What's It's Really Like To Be Celibate By Choice

There's a big part of me that values purity.

man in shadow Jaromir Chalabala / Shutterstock

Just a few short years ago, I was your primary art school student, following all the latest trends in indie rock, guzzling PBR, shooting movies, but not having sex.

No, I wasn't a late bloomer and I didn't have trouble relating to women my own age; I was celibate.

I'd lost my virginity at an average age, had a handful of partners, and experienced the same urges as anyone in their twenties.

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My decision to refrain from intercourse came because those early experiences never added up to much more than awkward teenage sex and a growing resentment of the mating rituals expected of college students.

I've never considered myself a prude and think saving sex for marriage is a horrible idea. Intimacy, after all, is an important part of any romantic relationship, and far too important to leave to chance.

It's just that I don't understand the notion of giving yourself to someone just because they happen to be at the same party as you, and I don't believe in giving into fleeting sexual urges under the guise of gaining "experience." 


Non-religious celibacy is generally thought to be induced by one of two things: 1) prematurely filling up your sexual punch card (i.e. Lenny Kravtiz), or 2) having an insatiable craving for control (i.e. Cleopatra). I, on the other hand, didn't feel a newfound maturity, and I wasn't seeking any sort of sexual upper hand.

I simply didn't want to fill my bedpost with notches that weren't all that impressive. 

My venture into celibacy by choice lasted for around three years.

There were admittedly a few close calls: the really sexy girl who had been around several blocks, the really endearing girl who was missing a few marbles, and the older woman who tried to have sex with me twenty minutes after we met in the bathroom of a dive bar.


These were the women I turned down.

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Any one of them would've made a really hot scene in an erotic thriller, but that wasn't what I was looking for.

I wasn't waiting for the perfect girl or even necessarily love, just someone who I would be proud to share a (somewhat) meaningful life experience with. Isn't that what sex should be?

I wanted someone whom I sincerely enjoyed the company of and who really seemed to care about me.

I didn't want to be just another notch on her bedpost, either.

I didn't want to be the token "rocker guy" fulfilling someone's childish fantasy. 


But didn't I still need "the release" that sex provided? Didn't I need to "clean out the pipes" as Bravo madam Patti Stanger would say? Well, for that, it only takes one to tango.

There's a part of me that values purity.

I realize that people aren't bars of soap and that their bodies don't slowly wear away with each encounter, but the notion of having the privilege to indulge in something that several dozen others have already enjoyed doesn't seem like much of a privilege at all.

I've always been immediately put off by girls who talk casually about having sex with guys they meet while they're out.

And any mention of a "number" in the double digits causes me to lose interest.


I gave up celibacy when I finally met someone who intrigued me on many levels.

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We had fun between the sheets, at rock shows, or just lounging around watching old horror movies. She wasn't the girl of my dreams, but she was someone special, although we eventually parted.

Since then, I've met someone who seems to be the girl of my dreams and we've been together for a year and a half.

Did I imagine making love to her the day that we met? Of course. Did I? Nah. I figured that waiting a few weeks just to make sure we were as compatible as I felt we were would make it that much better. And it did.


Nowadays, friends playfully tease me about those days "back when I was a celibate," and even my girlfriend jokingly calls me "Mr. Celibacy" after we've spent an entire weekend in bed.

They act as though it was a silly phase I went through when my head wasn't screwed on correctly.

But the truth is, if I came to be single again, I would likely be right back in the same place.

I didn't make a deal with myself to test how long I could resist; I didn't proclaim to never want to have sex again.

I just didn't see the appeal in getting intimate with people that wouldn't be around for a while.

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Izzy Cihak currently writes and blogs about music for Origivation and High Voltage Magazine. His writing can also be found in publications like Nerve, Baltimore City Paper, Burning Angel, Girl Punk.Net, and Lyke Magazine.