What happens when a girl grows up in purity culture and gets married to the first boy who pays attention to her, just so she can have sex? Is purity culture religious abuse?
Tori grew up in Purity Culture, which taught her what she didn’t want—a life with far more shame than sex, compounded by firmly fixed instructions around gender.
Chandra grew up in the 7th Day Adventist church, which she equates to a cult. She faults the church for neither acknowledging nor teaching that consent exists for women.
Christine inhabits a sexual landscape that includes orgies, bondage, non-monogamy, skilled play partners, and sex-positive parties. Also: dissociation and OCD impact her ability to orgasm.
Donya started getting sexual attention very young because her body developed early. After having a child and settling into the closest thing to commitment outside of marriage, she received a breast cancer diagnosis.
Charlotte experienced sexual violation at the hands of the yoga guru she followed. Today, after fleeing that community with her husband and having two kids, she is divorced and exploring what comes next.
Gretchen had limited sexual experience prior to age 40 because she believed she was ugly and broken. Finally the pain of isolation led her to seek sexual healing with a tantric practitioner.
Jocelyn is a full-service sex worker who’s seen many aspects of the industry, and who currently specializes in sexual healing and sexual surrogacy.
Mel had trouble being faithful. She has chosen ethical non-monogamy as a way to meet her variety of relational and physical attractions and needs.
Stacey grew up aware of and comfortable with her own pleasure from an early age. She has a daughter and is twice divorced. She’s had a rich sex life, and now finds happiness, satisfaction, and opportunity for personal growth in open relationships.