Purity rings (also known as chastity rings, abstinence rings) are worn as a sign of chastity. The practice originated in the United States in the 1990s among Christian-affiliated sexual abstinence groups, although the rings are now worn by people of many faiths or no faith. Wearing a purity ring is typically accompanied by a religious vow to practice abstinence until marriage. Chastity rings are part of the controversial abstinence-only sex education movement. Those who wear or promote these rings argue that the only method for safe sex is abstinence.
David Bario of the Columbia News Service wrote:
Under the Bush administration, organizations that promote abstinence and encourage teens to sign virginity pledges or wear purity rings have received federal grants. The Silver Ring Thing, a subsidiary of a Pennsylvania evangelical church, has received more than $1 million from the government to promote abstinence and to sell its rings in the United States and abroad.
Many celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, Jessica Simpson and the Jonas Brothers, among others, have worn purity rings.