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-What is purity culture and how does it relate to codependency?

-What are the short- and long-term consequences of purity culture?

-How can we explore and cultivate healthy intimacy?

Welcome to Episode 127! This week, we are graced, for the second time, with the presences of Susanna Guarino, LMHC, to dive into purity culture. In a previous episode, Susanna shared about religious trauma and is here to expand on the impact of purity culture on codependency. We hear what purity culture is, how it left codependent young women to be vulnerable, and the negative consequences it had. Susanna reveals how she helps her clients attempting to heal from codependency compounded by purity culture. You’ll be left with insights on how to address issues related to your own lack of intimacy or sexuality. It’s a must-listen!

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Susanna Guarino is a therapist in private practice in NY working with couples and individuals who have experienced religious trauma, spiritual abuse, or damaging effects from membership in a high-control group. She is licensed in NY, AZ, RI and FL.


Deets on the episode:

Susanna Guarino is back everyone! We begin with reviewing how she defines codependency: overly focusing on what others need to the detriment of oneself. We connect that to Susanna’s specialty working with religious trauma: codependency is seen when one makes decisions based off fear, yields to others influence to avoid sin, and is worried about their eternal damnation if they prioritize their own needs.

Susanna opens up about codependency in her own life with an anecdote about purity culture. She describes being part of a Christian church and promising to not have sex until married during a youth gathering. She recalls how, despite the majority making the pledge, two young women defied the leader and refused to acquiesce to the leader’s shaming them.

We then focus on the interconnection and overlap between codependency and purity culture. Susanna educates us on the history of purity culture, the impact it had on adolescents and teens during the 1990s throughout the US, and it’s consequences.

Susanna lists various consequences, including internal shame, fear, a lack of sexual pleasure, a lack of intimacy between partners, and a patriarchal/male-centric approach to sex. Many adolescents and teens, especially young women, were vulnerable in this environment and often prioritized the needs of their church leaders, families, and community above their own.

We conclude with hearing from Susanna about ways she helps her clients attempting to recover from purity culture through education, developing an understanding, developing comfort discussing sex, cultivating critical thinking, and so on.

Thanks for coming on Susanna! And thank you for listening, my dear listener!
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