Why Celibacy Is Cool
I think it's safe to say that after a year or more of no sex, no romance, no nothing of that nature, you're pretty much celibate.
SEX AINT ON THE BRAIN
I don't go out thinking that I could potentially find a lover.
"Pick up" for me refers to hors d'oeuvres, not sexual experiences. You know, I'm pretty sure I could snap my fingers at any horny toad after a few drinks, but that's not my modus operandi. Also, I don't dress to impress, even if I might wear something that flatters the generous girls hanging from my chest. I am totally WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).
You better love me with or without makeup, with or without Manolo Blahniks and/or cheap, gas station rubber flip flops. I don't do online dating anymore and I am not on the "prowl" like some friends say when we're joking about Cougars. (Don't be offended, younger men, but as cute as you are, that's not a lifestyle choice for me.)
"Sex" is not part of my social agenda. I'm just being me all the time, completely authentic. No roles, no drama. The corny, overused and misused Zen phrase "it is what it is" pretty much guides me.
And I think it's totally cool to say I'm good with all of that.
I *could* have more, but I choose to, prefer to, not to have more of all of the bs that would come with a more complex life.
Does that make me a freak?
If I say "I don't give shit about sex" will you find that strange? Ok, fine, I'll own that.
OH THE IRONY
But there's more to this than meets the eye.
Rather ironic for Sex and the Beach, I know, but sex is overrated. (Not the first time I've written about that, but formerly a sweet potato was involved.) Actually it's not sex -- but rather all the drama and anxiety associated with romantic connections that is basically a huge tax on human existence -- it's all that crap I would rather do without, thank you.
Maybe it's all the yoga I've been rediscovering lately. Maybe it's becoming more mature with age and gathering wisdom. Maybe it's my hormones drying up in some pre-menopausal party. Whatever it is, I do know this: I just don't give a fuck about fucking and I'm all the better for it.
I want to make something clear. I am not running away from romance. I am not choosing celibacy to avoid the inevitable challenges that come from two people trying to make a life together. I just don't want bullshit imitation drama romance sex.
Yeah, please don't get me wrong. Sex is awesome. Sex is an amazing thing. Sex is a wonderful way to connect passionately with another human being. Sex is primal. Sex is a natural and beautiful expression of all that is human when it is done with good, honest intentions, even sex for sex's sake.
A life-altering, passionate union should be on everyone's bucket list. And hell, I'm not even talking about intercourse. Sex in all its glorious manifestations is an ingredient in life's bounty, even if it's just touching, holding or kissing. I will light a candle to the altar of true sensuality any day.
And yes, sex makes babies, if that's your thing. Nothing wrong with that.
But, I think, at least for me, it's an all or nothing experience at this point in my life.
SOMETIMES SEX IS NOT ABOUT SEX
Just look at what I wrote above. All this good stuff, right? But what about the cons?
How many people do you know or have had sex with who actually really have had sex to connect with you? How much of sex is not just some self-satisfying, masturbatory experience? How much of sex is not some self-serving marketing and pubic relations campaign? How much of sex is your ego using that as a form of manipulation to claim ownership of another person? How many people do you know who are cry babies, needing this or that, getting totally wrapped up in some drama of some kind even in relationships that are not sexual? How much of you is really involved in the sexual experience? Do you honestly let go or are just playing by some rules -- some artificial category that the other has created in order for you to be pleasing and subdominant, to maintain some status quo?
Seriously. I could go on and on with questions ...
How does his sticking his penis inside of you have to do with how you are evolving as a spiritual being in this life path? Because if that's what you're using to satisfy your relationship craving, that better be some good dick!
I think it's safe to say many women can admit to ALL of the above. It's part of being human. It's part of the lessons learned.
DOUCHE YOUR SPIRIT
There's something to be said about purity of mind and purity of soul -- yes, something to be said about cleansing the mind of all the drama the ego craves. That's really the whole point of celibacy, if you look at it from a yogic perspective. I'm not the first tantra-focused yogi to say something similar.
Develop a relationship with self first. It means you put your energy elsewhere, harnessing it for a higher purpose and all kinds of creativity. It is liberating and absolutely freeing to not have the anxiety associated with desire and craving. It is wonderful to feel universal love -- a love that is not about "me" but about something more lasting, something bigger than me.
I'm not sure how to describe this. But instead of feeling lonely, I feel like a huge balloon of love has burst inside me, and I never, ever feel alone even if I am in a reclusive writer mode or I am simply enjoying something out there in the world on my own. My heart expands. This is so much better than the ego-driven complications of sex and romance. I am loving on a whole other level that I was not capable of when I was younger.
It means that I go out, live my life, have everything I need, give up attachments to major material things, without worrying about what's missing. I am living, walking, breathing love all the time. Just because I'm not giving someone a blow job doesn't mean I'm not loving.
Love is a universal right. Those who can do so in a mutual sexual expression that is bound by respect and honor are very lucky. But it's not limited to lovers. You can be a lover and still be celibate.
I guess that's what I'm trying to say. You are not "without" love just because you aren't dating or having sex or romantically involved with someone. And that love, that feeling of connectedness is a very powerful drug you can tap into. My arm is attached to that universal IV of yummy satisfaction 24/7. Sex with the right guy would be icing on the cake. He would simply benefit from all this love.
The ancient yogis called this Bramacharya. I call it peace of mind. (See a Sex and the City clip at this New York yogi's website on the subject.) Even the principles of sexual tantra spell out that a union between two bodies will or should ultimately branch out as an expression of a greater, more humanity-oriented love.
THINK ABOUT THE PHRASE "HAVING SEX"
Is this how you are "having" sex? Is sex something you should "have" or is it a bigger part of yourself that you could never actually "have"? How can anyone "own" sex anyway? Because really, at the end of the day, that belly you are rubbing up against isn't going to be around forever and neither are you. What are making of this experience? Is it really love?
I sigh when I read what I just wrote. Some of the emptiest moments I've had in my life have been in the hot and heavy, sultry and sweaty daliances with an other. I call it existential sex that takes me out of the moment. I hate that. Clearly, those lovers didn't have a real spiritual hold on me or maybe I just wasn't mature enough to be "there" for them.
Good grief, people do so much shit to attract sex. They lose weight, they wear flattering clothes, put on makeup and just get all jacked up, but it's all like lemmings wanting to jump off the cliff. No one ever thinks to go inside and clean up all the emotional garbage, the practice of which I think should be a precursor for great sex. I don't care how hot you look or how good you can bang me in bed -- neediness, insecurity and all that bullshit is not sexy. And of course, it's certainly not sexy if I am the needy and insecure one in your embrace!
FREEDOM FROM SEX ANXIETY IS A LUXURY
Look inside before you make love. Are you really ready? Are you spreading your legs or just spreading yourself thin?
I think a lot of women can relate to that ... I'll admit I've spread myself thin before, not honoring myself at times when I was better off being celibate. And I know that's not love. It's genital exhilaration surely and more like an acrobatic exercise, a mediocre excuse for love, all physical pleasures aside.
Does this mean I will never enter a passionate union again? No. It just means I know what I want and will not settle for less. I think this is something every woman should feel. I'm lucky to feel it in my early 40s and to have this way of living, this freedom.
Does this mean I never actually connected to past lovers? No, I did. And I honor and thank the universe for giving me such experiences. Just because my ex-boyfriends didn't end up "ever after" doesn't mean I don't honor the love we shared. Marriage is great, but it does NOT define love in all its complexity!
Does this mean I never fantasize or think about someone I'm attracted to? No, of course not. That happens as well. And if have to, I'll relieve myself, but whenever and if I even want to. So no, I'm not living some monkish life devoid of pleasures.
The difference is that it all falls into place. The sex and romance thing doesn't stress me one bit. I am actually, by being celibate, approaching what it might be to actually be a great lover -- in love completely without being attached (yet) to one particular person.
YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR VAGINA
Shit, I've even had to deal with the Cuban guilt trip about how not being a mother makes me an incomplete woman. I'm sure that pushing out a human from your vagina is an incredible experience and I know that raising a child is the most selfless, compassionate thing a person can do, but I'm not broken or "less" of a woman because motherhood hasn't been part of my path so far. Well, at least, I choose not to buy into that kind of thinking that wants to put me down and judge me negatively on the basis of having a uterus that hasn't incubated a rug rat. In fact, I think that having babies doesn't necessarily make you instantly compassionate or even a good human being. (Apologies to all you great mothers out there. I'm not referring to you.)
A relative whom I adore told me earlier today that "I'm sorry things turned out bad for you." But "things" are not bad at all -- just because I haven't taken the traditional path, haven't had a marriage and kids, and am currently not actively pursuing a dating life -- all of this doesn't mean I haven't honored life and done good in my own, quirky way.
Listen, women, there is no "traditional" path out there. It's what you make of it. Make your own tradition. You have the gift of life, use it. Create your life. Write your own story. For me right now, it's a path of celibacy and one that I'm proud to honor because it works for me. For you, it could be so many things -- singlehood, rediscovered life after divorce, a rekindled flame with a hobby, a career change that makes you jump out of bed in the morning -- who knows, whatever, seize it! Celibacy could be a time to nurture yourself and your passions outside of the bed sheets. It's not dry or boring in the least. Just be aware. Be conscious of it.
I'm just sharing a good practice here.
Think about it, you single ladies and my non-lady guys, too. I encourage others to try it out, even if it just means letting go of the "intention" to find a lover. Love yourself instead and focus on the people in your life who matter, just obviously in a non-sexual way.
Fall in love with your life, with just being alive, first, before falling in love with someone else you're going to share every fiber of your being with. The best sex is the kind you really believe in. Don't settle for anything mediocre. And when you do get there, don't forget to connect, be grateful and enjoy.