With New Years’ coming everyone has resolutions on their minds; namely, losing weight. Most will ‘announce’ their plan, stop eating ‘junk’, and run to the nearest gym to log in some miles on the treadmill. With no goal, plan or introspection as to how they became overweight, they find themselves hungry, tired and making worse food choices than before, and will gain back any losses and then some.
By now you are asking yourself what this has to do with ‘sex’ and ‘celibacy’, right? Well, it has all the relevance in the world. Walk with me for a bit.
I, like many women have found myself at the end of a relationship asking “how did I get here”. The easiest answer is by getting “caught up” too soon, and allowing physical gratification to replace emotional intimacy. So to rectify this we become ‘celibate’. We wear it like armor, announcing to friends, family, social networks and every man on the first date of our choice. This, of course, will protect us. It will allow us to discover his personality pressure-free and keep the cloud of carnality from blocking our view of who he ‘really’ is.
Here’s the problem with that: Ever end up at a buffet three weeks in to your ‘resolution’? Blinded by deprivation, you make food choices you never would have made if you had some balance or a plan – because starving people make just as many bad decisions as gluttons. Without really digging into what caused you to make the choices you made, you risk making even worse choices out of loneliness; like rushing into a relationship with someone you just ‘like’.
Just as most who ‘resolve’ to diet do it the ‘wrong’ way, the majority of us are “celibate” for the ‘wrong’ reasons: we need it to fall back on so we are not pressured into something we don’t want to do yet (but kinda do); OR we are attempting to duct-tape our shredded emotions, both of which are dangerous gambles.
The reason the first is so dangerous is because it runs the high risk of sex “just happening”. Often times you will make a rash decision like letting him into your house ‘that one time to hang out’ and then one thing leads to another-likely devoid of the protection you need to keep your body safe. In recent years HIV was the number one cause of death for African American Women aged 25-34, and I’d bet my weight in gold it is because women are having sex with men before they are comfortable enough to have a CONVERSATION with them.
Listen, if you need to take sex off the table to protect your emotions you need to take dating off the table entirely, and deal with your head first. “Celibacy” should be a detox- an action with an end date designed to cleanse the emotional impact of your last partner. Any drought after you become emotionally whole is not ‘celibacy’-it’s having STANDARDS. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying sex, just as there is nothing wrong with resolving that no matter how much you love it, you are not going to do it with just anyone. If it means you don’t have sex for a year because you haven’t found someone worthy of your lotus flower, that’s not being celibate-that’s being DISCERNING.
Ladies, if you’ve decided that there are conditions to which you will have sex, then fine-stick to your guns. But if you are doing it to protect yourself emotionally you need to first figure out why you are so emotionally vulnerable. Until then you will find yourself on an unhealthy starve/binge cycle, and no one likes a life-long dieter.
Maris is the author of the blog “Black, Latina & Fabulous!” celebrating the beauty of the diaspora within the Latin American Community. A former Miss Caribbean US, Maris has advocated for HIV awareness and prevention for over a decade through her “Let’s Talk” campaign, which provides women of color with tools to discuss sexual health with their partners.