My Daughter Won’t Be Signing any Purity Pledge

Please feel free to inform the sex authorities of my failures as a parent.

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By Shannon Carpenter

At the beginning of this, let me say that I feel pretty bad for my thirteen-year-old’s health teacher. I understand that he doesn’t have a whole lot of choice of a certain curriculum. In this case, an abstinence-only sex-ed program mandated by my backward ass state. However, when your daughter is given a “purity pledge”, well, there are going to be some words.

The “pledge” itself sits hidden in a little booklet that hopes to define the sexual progression of a person. There is, of course, hand-holding, which is very sexual so I should watch that while walking my kid across the street. Then there is hugging, the devil’s sin, which will naturally lead to “other stuff.”

I can only assume that this “other stuff” includes doing naked cartwheels on the Sabbath.

The pledge is written like a contract, so as not to further confuse our daughters. It requires a signature and a date, and then three witnesses so that the person signing can be held accountable. This is important for if she should ever break the pledge, by hugging or kissing, she will be immediately arrested by the sex police. Apparently, my state finds it important to develop a network of informants to hover around my child.

History has shown that these types of communities enjoy a long and fruitful history.

The little book also discusses peer pressure, which is all well and good when dealing with teenagers. After all, we know how peer pressure is a positive force for controlling behavior. When I told my daughter “there is no way in hell you are signing that,” I could tell that she was worried what would happen if she was the only kid in her grade that didn’t sign. Probably civil sex court for breach of the non-contract.

As a piece of writing, I can appreciate how everything is worded in pledge and booklet. It is full of subtly and subtext, which as a writer I assure you can be really difficult to pull off. You don’t want to outright shame someone about their sexuality, that’s too obvious.

That’s no way to crush a young woman as she would quickly be able to pick out the bullshit. So you bury it behind purple prose; eventually, she will do all the shaming herself should she ever even think about sex before marriage. So if my daughter is a thirty-seven-year-old single woman we can all count on her to hate who she has become.

The book is full of wonderful facts as well, such as how abstinence is the only 100% sure way to never catch an STD. It doesn’t say what STD’s really are, how they are caught, or the effectiveness of safe sex as none of those are the “right” kind of facts. It also doesn’t state how abstinence programs have been proven over and over again not to work.

I can only assume that there will be a discussion in an addendum of the book about how long one can breathe with their head stuck in the sand.

As a father, I understand how difficult it can be to crush a teenager. They are so resilient and full of ideas. Their ability to adapt and how quickly they can cut away an argument that is based on “tradition” is downright scary. I appreciate that a bunch of ignorant buttholes have my kid’s best interests in mind. Somewhere, an old man who believes that the dinosaurs never existed has my back, God bless him.

My daughter isn’t going to sign the pledge, and my wife and I are taking turns to shame each other for this decision. Our ability to trust her, to raise someone who doesn’t ignore an important of her self, to give her knowledge to make good decisions is something that we have excelled at and for that, we are sorry. Clear and open communication isn’t covered in the book so we had to wing it. Our sex talk was complete with all kinds of sexual terms so that she could fully understand what her body and hormones are going through and where they could go. Safety first isn’t something we enjoy teaching our daughter, and perhaps we should consult the booklet more.

There is something wrong in a world where we choose ignorance, shaming, and made-up morality that never existed in the first place. Teens have been having sex for as long as there have been teens. As fathers, it is our job to confront any and all subjects no matter how uncomfortable.

We are not allowed to hide behind purity pledges or booklets that “kinda talk” about difficult subjects. To do so is to fail at the very job that we pledged to take in the beginning. And when those two pledges conflict, perhaps the one that is too immature to actually use the term “oral sex” is the one we should ignore.

So, my daughter will not be signing any purity pledges, or contracts, or however the powers that be wish to hide shame and stupidity. Please feel free to inform the sex authorities of my failures as a parent.

This story was previously published on The Good Men Project.

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