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I think eight years is way too long of a time to be celibate from sex.

Outside of some sort of religious observation, say a nun or a priest, I really don’t see the purpose in abstaining from sex that long, especially if the intent of celibacy is to ultimately meet someone you feel comfortable enough to have sex with (among other things). And yet, recently I overheard, through some virtual eavesdropping, a conversation in which a woman said that she has been celibate for almost a decade. Her reason was that she was waiting for marriage to have sex again. Nothing wrong with that as many women have taken similar routes on the road to wedding bliss. However she had been waiting a while, over eight years, for Mr. Right and she still had not found a match. She said that her situation was making her depressed and that she often cries herself to sleep. This posting, she said, was out of desperation, as she was growing disenchanted with each passing sexless day with the idea of waiting.

I lurked around the thread for a while, looking to see what some of the ladies had offered up in the way of advice. And as suspected, it was the same lot of genuinely nice but not really helpful advice usually given to women, who find themselves at their panties-end of celibacy: Hold on. Have Faith. God has it. Pray and Fast. Stop looking for him. Look for him in other places. Get some hobbies. Take a bubble bath. Make some cookies. Watch a movie on Netflix. Go on a date with yourself. And if it is that desperate, sex yourself. But whatever you do, don’t give up the good-good.

I wanted to jump in the thread and offer her my unsolicited two cents but it was obvious by the tone of the conversation, which was more about talking her out of jumping up on the next stiff one she meets, that it is best not to stick your hands into a bee hive – especially an angry sexless beehive. However, if I would have spoken up, I would have told her what I wished I told myself a lot sooner: stop waiting.

The thing about celibacy is that it all starts out with good intentions. After a string of bad relationships, casual affairs and hanging on way too long with the wrong one, all in hopes of avoiding being lonely (aka d*ck-less), you decide that the next time you give yourself to someone, he will be your prince charming, the ONE, ordained by God, the Heavens, the stars, serendipity, your pet cat and your parents too. For some time, you feel empowered. You are actually getting projects done and getting to know a little about yourself in the process too. But some time passes, and the excitement over those projects you’ve been working on has long fizzled and gone stale. You realize that as much as you enjoy getting to know yourself, you certainly don’t think this relationship should be exclusive. However, despite being personally sexually and emotionally driven for some non-you companionship, the cosmos, God and your pet cat have all yet to deliver that special one that you can relieve that sexual tension on…er, I mean, fall in love. Every guy you meet just isn’t interested in anything that serious, as right now they are running around, having fun with all the non-celibate girls.Thus your celibacy becomes involuntary. What started out as a exercise and restraint and personal empowerment has felt more like having your libido bound and shackled in chains. And it is driving you mad.

But you hold on and out, with your fingers crossed and a prayer in your heart. All while all your non-celibate girlfriends are out there having boyfriends, and “friends” and boyfriend/friend drama and make up sex. You realize how much you really miss it all. Not that you are a glutton for punishment but there was actual life somewhere in all that relationship drama. At least it gave you something to bond with your girlfriends over with in your sister circles. While they’re sharing messy, sometimes titillating and yes occasionally romantic stories about their partners, you are talking about the great six part documentary series you watched on Netflix about the history of film – the entire history of it!

Oh, I speak this from experience. The longest I’ve gone without sex was around four years. It was after a breakup with someone who I thought was one of those nice guys, but as it turns out, wasn’t all that trustworthy. In fact, the only thing nice about him was how polite he was when he was breaking my heart. I thought I needed the time. But I was certain that I didn’t need four years worth of time. However I was determined to make this celibacy thing work because that’s what everyone said needed to happen if I was ever going to attract that special ONE. And then I met someone. He was tall dark and physically everything I like. Plus he smelled really good. But outside of being aesthetically pleasing, there wasn’t really that much of a connection between us: He was Christian and I was agnostic. He liked pork chops and I grew up saying no to the pig. He wasn’t quite sure if he was ready for a relationship and I wasn’t down with the indecisiveness. When we did the math, we just did not add up right. But after a decent evening out and some late drinks, he asked if I really wanted to go home. I thought about it: four years of waiting for Mr. Right and he ain’t show up yet. Well, where the heck is he? Probably getting some himself, which probably explains why he is taking so long to show up and rescue me from these pork-eating playboys. Well, if he ain’t waiting, why should I? And if he is The ONE, he’ll understand. After all, if he is The ONE, he’ll take me for who I am – mistakes, flaws and misgivings – or else he is not The ONE, right?

Also, did I mention he smelled really good?

In all honestly, it wasn’t the kind of  “D” which I had envisioned myself breaking celibacy over. Those visions involved more romantic flares and sexual expertise. But just like a Jenny Craig client, breaking fast and gorging himself on a second helping of some average-at-best cake at the Cheesecake Factory, I felt like he was the best chocolate cheesecake I ever had. I realized then that in addition to The D, I also missed more intimate interactions with men like holding, touching, kissing, licking and yes, smelling them too. There was very little in celibacy, which could provide solace from that.

There are a gang of folks who will tell you the virtues of staying celibate. I don’t discredit that advice. Taking a sexual break to reevaluate your goals and agendas in life is not a bad thing. Plus maintaining some level of abstinence upon first meeting a new prospect will give you enough time to evaluate whether he is what you are looking for in a partner. But I think it’s a fallacy that a virgin or re-virginized vagina is the greatest gift I, or any other woman, could give a guy, which lots of time, is the philosophy behind what most of the celibacy racket is hinged upon. I also think that since sex is a natural part of…well, most of the planetary existence, and there’s lots to learn from and through it, it ain’t all bad stuff like diseases and unwanted pregnancy and heartache — even through those bad situations comes valuable lessons. There’s learning about your likes and what you don’t like so much too – and how to distinguish between the two. The latter is of the utmost importance.

It was through my celibacy that I realized that I needed to practice self-discipline with sex. However, it is through my sexual interactions where I learned my best lessons about being a more choosy, realistic and patient lover too. I think no one should deny themselves of either experience. I mean, after eight years of waiting on The ONE, perhaps self-discipline isn’t the lesson you need to learn?

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