Recently Bristol and mom Sarah Palin made a headline-grabbing appearance on Oprah, during which new mom Bristol made an on-air vow to abstain from sex and remain celibate until marriage. Whether you see this as a sincere vow of a teen mom humbled by the grown-up situation she's found herself in, or as a publicity stunt aimed at boosting her and her ambitious mother's conservative image, celibacy continues to gain attention in both the teen and adult worlds as a lifestyle choice.
While we often think of celibacy as a religious choice, there are plenty of people who undertake it for secular reasons. For example:
1. Health. While we're told that regular sex is good for health, STDs are not! Not all of us are able to find a loving, monogamous, disease-free relationship and in lieu of that abstinence (as our high school Sex Ed teachers told us, ad nauseam) is the only 100 percent effective method of birth control and disease prevention. Of course having a disease yourself and wanting to protect a partner is another good reason to abstain. STDs and Sex
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's report "Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2007" STDs overall are on the rise in the US, women are the primary sufferers of STDs with worse consequences (infertility, cancer) and there are 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occurring annually! That equals almost one out of every ten adult Americans.
2. Intimacy. Sex is bound to intimacy. The lack of desirable partners or just having been burned really badly is reason enough to turn some of us off from sharing our bodies and emotions with others. Addiction or other unhealthy attachments to sex would fall into this category, too. 4 Things You May Not Know About Sex Addiction
3. Time. Men and women are working more and harder than ever. In some fields, getting ahead requires 110 percent of our time and focus. This makes it very hard to maintain a relationship, leading many to embrace long-distance relationships, often a means of forced abstinence, casual hook-ups, or opting out of the dating scene altogether. How To Survive A Long Distance Relationship
4. Power. Choosing celibacy can be an empowering move. As with anything in life when we make a conscious choice to do or not do something, it gives a sense of control and purpose in our lives. Eliminating sex from your list of concerns opens up a tremendous amount of brain and emotional space that the strategizing, analyzing and agonizing over our sex lives often fills. The freeing up of some of the above-mentioned time allows us to focus on some of the many empowering, advancing and self-esteem-building activities that can make our lives more meaningful and productive. The Perks Of Sexual Dry Spells
While celibacy may sound like an extreme choice to some, it is liberating to others. But remember, it doesn't have to be forever! You can make a celibacy vow for anywhere from one year to one month.
Would you consider celibacy as a lifestyle choice? Do you think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?