Purity Ring 3000
June 19, 2012
Though the commercial for the Purity Ring 3000 is clearly a parody, it does speak to a larger issue in our society: the idea that everyone should be abstinent or “pure” until marriage. And, anyone who doesn’t choose to be abstinent until marriage is “not pure.”
There are plenty of perfectly valid reasons to choose to remain abstinent, but being “pure” isn’t one of them. Maybe you feel that you are not yet ready for a sexual relationship. Maybe you don’t want to deal with the potential risks that come with having sex. Or maybe you just don’t have a partner with whom you want to have a sexual relationship. But the idea that having sex before marriage is dirty, shameful or wrong and teaching this in schools leads to far more harm than good for teens.
Shaming teens into abstinence just leaves them feeling badly. If teens feel that they are wrong for asking questions about sexuality and wanting to know about sexual health, they won’t ask perfectly valid questions. And if there is no adult they trust to offer them sexual health information without judgment, they won’t get the information that is vital to keeping them safe and healthy when they do decide to engage in sexual behaviors.
And we know from several studies that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs don’t prevent teens from having sex. And they fail to give teens the accurate information they need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies, if and when they do choose to have sex.
So while this commercial criticizing the shame some teens are taught to feel about sexuality can be funny, it is also a bit distressing. This parody highlights the fact that many teens around the country are taught that if they are engage in sexual behaviors that they are dirty, or permanently “impure,” but these ideas just get in the way of teens learning what they need to know to be sexually healthy. And that’s just not right.