It’s been a long time that I’ve written about my sex life in great detail. The reason for that is there wasn’t much to tell. However, this year I’ve been struggling with my celibacy.
Around my birthday, a woman offered to cook dinner for me. It seemed innocuous enough but I still had reservations about it. The truth was I didn’t trust myself around women. It had become increasingly more difficult to not be overrun with sexual thoughts. My heart and mind were in one place but my body wanted to respond the way a human body naturally responds to pleasurable stimuli. Not only was it a conflict of emotions, it was a conflict spiritually.
I didn’t wake up one day and decide to be celibate. I gradually made the decision to stop viewing sex as an automatic expectation in a relationship, though. I also decided to stop using sex as an escape.
For the longest time sex was a regular occurrence. If I was in a relationship, we were having sex. If we were dating casually, we’d probably had sex once. I didn’t view sex as this sacred thing that men should also hold in a high regard. I don’t have a ridiculous high body count, but I was comfortable with my relaxed point of view.
That changed a few years ago and I’ve been able to stick to the commitment, although it’s become an area of weakness. I couldn’t figure out why until I discussed it with someone. From the conversation and doing some self-reflection, it all made sense why celibacy is often a struggle for men.
When you stop chasing sex, you become aware of how you’ve ignored healing and other joys
Sex is great. If you’re attractive enough with some charm, sex is always readily accessible. The vast majority of dudes, though, are constantly trying to finesse their way into sex. Because sex is such a focus, your attention is pulled away from dealing with your shit. There are a lot of broken people out here pursuing sex because it numbs or masks whatever real issues they have. With sex out of the equation, you realize that you have all this free time to work on you. That’s scary for a person who’s lived a life of avoidance and suppressing feelings.
Sexual chemistry is never going to be enough
Men are able to have sex with women they don’t like all the time. Women waste years of their lives with guys who have a good stroke. Unfortunately, the emptiness you feel after rolling over is unavoidable. It’s important to strengthen chemistry in other areas of a relationship. When those areas are strong, the sexual chemistry will organically come on its own. (no pun intended)
Celibacy isn’t an excuse to discount intimacy
One of my earliest concerns about not having sex was how I would show my affection. I was used to being affectionate knowing it would lead to sex. Something as simple as watching a movie or eating mofongo on the couch could easily turn into arm touches, which would turn into thigh massages, which would turn into mouths on places. I had to change how I viewed intimacy as well. I wrote about how not being hugged enough as a kid affected my relationships as an adult. Being hugged by a woman now is a bigger deal because I deprived myself of basic physical contact for so long. Being celibate doesn’t mean that intimacy is not needed. Female energy motivates me. It energizes me. I just generally feel better dealing with a woman I like. It clicked one day that depriving myself of that is why I’d been so sexually frustrated. God convicted me and reminded that I’d lost sight of the true purpose of celibacy.
Celibacy doesn’t prevent you from having healthy relationships
Usually when women talk about celibacy, it comes along with taking themselves off the market for dating. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. We view dating through a very narrow window: “if he/she doesn’t meet these requirements, we’re wasting each other’s time.” I had a woman actually say to me that if I wasn’t sexually attracted to her, what were we doing even talking? The fact is God can place people in your life to simply show you the value of friendship and being vulnerable. Healthy relationships can take on different forms. Being spiritual doesn’t mean pushing people away. Guard your heart, but don’t use celibacy as an bookend for having standards.
Focus on what God is telling you
As I’ve fought through temptation, it always went back to falling short in my relationship with God. When you’re locked in with God, His voice interrupts your bad habits and negative thinking. If He sees you about to make a misstep, He’ll try to stop you. Being a Christian doesn’t make you immune to temptation or bad people. It actually makes you more of a target. You’re constantly being tried by things that counter God’s will. But having your bond with God and the Holy Spirit tight gives you an extra layer of protection that we call discernment. Celibacy doesn’t need to be some type of test or qualifier you give people. If a person isn’t meant to be in your life, God will handle their exit.
Looking at my own struggle with it, I could see why guys don’t choose this life. The problem is the connotation celibacy has.
Guys tend to think that celibacy means you can’t talk about sex, think about it, or do anything remotely sexual. I don’t believe that’s true. I used to talk dirty and send nudes. There was a level of respect there that we knew it wouldn’t go further. Additionally, the relationship wasn’t built on her being a sexual conquest. Celibacy – if it’s going to be purposeful – is about boundaries. You have to know why you’re doing it and how it’s going to help you become a stronger, more mature person as someone’s relationship partner.