Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Monday, March 16, 2015

Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity, by Diannna Anderson

Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian PurityDamaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity by Dianna Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wished I could have read this book when I was in ninth grade (which was over 50 years ago).

I approached this book as something of an outsider.  I left the church and Christianity, indeed 50 years ago, over shame and guilt about sexuality.  I was forced to go to Lutheran Catechism.  Sex and purity was mentioned but not hammered into our heads like the evangelical purity culture.  But none the less there was a tremendous emphasis on SIN!  SIN!   SIN!.   Unlike the narrator in Grapes of Wrath who said after a traveling preacher had attempted to save his soul:

 "Wisht I knowed what all the sins was, so I could do ’em."

I really had no desire to do any of the sins except that one that a young lad wants to do with a young lady.  I was pretty good on the 10 commandments.  Well most of them anyhow, but I burnt (as St Paul said) with a desire for loving sexual union with a woman.  I was also pathologically shy so the actual chances of me committing such a sin was almost nil,  but the Lutherans had me covered on that.  Yes, there are three ways to sin, by: thought, word, and deed.   The deeds (other than those of a solitary nature...which will also earn you a free trip across the River Styx) I was good on.  Even by word I didn't do too bad. There was no use of a pimply faced, skinny, awkward  dwebe like me making any claims of getting laid...I had a red V painted on my forehead.  To even remark on the desire to do so would start a bunch of stories...everyone in 8th and 9th grades was getting laid except me.  I knew it was 99% bullshit but still these guys were convincing bullshitters because they had the muscles to back up their claims against 98 pound weakling doubters like me.

That leaves thought.  Oh my yes, I entertained many an impure thought and after a time quit asking for forgiveness.   Repent and promise that I would not do that again?  Hell I was lusting in church.   I remember of praying about it...nothing, well that is because I was not genuine or some how not good enough.

Then one day I got pissed off and said enough.   I didn't feel this way when I was 9 years old.  Prior to puberty, girls were fascinating but I wasn't damning myself to hell over them. I couldn't help the eroticism that burned within me.  I didn't ask for it, and I was sick and tired of feeling guilt and shame over it...especially considering I wasn't even getting laid.  I quit the church and have never since asked for forgiveness of my many impure thoughts.

That was child's play compared to the situation that Anderson describes.   I have to admire her courage to stand up against her culture and protest.  She makes some excellent points in the book especially about God not shaming us.  I was a little disappointed in the later chapters which seemed a bit general, diaphanous, and repetitious.  She wants us to do a lot of "honoring."  It got trite after a while.   Never the less, this was a very good book and one that I think would be helpful to those who have endured the difficulties and shame of the purity culture.

View all my reviews


For those who actually want to read a review of the book instead of my tales of personal, teenage, marinated in sin, sexual angst,  here is an excellent article:

Here is the article written by the author noted in the above article:

Author's website and blog: 


  1. Cheer up, Sextant. Once you met and bedded Mrs Sextant, all was well. I am sorry for your teenage years. I suffered agonies of insecurity because my best friend was naturally flirty and got all the best guys. I ended up with the dweebs for the very worst of reasons: I felt sorry for them.

  2. Had a look at the book review: hmmm... did she really say "Sex outside marriage can be holy". ? That's clearly a very provocative statement, I would think deliberately designed to stir up a hornet's nest. Unfortunately, the more any culture tries to cultivate virgins, the more obsessed with getting themselves laid those repressed will be.

    1. Yes she did. Now I took that as to mean pre-marital sex and not extra-marital sex, although I am not exactly sure what she means.

      She is way beyond my levels of sexuality. I am a firm believer in pre-marital sex. A wedding night is a horrible time to learn that you are sexually incompatible with your spouse. On the hand, when you are married, sex remains in the marriage. Yes affairs happen and you can the damage can be repaired, but it is a long hard process and it damages the marriage. But to me the first step in having an affair is giving yourself the permission to have an affair. If you find the idea revolting, far better chance you will never have one.

      So I am a dyed in the wool monogamist, but not for God's sake, but for my wife's sake and my sake. Our marriage is bigger than the sum of the parts. To me you use premarital sex to fall in love and bond you, you get married, and you stay that way. Sex becomes a sacrament within the marriage as a celebration of your love. My only regrets with premarital sex involving my wife is that we didn't do it more often than we did. Opportunity lost.

      While Anderson's personal proclivities far exceed mine, I don't have a problem with it. That is her business. But I find the fact that the poster child of the anti-purity movement who is trying to get card carrying evangelicals (who often vote for US House Reps that are in favor outlawing contraceptives or at least making sure that your medical insurance will not cover them) to loosen up a bit to be problematic.

      She defines herself as follows:

      Sexuality is determined only by the person it concerns. As an adult, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about my own sexuality, something that, oddly enough, sexual experience brought to the forefront. When I was nearly twenty-seven, I realized that I wasn’t just attracted to men, but also to genderqueer people and women. I’ve always liked men who perform their gender in more effeminate ways, so it wasn’t necessarily a surprise to me to realize that my sexuality encompassed much more than just cisgender men.

      Anderson, Dianna (2015-02-10). Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity (pp. 174-175). FaithWords. Kindle Edition.

      Like I say this is fine with me. But try to imagine yourself a Bible thumping evangelical and finding some discomfort in putting your daughter through this purity business. So you get this book with the hopes of attaining some insight. Then you read the above and that she is active enough that she feels the need to get tested for STDs on a 6 month basis.

      She doesn't need to sell me. I despise purity culture, but the very people that she is trying to reach with her message, I believe she may alienating with her lifestyle. Yet she wants to remain in the evangelist fold, and I believe within the fold she her voice will carry more weight, but gee can't we do this in steps and degrees.

      As you say, provocative stirring up the hornets nest.

      To get a better feel for her writing read her article:

      Anyhow I being a card carrying, lifetime membership dweeb, thank you for your kindness to my brethren!

    2. I dont' believe you (re last sentence) - at least not the 'lifetime' bit. We should get Mrs Sextant to tell us what attracted her to you, not to mention why she stuck with you for 37 years.

    3. Some women are fatally attracted to dweebs. Thank God, or natural selection would have eliminated us millennia ago. Maintenance may have something to do with my mastery of certain arts. BTW I have a bad back.

    4. My husband also has a bad back....