The Pros and Cons of Celibacy

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Deciding to become celibate is a huge decision and a great commitment – one that will affect not just your sex life but every aspect of your life. Your sexual life is of course a highly personal thing and it is completely up to you how you choose to live this part of your life. At the same time though it pays to be fully informed before you make any big decisions regarding celibacy or otherwise, and as this is such an important decision you should make sure to take time to consider all of the angles on this difficult subject.

Here we will look at the pros and cons of celibacy in what is very much a ‘sex-driven’ world and hopefully this can help you come to a decision and to see the pros and cons of both sides. The eventual decision of course is ultimately yours to decide, and hopefully by being more informed on the subject you can avoid pressure from either side (pressure from religion or family traditions can sometimes be just as strong in the direction of celibacy as your relationships can be against it).

Pros

No STIs

Sexually transmitted infections are what essentially killed the ‘free love’ era of the 60s. They are still a very real threat and while it is possible to take measures to avoid STIs, you can never be completely safe from them – there is always a chance of a condom breaking for instance. By being celibate you can however be completely confident to avoid serious STIs (though that said some STIs can be picked up from toilet seats and towels while others can grow about due to natural fauna imbalances – so you’re still not completely safe from the lesser ones).

No Accidental Pregnancies

Likewise by being celibate you can avoid the nightmare of having to tell your friends and family that you became pregnant without intending to. This is again something that you can only truly avoid by being celibate as all known contraceptive methods can sometimes fail. And this time you can’t catch pregnancy from toilet seats…

Being Yourself

One thing that many people don’t consider about celibacy is that it allows you to be yourself – this way you don’t need to worry as much about how you are going to dress, about losing weight, about building muscle or about working out the best chat up lines. Because you’re not trying to impress anyone, and because you’re not out on ‘the pull’ this then means that you can relax and sink into yourself. Celibacy takes off the pressure and allows you to refocus on what’s important.

Less Distraction

At the same time if you are celibate then you have a lot less distraction. This is particularly true for those with high sex drives who might otherwise find themselves unable to concentrate on what they are doing because there’s an attractive woman across the room from them. You might think that being celibacy would make you more sexually charged as a result of the ‘starvation’. However quite the opposite is actually true, and if you are having regular sex this actually has the adverse effect – causing your body to produce more sex hormones and resulting in your being far more sexually charged than if you didn’t have sex at all. The more you have sex, the more you’ll want it, and the more you’ll find yourself looking at porn or fantasizing about women/men in the office.

At the same relationships are a distraction and often relationships and sex go hand in hand. This then means that you are able to focus more time on other things by not being in relationships. For instance many people will use celibacy as part of their religious practice and often here the idea is that they abstain from sex in order to learn more about their religion and to feel closer to their God.

Or if you are in a relationship, then celibacy can be a great way to distract less from the other things that matter such as whether you get on well as friends and whether you know each other. This way you can spend more time sharing experiences and talking and less time having sex.

No Bad Sexual Experiences

Having sex means dropping your guard in more ways than one and it can leave you very vulnerable. For instance you will be dropping your guard emotionally and psychologically – when you allow someone to get that close to you – and to see you naked both physically and emotionally – then you open yourself up to criticism and disappointment. If you have a one night stand for instance that you perhaps weren’t aware was a one night stand, then this can be very hurtful. Likewise you might find that someone doesn’t find you attractive and this can be a hurtful experience too. In other cases someone might be forceful and encourage you to do things you aren’t comfortable with, or they might turn out not to be a nice person. There are many situations in which sex can leave a bad taste in your mouth and be very psychologically upsetting – which is actually often what causes people to consider celibacy in the first place.

It’s Reversible

Don’t like being celibate? Great – you can always decide to have sex and be over with it, and there’s nothing to be lost by changing your mind. However on the other hand, if you decide you want to become celibate after a life of sex there’s no way to get back your virginity. This then means that if you’re unsure, celibacy is then perhaps the safer option.

Cons

You Miss Out

Sex feels fantastic and if you’ve never felt fantastic feeling sex then this is either because you haven’t met the right person, or it’s a medical issue. If you write off sex completely then that means missing out on one of the most incredible sensations we are capable of experiencing and that’s a rather big thing to give up.

At the same time as a fantastic physical sensation though, sex has a lot more to offer. For instance if you give up on sex then you will find that you are also giving up on the incredible intimacy that you get from gently spooning someone and the incredible feeling of love that comes from this. Meanwhile you will miss out on the fantastic feeling of euphoria that comes the next day, and you will miss out on the ability to make others feel that way too – sex is after all a precious gift.

And you will also miss out on stories, games and social situations. When your friends are discussing the ‘craziest places’ they ever had sex, or recounting a bad/funny sexual experience – you will have to be set to the sidelines and you will find that you end up being unable to join in. Sex and dating do lead to some very funny encounters and give you lots of great intimate stories. If you don’t join in then you are missing out on a very big part of life.

You Lose Motivation

We’ve looked at how abstinence can allow you to relax and be yourself – but is that necessarily only a good thing? If sex encourages you to get up in the morning for the hope of meeting someone, if it encourages you to look your best and to stay in shape, and if it encourages you to learn and to try and impress people… then is that necessarily a bad thing? Many philosophers have observed that many of the greatest achievements and innovations could be attributed to men and women trying to impress the opposite sex. Are you really ready to ‘give up’ and stop worrying about what you wear in the morning?

You Lose Time

We mentioned that celibacy is something you can end at any time (unlike losing your virginity). However at the same time you are never going to get your years back – and the longer you are celibate for, the more of your youth you will miss out on having sex. Sex is something that does change with time, and you will find that when you are older you are no longer in your physical prime and no longer have the same body or skin tone. This way you can miss out on the prime of your youth, and that’s the kind of thing that can make you feel as though you didn’t make the most of your younger years leading to a mid life crisis and potential future problems.

Relationships

For a celibate individual relationships can be very difficult. The first challenge here is of course meeting someone who is willing to be in a celibate relationship – and this is a very limited number. If you are religious then you may be able to find others in your religious group who feel the same way, but this is still a limited number that might make it hard to find someone who feels like a soul mate. At the same time for celibate people, relationships are always going to be more difficult and less intimate. Sex is a way that couples feel closer to each other, and that they can join themselves emotionally. This is a tool that they can use to get through difficult times and to make the distinction between friendship and love. Without that you are always going to have a ‘divide’ between you that makes you less intimate and less bonded with each other. That will mean that your relationship more closely resembles friendship and may be less resilient to the challenges that life presents.

Children

Of course if you have always been celibate then by abstaining from sex you will be denying yourself the ability to have children and this is something that will then mean you are unable to fulfill what for many people is a very strong drive. You will not be able to experience being a parent, leaving a legacy behind, nor bringing a life into the world and this is a huge thing to give up. Though of course being without children has its own benefits too.

Experience

Sex is an important experience that helps you to grow as an individual and to mature. You will find that through having sex your perception of the world changes and you look at relationships in a different way. This also gives you experience that you can share – for instance you can tell your children about sex and you can help advise others. Without ever having sex you have no authority to speak on the subject and you will not fully be able to understand what it is that you’ve actually decided to abstain from.

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Colleen Crawford

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  • On a personal not all threw my life I have never gave two shits about having sex, and where I stand at now, it is still the same but worse!! 10 yrs ago, the arguments during the marriage got so bad, I got so sick of him telling my personal life to everyone even one!! even to our lil kids!! throwing in my face and how cold hearted and making fun of our sex life!! so not only wasn't it really in my head but heres a morons doing this to me!! how am I supposed to feel now? lol I am infuriated that he would be so low and tell the kids during our fights and behind my back but again in the long run still I don't care, I stopped sex all together with him in 2002, about 3 yrs later it just literally started to disappear all together from my thoughts and urges, completely gone to the point where the thought of sex was just a disgusting act of weakness, so I made the commitment to myself to become celibate, offer my prayers and energy my pain to my creator and for self awareness and enlightenment I felt stronger and better than others, still do! and I am very happy even when I was little Even when I was little I felt like I was born in the wrong era and that I was very different for some reason and till this day that feeling is still there but I am more happy being celibate than ever!!

    • For those of you in a relationship with another person or married, it seems really selfish to have your significant other doomed to a sexless life just because you don’t want sex.

      The woman who has a husband that jokes about the lack of sex in your marriage, he is in pain and all you can see is your desire not to have sex and you seem to discount his desire to have sex. He has needs too. Why not divorce him and set him free to have intimacy with someone who wants him sexually? Because you obviously don’t. You are forcing him to be celibate, especially after he married you with the expectation of being able to make love to you. He obviously wants you because he is still with you but you fail to realize he may feel unwanted and unloved because you have cut him off sexually. I just don’t understand why you make him out to be a bad person for wanting to be with his wife sexually. He is joking about it as a way to cope with it because it is mentally damaging him.

      We all tend to be selfish and not think about the other person that is attached to us intimately. If they agree to be celibate too and stay with you that is fine, it is another thing to expect the other person to give up such a large part of being human just because you no longer want any part of it. Let them go so they can find what you can’t or are unwilling to give them from someone else.

      • I’ve been celibate for almost 5 years. At first I just wanted to work on myself and my career while raising my teen alone. Now I just have severe trust issues where I think every woman has just finished hooking up before we go out or wonder how often she has been intimate with a stranger and when is that “”cold sore”” going to pop up on her mouth. So in order not to offend a lady I keep to my work.

        • Monklikelife

          I respect a man that is celibate and it shows strength and I think that is sexy. You will be blessed with the woman that is the right one for you when it’s meant to be and continue being focused and being the best version of you that you can be and everything will come together. I believe I have been celibate for over 2 years and before this time I was celibate for 4 years and I’m happy with my choice. I’d rather be celibate instead of one night stands or quick hookups and I believe when the time is right for me I will happily give up being celibate.

  • Thanks for the straight forward list. I do not see the Cons as being insurmountable at all and the Pros are certainly worthwhile. I would suggest adding a piece about the potential health risks of abstaining from sexual activity all together. There has been some research to indicate it may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Caio!

  • Your pros about being celibate is zero as compare to real benefits what we gate. I feel one should not write about something that she doesn't know about. This article is perfect example of writing something that you know nothing about or at least not an expert of that thing.

  • I am 18…with saying that I only had sex with one guy. After that…I lost interest in sex. It's not that he was bad at it….it's just that sex makes me really insecure. I now have a boyfriend and we have been together for 9 months and he hated the fact that I don't want sex. He feels like he's doing something wrong. I told him over and over that it's not him…it’s me (seriously) we do other sexual things from time to time but not actual sex. He gets so mad at me…and it makes me feel like shit. He constantly tries to have sex with me or get me in the mood but I tell him no. I can feel that I'm losing this relationship…and honestly it sucks. I can't help what I feel though….is it my fault?

  • I found this article to be lacking in cons.

    I feel that you repeated the same con but with different wording.

    Maybe try adding some chemistry pros/cons?

  • The article gave a nice overall perspective on the issue. I met a man that I am attracted to, but who has chosen to be celibate. He tells me he is fully functioning and heterosexual, but chooses not to complicate his life with dating and sex anymore. It is hard for me to understand, but I see now there are some advantages, particularly if a man has had bad experiences, or doesn't want to deal with all the chaos/change that one risks.

  • This article confirms my views about sex and celibacy. I agree with the pros 100%. Based on my experience, it is good for someone to be with different women sexually. When that time comes to meeting that special someone, one's mind will be more clear and they will know for sure if the woman they meet will be suitable for them. Unfortunately, I didn't have that luxury and when I met a woman, my judgment was fouled up and I convinced myself that she was the one for me. Needless to say, the marriage didn't last long. During the marriage I felt like I really missed out on some great times and I just couldn't let it go. If I had been with more women, I would have had sound judgment and chose a wife wisely. Now that I am happily divorced, I have learned and am having more success with women. I don't advocate promiscuity, but I think people need to have some good sexual experiences under their belt. Also, celibacy can lead to some serious psychological issues. If one chooses celibacy, it must be for the right reasons.

  • I can't agree, celibacy would mean less distraction. I tried it and head was occupied with sex, with fantasizing about being with most of women I met every day. I couldn't function normal way, I was becoming unfriendly towards women, sexist. I had wet dreams almost every day. Celibacy is not for everyone and can be dangerous.

  • Well I am really considering going celibate because I am a homosexual female Christian and it says in the bible that homosexual feelings aren't against god but homosexual sex is and I don't want to sin but I do want to have children with my future wife but I don't know if I could have insemination done or my future wife.

  • I have been practicing celibacy for 4 years and I’m so horny! I was told a cold shower would stop my urges s***.

  • I personally have decided to go celibate for a period of time. I know I don’t want to be celibate forever, but after a three year relationship in which sex was done daily, all night at times, I found that my partner used doing things to get sex from me and he was obsessed with my physical appearance and while to most women, including the younger me, thinks this is romance, it’s not. It was lust pure and simple. I felt like the only thing he and I had in common were our desire to date (even though those would end in arguments at times) and our submersion into sex with one another. For him sex was like a drug. For me it was a beautiful thing at first. He was the type of guy that could handle my sexual urges, because I have a very strong libido, however, he and I couldn’t relate mentally and because of this, eventually I got to a point where I didn’t want to have sex all the time. The sex became a weight on my back. The arguments, left me emotionally drained and his expectations of me giving into him all of the time literally drained every ounce of energy I had. I used to be able to get off work, go home and we’d have sex but after a while, sex became the primary motive for him doing good for me. He only treated me good because sex was the ultimate goal. It got to a point where he was talking about marriage and I couldn’t see that for either of us. Here’s the thing, I want a relationship with a man where the value is more than sexual but it seems nearly impossible these days because men make mention of it all the time and it’s become so perverse that they can’t really engage with women without seeing them as sexual objects for their pleasure. I wish to be celibate for a period of time because I really am bothered how my last relationship went. The first time we engaged in sex, it was something I hadn’t wanted but I allowed it to happen. I felt disappointed afterward because I had been so excited to get to know him and spend time with him and I felt that because I wasn’t ready the sex was ruined for me. He on the other hand had no problems with it. Throughout our relationship this was how it went and although we physically fit perfectly with one another, it became an expectation and chore instead of fun. A dead weight. So now after releasing myself from the relationship it’s difficult to be celibate but I know it’s something that needs to be done until I’m ready to get back in the arena with men. I know that the next relationship I enter will be completely different from this one and I refuse to be objectified.

  • Thank you for this article. I have been celibate for four years and it has deepened my inner peace. Being on an Eastern path, I found that sex is all to do with strong desires, which conflicted with my spirituality. I have not experienced any adverse effects.

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Colleen Crawford

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