This article by Mary Zeiss Stange probably won't be online long, but it's an intriguing editorial about Purity Balls, a new attempt by the abstinence-only crowd to get young women to take abstinence seriously. The sons and mothers are conspicuous by their absence. Perhaps they figure teaching boys to abstain is a lost cause. How Victorian. I'm extremely conflicted on this stuff. On the one hand I'm totally in sympathy with the daddies in this. I don't think young people should be having sex, and if I had a daughter I'd be desperate to keep boys from seducing her. But consider the narrative they're creating here; abstaining equals purity and faithfulness to Daddy; not abstaining means losing one's "purity" and betraying Daddy. As the article points out, studies show that these girls are going to break their purity vows at a ratio comparable to girls who don't get the abstinence-only treatment. What narrative obligations will they be compelled to live out when they do so? Will they carefully select decent partners, protect themselves and maximize their erotic and emotional pleasure? Not on your life; they've been taught that not abstaining=A SECOND FALL FROM GRACE, and they'll take it as a duty to live out that narrative, choosing the worst partners and having really awful times. When you're in thrall to the patriarchy it's possible to defy Daddy's will, but not to defy his narrative.
And another thing; having run with members of the abstinence-only crowd, I know that for some of them it's very important to discourage the use of condoms and other protections for the very simple reason that unwanted pregnancy and disease are God's divinely ordained punishment for fornicators. The fact that fornicators can beat the system drives a substantial subset of the abstinence-only crowd into a fury. If you fornicate, they want you to get sick or pregnant; it's God's will.