Purity culture is a set of beliefs and practices that emphasize sexual purity and chastity, often within a religious or conservative context – and it has harmed too many of us. Purity culture can have a profound impact on individuals and communities and can shape attitudes, values, and behaviors around sexuality, relationships, and identity. It can stifle healthy sexual growth.
Just think about it for a moment. What were you taught growing up in regard to your body and sexuality? I can guarantee most of us were taught to be conservative, not acknowledge our desires, and therefore, silence anything sexual until we’re married. And then, once you are married, you still aren’t allowed to talk about what goes on within your bedroom or if your relationship has the needed communication.
For many individuals, (and I have met so many) recovering can be a challenging and transformative process. Often, reevaluations of beliefs, values, and boundaries must take place. Here are a few steps for recovering from purity culture:
Acknowledge and validate your experiences.
This is one of the first steps in recovering from purity culture. It can involve recognizing the impact of purity culture on your beliefs, values, and behaviors, and can involve acknowledging the ways in which purity culture may have caused harm or distress. This step is hard for most, especially if you felt that you had a wonderful upbringing.
Another important step in recovering from purity culture is to educate yourself about the harmful effects of purity culture and to learn about alternative approaches to sexuality, relationships, and identity. This can involve reading books, articles, and other resources, and can involve seeking support and guidance from trusted sources. (Ahem, a sex therapist would be a perfect choice.) I work with so many women that are working through purity culture with boudoir. A boudoir session can be an excellent form of therapy, and I’ll be talking about that in next month’s blog.
A crucial aspect of recovering from purity culture is to set boundaries around your beliefs, values, and behaviors. This can involve defining and communicating your boundaries to others and can involve establishing and enforcing boundaries in your relationships and interactions. Boundaries are essential, y’all, and not just ones regarding sex.
Recovery from purity culture can be a challenging and demanding process and it is important to practice self-care and self-compassion. This can involve engaging in activities and practices that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being, and can involve seeking support and guidance from trusted sources. (Ahem, again, a sex therapist, new toys, or a boudoir session are both excellent options).
Build supportive relationships.
Recovery from purity culture can be enhanced by building supportive relationships with others who share similar experiences and perspectives. This can involve joining support groups, communities, or organizations, and can involve connecting with others who can provide support, guidance, and understanding. If you’re looking for a community, let me know! I offer monthly meetups for just this, and you can find more information about it here.
Y’all, recovering from purity culture is a challenging and transformative process. It involves a reevaluation of beliefs, values, and boundaries. This isn’t easy and you shouldn’t go through it alone. By building supportive relationships, acknowledging and validating your experiences (yes, even the good ones), educating yourself, setting boundaries, and practicing self-care, you can begin the process of recovering from purity culture and building a healthy and fulfilling life.
Ladies, ler mou are strong and capable, and I promise you are enough and bigger than the shame purity culture has made you feel. Let your freak flag fly, babes.
December 21, 2022