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I believe sex is a gift, and when done in the right setting, at the right time and with the right person, or people, it can be special and beautiful. It is empowering to be able to have sex when you want it, with whoever you want to (consensually of course), but I think it’s just as empowering to be able to say no to sex for whatever reason as long as that is what you want. Celibacy, which is refraining from sex or sex related activities for any time period, is taken up for many reasons. These range from religious beliefs or seeking a reconnection with your inner spiritual self, to healing from body image issues. In this article I am going to outline my own journey with celibacy, and how it changed my outlook on sex and sex related things, then share different reasons why other people chose celibacy as well. I intend to highlight how this journey is different for everyone and you can modify it to match your exact needs, but the main takeaway is that it’s a wonderful journey to embark on if it suits your needs and you’ve been considering it.   

My Celibacy Journey

My journey began a couple of months after I had my first sexual encounter at 18 during a trip with friends. I hadn’t thought it through and even though I was not violated and I was definitely safe, I couldn’t help but regret it. I believe in soul ties and that you likely swap energies with anyone that you engage with sexually. Long story short, I realised that I had not been ready to engage on that level with anyone at all, thus developing an unhealthy mind-set regarding sex and it was tearing me apart.

In a bid to re-invite balance into my life, I decided to abstain from any sexual activities, and set boundaries that I willed myself not to cross. At the beginning, I had cut out any sexually stimulating acts as well - so no kissing or foreplay. The experience was rewarding but it was no walk in the park! Deciding to be celibate didn’t mean that desire completely waltzed out of my life. I had to fight urges and stop watching certain shows because I had a goal in mind: I wanted to feel in control of my body again and I wanted to have a healthy relationship with sex in the future. Sex is meant to be special and to be enjoyed, and when I can indulge again, I want to do so without falling into a deep dark hole. Two years later, I’m still celibate, but I have switched up the terms because I still want to experience some form of physical intimacy with my partner.

Reasons other people have chosen to go celibate… 

Celibacy can be as fluid as you want it to be depending on your reasons for choosing this lifestyle. In an article titled, ‘7 Women on Choosing to Be Celibate’, 7 women are interviewed about why they chose celibacy. There was a wide spectrum of reasons such as hating casual sex and one night stands, and cultural beliefs. An aspect that stood out to me was how none of these people felt restricted by their choice, and even in the presence of strong cultural beliefs, they never felt compelled to choose celibacy but rather did so for their personal benefit. I found it interesting that one of the interviewees in a similar article titled, “'I don't have sex to help my mental health' Meet the young people choosing to be celibate”, stated that they simply didn’t have the time to engage in sexual activities as they were focused on their career. The reasons behind this lifestyle can be endless; the important thing is to ensure that your reason comes from a place of loving yourself, and choosing you!

Main Takeaway from the Interviews

A lot of the interviewees experienced greater self-love and self-respect during their time of being celibate. Some of them nurtured their relationships with friends and family with all the time they were no longer spending obsessing over sex and sex partners. What resonated with me the most was the interviewee who took great steps towards healing from insecurities about their body. They learnt to truly love and value their body and realised they didn’t need anyone to make them feel worthy. Additionally, there is no set way of being celibate. It may be restricting only intercourse or restricting every sexual act. Some interviewees took the time to learn about their preferences by experimenting with sex toys and masturbation. The positive aspects of celibacy for those who want to live that way, outweigh the difficulty of denying yourself something that comes so naturally to a lot of people. But, it is possible, and if it doesn’t work for you, you can always let it go. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to celibacy, rather it’s fully in your control.  

An anonymous space for the HC UCT community to express all things related to sex. We encourage everyone to participate and share in this column. All our articles aim to educate and empower! Please email topic suggestions, articles and further enquiries to giaspot69@gmail.com
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