Are you dating while celibate? You’re not alone! I was recently featured on an episode Lifetime TV’s Laurieann Gibson’s Beyond The Spotlight show. Laurieann called me in to help her best friend Stella make empowered choices around dating while celibate. Stella made a vow of celibacy after her last relationship ended a year and half ago so that she could be clear that she was choosing the right man for the right reasons. She wanted a husband who would see her for more than what she could do in the bedroom.
I stepped in to introduce her to men who were willing to honor her commitment to celibacy, but what you won’t see on the show is the conversation we had about making sure Stella was choosing celibacy for the right reasons. As a dating coach, I’ve seen women decide to not have sex until marriage, sometimes even after they’ve already been sexually active. These sisters ended up falling off the wagon when they met a fine man and one thing lead to another, and the morning after they were shrouded in shame and fear that God was going to punish them for sleeping with someone.
After working with me to gain clarity on why they decided to be celibate in the first place, these ladies were able to make more empowered decisions about their sexuality that freed them from shame and allowed them to move forward with their lives.
I want to have a mini-coaching session with you by revealing 3 common signs you’re celibate for the wrong reasons (and then point you in the right direction so you make a powerful choice about your sexuality).
1. You think withholding sex can make a man commit to you
Whether you’re following the 90-day rule advanced by Steve Harvey, or you’ve been sexually active with your partner and for some reason, you’ve decided to stop, you need to know that withholding sex does not automatically result in a ring. Using celibacy as a tool to get a man to commit to you is just manipulation masquerading as doing the right thing!
I know there are gurus and pastors telling you a man won’t value you if you sleep with him, but let me tell you the truth: Your value as a woman is not based on who decides you are valuable. When God made you, He said you were good and there’s nothing that you can do to make Him love you less or love you more. If a man changes his mind about spending his life with you just because you had sex with him, then you have to know he never saw you as anything more than an object to begin with. You have nothing to prove, so don’t link your commitment to a celibate dating life to an attempt to showing you’re good enough for a man to choose you.
2. You think God will bless you with a mate because you’re dating “His way.”
Maybe you’re not trying to use sex (or no sex) as a bargaining chip with men, but you’ve made the reason to practice celibacy due to religious reasons. You may have the mindset that shutting it down in the sex department guarantees God will give you a husband because you’re obeying His word. But following the rules is not a magical pill to create a great marriage with a satisfying sex life, (nor does it even guarantee you’ll have a husband in the first place). There are countless stories of women who waited years to have sex only to be disappointed that their fantasies of bliss in the bedroom never turned into reality once they were married.
Consider this: If you’ve been dating any length of time, you’ve probably had breakups, relationships that didn’t last because of timing, and a bunch of other reasons why you’re still single. None of those failed relationships could have been saved simply by you going celibate! There’s so much more to making a relationship last than sex.
3. You think not dating is the same thing as celibacy
Not having the opportunity to have sex is not the same thing as making a conscious decision to deny yourself sexual pleasure inside of a relationship. Some women avoid dating so they won’t be tempted to have sex with the next man they meet, but avoidance is not celibacy. That’s sexual repression (and you’re bound to erupt if you’re pushing down all of that sexual energy if the time is right!
The right way to do celibacy requires that you still embrace your sensuality as a woman. You still get to have desires: you just choose not to act on them! Be careful that you don’t associate sexuality with sin and shame as a way keep yourself from thinking about sex.
A more empowered approach to practicing celibacy is to see it as another form of sexual freedom, giving you the agency to decide when, where, why and with whom you will have sex. Embrace your sexuality as a God-given, natural and vital part of who you are as a woman. Celebrate a healthy, shame-free vision of your sexuality and then get clear on why you are choosing not to have sex right now, (and how you will decide when it’s time).
BMWK singles, why have you decided to date while celibate? Let’s talk about it!
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