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The Purity Culture and “Lust”

Libby Anne takes on the Christian conflation of instinctive sexual attraction with the kind of lust Jesus warned us about:

I think this creates a problem, though. You see, the more time you spend trying not to think about something, the more you end up thinking about it. Here, let me give you an example: Don’t think about purple elephants. You hear that? Don’t think about purple elephants. Now what are you thinking about? Purple elephants.

I like the idea of not demonizing sexual feelings, but its nonsense to say you can’t get your brain to think about something else. “Don’t think about elephants” only forces you to think about elephants for a second or two.

Let me give you my own example: Therapeutic Crisis Intervention advocates the use of distraction/redirection to support young people in crisis. I have co-workers who use this technique nearly every day. If a bunch of delinquent boys can ignore their emotions even when they’re just a step or two away from violence, I’m guessing the rest of us can manage it, too.

I’m currently thinking through my views on sexual attraction, lust, and infidelity, so I don’t know that I disagree with Libby Anne on this issue. But lets not surrender our agency just to prove the fundies wrong.