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The idea of celibacy gets mixed reactions from many, but it’s actually more powerful than you think. While at a screening for independent film Cecilia the Celibate, it was an enlightening experience. When I thought of celibacy, I always thought of it as a way to abstain from being intimate with the wrong guy and waiting until marriage to be intimate. After watching the film, I see that it’s much more than that.

While out with friends, Cecilia Vasquez was venting about her less than great dating experiences. Like most millennial women, she was getting bored of the routine of getting to know a new person, having sex too fast and then being disappointed. Cecilia, a young New York City professional, was also tired of sex and it being a distraction from getting to know the other person. Cecilia was craving a connection on more than just a physical level. When her friends jokingly said that she should be celibate, a light bulb went off for her. As her friends laughed at her and tried to steer her away from taking that vow of celibacy, she accepted the challenge.

Her friend totally shut down the idea, saying that celibacy was old-fashioned in a world where women being sexually liberated is finally being accepted more. However, celibacy isn’t the opposite of being sexually liberated. It’s actually just as empowering and liberating. It helps to alleviate the pressures of figuring out when sex is right and the anxiety that comes after laying down together. Celibacy not only helps to get rid of the people that are only looking for one thing, but it promotes self-control, being assertive in saying no, setting boundaries and helping women understand that they control the sexual dynamic.

Celibacy also indirectly helps to take the focus off of dating and puts it towards other things. While Cecilia was celibate, she focused on volunteering more. Dating while celibate was getting tiring so she began to put her mind to things that would fulfill her in other ways. Honestly, going on dates with certain folks can be a total waste of time, which is something you can’t get back. Celibacy helped Cecilia put her time towards activities that were way more valuable and left her with no regrets.

One thing that stuck out to me while watching the film was when Cecilia’s friend was feeding her the assumption that men would turn a celibate woman away. That idea totally neglects that there may be celibate men out there waiting to find their match.  Plus, isn’t that the one of the benefits of being celibate? To help prevent the wrong people from entering your life and your body?

During the Q&A with director Crystal Roman, she said she hopes that one of the major takeaways for men after watching this film is to be more open to the celibate woman. With a celibate woman, sex is off of the table until she says so, which is allowing her to take the “power of her pussy” back, as Roman said. Instead of running, why not take on the challenge? Furthermore, being celibate does not mean waiting until marriage for every woman. The film helped me understand that celibacy can be practiced in a subjective manner. The woman is celibate until she feels ready to have sex, with hopes that she is breaking her celibacy for the right person.

After watching Cecilia the Celibate, I realized that celibacy is a turn-off for all the right reasons.

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