Skepticism

Balls! Pure Balls.

I don’t remember my parents ever pushing the whole “save yourself until marriage” thing. Of course they encouraged non-sexuality until I was ready, but neither acted very surprised or disappointed when I decided to give it a go. They just wanted me to be smart about it.

Yesterday, Jezebel hosted a post about a new trend among Christians: Purity Balls. Basically, the point of a Purity Ball is for a father to take his daughter on a fairytale date, where they dress up, eat dinner, and dance the night away. Oh, and the daughter has to vow not to have sex until marriage. You know… the anti-prom.

The daughters invited to their fathers’ balls (oops, did I say that? :P) tend to be between the ages of 11 and 18, and all of them are going to be in therapy within 2 decades. Fathers who are into this kind of thing are told that they must provide their daughters with the attention that they would seek outside of the home that could lead to promiscuity. So basically instead of being just a good dad, he plays the role of doting suitor who fawns all over her in an attempt to keep her from opening her legs to some dude her age who tells her she’s hawt.

This is a creepy way of teaching your daughter about appropriate relationships. Actually, by acting this way they are providing their daughter with a questionable relationship. I guess it saves her some work and a possible STD. I’m pretty sure that if someone outside of the Christian religion acted this way, they would be suspected of child molestation. In fact, it kind of reminds me of NAMBLA, but not little boys. Speaking of which, why don’t sons get pure balls? After all, they’re the ones who have balls. Don’t they need to be pure? A quick Google search provided me with no answers. I can only assume that, considering this is a Christian shtick, the male-female double standard comes into play. Boys will be boys, you know.

Below is an interview from the Today Show, in which Matt Lauer speaks to the man with the plan, founder of Purity Balls, Randy Wilson, as well as a girl who took the pledge at 15 and later learned to take control of her own life, Shelby Knox.

Ewww, is he smarmy or what? Barf.

As Ms. Knox was saying, a lot of the girls don’t exactly know what it is that they’re pledging to. These are nice Christian families. If sex isn’t being discussed in Health & PE yet, it’s not being learned. All these girls know is that they’re making their daddy happy by vowing to love no man but him (also, God) until she finds (read: he chooses) a proper husband. A husband like him, who will make lots of babies with his subservient wife and then teach their daughters not to love anyone but him. The grossest vicious circle ever.

Chelsea

Chelsea is the proud mama of an amazing toddler-aged girl. She works in the retail industry while vehemently disliking mankind and, every once in a while, her bottled-up emotions explode into WordPress as a lengthy, ranty, almost violent blog. These will be your favorite Chelsea moments. Follow Chelsea on Twitter: chelseaepp.

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104 Comments

  1. CREEPY SO CREEPY.

    I’m so glad my mom was almost too overly comfortable talking about sex and stuff. She was an EMT (and a firefighter), so she knew all the right technical terms.

    And I was also lucky to have technically lived on the California side of the border (we went by Arizona time, though…aaah, small border towns!) and my K thru 8th grade school was on the California side of the border (high school was in town, which was in Arizona, though), which means we got a STELLAR sex education. In 8th grade, I did a bunch of AIDS presentations! We even had an out gay man with AIDS come talk to us. I’m 28 now, so I’m kind of amazed that that was okay back then (not that I’m super old or anything).

  2. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but Purity Balls aren’t all THAT new. They’ve been around at least since I was in high school (read: ~12 years, and yes, I thought it was kinda creepy even then). Of course, maybe ‘new’ is a –ahem– ‘relative’ term.

  3. I remember seeing something on TV about this a few years ago. I first assumed it was a spoof but was quite horrified when I realised it was real. It’s wrong in so many ways, and is just the creepiest thing ever.

  4. Quick survey:

    Everyone who had sex before they got married put your hands up.

    Everyone whose lives were ruined because they failed to wait until marriage keep your hands up.

    None? No hands? Weird. Maybe premarital sex isn’t a life destroying activity?

  5. Thanks for disturbing the pants off me.

    Seriously though, this is insulting to intelligence and independence of young women. I might be less disturbed if there were similar ceremonies for the boys, but only marginally. It would still be creepy as hell. Why is it the young women have to be schooled on “proper” relationships? What are the boys being told?

  6. Funny, he actually says, “this is about fatherhood,” when asked about the 88% failure rate. I think it is safe to say that if your parenting is about the parent, you’re doing it wrong.

    Not only does this promote lack of education, but it also reinforces shyness about sex. Girls already have a tough enough time in a world where we’re taught that our genitals are ‘dirty,’ but encouraging them to keep sex in such an ambiguous zone helps reinforce a taboo in a way that may make them not want to know. There is a reason kids say ‘ew’ when they hear about sex, there’s a reason we say ‘ew’ when we hear about sexual things we’re not used to. It is more because of the lack of familiarity creating a bias than about the actual thing being ewed being somehow unsanitary or even worthy of the sentiment.*

    *That being said, once you look under orgasmic juices under a microscope, there is, sometimes, a reason to say ‘ew’ but it isn’t because of the sex itself so much as looking into a such a detailed part of our body’s microscopic world.

  7. I have no issues if someone arrives at his or her own conclusion to wait for marriage until having sex. That’s a personal decision that, religious or otherwise, I don’t see where I have a place to judge, even if I myself disagree with it.

    It’s the glorification of this idea for all the wrong reasons that’s the problem.

  8. @Elyse: @Andrew Nixon: I wouldn’t be surprised either. If you don’t get the chance to explore your relationship on more than one level before marrying, you don’t really know who you’re committing yourself to. Look at those Jonas brothers and their purity rings. One of them got married and publicly announced that sex was disappointing. Maybe if they’d had a chance to practice, they’d have a healthy and happy sex life in their marriage.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andy-borowitz/married-jonas-brother-say_b_401769.html

  9. @ZenMonkey: Same. If you want to save yourself in a cellophane wrapper, go for it. But don’t do it for any reason other than wanting to. There’s no god, so he doesn’t give a crap, and if your parents will seriously disown you for owning your body, maybe it’d be worth the leap.

  10. This is wrong on so many levels. It sounds to me like it’s just another way of avoiding dealing with the problem of sex, even though it’s on the edge of them going out on their own and doing things you may not know about, let alone approve of.

    I know it’s probably different with a daughter than with a son, but regardless…. Get them early. If you don’t start talking to your kids about sex, someone else will, and who would you rather they learned from?

    No one in my family can be considered prudish. My Mom started out Catholic, but she kicked the habit when she stopped smoking when I was five, and for much the same reason. The main thing I remember about my parents dealing with me and sex was that my dad started to have “The Talk” with me like he knew what he was doing, but very quickly got very uncomfortable when it was clear that I knew far more about sex than he thought I did, and to judge by the conversation… more than he did. I was around 11-12ish I think. I got the feeling he started out thinking he was giving this talk earlier than he thought necessary… Awwwkwaard.

    The gist of it was “Don’t catch or give anything (like a kid or an STD) and don’t do anything she doesn’t want you to.” but I’d already figured out that much on my own. I think people give our kids far to little credit.

  11. @ZenMonkey: There are real repercussions to a conservative religious view of premarital sex. I recall reading some research that showed when conservative Christian youth have sex they are significantly less likely to use a condom or other birth control. The simple reason for this is that making plans to have sex or going to the store and buying a condom is sin # 1, and having sex is now an even worse premeditated sin #2.

  12. The incestous overtones are freaking me out. I almost, almost want to do a new porno script for this a’la “The way of the Banana Master” but I’m afraid I would puke on the keyboard.

    I guess it could get a Spike award.

    Coming this summer.

    She’s putting on new panties.

    A push up bra

    And a sexy new dress.

    Stockings and high heels.

    She is so excited. Her first date. A fancy dinner and dancing.

    Oh, so romantic.

    Her date pulls up in a freshly washed and waxed car.

    He’s older than her. A lot older.

    He’s her father.

    Purity Ball.

    Summer 2010

  13. @swordsbane: I don’t necessarily think that it is different with a daughter than a son, other than acceptability. It seems to be not such a big deal if a boy goes out and punches his V-card at 14, but if a girl does it, society goes wild.

    Think of the cases where young boys were sleeping with their hot female teachers. The fact that the boys were having sex so young wasn’t really called into question – it was the fact that the teacher would sleep with a young boy.

  14. This is wrong! The father’s job is to be the father. There are things that the father has to teach his children (both boys and girls). Dad has to teach his children that the world isn’t fair. Mom has to teach her children that when somebody says,”Trust me…”, DON’T. There are other lessons, but as independent adults, sons and daughters need to learn to navigate by themselves.

  15. This is the kind of thing that happens when you decide that doing what you think is right and logical, moral and ethical isn’t good enough, and instead cede responsibility to someone (pastor, priest, other church freak) who TELLS you they are a moral authority. “Everything you know is wrong! Do what I say god tells you to do!” God Bothering Nutbags. The fact that everyone outside their little cult circle thinks that they are sick is probably a group justification that they are closer to god than thou. (shudder) (drink)

  16. Okay, I despise conforming to the masses, but I’m climbing on the “creepy” wagon, too. This whole thing gives me the heebies and the jeebies. The dude on the video in particular. I wonder how many young female hitch-hikers he killed to make the patchwork girl-skin he wears as he dances in the moonlight to “American Girl”.

  17. Did anyone notice how blatantly biased the host of the show was? He places the burden of proof on Knox through most of the segment and doesn’t truly scrutinize the other man.

    And the tone that they opened up with… “It sounds simple enough, but some people think these are controversial.” And then to Knox: “What’s wrong with that?” They also run the statistic of the 33% drop in the teen birthrate (juxtaposed with the guy’s purity rant) without detailing the causes. Without an explanation it would seem to the casual viewer as if it were due solely to the purity movement.

    Maybe I’m just a bit too skeptical… but then, that’s why I’m here :P

  18. @gypsyblue: Right, well I’ve never been a fan of Matt Lauer to be honest. He always chooses a side – sometimes he gets it right and chooses the rational side, but I think he was trying to be dad-buddies with this guy.

    I wish they had credited the decrease in teen pregnancy to where it belongs: sex ed.

  19. @Elyse: Check out some of the fundy home school sites, with their strictures that one should teach one’s child. I recall reading a dictat about not kissing before marriage because, should marriage not then occur, the kisser had kissed “someone else’s wife/husband”. Premarital kissing was somehow tantamount to adultery.

  20. @DominEditrix:

    I have no more eloquent way to describe that than “fucked up”.

    Kissing is how you know whether you are actually physically attracted to a person. It’s not sex. It’s not a gateway to sex. It’s a clue as to whether you ever want to maybe possibly even consider having sex with someone. That’s a pretty important thing to do when you’re choosing the one person you’re going to have sex with for the rest of your life.

    While I don’t agree with it, I think a case can be made for abstinence until marriage… I don’t think the same case can be made for kissing.

    And let’s say you kiss someone. If you’ve already committed adultery, and it feels good, why stop now?

  21. @James Fox: Oh, I don’t disagree with you at all about that. It’s just that I’m not about to argue with someone who’s made that decision. If they’ve come to it on their own, good for them, and if they’ve been brainwashed into it, there’s no point in debating with them.

    But this daddy-daughter stuff turns my stomach. Like when I was planning my wedding and all these women on a forum I occasionally visited were excited about dancing to “Butterfly Kisses” with their daddies.

    (http://www.weddingvendors.com/music/lyrics/b/bob-carlisle/butterfly-kisses/)

  22. @Andrew Nixon: As someone who took a purity pledge as a teenager and didn’t have sex until marriage. Yeah, it screws you up. I felt guilty about having sex with my husband and then guilty about enjoying it for almost a year after we were married. We also knew nothing about birth control because the only sex ed I got was abstinence and his parents didn’t allow him to have any sex ed. I had to learn about condoms from borrowing my friends Cosmo.
    @DominEditrix: I know a few people who had their first kiss was on their wedding day. It really makes me wonder how the honeymoon went…

  23. Far be it from me to speak up for these creepy men, but in fifteen years in the sexual assault field, I have never heard of a case involving a father like these men. I am not saying it is not possible, just that I do not think these men are child molesters.

    Gross, creepy, and horribly, horribly wrong, but probably not banging their daughters.

  24. This is about ownership.

    Daddy owns his little girl until he passes that ownership on to a man who meets his approval. Sex depreciates her value and these daddies want to make sure their property doesn’t depreciate until it changes hands.

    How very loving. *shudders*

  25. Heh, we have almost no purity pledge stuff in the UK (not entirely none, but not like this), but I’m sure it won’t be long. These balls are balls, though.

    I am confused about how confused the girl will be when she goes on a real date with her future husband and it’s like her daddy date. Surely that’s gotta mess with your mind?

  26. @heidiho: I agree that these fathers don’t fit the profile – but their daughters make for excellent victims. Their entire self-worth is tied to the opinions of the men that own them, and even worse, their worth as property is tied to their function as a sexual vessel.

    These are the same circles that believe marital rape is impossible because the wife’s body belongs to her husband… just like it belonged to her father.

    Molestation might be easier to recover from.

  27. I would say this is closer to mental abuse than sexual abuse. Yes, it will affect their sexuality as an adult, but it isn’t as extreme as what people who go through who are sexually abused.

    As to the child molestation comments, the truth is, it is tough to tell who is or is not a child molester. There isn’t any reliable stereotype, especially since most cases of sexual abuse towards a child are opportunistic crimes, not crimes because of preference or easy to spot behavioral quirks. Experience that I had peer counseling supports this (but I acknowledge that is anecdotal, so I’d prefer people rely on the actual studies on this). That being said, real pedophiles (or ephebophiles) are also tough to point out, no matter if they are predators or not. They are nearly every kind of man and the men who take their kids to these balls are just as unlikely or likely as the next to be one.

    All of THAT being said, these men are likely doing damage without knowing that they’re doing damage. They, too, lack education and so we can sit back and rant about how disgusting this looks to us, those men are some of the people we need to be educating so they can have better tools to educate their daughters. Perhaps something more positive can come out of this and someone can create a more modern, scientifically-driven ball, where parents can take their kids & their kids’ girlfriend or boyfriend to an event where they are all taught together about sexuality and sexual safety. I’d support something like that.

  28. @SophieHirschfeld:

    Not knowing they’re doing damage does not let them off the hook. And I’m SURE they’ve been told that what they’re doing is wrong. They want it and need it to be right to continue the control and abuse.

    Really though, rarely does an abuser think what they’re doing is wrong. They can justify everything they’re doing and insist they’re doing it for their victim’s own good. Beating them to teach them to behave. Raping them to teach them to stop being so slutty. Controlling them because they’ll be miserable failures if they’re not controlled. It’s not a lack of education. It’s a lack of human decency.

    And for the record, emotional abuse can be just as extreme as physical abuse. Too many sufferers of emotional abuse hear that what they’re going through is not a big deal because it’s “just words”. They should toughen up, get thicker skin, brush it off. In many ways, it’s far worse because it’s so much harder to detect and not taken as seriously.

    Also, I think seeing an adult courting a child is a pretty huge red flag for sexual abuse. A pedophile may not be easy to pick out of a crowd, but the guy making out with a 12 year old sure looks like one to me.

  29. I wasn’t trying to say that the fathers were molesting their daughters. That was really poorly worded by me. Sorry. What I was trying to say was that child molesters would love these pictures and find them very sexual. Child molesters would also target girls like these. They have already been groomed by the parents.

  30. If these balls were simply fathers and daughters spending some quality time together, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I think some fathers are totally freaked out by having daughters and don’t get to know their kids as individual people, so an opportunity to do just that is a good thing. But to combine it with the daughter promising her father not to have sex and her father putting a purity ring on her finger takes it from a nice idea to just plain creepy.

  31. My dad NEVER talked to me about sex and accordign to my mom he was pretty freaked out when I went on birth control. My mom dealt with all the sex stuff and she not only didn’t tell me to wait until marriage (just until I was ready) she EXPECTED that I wouldn’t wait until marriage. She told me when I was 14-15 that I should live with a guy for a while before I got married.

    I’m not all messed up, I’m pretty happy and have absolutely no guilt about sex whatsoever. I like not feeling guilty about a normal human activity.

  32. @Riayn: I agree. I have no problem with the whole father-daughter dance and the like (although you do hear more about father-daughter events than mother-son) because it’s a form of bonding that maybe the attendees wouldn’t have otherwise.

    But this is bonding with an agenda. An evil, creepy agenda that teaches little girls that they belong to a man.

  33. @Noadi: Same! My dad knew I was having sex but of course I didn’t want him to know any detail. He was my dad! My mom took me to Planned Parenthood the first time, where I started birth control.

    Same with marriage… both of my parents at one point or another encouraged the idea of living with someone before marrying, so I would be fully aware of what I was getting into.

  34. I need to get off the internet and think happy thoughts. A New York Times article posted on the purity ball website has this lovely nugget at the beginning: “The first two hours of the gala passed like any somewhat awkward night out with parents, the men doing nearly all the talking and the girls struggling to cut their chicken.”

    Really? Because I was always quite the talker and handy with a knife. Give me a fucking break.

    Sounds like these people got ripped off – $85 per person for praying and tough chicken? Lame.

  35. @Elyse:

    As a teen I had many lovers, good/bad/indifferent. I cannot imagine how horrible my life would have been had I waited and ended up marrying the bad/indifferent kind. Even the good I married wasn’t good enough.

    I raised my kids with open discussion and a giant economy box of condoms always on the shelf. No double standard in my house regarding my daughter, after all she’s MY daughter and the apple don’t fall far from this tree.

    Our family motto is “If you’re gonna do it, do it RIGHT.”

  36. @Chelsea: It was much the same for me, although of course I didn’t go to Planned Parenthood….. :)

    Actually, my Dad said that if he ever found out I had sex with a girl in his house he’d duct tape my pecker to my hand and drop me off at the mall. As a result, I always made sure I had somewhere else to crash when it mattered… just in case. I’m reasonably sure he was joking about dropping me off the mall, though…

  37. @spellwight:

    I don’t doubt that some people would say that their lives were ruined by waiting. I just doubt it’s a very high number. Probably about the same as the number of people who think their lives were ruined because they had premarital sex.

    I’m certainly no expert on the subject of waiting (I know, shocker!) but lots of people are happy they made the decision to hold off. I think they’re naive and missing out on a lot of really great things. But I trust them that their lives are just fine after having made that decision.

    The thing is, you can’t look at your life based on the experiences you had, and compare who you are now to who you would be if you hadn’t made those decisions. Your experiences shape your perception. Maybe your life would have been awful if you married someone who was bad in the sack… maybe you would have been okay with that… maybe you would have been willing to work on it… maybe you wouldn’t have cared because you didn’t know any better… maybe you wouldn’t have cared because sex never became a big deal… maybe you’d have other things going really well in your relationship that bad sex would seem trivial… maybe it would help you see all the other flaws in your relationship and make it easier to walk away. You can play whatif with yourself all day, but the only way to really know is to look around and see how many lives are really ruined by sex vs abstinence.

    In the end, it’s the stigma that’s damaging. You can have sex with 1000 partners and not know what you like because even though you’re not afraid to have sex, you’re afraid of what your partner might think if you discuss it too frankly. And you can have 1 partner your entire life and have a great sex life because you’re willing to be open and honest about what you need and what you want. Experience helps, but it’s only one part of the equation.

  38. As the father of two grown daughters: “Eeeew.” Just “Ewwwww.”

    It’s actually been around for about 10 years now…These folks have NO idea how creepy it looks to the rest of the world. IMHO, the wife should be personally responsible for the daughter’s birth control/education/”birds and bees” talk, the father for the son’s.*

    *Unless the mother or father is either dead or unfit (mentally unstable, drug addict, in a coma, whatever) to offer that advice. Then, perhaps a favorite aunt, uncle, etc. might be appropriate.

    @Elyse: “The thing is, you can’t look at your life based on the experiences you had, and compare who you are now to who you would be if you hadn’t made those decisions. Your experiences shape your perception.”

    You are quite right, but that’s a hard lesson. I keep having to re-learn it. I think it’s a very ‘human’ thing to do. It applies to life in general, not just the topic at hand.

    @Chelsea, @OtherAmanda,@weofui: Having spent some time on that ‘side of the fence,’ I can agree with you – It IS all about control of women. That is a bedrock part of the fundie philosophy, “Just run off to the kitchen and let us MEN talk.” :-(

    As to your question, OtherAmanda, see the last sentence in my paragraph above. One thing I can tell you all is that egalitarianism is NOT part of their theology, especially as regards to women.

    @zenmonkey: This is one reason they they accuse others of “having agenda’s,” i.e. “gay agenda,” “liberal agenda,” etc. They have one – total domination of everyone by their theological views.

    These people are becoming dangerous to our democratic republic because of their political influence, imho. This is just one “bit” of a whole. I suggest you read “The Family” to get a better view of their power and intentions.

  39. Sex after marriage has basically made it difficult for me to actually get into a relationship, sadly. I was raised Christian, and taught ‘no sex before marriage.’ It’s kind of had this weird effect where I’m almost frightened of taking the first step into a relationship.

    It sucks. The only thing that the whole ‘save yourself for marriage’ dealie does it make you lose confidence in yourself. I know that whenever I end up having sex, regardless of how much I enjoy it, I’m going to think I’m not good enough.

    25-years old, virgin, and I’ve been in the ‘friend zone’ for the last 7 years because of the whole lacking confidence thing.

  40. Speaking of which, why don’t sons get pure balls? After all, they’re the ones who have balls. Don’t they need to be pure?

    Well, God/nature/whatever made men and women so different that we are practically different species. Therefore, it’s natural for men to like sex, but if a woman likes sex, there’s something seriously wrong with her. Also, men naturally have no interested in spending time with those silly women, which is sad because women are completely incompetent and must be completely dependent on men for their entire lives. Therefore, women must use this sex thing that they naturally hate so much in order to force men to tolerate them. And if we don’t make sure the man signs a legally binding contract before we do it, then it will all be pointless because it’s not like we get any enjoyment out of sex, and it’s impossible that a man would want to get married if he can get sex without it.

    This double standard isn’t unique to extremist Christians, or even just to conservatives. However, if it’s ok for men to have sex but not for women, there’s really only one way that can work out, but the people that buy into this double standard also tend to be the most homophobic. It’s quite an enigma.

  41. @catgirl: It’s not that ALL women can’t have sex, just the *good* ones. This is why prostitution was invented. Also, in most ancient societies it was acceptable for men to have sex with young boys before they got married so that they wouldn’t sully the good girls (and they could get their rocks off in the processes). Not having sex from puberty to when you get married (which may not be until you are 25-30) is very frustrating for boys, and girls too. Plus, since the church usually makes sex outside of marriage such a dirty, disgusting act (sin), it drives teens and young men and women to satisfy themselves in any way they can. The answer is either prostitution or porn. Both extremely profitable illegal industries in the good ole US of A.

    I’d be willing to bet that the boys (and daddy’s) in these “purity” groups are major contributors to their success.

  42. @Garrison22:

    The prostitution/pederasty “solution” was exactly my point. The modern day evangelicals hate those things just as much as they hate girls losing their virginity (or so they claim). They really set everyone up in a no-win solution. It’s just impossible for everyone to be right. No matter what happens (sex or no sex) at least one person will be doing something wrong. It sets sex up as a war between men and women, because it’s simply impossible for everyone to win.

  43. Words have returned.
    I’ve got no problem with parents who want their kids to wait til marriage to have sex. Sex is emotionally complicated, you have to worry about pregnancies and stds, etc. There are good reasons to wait until you are emotionally, mentally and physically prepared.

    I have no problem with a father concerned that his baby girl might be saddled with a baby of her own far too early. As far as that goes, I’m all for a dad taking an interest in his daughter and maybe even being protective.

    What’s weird is the mimicking of the date. That’s just confusing and creepy. And while in another post I stated that I’m kinda blind when it comes to sexism, even I can see it in this instance. I understand the impulses behind it, but they’ve crossed a line.

  44. The concept is not new. I remember hearing about this sort of thing while growing up listening to Focus on the Family radio broadcasts.

    My question: Are these balls about fathers teaching their daughters how a good man should treat them? I’m all for fathers teaching their daughters what a respectful man looks like. But I also see serious gender steriotyping in this: the man should be the powerful, protective, older one while the woman should be the little, childlike, dainty princess?

  45. @Mikel:

    Are these balls about fathers teaching their daughters how a good man should treat them?

    Yes, they ARE teaching their daughters how they THINK a man should treat them: As sexual property.

    They are teaching women that they shouldn’t own their own sexuality — their fathers and husbands own a woman’s sexuality. Thus, they are teaching women to be treated as sexual objects, and nothing more.

    It’s ironic, really. These people rail against the “sin of sex” and yet that is all they concentrate on. They groom their daughters to be nothing but sexual vessels.

    It’s so fucking ass-backwards and creepy.

  46. My first thought in all of this was how long before the honor killings start.

    My sex education was totally screwed up because of xtian influence. Unfortunately I was gang raped by my best friends since age 4 when I was 11. I had no idea what was going on and was too scared to tell my parents. Never did tell them.

    When I was about 15 is when I had my first period; not knowing what that was at all. My mom just tossed me a box of Kotex and a booklet that was suppose to explain it all. It didn’t even explain it had something to do with reproduction. By then I had already had enough unprotected sex that I’m lucky I didn’t get pregnant. I really didn’t understand it all. And I’m one of 7 kids.

    This is the influence of religion on something that is normal and good. Just wish I’d been better educated.

  47. @QuestionAuthority: Such “honor killings” do occur, in a sense: Men kill women all the time because women aren’t acting as the men think they should. Thankfully, however, usually such murders are prosecuted in a court of law. Unless you’re a prostitute, maybe, but that’s another comment for another post…

  48. There was a documentary about this made a year or two ago. TLC (in the USA) ran it again about a week ago.

    http://jezebel.com/5440014/purity-balls-protecting-girls-from-making-choices

    Randy Wilson mentioned in the video listed on this post that he has five daughters. In one segment of the documentary, his seven kids line up for their daily father’s blessing. He tells his sons that they will have great strength and leadership and be generally awesome, while to all of his daughters he basically just says, “You are beautiful, a joy and a treasure. So beautiful. God has a plan for you. You’re so pretty.”

    Gross. I can’t imagine that there aren’t at least a few girls who don’t feel de-valued. I know these men insist that they aren’t doing that, and perhaps they truly believe they aren’t. But to be told that your only value is in being beautiful and pure for men, and for bearing lots of Christian children, while your other good qualities are completely and utterly ignored, is a feeling I am familiar with and do not like when I see it in others.

    For Mr. Wilson to declare that this reduction down to a vain and unintelligent child is what every girl wants is a symptom of this highly sexist culture that glorifies the masculine and denigrates the feminine. While insisting it doesn’t.

    The best thing I’ve ever heard from my own father is validation of my intelligence. I was so thrilled the first time I heard him say to me, “Oh! I didn’t know that.” Don’t really care if he thinks I’m beautiful, and I’m honestly glad he’s never told me what he thinks of how I look. I don’t try to be anyway.

  49. There are lots of aspects to this that I don’t agree with, but I think the creep factor really comes from two aspects:

    1. attributing responsibility of the daughter’s sexuality to the father and discussing the daughters as if they have no agency or mind of their own.

    2. praising these balls as the opportunity to “start” a relationship with your daughter. Uhh, mitigating circumstances aside, you should have started being a role model to your children (including those with vaginas) before puberty. Like, you know, from birth.

  50. @marilove: Yeah. I really meant to say “underground” or “illegitimate” or something to that effect. What’s really amazing is that if those two “industries” went the way of the dodo the US economy (not to mention the internet) would probably collapse. ;-)

  51. @Garrison22: There was a really good couple of documentaries broadcast here in the UK a few months ago on just how many organisations make money from the porn industry – credit card companies, banks, hotels, mobile phone networks, ISPs, even the Catholic Church.

    Not surprisingly, none of those organisations were all that willing to talk about it!

  52. @marilove

    Too true, too true. Reminds me of the old canard that men have the stronger need for respect and women have the stronger need for love. (Think I may have even heard this from focus on the family…) It’s bull… women need both need love AND respect in the exact same way that men need both love AND respect.

  53. @kd9280:
    I’m in the same situation, at 28.
    Probably gave me motivation to be an atheist.
    Wish I became one earlier in life, when I still actually knew someone.
    Now I’m afraid to actually be in a relationship, for fear that I might wind up being an abusive spouse.

  54. @Grand Lunar:
    I don’t think I’ll be abusive, but I do have a scary kinda temper sometimes if I get really angry. Fortunately that rarely happens, and I usually just end up hurting myself than anyone.

    Like I said, only thing I’m really afraid of is that since I’ve never been with a woman, things’ll go terribly my first sexual encounter, and whatever happens after, I’ll just keep thinking back to that one time.

  55. @kd9280: Eh. You know you have a temper. Just recognize that. Many people don’t recognize that they have a short fuse. I have a temper as well. I can get pretty gnarly. When I start seeing red, I try to hide in the bathroom until I calm down, so I don’t say shit I’ll regret. Doesn’t always work…

    Also, just so you know, the first time is never great for anyone. Find an understanding partner, perhaps someone that has a similar religious/oppressed background as you, maybe someone similarly inexperienced, and just be honest: Hey, I’m a virgin, be gentle! Let’s explore together!

    The first time will probably be awkward, but it’s almost always awkward — for virgins and non-virgins alike.

    Also, sex shouldn’t always be super-passionate-and-serious. Sometimes it’s silly. Sometimes nothing seems to go right and all you can do is laugh about it.

  56. @marilove:
    Whenever I get really angry, I do one of two things. I either sit in my room and listen to loud music, or I leave the house and go for a walk. Both help to calm me down since I absolutely love music, and that is enough for me to hold back any angriness.

    And thanks for the advice. I think my major problem right now isn’t sex, but actually getting a girlfriend. Ain’t really all that many good-looking atheist chicks that I know of around where I live – and it’s hard to find someone with compatible interests who isn’t somehow otherwise unattractive.

  57. @kd9280: @Grand Lunar: Like @marilove said, having a temper doesn’t make you abusive necessarily. My poor husband puts up with some serious bullshit from me (yes, including when I’m not pregnant – I’m just worse now), but I don’t think I would be considered abusive. Also, your listed methods for controlling your temper are excellent. They’re pretty much exactly what you need to do to neutralize the situation and prevent it from getting any worse.

    Finding a compatible partner can be difficult when you start looking for very specific things. This is another way that these fathers are damaging their daughters – they’re preventing them from having options when the time comes to look for a significant other. They’ll toil away for years looking for the “perfect” man (one who can replace daddy) and end up settling for someone who’s likely perfect in public and horrible behind the scenes. The best relationship of mine (my husband) fell in my lap. It just happens that way sometimes, so don’t lose hope!

  58. @kd9280: There’s nothing wrong with being angry, just don’t hold it back ALL the time, or it will explode later on. When I was younger I would bottle up my anger and it would later burst out on unsuspecting people who didn’t deserve it. I hope that’s not what’s happening to you. Do not be afraid to let your anger show if it is legit.

    Also, I didn’t have my first real sexual encounter (intercourse) until I was in my twenties, and I was not religious, just painfully shy and awkward around girls. I was lucky enough to find a girl who was awesome and helped make my first time really great. Be patient and don’t force it. I agree with many of the other posters that you should look for a girl who has similar background. Join some clubs, discussion groups, volunteer, etc. Also, let your friends know that your interested in meeting someone (not for sex, but to hang out with). That’s how I met most of my girlfriends.

    Good luck! :-)

  59. @kd9280: Try OkCupid.com, or Livejournal, to meet people in your area or nearish to your area, with a similar background as you. And I don’t think you should limit yourself only to atheist women — considering your background, I think you may potentially miss a lot of women who have a lot in common with you, just because they don’t identify as atheist. Many people aren’t religious, don’t identify as religious, or are religiously ambiguous, especially those who come from super religious backgrounds (such as yourself) but have since broken away from that life. Religion is probably not a big part of their life, and may not be part of their life at all. Many atheist and religiously ambiguous people have met, partnered up, and lead happy lives together.

    My current boyfriend is one of those religiously ambiguous people and we get along fine, even though I’m a pretty out and open atheist. I’d probably consider him leaning toward agnostic, even if he won’t actively admit it.

    Garrison222 has some really great suggestions too — join a club, or volunteer. Volunteering lead me to meet a LOT of awesome people.

  60. I’m a dentist and I hate the same things my patients do, the sound of the drills, shots (giving them), crappy tasting stuff that causes gagging etc.
    I use laughing gas, valium, electronic devices for anesthesia, warmers for the water and anesthetics, and I have monitors above the chairs where you can choose tv or pandora. Despite really trying to make my patients comfortable, it is amazing how nothing short of general anesthesia and a magic wand is enough for some people. What is striking to me is the range of reactions and behaviors I see. Today I did some fillings on a four year old girl and a six year old boy. These kids were great. I don’t think they even realized they got some shots and they just sat there motionless while I went to work. I also saw a hulking truck driver with a big fu man chu mustache and that guy was a huge wimpering whinny complainer that ruined my day. I wish I had recorded the kids I had earlier and showed it to this guy to induce some shame. I did the same thing for all three patients (laughing gas, topical anesthetic, slow gentle injections) and the two kids never made a peep or squirmed or grimaced, but Mr. Badass macho wingnut writhed around like I was jamming a rusty nail in his gums. It’s a tough profession.

  61. Ok, I know the girls get the short end of the stick in this situation (I am a girl, so that seems like a pretty negative thing to me), but this video made me feel bad for the fathers. Being told you’ve failed as a parent if your children do something you have no control over? Something which, while it can be risky, isn’t guaranteed to ruin their lives and could even be a good thing? I’m sure that kind of pressure probably makes them act like jerks to their daughters, but I still want to sit 88% of them down and say, “YOU’RE AN OK PERSON! STOP FEELING GUILTY ABOUT SOMETHING YOU DIDN’T EVEN DO WRONG!” (I feel like I should yell that at them, too, in case you didn’t notice.) I also feel offended–my dad is a wonderful person who did a great job raising me, and we have a loving relationship. He didn’t fail me! Randy Wilson is the jerkiest of jerks, and he should keep is awful parenting advice/self-righteousness to himself.

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