All Articles Tagged "celibate"
How important is sex to a man? Would he be willing to forgo sex in a relationship? A few years ago I decided to take a hiatus from dating to regain focus of my life as a single woman. I didn’t want to engage in any type of relationship with the opposite sex because I needed time to learn how to balance everything that was going on in my life. With this hiatus, I realized that I subconsciously and consciously made the decision to practice celibacy. I say I made this decision subconsciously and consciously because during this time, subconsciously, I did want to have sex, but I didn’t want to deal with the emotional and possible physical consequences that come along with it, and I didn’t want to have another meaningless sexual experience. Consciously, I had plenty of options and chances to indulge in sexual intercourse, but I didn’t, and that’s when I realized I was going to try and be celibate. After this realization, I decided to do some soul searching to really understand why I was celibate, and to decide whether or not I would stand firm on this decision.
During my soul searching, I reflected back on each of my relationships, and I discovered that I was sexually intimate with the men I was involved with before I had a chance to be intimate with them. I didn’t take the necessary time to learn who they were and develop a close and personal connection with them for the people they were before I developed a connection with them sexually simply because I was physically attracted to them. I also realized that I went into each relationship with my feelings and not my faith, which in turn led me to be misguided. After this discovery, I made the decision to forgo any sexually intimate interaction, and remain celibate until I am married. The beginning of this journey wasn’t difficult because I was on a hiatus from dating. It almost seemed easy and unreal, but when I decided to go back into dating, things got real. I met a wonderful man that I seemed to have everything in common with. We liked the same foods, we communicated well with each other, we share the same favorite color, and on and on. Most importantly, we both wanted to start our new relationship as friends.
I recall one evening when I was on the phone with my new male ‘friend’. We were engaged in a great conversation when the subject of celibacy came up. I shared with him that I have the honor of teaching a class on celibacy very soon, and I told him that I was nervous about it. He then told me that I would do fine, and as he started another sentence he abruptly stopped and asked if I was celibate. I replied with a nervous, yet firm yes. He immediately replied “Oh, oh no, I can’t do that…yeah, we are definitely going to be just good friends.” I said okay, no problem, and started to move forward with the conversation. While moving on to a different topic, I noticed the tone in our conversation went from upbeat and funny to slow and drab. Where there were no awkward moments of silence in our conversations before, there were now more than enough to make up for it in this one. I could tell my friend was uneasy about what I told him, but what did it matter? We were just friends anyway, right? So my decision to be celibate would not affect him in any way, right? Wrong.
I believe my friend thought we were going to develop a great friendship that would lead into an even greater monogamous relationship; and with a relationship comes sexual intimacy. Or maybe he thought we were going to be friends with sexual benefits, and with news of me practicing celibacy his thoughts were shattered. As much as I tried to move forward with the conversation it was difficult, because I knew my friends thoughts of me and our relationship had changed. After our phone call ended, my decision to be celibate and the effects of that decision stayed on my mind. Yes, things got really real.
After hearing and comprehending his reaction, I was slightly disturbed, and a little disappointed because subconsciously I thought we were going to develop a great friendship that would lead into an even greater monogamous relationship without having sex. But clearly I was wrong. And even though I was flabbergasted with his reaction, not once did I doubt the decision I made because I’ve learned to stand firm on the standards I’ve set in regard to my body and relationships even if it hurts.
I’ve also learned that I can’t expect someone to change their expectations to meet my standards, and not to change my standards (my non-negotiable standards) to meet someone’s expectations; they are who they are, and I am who I am. Although it is still slightly difficult for me to grasp the fact that my friend and I will only be friends, I respect his honesty, I look forward to our growing friendship, and I am looking forward to learning and growing on this journey through celibacy and dating.
Liz Lampkin is the author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.
Have you tried to be celibate? How did that affect your dating life?
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There’s lots of stigma surrounding virginity, tons of myths, and a lot of pressure that falls on those who make a conscious choice not to engage in sex until marriage. When you look at the virgin landscape, it’s not hard to see the dominant figures in the race against fleshly desires. Overwhelmingly, it’s women who proclaim decisions to remain virgins until they walk down the aisle which always makes me wonder, just who are they saving themselves for?
Interestingly, I stumbled across this article on PEOPLE about Olympian Lori “Lolo” Jones today which recounts an interview she had on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that doesn’t talk about her triumphs as a track and field athlete, but about her defeats in the dating game because she’s a 29-year-old virgin. Lolo talks about being reduced to trying to find a man on Twitter, which has been more successful than online dating services, although not much more—which made me think, there has to be a dating website for virgins out there somewhere. But when Lolo was asked why she’s had such a hard time finding a partner she said it’s because she’s been so open about being a virgin and when she was asked why she’s putting herself through such turmoil, she replied that her virginity:
“It’s something, a gift I want to give my husband.”
That sentiment is hardly new, but as Lolo talked about how difficult remaining a virgin was, saying, “This journey has been hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Harder than training for the Olympics. Harder than studying for college has been staying a virgin before marriage,” something kept plaguing me. I was curious what motivates her to remain a virgin knowing that the man she settles down with likely will not be untouched like she is. That may sound cynical, but it’s a genuine question I’ve had for some time.
For a lot of virgins, religion is the motivator. Fornication is a sin, your bodies are supposed to be a temple, and your husband is the only person who should know you in that way, and so staying rooted in your spiritual conviction about not having sex is equal to not lying or getting drunk, or murdering someone. It’s a commandment that’s being kept. It’s a personal decision between you and God. But there’s something different to me about the sentiment of presenting your virginity as a gift to your husband. The choice isn’t just about you, but honoring your future husband in some way with your purity, but it makes me wonder, what are you getting in return, or is that even a concern? It’s certainly possible that a man could be a virgin until marriage too but the realities of the way men are nurtured suggest that likelihood is low.
Admittedly, pre-panty dropping, I was already a somewhat jaded virgin. I grew up in the church, I knew the commandments regarding your body, but eventually I began to think, what’s the point of waiting for marriage to give myself to someone who will have already sown enough wild oats to harvest a small colony. It certainly wasn’t a christian outlook on the matter but more of a logical one, perhaps even borderline womanist, thinking if he’s going to do him until we meet, why shouldn’t I do the same? Would I really want him to be the only one I slept with when he wouldn’t say the same? It was short-sighted thinking contrasted with the long-term goal women who remain virgins focus on. And even as virgins become more of a commodity in our oversexed society, the idea of saving oneself as a gift prevails and I wonder just how much the past of the men these women get involved with matters when it comes down to it. From what I’ve observed, it seems not much.
An older friend of mine who’s been married for about 10 years now told me for her she wishes she’d remained a virgin until marriage not necessarily to be pure in body but more so pure in mind. She’s expressed feeling like her bed is crowded because despite loving her husband and being with him only for more than the last decade, there are memories of how someone else did something or what someone else felt like or subconscious comparisons that you simply can’t block out once you’ve shared a bed with more than one person. Her husband expressed the same and in that sense, remaining a virgin seems like more than just a gift to your partner but also a gift to yourself. That’s a sentiment that I think is missed in Lolo’s rundown of her experience. She almost seems as though she’s racing to get across the finish line to finally have sex without any regard for the fact that the men who have tried to woo her by saying, if she has sex it will help her run faster, are not men she should want to marry or sleep with anyway.
No one knows exactly who they’ll marry as they develop as a person but it seems to be that the hope that the universe or God will bring a man whom is worthy of their pure bodies is the motivation that keeps women like Lolo on the path to have a gift to give her husband one day. When you think of it that way, it’s not hard to see how a man’s sexual past isn’t much of a hindrance if the man he is standing before you as today is worthy of receiving that gift.
Do you think concerns or cynicism over a future spouse’s sexual past ever effect choices regarding virginity?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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I always tell my friends I’m in the studio working on Da Drought 4 (shout out to Lil Wayne) when I’m going through a dry spell. It’s my light-hearted way of saying yes, it’s been a while since I had some and yes, I’m OK—at the moment.
Tim Gunn recently stated it’s been 29 years since he last had sex—literally half of his life—and that number caught a lot of people’s attention, considering how sex-obsessed Americans are. When Tim explained the reasons why he’s gone without, it’s understandable how he’s lasted so long and why he says he doesn’t even remotely feel like less of a person for it. Tim told “The Revolution” that his last relationship was very intense and damaging, and it led him to become celibate:
“My partner ended it, saying that, quite frankly, he was impatient with my sexual performance.”
Concerns about sexually transmitted diseases also played into his decision, he said. “I think a lot of people simply retreated because they were concerned about their health. I certainly was, and I’m happy to be healthy and alive, quite frankly.”
A lot of people like Tim who make a conscious decision not to have sex find more peace when they go without it. When you’re clear about why you’re not having sex, the urges are a little less powerful and the temptation to go back on your decision gets a little less weaker as time goes on. But if you’re in the category that just happens to not be having sex at the moment, well, that peace doesn’t come as easy.
If you haven’t gotten any in a while but you’re open to it, it usually means you’re waiting to get it on with someone you at least have some sort of connection to, because sex really isn’t that hard to find. In that case you’re always sort of on the lookout for who could be the next one and the physical urge for sexual contact is magnified by the fact that you want somebody there to provide that intimacy—and get rid of those cobwebs.
I’ve never really chosen to abstain, I’ve just fallen into droughts from time to time. Personally, after being in a monogamous relationship for a while, the thought of going back casual just didn’t appeal to me. The sex could be good physically, but the mental and emotional connection that would make it great would be missing. Sometimes when you get the urge you think, why not just put an end to all this pent up frustration and scratch the itch, but other times you figure, if I made it this far I might as well wait it out until I get what I really want. Hearing stats on STDs and other non-committed sexual relationship drama also helps. With every new fact or story that comes out, it feels good to know you don’t have to worry about that foolishness for now. But it sucks whenever you have a little temper tantrum and someone wants to hit you with the “that’s because no one’s cracking your back” shot.
A little brush with abstinence—chosen or placed upon you—can be good preparation for the next relationship though. Often sex can cloud your judgment when you get involved with someone new, and if you’ve been in a drought for a little while, you’ll likely spend more time getting to know who a person really is before you get to know their body, and that never hurts. When you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the opening doesn’t seem so far away. You also learn more about your own body when you’re not so wrapped up in someone else’s—again, major plus.
Whether you’re holding out for the ultimate one to put a ring on your finger, or just the one you feel some sort of connection to, I think everyone feels like Tim when it comes down to it—you’re still a sexual being and you’re willing to sacrifice a little pleasure now for a greater reward later. As Tim put it, “I have feelings. It’s not as though I’m some barren forest. I don’t want to imply to anyone that I have a mandate that says no sex…. I don’t know what’s around the corner.”
What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without sex? Do you usually fall into droughts or make a conscious decision to hold off on sex until you’re in a relationship?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Meagan Good says she’s put her goodies on lock since breaking up with boyfriend Thomas Jones, running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. Although the “Jumping the Broom” star says she has met someone special, the new boo doesn’t compare to the first man in her life—God.
In an interview with Sister2Sister, she told Jamie: “You know what? I’m so in love with God right now. I’m focused on being married to God.”
Jamie, in true Jamie fashion, busted her out: “Okay now, you’re like the third or fourth girl to tell me that. ‘I am God’s girlfriend.’ So I said you can’t cheat on Him.”
Meagan: “I’m not! I’m celibate!”
Jamie: “Oh okay. You can’t be God’s girlfriend and when you meet a guy you say, ‘Okay, God, step aside.’”