As a child grows up, he/she is exposed to a large set of expectations, challenges, and temptations. The notion of college life encompasses all three. From an early age, college life has been glamorized as the best time of one’s life. Children are exposed to this idea by adults around them, the teenagers gearing up to college around them and the numerous coming of age stories that they watch on TV eagerly. TV paints a picture of college life, as a time of experimentation, to let go, wild and leaving behind innocence in a blazing trail of over the top, exciting and sometimes not entirely legal adventures. Universities themselves also perpetuate the stereotype that universities are the hotbed of experimentation and demand an entirely new way of life, which is free of mundane routinized elements. This is reflected particularly in the Rice Purity test, which has become a common feature of induction into college life at the beginning of a school year and is targeted particularly at freshmen.
Purity tests have become a national phenomenon that has garnered increasing popularity over the last couple of years. These have been described as self-assessments – a graded survey that calculates the degree of innocence an individual has in terms of worldly things like doing drugs, having sex, practicing deceit and other vices. It based on a percentage scale. The numbers are the end of the spectrum is extremes, with 100% being the purest and 0% being the least pure. The purity tests are taken by individuals themselves, simply requiring a yes or no answer to a list of hundred ‘Have you ever…’ questions.
Purity tests have existed since well before the Internet, making their first appearance in the 1930s. Their popularity, however, increased over time, as social values and rule about virtuosity became much more relaxed and conservatism took the back seat. The test that survived the test of time is the extremely popular Rice Purity test. The Rice Purity test owed its newfound fame in the 1980s to the invention of the Internet. It’s origins, however, are quite interesting. It was actually started as a survey of a hundred questions at Rice University, Huston, Texas. The purpose of this was to gauge how the experience of university life was shaping individual life and whether they had made progress during their time spent in a university environment. Alternatively, it was a way for university seniors in collaboration with the Pathetic Losers club to see how innocent the incoming influx of students was. Historically, it has been used as a way to transition from O-week at the university to true university life in Rice University. Taking the Rice Purity test has been a fun, voluntary activity during the induction week, as it serves as an icebreaker and allows students to bond through mutual experience or even mutual inexperience. Furthermore, it serves as a way to track the progress an individual makes during their time in university.
The Rice Purity test is not, however, limited to Rice University. It has bled out and become an Internet sensation, becoming one of the most popular and most taken quiz to date. Since the 1980s, many different variations of the purity test have emerged, and have become a staple. It’s fun, exciting nature has made it a necessary feature of the digital age and it has become part of the culture. Individuals simply take the test for fun at parties, online and amongst friends. However, the Rice Purity test also comes with a warning: it is not a bucket list, and caution must be practiced since attempting to complete all the articles on the list might be risky and even cause death.
The Rice Purity test is multipurpose, while many use the test as a means to gauge whether or not they would be up for engaging in sexual relations orthodox or unorthodox, the actual purpose and format of the test was set in such a way as to be simple, harmless fun for an individual level. In reality, a large number of the questions in the list were designed in good spirit as a medium for students to have an open, safe and unabashed conversation about their sexual identification (and/or lack thereof). As a matter of fact, many students will be much more open to taking the Rice Purity Test rather than a private STD test as they feel that the test if free of judgment or stigma which may not be the case with private STD tests.
The test itself consists of a variety of questions which start off innocent enough, such as ‘have you ever kissed someone’ or ‘have you ever held hands romantically’ and then get much more scandalous and aggressive, such as ‘have you ever masturbated with an animated object’ or ‘have you ever showered with a MPS?’. The questions aim to cover every possible sexual activity an individual could have been involved in. They are not, however, limited to these. They also examine whether if an individual has ever been on the wrong side of the fence in terms of the law. These include questions ranging from ‘have you ever been convicted of a crime’ to ‘have you ever engaged in bestiality?’
The rules for taking the test like the questions are pretty straightforward. It is essentially a do or don’t list that the taker ticks off with the corresponding checkboxes. The test is most effective when an individual is fully transparent and does not hold back. In a situation where an individual mess up their answers, they can erase them. If the respondents want to draw comparisons with other people, they should clear all the results to ensure that the final verdict is accurate. If the respondent has not done what the question has asked, they should move on to the next question. After finishing it, clicking on ‘calculate my score’ delivers the final verdict.
The grade scale for the test is from 0 to 100. The scale is broken down into different number ranges, which discern how impure or pure you are. Between 100-98, the taker is incredibly pure. Many equate those who receive this score to Virgin Mary or Jesus. Being in this range means that the taker has not yet broken the seal on sexual exploration. From 97-94, the taker is not the purest of all human beings, but he/she is still pretty high up the scale. Having this score is unique and shows that you have probably kissed someone once or twice or simply holding hands. It also shows a clear idea of the different extremes of sexual activity. Between 93 and 77, the taker falls into the category that the average individual falls in. Individuals are not entirely pure and tick off most of the questions on the list, but they are not exactly impure. They may have gone to the third or fourth base but have not engaged in anything too explicit. From 76-45, the taker has been living life on the edge. The score range shows that the individual has had their fun in terms of sexual activity and engaging in illegal activities such as taking drugs or getting in trouble with the police. The taker might have marked off some moderately wild things, like having smoked marijuana or having had sex. Between 44 and 9, the taker has been on a wild ride, full steam. The individual is categorized as hardcore. They have either engaged in some extremely kinky sexual activity like orgies or been to jail, taken hard drugs or have engaged in sexual activities in the public. The last range is from 8 to 0. This is reserved for the seriously freaky individuals. These are those who have possibly engaged in bestiality, voyeurism, and incest or have had sex with a paying customer. Individuals who fall into this category are extremely rare, with the highest number of individuals belonging to the categories of 93 to 77 and 76 to 45, which imply that, college life has been embraced full throttle.
Despite its extreme popularity, the test has come under fire and scrutiny from experts and many individuals as it advocates a ‘false’ standard of what university life, or life, in general, should be. Experts who have weighed in believe that the results that are generated are inaccurate in their readings and assessments of an individual’s innocence. They argue that the approach of gauging innocence on the basis of negatives rather than positives is wrong. Furthermore, it is believed that the test will increase the levels of bullying amongst peer groups. It is also argued that the test is likely to induce societal pressures amongst these naive youth groups to simply engage in the activities listed on the test to simply fit in, be considered cool or belong to a certain clique. For these experts, the Rice Purity test is creating inequalities amongst youngsters and serves a means to shame or degrade individuals that form part of the college community. These arguments are valid and question just how innocent and harmless the Rice Purity test really is.
The Rice Purity Test
Have you ever held hands romantically?
Have you ever been on a date?
Have you ever been in a relationship?
Have you ever danced without leaving room for Jesus? (danced really closely with someone)
Have you ever kissed a non-family member?
Have you ever kissed a non-family member on the lips?
Have you ever French kissed?
Have you ever French kissed in public?
Have you ever kissed on the neck?
Have you ever kissed horizontally? (while lying down)
Have you ever given or received a hickey?
Have you ever kissed or been kissed on the breast?
Have you ever kissed someone below the belt?
Have you ever kissed for more than two hours consecutively?
Have you ever played a game involving stripping?
Have you ever seen or been seen by another person in a sensual context?
Have you ever masturbated?
Have you ever masturbated to a picture or video?
Have you ever masturbated while someone else was in the room?
Have you ever been caught masturbating?
Have you ever masturbated with an inanimate object?
Have you ever seen or read pornographic material?
Have you ever massaged or been massaged sensually?
Have you ever gone through the motions of intercourse while fully dressed?
Have you ever undressed or been undressed by a member of the preferred sex?
Have you ever showered with a member of the preferred sex?
Have you ever fondled or had your butt cheeks fondled?
Have you ever fondled or had your breasts fondled?
Have you ever fondled or had your genitals fondled?
Have you ever had or given “blue balls”?
Have you ever had an orgasm due to someone else’s manipulation?
Have you ever sent a sexually explicit text or instant message?
Have you ever sent or received sexually explicit photographs?
Have you ever engaged in sexually explicit activity over video chat?
Have you ever cheated on a significant other during a relationship?
Have you ever purchased contraceptives?
Have you ever engaged in fellatio?
Have you ever engaged in cunnilingus?
Have you ever ingested someone else’s genital secretion?
Have you ever used a sex toy with a partner?
Have you ever spent the night with a member of the preferred sex?
Have you ever been walked in on while engaging in a sexual act?
Have you ever kicked a roommate out to commit a sexual act?
Have you ever ingested alcohol in a non-religious context?
Have you ever played a drinking game?
Have you ever been drunk?
Have you ever faked sobriety to parents or teachers?
Have you ever had severe memory loss due to alcohol?
Have you ever used tobacco?
Have you ever used marijuana?
Have you ever used a drug stronger than marijuana?
Have you ever used methamphetamine, crack cocaine, PCP, horse tranquilizers or heroin?
Have you ever been sent to the office of a principal, dean or judicial affairs representative for a disciplinary infraction?
Have you ever been put on disciplinary probation or suspended?
Have you ever urinated in public?
Have you ever gone skinny-dipping?
Have you ever gone streaking?
Have you ever seen a stripper?
Have you ever had the police called on you?
Have you ever run from the police?
Have you ever had the police question you?
Have you ever had the police handcuff you?
Have you ever been arrested?
Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
Have you ever committed an act of vandalism?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse three or more times in one night?
Have you ever thrown eggs at a house or car?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse 10 or more times?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse in four or more positions?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse with a stranger or person you met within 24 hours?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse in a motor vehicle?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse outdoors?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse in public?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse in a swimming pool or hot tub?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse in a bed not belonging to you or your partner?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse while you or your partner’s parents were in the same home?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse with non-participating third party in the same room?
Have you ever joined the mile-high club?
Have you ever participated in a “booty call” with a partner whom you were not in a relationship with?
Have you ever traveled 100 or more miles for the primary purpose of sexual intercourse?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse with a partner with a 3 or more year age difference?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse with a virgin?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse without a condom?
Have you ever had an STI test due to reasonable suspicion?
Have you ever had an STI?
Have you ever had a threesome?
Have you ever attended an orgy?
Have you ever had two or more distinct acts of sexual intercourse with two or more people within 24 hours?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse with five or more partners?
Have you ever been photographed or filmed during sexual intercourse by yourself or others?
Have you ever had period sex?
Have you ever had anal sex?
Have you ever had a pregnancy scare?
Have you ever impregnated someone or been impregnated?
Have you ever paid or been paid for a sexual act?
Have you ever committed an act of voyeurism?
Have you ever committed an act of incest?
Have you ever engaged in bestiality?