someone who is dangerous or someone who is kind?
Clint: Those don't feel mutually exclusive.
Clint: Well, I mean, you can be kind and dangerous.
Jey: Can you? You can be kind of dangerous.
Clint: Kind. I’m going with kind. How am I looking?
Jey: Looking pretty good. Do you want someone who has no girlfriends or a lot of girls?
Clint: Gets lots of girls, I guess. Can’t be dating a loser, right?
Jey: Damn, you're saying that a pure and spotless virgin is not who you are looking for?
Clint: Little interest. Little interest. I love how all of these are nonsense binaries. No in-between of goofy and quiet.
Jey: I mean, no, absolutely none. Where are you expecting there to be?
Clint: I guess not.
Jey: Do you want someone who calls you all the time or who rarely calls?
Clint: Now see, again, why is it so extreme? Obviously, I don’t want someone blowing me up constantly. Why aren’t we texting? Who calls anymore?
Jey: Okay. Texting. We could count it as text. This is an old book.
Clint: I'm still going with rarely calls. I got stuff going on.
Jey: That's true. I never talk to people back. So sorry. Piercings or no piercings?
Clint: Well the “correct” answer is obviously no piercings but I’m going with piercings just to spite them.
Jey: Do you want someone who opens the door for you or who doesn't notice the door?
Clint: Doesn’t notice the door? Like he doesn't notice the door exists?
Jey: Yeah. Doesn't notice the door.
Clint: I said I wanted somebody goofy, but this seems a little extreme. It's like a Three Stooges routine.
Jey: Either they open the door for you or the door doesn't exist.
Clint: Can you imagine if you were dating someone and they were perfectly normal in every way, except for the fact they didn't notice doors at all. Just constantly running into doors. Door blindness.
Jey: Look, if you're describing my life, I need you to stop calling me out here.
Clint: I’ve seen you run into a door or two, but it's not like a problem.
Jey: No, it's a-door-able.
Clint: Wow. How long have you been sitting on that one?
Jey: Since we started talking about doors. Don't ask. Okay. So do you want someone who gives attention or do you want to have to work to get his attention?
Clint: The first one I guess.
Jey: You want to know if he likes you or you're not sure?
Clint: I'm too old to be playing games here. I need to know where we stand.
Jey: Yeah, just fucking tell me. Even with friends, we have a conversation. Is this a fuck friendship or friendship? Just straight up. Just ask. Friends with benefits or without benefits. What are we talking here?
Clint: Friends classic.
Jey: The classic mode or the fun times. All right, so would never stand you up or has been known to stand you up.
Clint: I don’t like being stood up. What’s crazy is that some of this is objectively shitty behavior, like standing you up all the time, and some of it is like, does he have tattoos or not. The superficial stuff is put on par with things that actually matter.
Jey: And that's the thing. Some of this stuff sounds like actual advice and some of it is like absolute shit. Emotionally sound or troubled?
Clint: I'm already troubled, and we can't both be troubled. One of us needs to be emotionally stable.
Jey: Okay, Good family or a rough history? Again, these aren't mutually exclusive.
Clint: OK what the fuck. That has no bearing on a person. What are they saying? People who had a difficult childhood aren’t dating material? I gotta say, I didn’t expect classism to come up in this quiz. I’m going with rough history.
Jey: Gives you a lot of compliments or rarely compliments you?
Clint: I’m going with rarely. I think that makes them more special. Getting too many compliments makes me uncomfortable. Like, what are you getting at here?
Jey: That you're a likable person?
Clint: I don't need to be reminded, okay? I know how great I am.
Jey: I do. You have to tell me you like me or 10 minutes later, I'm going to think you hate me because I'm a goldfish.
Clint: Okay, What's next?
Jey: Are you his life or does he have his own life?
Clint: Well I hope the right answer is that he has his own life.
Jey: It is not. There is a skull and crossbones next to it.
Clint: This is unbelievable.
Jey: This is a little bit like how to have a codependent relationship. But, you know, they think it's a good thing. So you want him to have his own life. You sinner.- Sensitive or insensitive?
Clint: Sensitive, I guess.
Jey: Mm. Okay. Do you want him to tell you what he feels, or do you have to pull his feelings out of him? Which I feel like it's the same as the last one, but.
Clint: Yeah it feels a little redundant but I’ll go with the first one, tells me his feelings.
Jey: Okay. Okay. Intelligent or artistic?
Clint: OK, come on, now. These aren’t mutually exclusive.
Jey: I'll let you select both if you want, but.
Clint: No because then it doesn't mean anything.
Jey: That's true. Artistic has a skull and crossbones next to it.
Clint: Oh, my God. I take personal offense.
Jey: I know you think intelligent would be bad because if you could think at all, you wouldn't agree with this bullshit.
Clint: Yeah. If you were using your brain, you would have already put this book down.
Jey: Youth groups do this.
Clint: I’m going with artistic. All STEM and no Humanities is how you end up with Elon Musk.
Jey: Do you want someone who is an open book or mysterious?
Clint: Mysterious, mysterious, obviously.
Jey: Mysterious, of course. Never makes you mad or makes you mad?
Clint: Never makes me mad. Too easy.
Jey: Okay. You want someone who kisses you passionately or who barely touches you?
Clint: Hmmmm. That depends. Is he being withholding? Like, is it a kinky game? Or is he just neglectful?
Jey: I think he's neglectful. Well, in this case, he would be, you know, saving himself for marriage, which is why he barely touches you.
Clint: So kisses you passionately is the right answer?
Jey: No. Kisses you passionately is a skull and crossbones, so kissing too passionately is bad.
Clint: I definitely thought it was the other way around. So you don't want to be passionately kissed in this scenario? According to the book?
Jey: According to the book, you wouldn't want to be passionately kissed because that's bad. It could lead you into a life of sin.
Clint: Well I’m going with passionate kisses.
Jey: Okay. Popular or a loner?
Jey: Cares if you like him or doesn't care if you like.
Clint: Everybody cares if you like them on some level, at least if you’re dating.
Jey: My therapist says I shouldn't so much, but you know, we're working on it. So you do care if, uh-
Clint: Yeah. Cares if I like him.
Jey: Do you want him to need you? Or can he get along without you again?
Clint: This is fucking crazy. What? What happens if you get hit by a train or something? Your partner should definitely be able to get along without you. Is there more?
Jey: No, that's it. So can get along without you is actually bad.
Clint: Of course it is. So what’s my score?
Jey: You basically tied.
Jey: You got 11 and 12. Basically you got more skulls than flowers, but it was a narrow margin. Do you want to know what this means?
Clint: Lay it on me.
Jey: If you got more flowers, you're into really nice guys. Don't mistake his niceness for being boring. These guys are the best catches. Your challenge is to get him to live a little, to get out and take risks. Once he starts living life with passion, you'll have your perfect man. Once he starts living life with passion.
Clint: So you’re supposed to find someone who’s boring as hell. You introduce them to fun things so they come to depend on you.
Jey: And become your whole life.
Clint: Jesus Christ.
Jey: And then more skulls. So you're all about the bad boy. You love the rush. But if you continue chasing bad boys, you'll go from one broken heart to the next. You'll never feel complete because he doesn't have what it takes. He's a heartache waiting to happen. Take a step back and realize you're better than that. Live your own life and don't get caught in the bad boy craze. I love that it's telling the girls to live their own life. But also you don't want a man that lives his own life.
Clint: To be fair, that is kind of an inversion of the classic scenario.
Jey: I do appreciate that they have these strong women. And later in the book, they do say that girls shouldn't ask them out. It's saying “our male egos don't like being rejected, especially by a girl. This is why guys like it when girls ask them out because they can reject a girl and not have to take the risk. It's the biggest weenie pose a guy can take. We can be in control. We don't have to worry about getting shot down. We have the choice to blow her off. And there's no stress on the side. Fellas, be a man. If you're too scared to ask, then you're not man enough to go out with her.”
Clint: Terrible advice all the way through every bit of this.
Jey: So it talks about male porn.
Clint: Like porn with males in it?
Jey: No. Female porn is chick flicks because it's emotional porn.
Clint: Right? Because why would a girl ever want to watch real porn?
Jey: Yeah. “It distorts your reality of men. Your porn isn't sexual. It's romantic” because women don't have sex drives and it kind of establishes that in the book that only men have sex drives. There's this big page spread talking about the whipped guy and if it, like, even has like, a cute picture of a whip but it's saying the last thing a guy wants is to be whipped because that means you're controlling him.
Clint: Some people are really into that.
Jey: I know. I'm like, some people would pay good money to be whipped, but okay.
Clint: These purity people just haven't been around.
Jey: These people have not been around, but they have been around making a lot of books.
Clint: And a lot of money.
Jey: Like a ton of money just off of stuff that isn't even proven.
Clint: It's actually proven false, largely.
Jey: Very much so. It's just- this whole thing is a mess. Like in Joshua Harris's I Kissed Dating Goodbye, we have the whole thing about, like, friendzone and talks about- So first of all, the cover is a man wearing a fedora.
Clint: Love it. 10/10. No notes.
Jey: You remember the, like, nineties cartoon? Like, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? And basically he's just talking about friendship with women. Like you can't be friends with girls because eventually crunch, crunch, crunch it's going to be more than friendship and you won't be able to resist.
Clint: My question is, “Why is he licking these girls in the first place?”
Clint: Well, Jey, any final thoughts?
Jey: If you were raised in purity culture and you do want to get a sex education, there are lots of sources. One that I think is really good is a comic book for teens. It's called Let's Talk About It and it's by Erica Moen and Matthew Nolan. What I like about this is straight up their table of contents. It's like, what is a relationship? What are gender and sexuality? What is body image? What is your body? Where do you start? What is masturbation, safe sex, climax, sexting, kink fantasies and porn, aftercare, friends.
Clint: And it's never too late to dive into this stuff. The world of sexuality is big and weird and there’s always more to learn, especially if you grew up like we did.
Jey: Absolutely. And you don't have to feel bad about having sex either.
Clint: And trust me, I know that’s easier said than done but there are lots of good sex therapists out there that help you get over this crazy purity culture shit. Well, this has all been really enlightening for me. Thanks to that quiz, I finally know what kind of man I’m looking for. Thank you so much everyone for listening. We are to have such an amazing audience already. The show has grown week over week and seriously, we are truly honored that so many of you have listened to what we have to say.
Jey: Yes, seriously, thank you so much. We have definitely gotten all of your write-ins and voice submissions and we are going to release a mini-sode soon. The season ending doesn’t mean we’re going away for good. We just wanted to take a little holiday break. And thank you to our three Patreon subscribers now.
Clint: We are going to be taking a little break to get our shit together but we’ll be back on January 30th with brand new full episodes. And we’ll be releasing some mini-episodes between now and then. I’m really excited about the new topics. It’s some wild stuff.
Jey: And send us any episode ideas you have. Next season, we're definitely going to get into a lot as Christian music and magazines. If you guys ever remembered having Breo or clubhouse magazines and want to share crazy topics from them, please send in pictures.
Clint: We'd love to see it.
Jey: Thank you so, so, so much. It's just incredibly humbling and just really fun.
Clint: Really? Because I feel like it's just really inflated my ego.
Jey: It's definitely been wild. I feel like I have my own church now.
Clint: Well, for the for the last time of the year. J Where can people find us?
Jey: How Gay Thou Art on all platforms, mainly Twitter and Instagram. You can also find us at HowGayThouArt.com and on Patreon.
Clint: And if you join the Patreon, you get to join our Discord server, which has all kinds of fun stuff, things that we don't put on social media behind the scenes stuff, research stuff, weird articles and videos and all kinds of things. I think that about does it for us. Happy holidays, everyone. Thank you again. And see you later.
Jey: See ya.