What is a Purity Ring?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
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  • Last Modified Date: 01 January 2020
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The purity ring is a simple symbol worn by many teens and young adults to signify that they intend to practice abstinence and chastity. Many think of these rings as having been invented in the 1990s, and promoted especially by Christian groups to encourage the teaching of and celebration of remaining in the virginal state. The origin of these rings, however, may date much farther back to the use of rings when some women would become nuns; the ring might symbolize a marriage to Christ.

Though more commonly worn by women, there are some men that also don the purity ring. Rings are usually worn on the left hand of the ring finger, as something of a placeholder until replaced by a marriage ring. Once married, a person might not continue to wear his or her ring, though some couples exchange rings on their wedding night.

There may be special ceremonies associated with getting a purity ring. A young woman or man might make a pledge to God, in the presence of family or friends, to abstain from sexual intercourse prior to marriage. Sometimes purity rings are given to daughters at purity balls, which are father/daughter dance events. It is not necessary for the ring to be a ring; there are also chastity necklaces and bracelets too.


Price on purity rings can vary. Silver rings may be inexpensively purchased, while elaborately designed gold ones can be expensive. Parents who intend to give a purity ring to a young teen may then want to consider the durability of the ring. A very inexpensive one may not hold up for the five or more years that it may be worn.

Some people feel uncomfortable with the concept of advertising virginity in this manner. Most etiquette specialists feel it is inappropriate to inquire whether or not a person has been sexually active, and that it is really not the business of any other person. On the other hand, many say the purity ring is a symbol to potential dates that there can no expectation of intercourse, and this helps retain the vow of chastity until marriage. In addition, some people feel that a purity ring is a symbol to other young people that it's OK not to be sexually active.

If a person who wears a purity ring breaks their vow prior to marriage, there are several options. He or she might remove the ring, which could be greatly shaming in a predominantly Christian community. It may be possible for a young person to recommit him or herself, however, and pledge to be chaste from that point forward.


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Post 5

I love the idea of wearing a purity ring. i have been wearing one since I was 10(I made the decision to abstain to premarital sex early on). I think it makes it easier to find someone you want to be with because there is no confusion, no mixed feelings and no "well I thought you might be ready for this/I'm looking for this I guess your not/I didn't want a serious relationship" problems.

The verse that is on it makes it easy for someone to realize that A) I"m not married its not a wedding ring(although purity rings are worn on the left ring finger, and replaced upon marriage with a wedding ring), B) I'm abstaining from sex (i.e., that it is a purity ring) and C) my reason (my religion and my beliefs/morals.)

Post 4

I'm Catholic. Can I wear a purity ring? Can it be a regular ring and then I have it blessed?

Post 3

I have to say, I'm all for abstinence rings, but I think that it should really be done with careful forethought. I mean, you have to understand that if you wear one of those silver posey rings with a huge Bible verse inscribed on it, people are going to make assumptions about you.

The same goes for if you get a tattoo, or if you get a piercing, etc, etc., so it's not a bad thing, it's just something you need to be prepared for. And likewise, if you stop wearing that ring when people are used to you wearing it, the rumors are going to fly, so just be prepared.

Again, by all means, express your faith, enjoy that part of your identity and be proud of your choice, but just be aware of the impact you may have.

Post 2

Both of my daughters wore Christian commitment rings, of their own free choice, and they said that they kind of liked the idea of broadcasting that intention. They felt it was kind of like a tattoo or wearing a headscarf or something, in that it was part of their identity, and they wanted to share that with people around them.

Of course, I would have been fine with them wearing it or not wearing it, but I know that both of them said it was a good experience for them, and I know that they both keep their promise rings in their jewelry boxes still (they're both married now).

Post 1

I don't know how I feel about these "true love waits" rings -- I have absolutely no problem with abstinence, and I think that it's a great way to avoid a lot of heartache (not to mention disease), but I don't know that I would choose to advertise that by an abstinence ring.

I do feel like it can be done appropriately, for instance, if you wear a promise ring that just looks like a normal ring, but I think that those posey rings with Bible verses inscribed on the outside are perhaps not the most appropriate thing in the world.

Then again, I'm not much on inscribed jewelry anyway, but I guess what I'm saying is that there may be a better way to demonstrate your commitment and religion than some jewelry.

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