Reddit Reddit reviews The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women

We found 19 Reddit comments about The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women
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19 Reddit comments about The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women:

u/lemonylips · 63 pointsr/AskWomen

I guess it's "normal" in the sense that there have been other people who have felt this way but I don't think that it's "normal" in the sense that I don't think viewing your 'virginity' as a thing that you 'lost' which makes you less than is a healthy way to think about it.

Virginity is a bullshit concept to begin with. Placing importance on it only sets people up to feel less than for engaging in something perfectly normal and healthy and natural. Having sex when you feel ready is as positive a thing as not having sex when you don't feel ready.

Edit: a day later and i'm still so angry that you have to unlearn 21 years of worth of internalized slut shaming and I feel like maybe I didnt say enough. I grew up Christian and, as a teen, went to all these talks and heard all these speakers talk about how women are either a lamborghini (something prized because having one is rare) or a ford (a car that's heavily advertised, everyone owns, and no one is impressed by) and how we should protect our "treasure" and how disrespectful it is to our future husbands to have sex with anyone but them. These speakers would talk about how we should pity women who felt the need to engage in sex and how holding onto our purity was really something to be proud of. And, shocker, none of that was ever aimed at the dudes in the crowd. (For reference, I'm only 23 so this shit didn't happen that long ago.) Though my parents never fed me any of that kind of shit/we're as sex positive as they could be with a teen who didn't want to talk to their parents about sex and I thank the universe every day that I escaped those years without buying into that stuff. I'm not saying you were militant about it or that you were trying to wait until marriage, but you obviously bought into some of that and those ideas can be really hard to escape- and they're hurting you. It's really really toxic for those ideas to be perpetuated. They lead to so much judgement and shaming and pain and confusion that can be completely done without. I remember feeling liberated when I had sex for the first time- glad to do away with a label that I felt like people were putting so much unnecessary importance on.

I highly suggest you read The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession With Virginity Is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti. And maybe from there, some other sex-positive writing.

u/Joffrey_is_so_alpha · 37 pointsr/SubredditDrama

What are these grave and dire consequences beyond the possibility of an STD, which she could have gotten from any single person? I don't see what you're talking about here at all beyond some weird Puritan idea that the number of partners you've had determines your character or "purity" (LOL)

Do people honestly think that sex makes women dirty or something? Is it 1726? Where am I?

I honestly don't get the obsession with numbers when it comes to sex partners. If someone's careful, what does it matter? No unwanted pregnancy, no STDs, and it seems to me you pretty much win the lottery with an experienced partner.

edit: ITT, a lot of dudes who apparently want to catch a unicorn with a pure virgin maiden or something (protip: pegasi like sluts better, and a pegasus can FLY. Which would YOU prefer?)

u/bunnylover726 · 18 pointsr/badwomensanatomy

You need to read "Purity Myth" by Jessica Valenti. It's a quick read. Do it.

u/selfishstars · 18 pointsr/AskFeminists

I think you just aren't that familiar with feminists and what they talk about.

One of the first books I read that got me interested in feminism was The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti.

u/PoniesRBitchin · 13 pointsr/SRSWomen

Try reading The Purity Myth if you haven't already. It's an amazing book that does a great job of tearing down all the bullshit around virginity. No one can even agree on what makes you a virgin. Like you said, some people only think heterosexual people can even lose their virginity. Some people would say masturbating means you're not a virgin, but some people think it takes partnered sex. Virginity is a very vague idea, and not worth becoming too concerned about. Good partners will always realize that the notion of virginity doesn't mean very much.

Also, if you're concerned about future partners, remember that you still get to have a first time with each person you sleep with. Every relationship is special, every partnership has a beginning and that period of feeling butterflies when you look at the person you care about. You can always find connection and romance, it's not magically gone if you're not a virgin.

u/girltano · 9 pointsr/AskWomen

Just a plug for The Purity Myth which dismantles that whole phenomenon pretty effectively. Must read material!

Edit to add a relevant quote: “Making women the sexual gatekeepers and telling men they just can't help themselves not only drives home the point that women's sexuality is unnatural, but also sets up a disturbing dynamic in which women are expected to be responsible for men's sexual behavior.”

u/frabelle · 5 pointsr/DuggarsSnark
  • "Daddy, I Do" is a documentary that came out in 2010 about purity balls & purity culture.

  • There's a 2008 episode of the British news TV series Cutting Edge called "The Virgin Daughters" about these same issues.

  • "Give Me Sex, Jesus" is another documentary that someone mentioned here recently about the Purity Movement and abstinence-only education, fully streamable for free on Vimeo!

  • "Virgin Tales" (trailer only) is yet another documentary about purity culture, this one from 2012. The only place I've been able to find to watch it is through borrowing the DVD from my local library -- sadly, nowhere to stream it.

  • Lastly, "The Purity Myth" (trailer only) is a short documentary based on Jessica Valenti's book, "The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women". (If you really want a laugh, the very first person featured in the trailer talking about how she "doesn't believe in sex before marriage" is none other than Miley Cyrus!) Unfortunately, the only place I've been able to find to watch it is here, and it costs $50 just to rent!
u/ReverendDizzle · 4 pointsr/booksuggestions

Off the top of my head here are some interesting books I've read (or reread) lately that I think you might enjoy and fall nicely into the young-adult-expanding-their-mind category.

The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti

Really interesting look at what the implications of the American obsession with virginity/purity are.


The Communist Manifesto (edited/annotated by Phil Gasper)

Everybody should read the Communist Manifesto. It's too big of a part of history (and of America's history of opposition to communism) to not read. Gasper's heavy annotations make this an absolutely top-notch edition to read.


At Home by Bill Bryson

Really enjoyable overview of the history of domestic life and it's myriad of quirks and traditions.


Escaping the Endless Adolescence: How We Can Help Our Teenagers Grow Up Before They Grow Old by Joseph Allen

Very interesting look at the current trend in America of lengthening adolescence and how our extension of what we consider adolescence well into the 20s is harming young adults.

u/HelloIAmHawt · 4 pointsr/AskWomen

Jessica Valenti's The Purity Myth is a really good read. It largely focuses on purity balls and the concept of female sexuality (and how obsessing over virginity actually puts more importance on women as sex objects than just letting them do as they please).

My description doesn't really do the book justice, but it's summed up relatively well if you click the link!

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/Feminism

Pick up some books by Jessica Valenti. They're very accesible and interesting. Some of them are addressed to women, but they're a good read for anyone:
Yes Means Yes,
He's a Stud, She's a Slut,
Full Frontal Feminism,
and The Purity Myth.

Camille Paglia has an interesting book called Sexual Personae. It's very dense, but very well researched unified-field theoretical book that blasts conservative, liberal, and feminist readings of human nature. I don't agree with some of the biological determinism in it and it sees art as fact in a sort of problematic way, but it gets you thinking about gender pretty hard!

u/theMons · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

In my human sexuality course, our professor explained that as children their sexual interest is within the normal age range, but as they age, their interest doesn't age with them.

As to our culture, there's a wonderful book out there that I highly recommend: The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti

u/sunshinestarved · 2 pointsr/ABCDesis

It's certainly not a desi-specific question. This is an issue everywhere in the world. It's not obvious how desi virginity culture now is any different than the culture in the US in, say, 1940. And certainly modern desi culture is not the culture that's objectively most obsessed with virginity.

I'd suggest understanding this as a human phenomenon first, then delve into the interrelationship with desi culture. Otherwise this is going to be a shitshow with racial and sexual generalizations galore.

If you're unwilling to ask on reddit, I can provide a list of books for you to look at. This sub has a bad history of agenda-laced posts by throwaways, so a lot of us are now very wary of feeding trolls with a topic like this.

EDIT: Here's some books I thought of, because YOLO. Books that focus on this tend to be left-wing feminist, please be forewarned if you're a TRP dude with an ax to grind.

  • The Purity Myth about virginity culture in the modern United States

  • Virginity or Death - the namesake essay by Katha Pollit might be useful. Her essay collections often touch on virginity culture.

  • Saint Augustine's works on virginity and women form the basis of about 1500 years of "Western" thought on women's purity

  • Ayan Hirsi Ali's books The Caged Virgin and Infidel are good at identifying certain problematic practices in Muslim traditions, though her conclusion that it's all Muslims and "ban them all" etc. etc. is ridiculous

    ... oh eff it, the post got deleted. If you need more reading material PM me.
u/strangetime · 2 pointsr/FeMRADebates

> Do you have any evidence that it was feminists who are responsible for the greater knowledge of female sexuality, instead of say, pornographers, or people like Alfred Kinsey?

I think feminism paved the way for our current understanding of female sexuality in a way that pornographers or Alfred Kinsey could not because it brought real female perspectives into the mix for the first time. It's impossible to understand your own sexual organs and desires as a woman when everything you're exposed to is filtered through a heterosexual male lens. Watching porn doesn't teach you shit about sex, and it gives you a skewed perspective of your own sexuality. Over the last 25 or so years, with the onslaught of sex positive feminism, women and girls can talk about their sexuality for the first time without the risk of becoming pariahs. Having a female perspective for the first time in history has drastically changed the sexual landscape.

I should note that there can be a big difference between feminist literature that discusses female sexuality and literature for women that discusses female sexuality. I would not recommend Cosmopolitan Magazine as a resource for young girls. My (sex positive feminist) mother subscribed me to New Moon instead of Cosmo when I was growing up and that gave me perspective that often differed from my female friends who were subscribed to Cosmo. I also grew up with the feminist websites for girls. I was a little too old for their sex ed book for girls when it came out, but I definitely think it shaped girls' understanding of their bodies. Jessica Valenti is definitely relevant to this conversation as well—I read The Purity Myth when I was in college, but I think it's an invaluable resource for young girls who are dealing with slut shaming and confusion about their virginity (which is definitely a feminist issue). The website Scarleteen is a sex positive feminist sex ed resource for teenagers that also comes to mind.

These examples don't prove my conjecture that sex positive feminist resources for girls have shaped our current understanding of female sexuality, but I will say this: if you barred a girl's access to these resources and only allowed her knowledge of sexuality to be shaped by porn, popular media, and science, she wouldn't have any close to a decent understanding of her body and sexuality. An alternative lens with which to view these things is necessary and increased access to that lens in recent years has contributed to a completely different understanding of sex.

u/shewolfe · 1 pointr/Feminism

For those interested in learning more about this alongside a bit of feminist theory, Jessica Valenti's book The Purity Myth has a pretty lengthy section about the whole purity ball phenomenon. The book itself is a discussion of American culture's obsession with virginity and reads pretty quickly--I'd recommend it for sure!

u/ass_unicron · 1 pointr/atheistvids

I'd recommend The Purity Myth for anyone who's interested in the subject.

u/nubarbie · 1 pointr/TwoXChromosomes

I'm a big fan of anything Jessica Valenti

He's A Stud She's Slut - excellent read about double standards in society

Full Frontal Feminism - a bit of a younger read but a great overview

Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape

The Purity Myth - all about America's obsession with sex and being 'pure.' Not necessarily women's rights per say but my favorite by her


u/casualcolloquialism · 1 pointr/exSistersinZion

I know this will sound like a "stock" answer, but if you have access to it I really can't recommend therapy enough. The trauma of leaving behind an entity like TSCC is real, deep, and lasting. A therapist, especially one who specializes in issues like faith transitions and sexuality, will be able to help guide you personally toward meeting your own goals.

You might check out /r/SexPositive and try searching or posting or even just subscribing there.

Now, admittedly, for the rest of this I just went down a Google rabbit hole for a bit so I can't say that I know for sure these are solid, but they may be good starting places.

God, Sex and Women of the Bible by Shoni Labowitz may be a good starting place because it returns to the material that was likely used in part to originally teach you these unhealthy attitudes and recasts them in a much more sex positive light.

Because it Feels Good by Debby Herbenick is a simple guide to a huge range of the questions someone who was never taught anything about sex may have. This might help because if you demystify it then it can become less of a boogeyman and more of a bodily function (which it is).

The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti is an academic approach, but basically it looks at the ways culture as a whole has fetishized virginity and caused a lot of women to struggle with their sexuality. So if it would help you to "pull back the curtain" so to speak to look at HOW all this negativity has been drilled into you, it might help.

Similarly, Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body by Riane Eisler takes a historical perspective on the issue, examining the ways in which female sexuality (and sex in general) has been used as a tool to oppress women - and what we can do about that now.

Some people find that starting with themselves can help, so if you think that may be easier than trying to approached partnered sex, Sex for One by Betty Dodson is a tried and true resource for awesome self-love (masturbation) sessions.

Also - for me the thing that has worked the most is surrounding myself with people who have helped me to slowly change over time. Loving partners who are willing to go slow (or go backwards) as well as friends who are willing to talk things out have been indispensable. If you ever need a friend, just PM me. I'm no expert, but I'm happy to listen. :-)