How I broke free of the Evangelical ‘purity’ movement

…The excruciating worry was driven by her years growing up as an Evangelical in the Midwest in the late 1980s and early 1990s — and by the purity movement that continues to this day. The first virginity-pledge program, True Love Waits, was started in 1993 by the Southern Baptist Convention and now claims more than 2.5 million pledgers worldwide. Hundreds of thousand of American teens have formally pledged to save themselves for marriage: attending purity balls where they often wear white dresses and are symbolically given to Jesus by their fathers, even accepting rings as vows of their sworn chastity. Although the culture largely consists of girls, boys do take part, including pop-star siblings Nick and Joe Jonas when they were younger…

…Growing up, she’d been told by pastors and church teachers that she was a “stumbling block” of temptation for boys and men. This was largely presented as her problem, not theirs: It was made clear that she would be cast as a Jezebel — with her character corrupted — if she had sex before marriage. The message traumatized Klein and many of her peers, sparking fear, anxiety and, in the extreme case of one woman interviewed for the book, the symptoms of anaphylactic shock when she first had sex. (The woman started wheezing and breaking out in welts and wound up in the ER.)…

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