Jessica Valenti Discusses The Purity Myth (VIDEO)

In this video Jessica Valenti, feminist author and founder of, discusses her enlightening yet controversial book The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession With Virginity Is Hurting Young Women.

Her website effectively describes the book as follows:
The United States is obsessed with virginity from the media to schools to government agencies. The Purity Myth is an important and timely critique of about why this is so, and why it’s problematic for girls and women. Analyzing cultural stereotypes and media messages, Jessica Valenti reveals the overt and hidden ways our society links a woman’s worth to her sexuality rather than to values like honesty, kindness, and altruism. Valenti takes on issues ranging from abstinence-only education to pornography and exposes the legal and social punishments that women who dare to have sex endure. Importantly, she also offers solutions that pave the way for a future without a damaging emphasis on virginity, including a call to rethink male sexuality and reframe the idea of “losing it.” With Valenti’s usual balance of intelligence and wit, The Purity Myth presents a powerful and revolutionary argument that valuing girls and women for their sexuality needs to stop–and outlines a new vision for how it can happen.

You can order this along with her other books from Powell’s Books or find a copy at your local bookstore!


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Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle4 years ago

I like her thinking about the double-standard. Will have to read it.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal4 years ago

Interesting interview about double standards and being responsible about one's body.

Sheila N.
sheila s.4 years ago

This article is not about unwanted pregnancies. It’s about an ancient double standard. If your moral compass demands remaining a virgin until married at least expect that of men as well as women.
I’ve always thought that a man who had a lot of sexual experience but expected a virgin for a wife was the epitome of arrogance (not to mention a big red flag). Anytime we hear a man call a woman a slut we need to confront it right away. If the word “slut” were consistently met with an embarrassing verbal punch it would become archaic – as it should be.

Lika S.
Lika S.4 years ago

Yet men are allowed to celebrate sexuality, and are reveres for virility, even to the point of abuse at times... and we don't worry if the boys are promiscuous and will try to push the sex if there is the OTC birth control.

It's the boys will be boys attitude that leads to rape not being prosecuted, and it's like making the victim responsible for it. Ridiculous.

Dan B.
Dan Brook4 years ago

Women's right are human rights!

Gloria W.
Gloria W.4 years ago

what about spending some time teaching how to protect your self?

Gemma M.

Ernest R. said "Of course there is a double standard. As Boswell or Johnson pointed out, women get pregnant, men don’t." Men don't get pregnant, but neither do women if men don't do their part (we are talking about sex here, not about IVF), so why are just women who have to be "pure"? Why promiscuity is considered much worse in women than in men?.
Women get pregnant, men don't. So men risk less with sex. So then it is easy for them to be completely selfish and use sexual partners as mere commodities (not saying all men are like that, fortunately that's not the case). For me, that makes promiscuity in men much worse (I'm not for promiscuity myself, but what I can't really stand are double standards).

Kay L. said "Why I find scary... strange... idiotic... stupid... pathetic... (pick a pejorative adjective; there are so many that apply in this instance) is that so many young people equate "purity" with keeping the female's hymen intact, and so do not consider oral sex, anal sex, heavy petting, to be actual "sex", as long as vaginal penetration does not take place. Just goes to show how the cult of "sexual purity" can be twisted."
Indeed. The hymen is another of those awfully bad ideas.

moggy w.
moggy w.4 years ago

the purity myth is just that, a myth. the damage that it does to women is very real, and can be lifelong.

ruth a.
ruth a.4 years ago

The fact that I first did a double take on the title made me realize that as liberated as I thought I was, I too have bought into the purity myth. How embarrassing! Thank you for the enlightenment!

Bon L.
Bon L.4 years ago

Thanks for the info.