9 Great Things That Happened When I Stopped Having Sex —​ On Purpose

If someone claims they aren't getting any and are always in a good mood, they're lying.

woman laying in bed Svitlana Sokolova / Shutterstock

Let me just go ahead and put it right on out there: I love sex. I don't mean "If I'm in a relationship and he's in the mood, it's cool" sex; I mean, back in the days when I was having it, rarely was I in a relationship, but I still had a pretty active sex life. A really physically fulfilling one, too.

That might sound like the notches on my belt are super-high. To tell you the truth, I've learned that the numbers don't matter much. You can sleep with one guy or 100 and still end up in some emotional places that you didn't predict or want. But if you're wondering, my body count (as the young kids say) is 14, and holding.


I never really required exclusivity. Even though my body was/is precious, I didn't require the men I was "involved with" to treat it that way. That's a part of the reason why I stopped having sex to begin with, and instead opted for abstinence. But we'll get to that in a moment. 

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I thought it was important to share that I'm quite fond of the entire experience because I know what it's like to read an abstinence piece and feel like the person is frigid, at best. I'm so not that girl. In fact, my running "joke" is if someone claims they ain't gettin' any (by choice) and they're always in a good mood, they're lying to you.


Sometimes I miss sex so much that I'm close to being in tears. Yet still, I carry on. And yes, I get it.

A lot of you are probably going to be like, "Dang, Shellie, if it's that bad, just go back to having it." I hear you. It's crossed my mind, believe me. Yet nine years into my abstinence journey, there are nine reasons why waiting continues to trump succumbing.

So if you're someone who is considering the benefits of abstinence, hopefully this will give you reason(s) enough to at least give it a shot.

1. I'm wiser about the kind of man I want outside of the bedroom.

I started having sex three months before I turned 19, and my self-esteem wasn't the best. So when my first love presented himself as being every inch of tall, dark and handsome, I went for it. Never mind that I caught him quite a few times with other girls. He looked good, he told me I was beautiful and that seemed most valuable. Or maybe the better word is "desirable."


And you know what? The men to follow were similar in the sense that the wrappings were pretty appealing while what was underneath, in most cases, there was nothing to really write home about. It took me taking a break from sex to realize, "Wait, I want a guy who is kind," "Wait, I want a guy who will take me out on dates," and, "Wait, I want a guy who thinks I'm so amazing that sex isn't the main course on the menu."

2. I know friends with benefits can actually end a friendship.

If single, sexually active women are really honest with themselves, they'll admit they have a pattern. Mine was having sex with my friends. The guys I was involved with were bonafide buddies and the friendship evolved (or is it downgraded?) into something sexual.

I had some truly great sex with some of my male friends, but I'm not friends with any of them now. Whomever said that sex complicates things, they were right. It's very hard to be naked with someone, to share orgasms with them, and then go back to casual conversation and listening to them talk about the women they actually want to date as they're putting on their socks on the side of your bed.

It also affects trust, both ways. He doesn't trust that you're as cool with it as you say you are, and you don't trust that he really has your best interest at heart. I eventually came to the conclusion that friends with benefits is one of the greatest oxymorons there is.


3. I don't seek validation in my performance.

Don't listen to anyone who says, "I'm the best you'll ever have." Good sex isn't as hard to find as some people may think. When you thoroughly enjoy something, you tend to give it all you've got and that makes for a really good time.

Since I wasn't really sure about what else I had to offer, having guys tell me that they loved having sex with me felt really good. It started to become a driving force behind the reason why I would be down for sex even if they had girlfriends or didn't see a future with me.

Be careful about being so hungry for validation that you'll settle for crumbs. These days, do I want the next guy to enjoy me sexually? Totally. But is that all I'm looking for? Absolutely not. I need him to make love to my mind first.

4. I don't confuse good sex with a healthy relationship.

We're not made to have sex with someone and not bond with them. Even if our mind tries to convince us otherwise, our body thinks differently. That's why I spent years (and years) thinking that if a guy made me feel good sexually, he must be good for me, period.


Some of the guys I had great sex with irritate the crap out of me now. As friends, we were cool, but as more than that, they just don't have the qualities that will help to make me a better person.

That's key: Involve yourself with the one who only makes you better. It's easier to find that out on a mental and emotional level before you ever explore a sexual one.

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5. I'm more comfortable with my body.

People who knew me in college know that I was on the smaller side back then. By that I mean, I could fit in a size 4 to 6 at any given moment. Now? My cup size is in the "F" range, and while I've still got a waist, my jeans size is a 14. There's more to love, and I love that.


Don't get me wrong: please love your body type, whatever it might be. But for me, my physical frame spoke to having a form of emotional anorexia. I wasn't really into pampering and nurturing myself; I was far more caught up in making sure the guys found me attractive and doing whatever I could to keep them coming back for more.

6. My definition of what's sexy has evolved.

If someone were to ask me a celebrity who is physically sexy, it kind of runs the gamut. Michael B. Jordan is sexy. My first actually resembles Idris Elba, and yeah, he's sexy. Bryan Greenberg? He seems so relatable, charitable and random. He's sexy. The way Lance Gross loves his wife is sexy. The height and skin color of Jay Ellis and Mehcad Brooks is sexy.

Sexy isn't just about how you look or how you can put it down because there's a real difference between having sex at you and with you — having sex to make you feel good about yourself versus having sex to please your partner. It's about who you are and if you can help to uplift me as a human being. 

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7. I don't use sex as a coping mechanism.

Sex isn't something that I did halfway, nor did I attract men who were ho-hum about it. Translation: 9 times out of 10, it was going to be quite the event. Before I knew it, sex also became a crutch. Some people rely on drugs. Some people depend on alcohol. My "fix" was sex.

If I was sad, I would have sex. If I was stressed, I would have sex. If I was unsure, I would have sex. If I thought the guy I was with was about to leave me, I would have sex. If the rent was due and I was short on cash, I would have sex. If I was bored, I would have sex. Being abstinent has shown me how to handle things without taking my clothes off.

8. Safe sex has a newer (and better) meaning.

I often say, "When they invent a condom for the heart, maybe I'll go back to having sex again." I had four abortions in the past and contracted an STD once. Clearly I wasn't the poster child for safe sex. But when I would use a condom or not, most relationships ended with some level of disillusionment, or worse, drama.

You're doing yourself a total disservice to believe that you can have sex without your emotions getting involved or your spirit being affected, if not infected. When a guy gets up and goes about his business, he leaves more than his DNA behind. He's left an impression one way or another.


Abstinence has helped me to realize that the next time I have sex, I want to feel safe in every way. I want to be confident that "he" has my best interest at heart. I want to rest in the fact that he loves me, not just loves having sex with me.

9. I'm unapologetic about waiting until marriage.

I like the idea of someone saying vows before God, an officiant and the people we care about. I like that there are legal documents to prove that our relationship is more than fleeting. I like everything about marriage and what it represents. And I'm a Christian, so I also believe that sex was made for marriage.

For two people who want to help one another to spiritually evolve and soar and celebrate that desire with the act of sex. I like the thought of a spiritual union coming before a sexual relationship. So I'm not sure how much longer I'll have to wait, but I'm unapologetic about it.

Nine years is a long time, but you know what? The kind of woman that abstinence has made me has caused me to become the kind of woman who will be so much better at sex the next time. I'm more whole. I'm confident. And sex is truly the icing on the cake.


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Shellie R. Warren’s work has been featured in well over 50 publications over the past 16 years, including The Good Men Project, Laila Ali’s lifestyle blog, wedding sites (including Wedding Chat), and the spirituality blog BeliefNet. She also writes for Tawkify, a professional matchmaking website.