The thinly veiled purity culture metaphor that runs throughout the series has become more obvious with time.
Edward tells Bella he can’t be with her because his desire for her blood is so strong that he might kill her. It’s reminiscent of beliefs in purity culture that men struggle to control their “impure” sexual urges for women, putting women in danger of losing their virginity and thereby their “purity.”
Later in the series, Bella and Edward wait until marriage to have sex — a plot point writer Christine Seifert dubbed “abstinence porn” in 2008.
“Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religious denomination in which sex before marriage is considered a sin. She told The Guardian’s Kira Cochrane in 2013 that she didn’t consciously intend for “Twilight” to promote any message, but that her life experience does inform her work.
“I never decide to put a message in anything. I decide on a story that I think is exciting, and I entertain myself, and then some of it obviously reflects my personal experience,” Meyer said. “What I think says true love is different than what a lot of other people do, so it’s just what my subconscious puts out there. To me, true love is that you would hurt yourself before you would hurt your partner, you would do anything to make them happy, even at your own expense, there’s nothing selfish about true love. It’s not about what you want. It’s about what makes them happy.”