It doesn't have to be forever.
While we often think of celibacy as a religious choice, there are plenty of people who undertake it for secular reasons — as a lifestyle choice. Why would anybody do that, you ask?
Here are four non-religious reasons to be celibate:
1. It prevents STDs.
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, besides that, abstinence (as our high school sex education teachers repeatedly told us) 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.
2. It boosts (non-sexual) intimacy.
Sex is bound to intimacy. The lack of desirable partners (or just being burned 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.
3. Celibacy creates more "me" time.
Men and women are working 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, so more people are ditching the dating scene altogether and embracing celibacy. Hey, more time to yourself.
4. It's EMPOWERING.
Choosing whether or not to do something gives a sense of control and purpose in our lives. A sex-free lifestyle frees up a tremendous amount of brain and emotional space that the strategizing, analyzing and agonizing over our sex lives often fills. Freeing up 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.
While celibacy may sound like an extreme choice to some, it is liberating to others. Remember: it doesn't have to be forever.