Yes, I’m abstinent and yes it is possible.
Sexual abstinence used to be one of those things that people didn’t like to talk about. Having people think you were having sex as opposed to not enjoying coitus at all was better for the ego. Fast forward a few decades and although sex might still be one of the most talked about experiences of all time, I would argue that there’s less embarrassment attached to virginity, abstinence and celibacy. Having said that, abstinence is still perceived as something outlandishly foreign and that is to be expected in a hyper sexualised society.
- Nobody quite knows where the good girls are.
Every time I have told a guy that my cherry is in fact intact, he has replied with, “so good girls still exist.” Whilst I appreciate the sentiment, it never quite sits well with me because good girls definitely exist. Men who utter those words generally date the “bad girls” and so my response is always, “maybe, you’re looking in the wrong places, try a satnav next time.” However, these men do shed light on something that I’ve always struggled with, the idea that virginity and goodness are synonymous. These two words are not one and the same. Am I still deemed “good” if I embezzle millions from strangers but do so with my virginity still in tact? No. Abstinence is not the standard for goodness; it’s simply another way of thinking about sex.
- The most promiscuous men are often the ones glorifying your virginity.
This follows on from my last point but it’s still something that has always amused me. It’s a wonderful paradox that I find quite cute but also quite patronising. It’s nice that a man who is sexually active can still place value on waiting even when he isn’t doing so himself but then it’s also quite condescending and can feel like , “aaaw its cute that you don’t have sex, I respect that but I want you to know my sex life is awesome.”
- Some men are so sure of their sexual prowess.
The “if I knew you way back when, you wouldn’t have been able to resist me” men are the funniest. They also see it as their mission to get into your pants. The only thing some people bring to the table is their sex lives and that’s quite sad.
- It’s still very much a woman’s club.
Abstinence is still very much a thing that woman do. Even celibacy is still seen as something women do. From the 30 day rule, to the 60 day rule to the 90 day rule that featured heavily in romcoms like “think like a man”, woman are still depicted as the vanguards for abstinence or celibacy. Yet, abstinence is not respecter of gender; it is not exclusive to women. Woman can’t be the only ones who have this unique view on sex but this is the story we like to sell. I think its damaging not only women but to the men who are holding out until further notice. We run the risk of telling these abstinent or celibate men that they are less manly or weird for having these ideas about sex but there’s nothing girly about abstinence.
- Our teaching on sex is still very gender specific.
We are still telling women to preserve their virginity but never quite raising the standard for men. We frame the socialisation of males around the “boys will be boys” rhetoric and this has trickled down into our teachings on sex. Even where the parties aren’t practicing abstinence or celibacy, a woman who has more sexual partners is seen as a menace to society and yet the man is applauded. There should be a level playing field with regards to sex but right now the males are one step ahead.
- Abstinence or celibacy is not for everybody and the imposition of any of those ideas will most likely fail.
To have sex or to not have sex is a decision that can’t be made for someone; they have to want it or not want it.
- Everyone has an opinion on what you do or (don’t do) with your body.
They say leave the best till last and that’s exactly what I’ve done here. Everyone has an opinion on what you should be doing with your body when you’re abstinent or celibate because apparently the sex is so explosive that you would be a fool to miss out on it. Celibacy shaming has surfaced and the “your body” is made for sex discourse doesn’t follow far behind. I agree with the sentiment to a degree, although the body wasn’t just made for intercourse and sex is probably explosive but I’m doing fine. I’ll jump on that roller coaster soon enough and within the context of marriage.
It’s been an incredibly interesting journey especially since a lot of things I’ve learnt about abstinence has come from people who don’t practice abstinence. Sex is an amazing topic that isn’t exclusive to the sexually active and I hope some of you resonate with the article. So there’s my seven.
Love Cris x
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