Episode 149: Linda Kay Klein



Linda Kay Klein, the author of PURE: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free, joins me today. She is the founder of Break Free Together, an organization committed to helping people claim their whole selves—mind, spirit, and body. Linda’s work has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Elle.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, and many others. 

Linda is a trained Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education facilitator and Vice Chair of the Board for the Forum for Theological Exploration. She holds an interdisciplinary Masters degree from NYU, where she focused on American Evangelical Christian sex and gender messaging for girls.  

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By the title of the book alone, you can tell where this conversation is heading. If you grew up in the True Love Waits or I Kissed Dating Goodbye culture then you will find this very interesting. We talk about growing up during the purity movement, where this movement came from and what it was a reaction to. We also talk about the fear and shame that have been used as external motivations for purity and how we can start building a healthy conversation around sexuality.

This conversation may be uncomfortable or awkward or it may cause you to feel frustrated. But  this is such an important conversation for us to have especially if you grew up in the purity movement and especially if you are now parenting kids after growing up through that movement. We have to be aware of the shame that we carry—we can’t build shame resilient kids if we don’t address our own shame. And we have to be committed to figure out how to have conversations around sexuality that don’t include shame.

Links Mentioned:

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Connect with Linda:  Website 

Takeaways From Our Conversation:

  • I hope that this conversation peaked your interest in this topic. I highly recommend reading her book. It is probably the best book I’ve read of 2018. Whether you agree with her or not, her research and insight is fascinating.

  • Sunday night, Scott and I had the pleasure of meeting Linda in person, hear her read the beginning of her book and then experienced exactly what she talked about. She opened the floor to discussion about the topic. No one knew each other yet there was something powerful that happened when people chose to be vulnerable and share their stories. Vulnerability set up the stage for connection. And that’s what I hope this conversation leads to for you. I hope that by hearing us be vulnerable that you will feel confidence to start a conversation. There is power in telling our stories. That is the power that can stop the shame cycle.

  • Internal vs External motivation - we must start talking to our kids about an internal motivation for how they treat their sexuality.

  • Values, reflective practices and trusted non-judgmental community members is what is needed to building a healthy sexuality. How can we build that for our kids? How to help make values based decisions?

Discussion Questions:

  • Did you ever get the “sex talk?” What was said?

  • What were some of the messages you heard growing up about purity and how did it affect you through the years?

  • Did you grow up feeling like being pure was the most important thing about being a christian?

  • What sort of fear and shame was taught to you around the topic of purity?

  • What do you wish you had known about sex as a teenager as it relates to your faith?

What did you enjoy about this episode? What was your takeaway. Let's continue the conversation on Instagram or Twitter.

Thank you for following along life with me. I love being apart of your day. And as always, I hope this show helps you survive a little easier.

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