The decision whether or not to have sex is a deeply personal one — but sometimes, circumstances intervene and make the decision for you. Maybe you and your boo live hours (or even miles) apart and can't see each other as often as you'd like. Maybe health issues are keeping you two from hopping in the sack right now. Or maybe — whether it's for religious reasons or simply because you're not ready — sex is off the table indefinitely. No matter the reason, refraining from intercourse with an SO can have challenges, but believe it or not, abstaining from sex with a partner can actually create a stronger emotional connection.
According to Moushumi Ghose, owner and founder of Los Angeles Sex Therapy, taking sex out of the equation compels you and your SO to think outside the box. "Abstaining from intercourse is actually an exercise that I often encourage partners to use when they are trying to get their mojo back or when they are trying to spice up their sex life," she explains. "The key, though, is to not ignore sexuality but to expand our broaden our definition of what sex is away from the focus of penetration and intercourse." Who knew that not having sex could be `so... sexy?
As Salt-N-Peppa so wisely sang, "Let's talk about sex, baby, let's talk about you and me. Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be." Talking about sex with your partner can oftentimes be even more intimate than sex itself, even when you're not actively having it. "Too much of our focus is on a very small aspects of sexuality, such as penis-in-vagina, oral sex, and anal sex," says Ghose. "Taking sex off the table can help people get reconnected to their bodies, learn what they like outside of the 'same old, same old,' expand our repertoire, and become more sensual in general."
If sex isn't an option right now (or if you have yet to introduce sex to your relationship), take this time to explore other aspects of sexuality with your boo. Penetration isn't the only way to achieve stimulation, friends. "Some things that people often overlook are talking dirty, kissing, having intimacy with our clothes on, intimacy without exchanging fluids (i.e. mutual masturbation), communication about sex, reading erotica, sharing fantasies, role play, and so much more," Ghose says. To share some more old-school R&B wisdom: We don't have to take our clothes off to have a good time.
Whether sexual abstinence is a choice you're making or an imposition due to circumstance, this period without sex should be considered an opportunity. "When we mindfully abstain from the traditional ideas of sex, we are forced to expand," Ghose points out. "When we begin to shift, we can also get more connected to our partners." Even if you and your boo are physically separated, you can still find a way to satisfy your sexual needs with a little creativity. Overcoming that challenge will allow you to learn so much more about your SO — and plus, FaceTime sex can get seriously steamy.
Bottom line: Abstaining from sex doesn't have to be a bummer. As Ghose explains, "If partners embark on a mindful journey to stay sexual on a regular basis while also abstaining from sex, the world is their oyster." So open up a dialogue about kinks, fantasies, and dirty dreams — and once you and your boo can finally have sex, get ready for fireworks.
Moushumi Ghose, owner and founder of Los Angeles Sex Therapy