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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Fathers, Daughters, and Virginity?

Imagine, a beautiful venue, invitations, limousines, flowers, formal dresses, tuxedos, dinner, dancing, cake, jewelry, and vows exchanged - is it a wedding? No, it is a "Purity Ball." These balls are becoming popular (mainly in the South and Midwest) among conservative Christians and many include "purity rings" and 11-year old daughters promising to not have sex until marriage in exchange for Dad's promise to keep his mind "pure" and stay faithful to the child's mother. These "vows" can be written and/or verbal and very public.

The good news is that fathers and daughters are spending time together, which is associated with better academic success and strong leadership skills, but can I just say "ick!" I would like to challenge the conservative Christians in the United States to find something else to bond with their daughters about - sports,math, science, community service - anything less creepy than their daughter's virginity. I also have to add that more than half of the teens who take virginity pledges actually have sex before marriage, and most without protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Little girls do not stay 11 forever, and how these girls become young women and "own" their own sexuality is beyond me.

Photo credit: Moon Wolfe

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.