Unbuckling Purity Culture’s Chastity Belt

  • Danielle Latour University of Victoria


Many Christians in the United States are taught from an early age the importance of remaining sexually ‘pure’ for God, their future spouses, and their families. This emphasis on sexual morality emerges out of a movement immersed in the biblical doctrine of purity. “Purity culture” is the term used for evangelical movements that promote a biblical view of ‘sexual purity’ by discouraging ‘traditional’ forms of dating, promoting virginity before marriage, and supporting only heterosexual, married, and monogamous forms of sexual activity. This paper explores how purity culture emerged in the United States as evangelical reaction to the ‘sexual immorality’ of free love, pro-choice, and birth control activism during the Sexual Revolution, as well as how the movement has been successful in implementing abstinence programming in public schools and reforming sexuality in the United States. Furthermore, it argues that the messages and signals of purity culture being sent to youth via the purity, abstinence-only education in institutions, and mass appeal of purity culture in popular culture has produced a system in which virginity is made real and tangible. Therefore, this paper ultimately argues that purity culture has successfully attached itself to the idea of virginity to make it serve a political purpose.

How to Cite
Latour, Danielle. 2020. “Unbuckling Purity Culture’s Chastity Belt”. The Corvette 7 (1), 84-91. https://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/corvette/article/view/20015.