Virgin Pride: Born Again Faith and Sexual Identity in the Faith-based Abstinence Movement

Authored by: Heather Rachelle White

The Ashgate Research Companion to Contemporary Religion and Sexuality

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409409496
eBook ISBN: 9781315612836
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043843


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‘Would Donna do it?’ The question teased the television audience of 90210, a sitcom named after its teenage characters’ wealthy Los Angeles zip code. A subplot during the show’s 1994 season featured the dilemma of Donna Martin, a virgin teenager played by Tori Spelling, who indecisively parried the physical advances of her long-term boyfriend. Each week introduced another wrinkle in Donna’s ongoing debate over whether or not to have sex for the first time. As Donna’s dilemma unfolded on Monday nights, newspapers and nightly newscasts reported another virginity spectacle. An organisation called True Love Waits was galvanising teenagers across the United States of America to publicly declare their intention to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. True Love Waits was started in April 1993 by a pair of Tennessee-based Southern Baptist ministers, and it quickly became a grassroots hit. By June 1994, 25,000 teenagers gathered in Washington, DC for a national celebration of sexual purity. Highlighting the campaign’s success, 207,000 pledge cards were staked into the ground of the National Mall. Each card bore the signature of a pledger committed to this vow: ‘Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, those I date, my future mate, and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a covenant marriage relationship’ (Willis 1994, 3). Abstinent teens across the county seemed to be rejecting the private ambivalence of 90210’s Donna to join a groundswell of out and proud virgins.

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