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Now, almost 20 years later, even Harris appears to be questioning whether his advice did more harm than good.Harris probably could not foresee how strongly his book would take root in evangelical culture.

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[TV’s ‘Jane the Virgin': Not all leading ladies are sexually adventurous] Many of my friends at the time refused to even kiss before their wedding day, citing Harris’s books.Since publication, the book has sold over a million copies, which is no small feat, considering that most Christian books only sell a few thousand.And ‘what we don’t do’ was a way to be pious while building social standing for being “different” and more controlled.It’s pernicious because it encourages you to bring the external self-serving colonial standard into your own conscience.And yet at its core, purity culture presumes that giving and receiving love breaks you instead of builds you.

It uses fear to mask our bodies and needs, and there are generations of women and men walking around crippled in America because of it. And yet, for me, the legacy of purity culture is not one of freedom but one of fear.a book that was in part a warning about the harm that relationships before marriage could cause.Harris evoked images of men at the altar bringing all their past partners with them into the marriage to reinforce the point that love and sex before marriage took pieces of your heart and made you less.He was young after all, and there were others making the same arguments. Maybe it was his youthful status, or his rising star as a pastor, or the hip fedora on the cover of the book.Whatever the formula, the book became the catalyst for the resurgence of courtship and is often cited as the foundational book for purity culture — a movement that uses biblical principles to encourage men and women to stay virgins before marriage.The number one suggestion: “being available to your husband’s needs.” As if what was between my legs was the problem and not the very center of my heart. In an NPR interview that aired on July 10, Harris noted that he was finally at a place where he was able to listen to the criticism about the book, noting, “I think I’m finally at a place where I’m really trying to listen to those voices.