Purity rings (also known as promise rings, abstinence rings, or chastity rings) are worn as a sign of chastity. The practice originated in the United States in the 1990s as part of the purity movement that gave rise to Christian-affiliated sexual abstinence groups. Wearing a purity ring is typically accompanied by a religious vow to practice abstinence until marriage. Chastity rings are part of the abstinence-only sex education movement and also are intended to help the wearer to recognize their self-worth and remind them that there is more to a relationship than sex.
David Bario of the Columbia News Service wrote:
Under the Bush administration, organizations that promote abstinence and encourage teens to sign virginity pledges or wear purity rings have received federal grants. The Silver Ring Thing, a subsidiary of a Pennsylvania evangelical church, has received more than $1 million from the government to promote abstinence and to sell its rings in the United States and abroad.
In 2005 the ACLU of Massachusetts brought charges against this decision, alleging that the Silver Ring program did not ensure its secularity and hence was ineligible for federal funding due to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The 1997 book I Kissed Dating Goodbye became influential in popularizing the movement, though it was criticized as sending harmful messages about sexuality, gender roles, and homosexuality. In 2018, author Joshua Harris issued a statement in which he apologized for some of the ideas promoted by the book that caused problems in personal relationships. Harris said that avoidance of dating and kissing before marriage was misplaced and went beyond the lifestyle advice of the Christian Bible. The publisher stopped printing the book at the author's request.
- "Teen Pledges Barely Cut STD Rates, Study Says". washingtonpost.com. 2005-03-19. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- Stephanie Rosenbloom (2005-12-08). "A Ring That Says No, Not Yet". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
- "Vernacular Abstinence". Practical Matters Journal. 2001-09-11. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- "Power to the pure: Rutland Herald Online". Rutlandherald.com. 2005-03-29. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- "9 Celebrities Who've Worn Purity Rings". The Huffington Post. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
Believe it or not, wearing a purity ring was once a thing Miley Cyrus strongly believed in. Of course, the former Disney star wasn't alone in her conviction in waiting until marriage to have sex. In the past decade, scores of teen stars have talked about their pledge to abstinence by wearing it on their finger, from Jessica Simpson to the Jonas Brothers.
- Sarah McCammon (17 Dec 2018). "Evangelical Writer Kisses An Old Idea Goodbye". National Public Radio.
- Joshua Harris. "A Statement on I Kissed Dating Goodbye". Retrieved 23 Dec 2018.