15 Books For Recovering From Christian Purity Culture

As someone who grew up in the evangelical church in the 90s, my early understanding of sexuality centered around delayed gratification. Wait for sex until marriage, and God will provide a great husband, and hey, even the sex will be better (and of course, marriage could only be heterosexual).

Rejecting purity culture sounds simple, but it can take time and unwinding of your former worldview. Personally, the residual effects of purity culture continue to plague me, because it was never just about abstinence, but for women, about keeping your body covered, and for anyone who read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, also about restraint in kissing, hand-holding, even being alone with a love interest.

The books below come from a range of voices and experiences, some specifically addressing Christian purity culture, others more broadly discussing sex from an academic, journalistic, memoir, or anthropological perspective. They are loosely ordered by level of conservatism so if you are very far along in your deconstruction, you might skip to the end.

Do you have a favorite not listed here? Tell me on Twitter: @danifankhauser.

Continue reading “15 Books For Recovering From Christian Purity Culture”

How Rob Bell Influenced My Writing Career

I was working at a coffee shop when I read Velvet Elvis. Literally.

After college, I worked at an independent coffee shop hidden in the a shopping center between a scrapbooking store and a Blockbuster video rental store. Business was often slow; the six or so employees rarely overlapped shifts. I’d often get a good ten minutes of reading in between customers. Velvet Elvis had already been out for a few years — I had heard of it; it was a big deal. Once I read it, though, my reaction was: Shit. This guy wrote my book already.

My final year at a Christian college, I quit going to church with friends and started church-hopping, but with no intention of finding a church. I had only gone to evangelical churches and was curious what Episcopal, Church of Christ, Methodist, and all the other denominations were like. My skepticism in organized religion was building. I was angry; I was disillusioned. But also, like true evangelical, I wanted to fix it and set everyone straight. Continue reading “How Rob Bell Influenced My Writing Career”