14/08/2014 16:44 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Purity Balls &Amp; Chastity Promises: Would You Have Pledged To Stay A Virgin Until You Were Married?

Would you have promised your father you'd stay a virgin until marriage? That's the subject of photographer David Magnusson's project Purity, in which he's captured teenage girls with their dads after they've pledged abstinence until they're officially a Mrs.

These promises are celebrated by purity balls - father-and-daughter prom-style dances that, if Magnusson's pictures are anything to go by, look incredibly serious and a little bit miserable.

David Magnusson Purity purity balls sex virginity

While the suited dads are pious and dutiful, the girls cuddle in to daddy, poe-faced and wearing white or pastel-coloured dresses. The result? Imagine the weirdest, saddest-looking wedding pictures in the world.

However, Magnusson claims - following this project - he understands why fathers and daughters would go through the process of making these promises.

Talking to Refinery29, he says: "When I first heard about the purity balls, I imagined angry American fathers terrified of anything that might hurt their daughters or their honour.

"But as I learnt more, I understood that the fathers, like all parents, simply wanted to protect the ones that they love - in the best way they know how."

David Magnusson Purity purity balls sex virginity

The idea of promising your dad you'll keep your legs crossed is more than a touch archaic to outsiders looking in and has not been without criticism - particularly after a police officer at a recent purity ball told girls premarital sex leads to rape, drugs and prostitution.

And here's us thinking rapists lead to rape.

The connotations and message of the practice seems to be good girls are virgins and bad girls are shagging.

And, before you ask, no, sons aren't promising their mothers they'll keep it in their pants until they've found a wife.

The worst thing about the practice is it takes something private and sensitive and makes it public. Surely losing your virginity is one of the most personal experiences and choices a girl can have?

What do you think - if it was widely practiced in the UK, would you have made a purity pledge to your father? Tweet us @MyDailyUK.

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