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Lakita Garth: Sexual Purity in the Real World

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Lakita grew up in one of the “most dangerous places to live” in Los Angeles. Lakita’s father was in the Air Force for 27 years and was a strong disciplinarian. After he died of cancer when Lakita was 11, her mother was left with the responsibility of raising Lakita and her four older brothers. Her mother was also strict.

“They used to call her 'Warden',” says Lakita. Growing up, Lakita says one of the biggest rules in their household was to be in the house when the street lights were on. “Being outside when the street lights came on meant [that] you could get involved in gang/drug activity and a lot of other unpleasant activities,” says Lakita. “So when my mother said to be somewhere at a certain time, there were reasons why.” Though the children didn’t understand the reasons at the time, Lakita says they were expected to obey.

Lakita says her mother was not afraid to parent her children. “The lack of parenting I witness on a daily basis blows me away,” says Lakita.

Her mother was not only God-fearing, but Lakita says she was committed to raising her kids right. She taught them about a lifestyle of abstinence. “Abstinence is saving sex until marriage,” says Lakita. “It means saying ' I do.' Meaning, I do you, you do me and we don’t do nobody else,” says Lakita.

She says many people think abstinence is completely unrealistic. “My mom demonstrated for us as a single parent what it was to abstain from sex,” says Lakita. “She promoted a lifestyle of abstinence.”

One afternoon when she was 11, Lakita was visiting her grandfather’s house. Her grandmother had passed away five years prior. Her grandfather would get up while it was still dark and visit her grave. What Lakita remembers most from her grandfather that day was that he said, “I don’t know anything about any other woman and I don’t want to, because Ada was the stuff.” Lakita says from that moment on she wanted what her grandparents had. “I wanted to be like them and wait until I got married before I had sex,” she says.

Lakita says the reality of it is that most of us are not getting the intimacy we need. “So we’re going out there and having sex to find it,” she says. “Our society expends too much time and energy on sex, and what we see today are the casualties.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AIDS is the No. 1 killer of Black women ages 25 to 34. One quarter of new STD cases each year are teens. A 1997 study found that 45 percent of black adults had herpes. Lakita says that her biggest opposition doesn’t come from kids. “When they hear me talk about abstinence, they realize that it’s a matter of being practical. Do I really want to get a disease? Do I really want to get pregnant?,” she says.

Lakita believes it is time for the church to take a stand. Currently a quarter of a billion dollars is directed towards abstinence education in public schools. Lakita is concerned about what will happen when this administration is out of office. “We will go back to giving out condoms and installing condom vending machines,” says Lakita.

In 2003, Lakita met Jeffrey. He had the utmost respect for her commitment to abstinence. Though he was not a virgin, Jeffrey had been abstinent for quite some time and had also decided to wait until marriage for sex. When Lakita told Jeffrey she didn’t even want to kiss, he thought she was out of his mind. Lakita says her standard to not kiss is not one she imposes on others. “There is nothing wrong with kissing. I chose this standard because of my public stand for abstinence,” she says. On their wedding day in 2005, Jeffrey and Lakita kissed for the first time.