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Premarital sex and pregnancy were major social disgraces and a lot of guidance from parents and older family friends (we call them all aunts and uncles) was built around avoiding those disgraces.I found [the book] very white and male-centered, very dismissive of emotions and intimacy, and very body-dissociative.And that’s so much bigger than sex; there’s a critical portion of a healthy life that I have to strain to reach that was damaged in the name of God.I actually didn’t read the book until a couple years ago.The teaching in Harris’ book is much like what I encountered in white and black churches.I have to listen so hard to myself to actually know what I like, what I don’t, and what I desire, because the idea of pleasure is a foreign idea.

So, that feeling, ended up being identified by my youth pastor and others as “sin.” I was told I had a sinful attitude when it came to the book and being pure.

I remember seeing the cover, and thinking how cool it looked, tipped fedora and all.

The sepia tone seemed romantic, and maybe, when you’re an awkward, depressed teen, that’s all you need to convince you of purity culture: it seems romantic.

In the wake of its publication, churches held purity conferences, purity balls, and had teens take purity pledges.

My own parents vowed that their children would never date, we would court, as laid out in Harris’ book.

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