A noble group statement for abstinence?

I had this sent to me the other day, and I’m not sure what kind of position to take on it.

If you aren’t familiar with the practice, it’s relatively new. Purity balls have started springing up all over as a night of dinner and dancing with your daughter in order to honor her purity and to impress upon her that her virginity until marriage is what is expected of her. And now there’s one literally in my backyard (if Chamberlain could be considered Pierre’s backyard).

Liberals and sex ed/birth control advocates have howled at the prospect of such a display as medieval demonstrations of control over female children. Advocates talk about it as coming together to honoring abstinence.

As the advertisement says “This night will help you impress upon your daughter that abstinence until marriage is the expected standard of behavior.”

So, who is correct?

Coming from an Irish Catholic background, people in my religion accomplished that through plain old “Catholic guilt” and intimidation. The notion of taking my daughter to a dance to impress upon her the need for maintaining her virtue just kind of throws me a little.

It’s one of those things that makes some fathers (such as I) squirm. One has to admit, that going to a dance for purposes of discussing intimacy in days past had absolutely nothing to do with any female relatives whatsoever. But if making such a connection with it works for others, who am I to deride it?

To me, the way to accomplish the same goal is to try to instill self-esteem and self-respect. To demand , and in turn, ask my daughters to be strong willed, and to also demand the best of themselves.

So, I’m not sure where my taking my girls to a purity dance would fall in that realm. Would they say “thank you for honoring me,” or would I get a very droll and cynical “Dad, this is really creepy” from my teenagers?


Anonymous said…
I hear they are doing the same with Mother Son dinners.
Besides this is a good famiy outing and can be considered quality time!

I have not read the whole post sorry.
Anonymous said…
when dancing with girls, have you ever had anything other than 'this is creepy?'

Anonymous said…
I have nothing against abstinence, but I think this IS creepy.
Anonymous said…
Okay, this is totally creepy. Kids will know what your family expected practice is on sex and many other areas of behavior by watching you and listening to you -- you don't need to go to a creepy purity ball to get the point across. And the fact of the matter is that 95% of ALL people have premarital sex so rather than make them feel guilty about that, teach them to have sex with someone they love and respect and who feels the same way back. People have sex -- thank God -- and it's a good thing. Teach your daughters that PP.
Nicholas Nemec said…
Junior-Senior Prom for Dads and daughters. Yeah, this is kind of creepy. I would rather take my girls on a camping trip, or fishing or to a ball game. But this whole Purity Ball idea just reaks of Father/daughter sexual innuendo. Sorry no incest for me.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
All of you that are "creeped out" are ridiculous. These balls are intended to teach young girls that they deserve and should expect to be treated with respect by men. Who better to show what that includes, than their fathers who love them? They dress respectfully, good manners are used, and the girls learn that they are loved for who they are, without the expectation that they have to have sex. There is usually a guest speaker (one time it was a former Miss America) who talks briefly about purity. It's not like the dads and daughters are sitting around talking about abstinence all night. What girl doesn't love the attention they receive at a Father/Daughter dance? It's not exactly a novel concept. Now, please quit with the juvenile behavior already.
Anonymous said…
Anon 9:35:

You make a good point regarding the purpose of these events, but I say that the things that are supposed to be conveyed should be conveyed to girls every day: that they deserve and should expect to be treated with respect by men.

Furthermore, dressing respectfully, showing good manners, and learning that they are loved for who they are, without the expectation of sex, should also be every day occurances reinforced by the entire family and, ideally, our society.

I do think it's creepy to have a big event like this, though. Sorry. It's not juvenile, as you state. It just feels intrusive, especially when the girl signs a "purity pledge" and dad places a "promise ring" on her finger. Ick.

Just my opinion.

This week's People Magazine happens to have an article on just this topic. Check it out.
Anonymous said…
I heard Sutton asked Austin to go!
Anonymous said…
It's creepy in that you have fathers concerned about keeping their daughters 'pure'. I'm wouldn't have wanted my father obssessed with me keeping my virginity. *shudder*

If fathers want their daughters pure, put a chasity belt on them.
Anonymous said…
nicholas nemec - You voiced exactly what I have been thinking this whole father-daughter thing sounds like to me. It seems incestuous and very creepy.
I believe a strong, healthy father-daughter bond helps a girl have enough self-esteem to prevent her from entering into an early, unhealthy sexual relationship. But those type of father-daughter bonds develop over time and not by attending one formal affair together.
Anonymous said…
As a young girl, my father would have shuddered at taking me to something like this, but I would have been thrilled. He would have said that he didn't have time--I would have "understood."

I would have been so honored to have had my father's complete attention for an evening out, a beautiful dress, and a compliment from him.

Instead I went looking for compliments from others--I knew the expected behavior--but I didn't know that it was for ME--not for my family, their name or reputation or whatever else.

Only AFTER the fact did I understand what I had really given away. I thought that I had "sex with someone that I loved and respected" and I thought that "they felt the same way back." But as my husband and most other honest men will agree--men and women see sex very differently.

Just because "everyone else is doing it" doesn't make having premarital sex a good idea--esp. for young women.

My daughter did not get the opportunity to go to a purity ball, however, her father did make special times to take her out and talk with her about men's views on sex, women's bodies, and women's clothing. It was NOT easy for him.

She attended proms in high school but did not participate in the drinking--because both her Dad and I warned her that drinking and premartial sex go together. Her father was on hand when she was dressed in formal wear to give her all the compliments that she needed.

Now as a newlywed who DID chose to wait for her wedding night--she says that the things that I just mentioned were the most precious gifts of her life (so far).

This can only be "creepy" for those who don't understand what "really good" sex is all about. It isn't about casual entertainment and pleasure--it can be much more than that.

It is not incestuous for responsible fathers to try to impart what they know about men (and their conquest attitudes) to their daughters. Ballroom dancing doesn't have to be full of sexual innuendo.

It is not about being "obsessed with their virginity" but about giving our daughters the tools and information that they need to protect themselves from STDs, pregnancy, heartache and emotional scarring.

With all the SEX that is screamed at our daughter's everyday--from the clothes rack to the TV--maybe it is time for Father's to STOP being "creeped out" and be uncomfortable for a little while--for the sake of their daughters!
Anonymous said…
Thanks, Lady, you are awesome!
Anonymous said…
11:04 -
Your daughter and her dad didn't need a special father-daughter prom to forge this bond and discuss these important topics. I applaud the way the they handled it, privately and on their own time.
I believe that way is more appropriate than these very public purity balls.
Angie said…
Although I do think these "purity balls" are a bit archaic at best (and I don't agree that they work), if people want to encourage their daughters to be abstinent, that's their business. I think it's maybe a conversation (or conversations) better had in the privacy of one's own home.

However, having been a teenage girl not that long ago, and coming from an extremely Catholic background, I would have found this very, very creepy.
Anonymous said…
I'm with Nicholas...take your daughter camping, hunting, fishing, ball game...whatever.

A dance date with your dad? ICKY CREEPY SICKO

Probably something the SD Senate could investigate when a camera phone finds one of the senators dancing a bit too close to their daughter.
Anonymous said…
"put a chasity belt on them" Hell yes, that's what this is about. Not a literal belt but pyschologically let's make "SEX" scary (you'll get an STD and die and Jesus/Leslee H. will disapprove) and celebrate those who are scared of their sexuality in the name of religion. Brainwashing effort, won't work in most instances. Plus, if I was still a teenage boy I'd be there to cruise all the virgins.
Anonymous said…
Telling your kids to be abstinent, sure. Having your daughter marry you in a fake wedding ceremony complete with a ring, wedding cake and a white dress? Totally creepy.

The premise of the purity balls is that you give your virginity to your dad who then gives it to some guy when you get married.

Sorry but someone's virginity isn't a commodity. The concept of one's sexuality belongs to THEM. They own it. Telling your daughter she is property is demeaning.

PP has it right. Instill in your kids to respect themselves, respect other people and if abstinence is the expected norm in your family just tell them so. All this ownership and incestious fake marriage stuff is just creepy.
Anonymous said…
"Plus, if I was still a teenage boy I'd be there to cruise all the virgins."

Anonymous said…
Come on, guys. Let the wacko religious theocrats have their little par-tay. No one's forcing you go to. And you can surely bet that whatever wacked out brainwashing the kids are hearing at the dance, they're hearing 10x worse at home.

Personally, I'd like to take my kid there as a sort of cross-cultural experience. Like, "yes honey, some people really do live this way. Don't be scared. Just be glad we're normal."
Anonymous said…
So let me guess Nicolas. Your way of raising children works better? You're telling me that your kids won't get STD's because their dad spent time with them and went fishing with them?? Come on.

Joan, let me guess, you had a strong father-daughter bond with your dad? Answer this, How many different partners have you had? How many "healthy" relationships have you had, or are there many unhealthy relationships because your father didn't take the time and invest the energy required to raise a "honest" daughter.

Think about it.
Anonymous said…
anon 9:07
"normal" is having sex before marriage.
"normal" is getting pregnant before marriage.
"normal" is divorce

That is what you want for your kids?
For my kids I want above average and for them to be different, not normal.
Anonymous said…
"For my kids I want above average and for them to be different, not normal."

Oh, they'll be different alright. In the Leslee Unruh sort of way.
Anonymous said…
Telling your daughter not to have sex before marriage is normal.

Taking your daughter to a fake wedding ceremony, fake marrying her is just sick and wrong. If my father had taken my sister to one of these things, I would have been scarred for life.
Anonymous said…
I can just SEE the daughters of the men posting here.

They are clothed in anything that shows off their curves--lots of breast and skin showing---because THAT is the normal.

These men can barely LOOK at their own daughters without incestuous thoughts because their daughters are dressed NORMAL.

Their daughters may be good students and athletes--or not--but what is celebrated is their sexuality because that has become NORMAL.

Their daughters are clueless about the men out there "cruising the virgins" because dear old DAD doesn't value them enough to teach them what to expect.

Giving something to a parent for safekeeping is not a bad idea--then it is really there when you want it. Symbolically "giving your virginity to your Dad until you marry" isn't creepy--it places value on your body and helps you pledge to wait until your are adult enought to know what you have.

You wouldn't give your 11 year old a $5000 necklace to wear whenever she wanted. You would put it somewhere SAFE and the two of you would discuss when it is a good time to wear it.

SURELY your daughter's body is more valuable than a silly necklace and should be treated with more respect!
Anonymous said…
"Virginity is like a special flower that you give to your husband on your wedding day."

Leslee Unruh
Anonymous said…
This was just in GLAMOUR magazine. (Not all political junkies only subsribe to NEWSWEEK, TIME.)

Apparently these are held all over the country. The jewelry industry makes all sort of rings and other jewelry that says 'i'll wait.'
Anonymous said…
There is a nice Black Hills gold ring that is "a unblossomed rose" that many young women wear to remind them that they are not yet ready for intercourse.

Of course these girls are NOT normal--they are truly special--they are the ones that men want to marry--not just sleep with.

These are the girls that nice guys (not abusers) want to raise families with--not just live with.
Anonymous said…
Although my daughter and her Dad didn't have the opportunity to go to a Purity Ball, it was important to my husband and me that she be equipped to handle what our society tosses young girls into, so we MADE the time to be sure that happened.

In this busy society it often takes an EVENT to schedule time for what is really important. We talk about death before and after funerals for instance.

Many fathers NEED an acceptable time to talk to their daughters. The Ball schedules that time and gives Dad a chance to honor his daughter and the young woman that she is becoming.

anon 11:04
Anonymous said…
Speaking from a daughters perspective... how embarrassing! I would have been mortified to go to a dance with my dad and all his old man buddies. And lets be honest - one of those "old man" buddies would have hit on you, because that sort of stuff happens quite often, and not just to pages.
Anonymous said…
9:14 am - Not that it is any of your business, but I had an almost non-existent relationship with my father. I didn't even like the man because of how he treated my mother.

I did, however, adore my grandfather and I married someone with his qualities.I have remained with that same man, the only man I have ever been intimate with, for nearly 50 years.

He is a wonderful father, who is treasured by everyone in our family, and our daughters didn't need any purity ball to learn how to live. We raised them in the church, loved them a lot, and they knew what we expected from them.

They are both very successful business women, wives, mothers and church workers - with the level of importance for their roles not necessarily in that order.

They also happen to be Democrats and feminists who think that purity balls are ridiculous.

That is their opinion and mine, but all of you have a right to your opinion too.

That's what makes America great.
Anonymous said…
Joan, So your telling me that they didn't sleep around? If they are feminist I truly doubt that would be true. And if they are truly active in their church how could they be feminist?? seeing as the bible says that women are supposed to submit to their husbands. All the feminist that I know will not subject themselves like that.

Nice try.
Anonymous said…
1:12 pm - It's time to expand your narrow little mind. Our church has women pastors. These women don't have to submit to their husbands because they have equal partnerships.

That's how many marriages are these days, my own included.

My mother didn't submit to my father either. She had to support herself and us, and it took her years to go against the social norms and finally divorce him. But she was one of the most religious, loyal church members I have ever known.

My daughters, in both instances, make more money than their husbands. That doesn't stop them from teaching Sunday School or singing in the choir. In fact, what does one have to do with the other except for requiring good time management?

I didn't follow my daughters around in college. Since they were both working at least one job while pulling high grades, they didn't have a lot of time to do much else - although they each had a boyfriend.

They were adults who were putting themselves through colleges. What they did at that stage in their lives was not my business. More to the point, it wasn't YOUR business and it still isn't.

You have some major nose and control issues.

Get a life.
Anonymous said…
I am sorry that anon 1:12 attacks your nice explaination of your family. I think that you do hit on a key here.

"He is a wonderful father, who is treasured by everyone in our family, and our daughters didn't need any purity ball to learn how to live. We raised them in the church, loved them a lot, and they knew what we expected from them."

The fact that you remain married nearly 50(?) years also says volumes.

Your daughters, who had a Dad who spent time with them, loved them, and taught them, probably DIDN'T need a Purity Ball.

But there are SO MANY fathers who NEED an event --a reason-- a time set aside to actually talk about this subject with their daughters. There are SO MANY girls who crave this kind of time and attention from their fathers.

I have a few Democrat friends, who like me, really value their families--there is much that we agree to disagree on---but we remain friends because our basic committment to our families is the same.

I am guessing that if I really did meet you, I would count you in that number--whether we agree on Purity Balls or not!

anon 11:04
Anonymous said…
It becomes my business when guys and girls alike run around, have sex, get diseases, go on welfare medicare and start leaching off the government that I help pay for. Not to mention their "wonderful" offspring.

I feel sorry for you if you do go to a church that has a woman pastor, If she read the bible, that she supposedly preaches out of, she would read that women are not to teach men.

Maybe there are no men that go to "your' or their church. In this case it would be alright.
Anonymous said…
For the people that think it is wrong for women to be pastors there are some churches that wouldn't be able to get a male pastor because they are so small the male pastor wouldn't be able to support a family on what they make. In some families kids turn out how they were brought up, but I know several kids in families that were all raised the same way and they all turned out extremely different. For the people that approve of these purity balls----have you seen the formals most girls in that age range prefer? There is nothing modest about them and they get what they want because most girls go with their friends to buy their formals. I think what most people think is creepy about these ball is the fake wedding, cake and rings.
Anonymous said…
6:57 pm - There are many men who regularly attend our church, including my husband.

Our council president is a man who is slightly older than our woman pastor. He has no problem with the situation at all.

You sound like a very bitter person. I don't know what made you that way, but I am sorry that you feel you have to be so hateful.

You must be miserable, but you do not have the power to make me miserable.
Anonymous said…
miserable? far from it. I just hate perversions of the truth, and people that can't accept people that aren't "normal" Maybe you aren't this way but I bet alot of people in this room have thrown a party for their underage children because they knew they were going to drink at a party and figured it might as well be at their house where they can "control" it.
Anonymous said…
12:17 - "people that can't accept people that aren't "normal" Now there is an interesting statement. Some people believe that gays and lesbians are not normal. Are you accepting of those people?

And, no, we did not allow our children to drink, in or out of our house. In fact, we sat by the door during a party and screened the kids coming in to make certain they weren't bringing booze into the house.
Anonymous said…
Gives me the same creepy feeling as the testimony in the Suttonhearing.
Anonymous said…

Do you not take your girls on dates now and show them how they should be treated by males?

I find it weird that you think taking your daughter on a date could be "creepy".

I'm assuming none of you bashing the event have ever attended one.

I applaud all those who help put these events together and give the father's a reason to take their daughter's out for an evening.
Anonymous said…
11:32 pm - Why does it have to be someone else giving the father a reason to take their daughter out for an evening? If the fathers won't take the time to do it on their own, why can't the mothers arrange for the fathers to take their daughters out once in awhile?

I suspect that one-on-one time would mean more to the daughters in later years than to show up at something that appears to be as much for show as anything.

A serious discussion, when the time is right, about the need to value oneself and not give in to something that one is almost certain to regret later could carry as much - or more - weight than the rigmarole that Leslee has dreamed up.

Do fathers need to spend time with their daughters? Absolutely. But there are better, more personal, and less expensive ways to do it.
Anonymous said…
And ways that don't put money onto Leslee's pocket from the sale of all the Purity Ball paraphernalia.

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