27 May 2004

Purity Rings

Sorry to mention Avril Lavigne again, but I’m only going to do so as a means to talk about something else much more intelligent so please, bare with me. Avril Lavigne sings in her new single about not being the kind of girl who “gives it all away.” As I have been thinking a lot about commodity and especially the commodification of sex, I find it really interesting that virginity is something one either “has” or doesn’t “have,” that virginity is something we “give” and “take.”  What is it I have or don’t have exactly.

There was a movement (the name of which I can’t recall) that was popular right before my sexual blooming in which young men and women signed cards pledging to abstain from sex until marriage. I guess you carried this card around as a way to remind yourself of your pledge. As I think back on it, it seems sort of silly: Jeffy and Janice burning with passion in the back of Jeffy’s Dodge suddenly remembering their abstinence cards and immediately getting back on track. Not that I wouldn’t have signed one of those things under the pressure of an emotional youth service and the high of finally being able to own something related to my virginity. Maybe the cards were really cool too.

Certainly, this might have worked for a majority of young, passionate Christians or aspiring sexually abstinent non-religious youths. I never tried so I can’t really posit my experience as evidence for or against the card.

Of course, this all relates to my junior year in college when I wrote “Stephen’s Virginity” on a napkin and signed it. Then I tried to sell it to people (including Tom Bazan and other people I was allegedly acting as a spiritual guide for). No one ever bought it and after a couple of days, I lost it.