naked: just how pure do you think i am? the purity test

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Have you ever taken a purity test? I remember them from high school, when I was fat and terrified of being looked at, let alone touched. God forbid anyone express any interest in me, because then, they were just making fun of me. I was ashamed to be so inexperienced, assumed that everyone around me was totally sophisticated and sexy, and when the topic came up–as it inevitably does when you are a 14-year-old girl–I took stuff from My Sweet Audrina and Michael J. Fox movies, and I made shit up.

Purity tests were even worse than the gab fests, because when you were just bullshitting during a sleepover over wine coolers stolen from the fridge, you could say “Oh, totally!” or roll your eyes at someone else’s anecdote about how sucky boys are and you could feel like you were absolutely fooling everyone, and they had no idea that you were shy, ashamed, uncomfortable in your body the way a teenaged girl is best at being (though grown-ups can show themselves to be frustratingly good at it, too). A purity test, though–it had a million questions, some of which involved things you had never heard of. A purity test was the ultimate exposure of your absolute ignorance, could horribly reveal to the world my relationship to my body, and I hated them.



It is interesting to me now, to look at a purity test as an adult,
someone who is comfortable with sex and very aware of how hard, but important, it is to work on being comfortable in your own skin. Some of
the questions are oddly charming (have you ever held hands?). Some of them
are kind of terrifying (have you ever willingly shit your pants?). All of
them amaze me, how they encompass the entire spectrum of human
sexuality, how they touch on nearly everything that is possible to
accomplish either by yourself or with another human being and find
sexual satisfaction in.

I got about 71 questions in before I got bored this time around, but
it made me happy to think about all the possibilities in the world. It
made me happy to think that I have come so far from that terrified kid
who thought she’d be untouched and unloved until she was dead. That I
am so far from pure, and so happy about it.

Have you ever taken a purity test? Just how pure are you?

3 Replies to “naked: just how pure do you think i am? the purity test”

  1. My university used to have a fantastic purity test every year around Valentine’s day, and I swear to god the writers had it out for me. Every single year – seven years! – no matter how I’d experimented, how often I’d gotten drunk, how many tattoos I’d gotten, or how many new terms I knew thanks to my Nerve subscription, I always ended up in the frigging “You Are a Nun, Or Dead, or A Dead Nun” category with fewer than ten points. Even the year I got 15 points for seeing David Bowie live, it got cancelled out later in the quiz.

    I’m so pure. :-(

  2. My university used to have a fantastic purity test every year around Valentine’s day, and I swear to god the writers had it out for me. Every single year – seven years! – no matter how I’d experimented, how often I’d gotten drunk, how many tattoos I’d gotten, or how many new terms I knew thanks to my Nerve subscription, I always ended up in the frigging “You Are a Nun, Or Dead, or A Dead Nun” category with fewer than ten points. Even the year I got 15 points for seeing David Bowie live, it got cancelled out later in the quiz.

    I’m so pure. :-(

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