Let’s talk about the benefits of celibacy! Yes, voluntary celibacy. Grab the February 2012 Essence on newsstands now with LL Cool J on the cover for my advice on abstaining in this way. Meanwhile, here’s the full interview that Essence did with me on the topic. Don’t forget to check out my Essence online “Intimacy Intervention” and body language advice in the current issue of Jet Magazine…
[dropcap]1.[/dropcap] So, Abiola, what are some of the advantages of celibacy for women?
First let’s start with what celibacy is. Taking a vow of celibacy is not the same as experiencing a sexual dry spell. Celibacy is a conscious choice to take a break from sex. Now, different women may choose to execute this in unique ways. Some women abstain from any sort of sexuality including self-pleasure and kissing. Others may only abstain from sexual intercourse. It’s up to each individual. For some women it’s a religious choice and other’s just need to clear the energy in their minds and bodies as well as spirits.
Celibacy has it’s obvious pluses. You are no longer on the market for unplanned pregnancies or catching one of the over 20 sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Being purposefully celibate is different than accidental celibacy. Not being controlled by an urge can be a spiritual exercise.
Many women who reach out to me about celibacy have had some sort of a sexual wake up call. They feel sexually used or unfulfilled with their current rotation of friends with benefits, hookups, one night stands and no strings attached sex. I call this fast food sex.
The greatest advantage to being celibate while still dating is that you can be more clear with yourself about how you feel with someone. Sexuality is a huge and important human drive. We often can’t separate sexual attraction from whether we really care for someone.
For us women, the bonding hormone of oxytocin is an issue. We could know at 8pm that a guy is not the one for us and have a completely different attachment to him the next morning when the oxytocin gets flowing. Celibacy can help us be clear enough to figure out whether we’re considering casting pearls to swine or kings. I’ve advised women who keep dating someone they had a one night stand with only to justify the guilt of their sexual experience
Of course, anything that a consenting adult wants to do with her body is her business. An incredible benefit to celibacy is eventual hot monogamy where you can explore more because the trust and longevity are there.
2. As a love and self-esteem coach, are there any special tips you can share with readers about how to transition into celibacy?
Celibacy is not a fix-all for your dating life. If you’re trying to grow and evolve, you still need to do the self improvement work.
Being celibate doesn’t necessarily mean being chaste. You can be sexually celibate and dating. There are many ways to be intimate with your partner. Set your celibacy goals upfront and then strive for the integrity to keep your word to yourself. If you want to get out your sexual energy you can go to clubs for the fun of it and dance it up, self pleasure or workout.
Ask yourself why you really want to be celibate. Make sure that you are not using celibacy as a wall to avoid intimacy. You deserve to be loved fully. Being sex-free is not a guarantee against getting hurt. You still have to make better choices. Without sex as a lure, one friend told me that she was forced to evolve her personality.
It is also unhealthy to use celibacy as a tool of sexual or social manipulation or negotiation. The idea of “making him wait” is one of manipulation. A man finding you sexually attractive does not mean that he is using you. We are flesh and blood human beings. Sexuality is a natural urge.
If every time you’ve had David come over in the past 2 years it results in a sexual encounter, you need a break from David. Why tempt yourself? Yes, you have willpower but if you put yourself in compromising positions, you have a greater chance of being compromised. It’s common sense.
Become celibate because it holds a purpose for you, not to jump on a bandwagon or make anyone else happy. This can be a great time to get to know your body. If you learn your sexual self through self pleasure, then when you are sexually active again you can teach that special someone what pleases you.
3. What’s the best time and way to let a guy know you are celibate?
Because men are so used to free-flowing sex, they can view a woman who wants to wait as asexual. The perspective is just not there, at times, for them to understand that you can be a sexual being who is not currently having sex. If by the third date you’re feeling really connected to someone, you should let him know your status. Otherwise, he could get the feeling that you are just not that into him.
Don’t beat around the bush, say it plainly. Start off explaining that you’re really enjoying him and that you’re excited to see what happens. Then say, “Because I like you so much I think you should know that I am choosing to be celibate. This has nothing to do with you but I made a decision for myself that I will be abstaining from sex until ___________.”
Then give him a chance to respond. Ask, “how do you feel about that?” If it seems like it’s an issue, at least you know sooner rather than later. If it seems relevant you can add, “I love sex. I’m just not having it right now.”
A clear statement like that says I hold myself in high regard. Someone who is interested in being serious with you will choose to go the distance. If he’s looking for a quickie, now he can go find that.
4. Okay, Abiola, how do you know when it’s time to end the madness … er, I mean stop being celibate?
Some consider celibacy to be a sexual fast or cleanse that can last 3 months or 3 years. Others may choose to remain celibate unless they are in a long term, committed, monogamous relationship. You have to do what works best for you. Some women may choose to remain celibate until they get married.
We talk about kids and peer pressure but we have adult peer pressure as well. Be prepared to be considered a “priss” or a “prude” by certain people for making this sometimes controversial lifestyle choice. Be steadfast in your sexual choices, whatever they are. It is unacceptable to shame any woman for her sexual choices.
Celebs who’ve been celibate include: Meagan Good, Sherri Shepherd, Brandy, Lolo Jones, Jessica White and Jordin Sparks. It’s your body!
*PLUS, Big Take-a-ways:
- There’s support for being promiscuous, for walks of shame, friends with benefits and no strings attached hookups — and no judgments against any of those choices, but in our oversexed society there’s no support for abstaining. People assume you must be weird, overly religious or antisocial.
- Think about self worth and making choices for yourself rather than being a sheep going along with the crowd
- Don’t lose your motivation to love your body and stay in shape– the way you treat yourself is how your next partner will treat you.
- Egads! What will people think? Who cares? Chances are that you’re not a “whore” or a “virgin,” the extremes usually projected on women. Release expectations and just be you.
- Monogamy leads to the hottest physical expressions ever. Know each others bodies. More comfortable taking risks, exploring and showing the other person how to please you.
Abiola Abrams is an author and Passionate Living Expert based in NYC who offers relationship and life coaching in the areas of self esteem, dating, body love, career expression. Her site The Passionista Playbook at AbiolaTV.com
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