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).
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.