Purity Culture and Dating have always had a double standard. Men can date extensively, while single or married, sleep around with as many women as they desire, and be forgiven by society. The phrase, “You can’t turn a whore into a housewife” is an age-old adage that has plagued and haunted women for centuries in dating. But can you turn a whore into a husband? Of course, the answer to this question is yes. Extensive dating is often encouraged for men until they meet the right woman to settle down with. They can have multiple children by many women, can sexually express themselves as much as they want, and it is considered merely sowing their wild oats and they can still be viewed as an excellent catch to settle down with. However, when a woman does these very same things, shes looked at as less of a person and certainly not viewed as wife material.
The expectation of remaining pure or abstaining from sexual activities is placed heavily on women more than men. It is assumed that a woman’s virginity and purity have a higher value placed on it than a man’s. This assumption stems from the thought that a woman’s virginity was one of the most valuable things about her because it creates the bloodline and connection for starting a family. A woman’s purity or level of purity can also depict her social status and reputation. If she is known to sleep around, then her character is tainted.
In some cases, she is shamed and ostracized to a certain degree. On the other hand, today, men who are pure or practice abstinence are often viewed negatively. They are perceived to be effeminate or incompetent when it comes to providing sexual pleasure.
While this unfair balance of standards exist, I can’t help but ask when and how can society as a whole put an end to the simplistic double standard of dating and expectations of purity and begin an equal playing field for men and women? The first step is to hold men to the same standards of pureness as women and not allow anyone to be shamed for their choices. Men and women alike need to establish, revisit, and uphold standards of purity, abstinence, sexual morality, and sexual responsibility. When you think about it, both sexes created this double-standard, and it is up to both to dismantle it. If people established realistic standards for dating and created boundaries when it comes to sex, then there would not be different rules of entanglement.
But when it comes to the conversation of dating and purity, you must begin at the root of the issue; the abandonment of morals and values that mold an individual’s sexuality and the lack of addressing sexuality. Many people were reared in households embedded with principles or attitudes about dating and sex. But how many of those households had candid conversations that truthfully recognized the varying aspects of each? It is not enough to designate an age to begin dating or casually say do not have sex until you are married. Still, it is imperative to dig deep and create safe spaces for these conversations to take place to begin chiseling away at dating/purity double standards.
Suppose we want things to change in the world of love and relationships. In that case, we must have tough conversations and be comfortable holding each other accountable for exercising double standards. If we do not, hearts will continue to break, and the vicious cycle will continue.
Liz Lampkin is a Love, Relationships, and Lifestyle writer. Follow her on social media @Liz_Lampkin