by James A. Woodruff,
A man meets a beautiful woman who is the consummate catch. She’s stimulating in a multitude of ways. Without consciously deciding, he allows her to monopolize more and more of his time and attention. The night comes where the mood is right, she’s chosen the right perfume, and he decides to make a move.
“I’m celibate,” she mumbles softly with conviction.
He hears a loud, screeching sound in his ears yet is surrounded by an awkward, pregnant pause. Out of respect, he pulls back. But there’s a sense of dejection that can’t be ignored.
How would a woman respond if the roles were reversed?
Celibacy is something that doesn’t get discussed openly among men. The assumption is that men do everything for the end-goal of having relations with a woman they’re sexually attracted to. There’s some truth to that up until a certain point. Women have become accustomed to expecting sex to be a big deal from the get-go. Although sometimes, chasing for the “reward” of sex gets old for a single man.
Women dominate the conversation around celibacy. There are thousands of articles out there that talk about why women are celibate, why they should be celibate, and how celibacy is used as a weapon or tool of manipulation. If you think about it, men hold more power than we realize. We ask women out. We pay for dates. They look for us to answer to the question “where is this going?” And ultimately, men are the ones who are the initiators of sex in the beginning. That being said, a celibate man gets the strange stares and laughs. It’s as if being a celibate man is impossible, particularly if you’re one who is unanimously attractive to a lot of women.
I’ve been celibate for a couple of years now. It’s a beautiful struggle. But it’s also a commitment that couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. When I decided to live my life sex-free, I was going through a transitional period. I had made it up in my mind that I wanted to settle down with the right person for the right reasons. Many times, celibacy comes on the heels of a relationship ending or some type of new religious enlightenment. I’m not knocking those reasons. My decision was inspired by knowing someone who was doing it and seeing how the recourse was only positive.
As it does for women, celibacy can bring a sense of awareness about yourself and the people you have or will consider. I was able to see that the pursuit of women for the purpose of sex gives them a certain edge over you. Once a woman knows you can be led by your urges, she can get you to do almost anything; even if it’s at your detriment. When that cloudiness was gone, I was able to see that some of the women I’d previously dealt with had a specific commonality among them. It wasn’t a trait that I liked nor would I put up with in my more matured life. Not overlooking that because of good sexual chemistry allowed me to re-configure my “list” for the right woman.
When you’re not pursuing or planning for sex, you’re able to dedicate your time to other things. I found that I had more time and focus to work on my career advancement. I even got back tight with God. Being celibate in a relationship kept the focus on getting to know the real person you’re dealing with. When it was clearly established that I wasn’t going to pressure her for sex, she became more open and relaxed with me. It’s easier to build up that emotional intimacy separate from physical intimacy. In fact, if you handle the former, the latter is willingly given.
Great sex is how many of us wind up in reckless relationships.
Lastly, celibacy is basically all about self-control. I’ll be honest – not having sex is a difficult decision to make day after day. It’s especially difficult when you’re in a monogamous relationship with an attractive woman. After a few months of being celibate, I stopped lamenting about the relations I was missing out on. I’m not secretly wondering if my girl will ever have a weak moment. I think about how I’ve realized that I don’t need to have sex to be in love. Great sex is how many of us wind up in reckless relationships. I got to a certain space in life where sex added an unnecessary distraction to a new situation. Celibacy may not be what’s popular. However, as men, I think it’s important for us to be more willing to discuss it among ourselves and in our relationships without embarrassment.
James often discusses relationships from a retrospect of “things I’d tell my 21-25 year old self”. Having traveled the world and seen different cultural approaches to romance, sex, and marriage, James aims to pose new spins on the intricacies of male-female relations. You can visit more of his work on Examiner (https://www.examiner.com/sex-and-relationships-1-in-houston/james-woodruff) where he is a weekly Sex & Relationships columnist