I got my first purity ring on my own, when I was still a Christian, in 2010. I understood the basics of the pledge involved---no sex before marriage, basically. I didn't take any classes, as I was away from both home a church to call home at the time, but I still wanted a purity ring. So one Farmer's Market outing later, I found a ring that was perfect---a plain band with a design on it (I later figured out that it was of elephants following each other). I printed out a Purity Pledge, and both of my university roommates signed as witnesses to my decision. The paper was taped to my wall with the greeting cards I got from home, and I really liked that little ring.

Fast forward to 2013, and I'm sitting in the living room of my home, no longer at university, in front of an open laptop. I had spent several months in an abusive relationship at the hands of someone claiming he was considerate, as well as a Mormon. With the "romantic" relationship over, and every chance of friendship out the window as the result of my own personal decisions, I thought about that first purity ring. Because of what happened in that relationship, I thought of my promise as broken. I saw that first ring as a promise made with good intentions, broken by my inability to fight back. So I decided that, in the name of fresh starts and feeling better again, I would purchase a new ring. I was absolutely overjoyed that I had made my promise anew---again, no classes, even though I did go to a church at the time---, and with such a pretty reminder of my pledge.

Now, we come to the present day. Even thought I'm not Christian, I still wear my second purity ring. Sometimes, if an occasion is more muted or casual, I might even choose to wear my first ring, because I still like it. I still don't want to have sex before marriage, and I already dress kind-of modestly without going over the top. I hold hands, as well as give and receive kisses on the cheek, and I feel perfectly comfortable with things. I know that other girls have to take classes, and there are even purity balls to celebrate their decision (for me, it would just have been a massive waste of money, even my family had been more religious).

Am I spreading a mixed message? By claiming atheism, yet still wearing my purity ring, am I giving off a non-committal vibe? I know atheists can have values such as mine without adhering to a religion, but I can't help but wonder if my decision to wear something that has Christian ideals contradicts my current stance. 

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Comment by Belle Rose on July 5, 2015 at 8:54pm

Hi Michelle,

There is nothing wrong with being an atheist AND wanting to wait to have sex until you’re married. If I am to understand what you said about your relationship with this Mormon boy, am I to understand that he took your virginity without your consent??? If I am wrong and reading what you wrote incorrectly please let me know, but that is what I understood….

If that is the case you definitely need to heal from that and seek professional help to deal with it. If you’ve been in even one abusive relationship and/or grown up in an abusive home, you are vulnerable. And let me tell you something about abusive men/predators: They can smell vulnerability a MILE away. In fact you don’t even have to open your mouth. Just the way you look the way you carry yourself, the way you are…they can tell if you are vulnerable. I know because I’ve been there girl. Too many times.

For what it’s worth here is my advice: Take some time to address the abusive relationship you were in. Do this before you jump into another relationship. You don’t have to dwell on it for years, but a few months with a good trusted therapist and maybe finding a support group, etc…Let’s just say give it a good 6 months of serious introspection. It may take you more or less time…but getting outside input and help to understand what led you to become a victim to your asshole boyfriend is important. This will allow you to go into your next relationship as a stronger woman and you will be able to see an abusive man from a mile away. The tables will be turned! Instead of abusive men being something you’ll accidently end up with without knowing it, you’ll be able to see it before they can hurt you….

Then when you find your Mr. Perfect, you can decide how and when your purity ring can come off your finger. It’s totally up to you girl. It’s all in your hands. But please don’t swift your bad relationship under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen. Address it face on, no matter how hard or painful it is, because you’ll discover things about yourself that will make you a stronger person….

That’s my advice for what it’s worth. I am a Survivor, and so are you Michelle :)

Comment by Unseen on July 6, 2015 at 12:19pm

Of course it's a mixed message, but that's your right. It reflects where you are psychologically. The "problem" will eventually solve itself the day you look at the ring and feel comfortable removing it.

Comment by Pope Beanie on July 6, 2015 at 3:30pm

Good for you, Michelle. I would only caution someone who's been abused (and I'm not assuming anything about you specifically) should address that kind of issue professionally, before it comes up by itself in another relationship, especially a relationship that is expected to be very special.

Atheists are generally more liberal than the population at large, maybe because the "enemies" tend to be conservative and bind themselves more tightly to religion. But by the same token, most of us don't feel it's anyone's right to judge or pressure anyone regarding specific behaviors, as long as those behaviors don't harm others, or disrespect others' personal choices.

Comment by matt.clerke on July 6, 2015 at 7:33pm

Hi Michelle,

    That's totally fine. You just be you! If that involves a purity pledge and ring then so be it. And in the future, if you find the right partner and don't want to wait any longer, that's ok too.

Comment by Ed on July 7, 2015 at 8:23pm

There's also the aspect of possibly wanting to know if you are sexually compatible with your partner. A healthy relationship normally involves sex that is pleasurable for both. Some people have sexual fetishes and desires that others may not be comfortable participating in. It's something to consider. 

Comment by Nina van der Roos on July 11, 2015 at 6:01am

This is going to be a bit of a ramble, but stick with me.......

Coming from the Netherlands I find this whole Purity Pledge to be utterly bizarre. I did smile smile when you said  "I printed out a Purity Pledge, and both of my university roommates signed as witnesses to my decision" because I could picture what my uni room mates reaction would have been if I had presented them with a document like that, given that I bedded both of them - together, again and again and again ! 

I am guessing that the male readers are picturing a dorm room female three-some right now :-) . In fact it was a top floor flat in Amsterdam's Plantage', but you probably got the rest rest right !

The bottom line is Michelle is that no it is not contradictory, it is just your choice and if it works for you go with it. For some of the rest of us "libidinous little trollop" is the way to go, but either way make no apologies for your choices just extract all you can from life.

Now that said and out of the way let me say this .............

I am a lesbian who managed to land herself a wife who was raised by a feminist sex educator and doula. My first few months with my wife I learnt more about my sexuality than from my room mate threesomes. I then went from nurse to being a midwife and learnt even more about our amazing female form. From this combination and as an owner of said organs I fully appreciate that nature has given women THE MOST AMAZING set of organs with which to enjoy sex in a stunning variety of ways. Sex can release in us hormones that can change our very consciousness. We can have orgasms that range from merely "Ooooooooh" to ones which send our minds away to an entirely different place. Motherhood is a whole other expression of our sexuality ( no I do NOT mean kiddy fiddling) just as long as we can drop the old Judaeo christian ideas of what a "mother" is (ie subservient devotee to husband and her child). 

So embrace the fact that you are a woman, that you are sexual, that you have sexual potential so great it is possibly scarring you into purity rings and pledges (I am not saying it is, just that the possibility exist as a result of christian conditioning). Life can be horribly short so enjoy your body, if only by yourself (there are far worse partners than a bottle of lube and a selection sex toys). When you do give the old body a run with a partner (or two) expect respect from them, if there is anything less then dump them right away, move on, chalk them up to experience, give the old purity rings a couple of turns on your finger.


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