Why I Decided To Go Fully Celibate At Age 26
Unpopular opinion: I am 26 years old and celibate... by choice. Seven months of a purposeful dry spell. There hasn't even been a smidgen of dry humping or the ever-popular soaking. (Yikes. Definitely no soaking.)
So first and foremost, let me start by saying when it comes to the overarching concept of sex, I'm fairly average; I'm borderline mundane, even.
My number isn't outrageously high or low. I've had casual sex as well as relationship sex. Like so many, I'm more of a Carrie than a Samantha. I have the customary box of lingerie in my closet, and I'm fairly good with dirty puns.
But when I was 25 years old, I found myself in a place where, to be considered a well-rounded grownup (term used loosely), I was expected to check the SEX box.
Career I loved? Check. Paying my own bills? Check. Cosmo-worthy sexual endeavors? Check.
And this annoyed me.
Glorious sex required leg shaving, but not too often or there would be razor burn. I had to clean my room and hide my disgustingly sweaty spandex, which was multiplying at an alarming rate, because I wanted my ass in tip-top shape for those times when I couldn't turn off the light in time.
I was skipping my morning runs to snuggle. I couldn't focus on my writing, because I'd opt for grabbing drinks instead.
I was enjoying the deed itself, but in exchange, I had to relinquish control of my time. And my blankets.
On the down-low, I started to ask my fellow ladies how they felt about casual sex. The more I asked around, the more I realized that many of us felt at odds with casual sex. Were we letting these humans enter our lives and enter our bodies because we believed it was the norm?
We live in a society where a woman's value is directly related to her physical and sexual appeal.
Film critic Roger Ebert described Sofia Coppola's cult classic film "Marie Antoinette" as "centering on the loneliness of being female and surrounded by a world that knows how to use you but not how to value and understand you."
And this truth doesn't just apply to Miss Marie. Society knows how to use us, but we're arguably difficult to understand.
Men think you're aesthetically pleasing, and therefore, they want to have sex with you. You're also not allowed to complain about that. Do you know how much worse it could be?
How would people determine your worth if men don't do it for you? By your intelligence, vibe, faith, kindness, horoscope or maternal instinct? Which minute factor of your personhood would you prefer to be reduced to?
This applies to the world of abstinence as well. I have girlfriends who are proudly saving themselves out of respect for their future husbands.
Let me reiterate. Their value as a wife, a partner, is directly connected to their chastity.
Hell to the no.
How have we come to misuse this magnificent gift from the universe? This gift not only propagates the species, but it provides immense amounts of pleasure, intimacy, improved sleep and stress relief.
The orgasm is essentially the wonder drug the FDA has been searching for, better than acai and resveratrol.
We, as a society, tend to misuse a plethora of things. Lord knows I misuse the gift that is burrata. Some of my dearest friends choose to abuse alcohol or drugs. Other souls bow down to careers or the pursuit of a husband. This one time, I dated a guy in a band, who told me he loved music more than his mom. (And that's when I decided I could never date a guy in a band again.)
Sex is so inherently pervasive, it's easy to disregard its exploitation. It's personified by society through music and plot lines, to the extent that it becomes a person, or even a god. It's omnipresent.
It's gotten to the point where we expect our partners to cheat. We have premeditated opinions on the occurrence before it even occurs.
We're applauded for self-restraint and monogamy, but the positive reinforcement only helps so much, because an orgasm is, well, orgasmic.
When I declared to my girlfriends that I just don't feel like having casual sex anymore, and perhaps I could actually marry someone without doing the dirty-dirty first, I was met with shock and terror.
What if he's bad in bed? What if he's SMALL?
The idea of accidentally entering into a marriage with someone lacking in ample phallic appendage size is much more horrifying than a man without kindness or personality. We commit to secretly destructive men and women, and yet the idea of playing Russian Roulette with penis size is abominable.
Simultaneously, a relationship without any sex is considered something to mourn, though that reasoning neglects the fact that lack of sex is merely the symptom of a larger problem.
My sweet girlfriend recently got married, and my first question was (obviously), “Now that you're a wife, how's the sex!?”
While my question may have been predictable, her response was unanticipated: "It's so good to finally have sex and not be super freaked out about babies and STDs. I think maybe this is how sex is supposed to be enjoyed. Blissful. Not fearful."
It's shocking to think I was living with an extra layer of unnecessary anxiety. Weren't regular pregnancy tests and pap smears the norm? Didn't every responsible woman know where the closest 24-hour CVS was?
And thus, I solidified my decision to stay celibate. It's been seven whole months, and I haven't died or spontaneously combusted.
The other day, as I was a minute and a half deep into Savasana, my mind started to wander, and the thought occurred to me: I no longer feel unable to control my sexual aspirations.
I still want to bang, of course, but the urge isn't overwhelming. The desire for sex no longer feels like fact.
And so here I am: content and balanced-ish.
Celibacy hasn't solved all my problems. I still drink too much wine, and I eat too much burrata. I still chase after the wrong men and ignore the good ones. I no longer have motivation to clean my room. But I'm really looking forward to the day when I can, once again, do the deed.
And if all goes as planned (which, arguably, it never does), I'll get to do the dirty-dirty with a man I love, and it'll mean exponentially more.
It'll be like delving into a USDA prime filet mignon instead of a 7-Eleven Snickers (king-sized, but still).