There’s A Difference Between Being CELIBATE & Being PICKY [BY: Maris]

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.

When Lincoln Anthony Blades is not writing for his controversial and critically acclaimed blog, he can be found contributing articles for Uptown Magazine. Lincoln wrote the hilarious and insightful book "You're Not A Victim, You're A Volunteer: How To Stop Letting Love Kick Your Ass". He is also a public speaker who has sat on panels all over North America and the Caribbean.


  1. lincolnanthonyblades

    12/03/2012 at 2:00 AM

    Ladies & Gentlemen, do you agree that there is a difference between being picky and being celibate? Or do you believe it's all essentially the same?

  2. lincolnanthonyblades

    12/03/2012 at 2:14 AM

    Just to start, I agree with the article 100%.

    I'm often confused by people who say they are celibate without a deeper meaning behind it (religion, spiritual cleansing, health reasons, etc.) because there's a lot of us out here who are choosing to not have sex yet don't label it as celibacy.

    But my biggest problem with some celibate people, which Maris listed above, is best stated here:

  3. O'Dell

    12/03/2012 at 2:36 AM

    Agreed Amaris! I couldn’t agree more. I believe that there is a difference between picky and celibate. Just as there is a difference between being a vegetarian and eating certain meats (chicken for instance) and deciding to eat meat when you feel that your cholesterol won’t go haywire after on wingette… I think this is another great example of kust how much we as humans have a primal dependency on sex, even if we don’t have the “emotional stamina” (my next writing project) to have “just sex”. Great post!

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      12/03/2012 at 5:42 AM

      Real talk right here!

    • NurseJilly

      12/03/2012 at 2:40 PM

      Well said sir!!

  4. petersburgh

    12/03/2012 at 7:17 AM

    I love this post. I think it speaks not only to the fact that people misuse the word celibacy as I have been saying for years but it speaks of how women need to really hold back from dating, flirting etc for a minute to evaluate their state of mind. I wrote on that… Celibacy is not a lack of choice, it's a choice and one that you should be in 100%. I had a friend who told me she is celibate and 2 weeks after that she's having sex again. That's not celibacy, she just chose not to have sex for a while. Great post Maris. PS. Is the link to her site working or is it just me?

  5. Smilez_920

    12/03/2012 at 7:24 AM

    100% agree. People make it seem like your either a Virgin ( celibate) or a whore, there's no middle point . It doesn't matter , you could be sexually active or celibate , if your not right within , neither method will help you .

    I feel like some women at one point think in order to have a relationship or catch a man, sex has to be " on the table"( especially in the dating phase). when they decide that sex could be an issue in getting the man they want or it keeps them involved with the wrong man, they do a complete 360.

    • mena

      12/03/2012 at 8:10 AM

      "if your not right within , neither method will help you." Yep!

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      12/03/2012 at 12:38 PM

      It's funny because that's exactly what Evette Holyfield did in her Essence article. She stated she wanted to be a virgin when she got married because she didn't want to be "all used up" for her husband. The fact that more women didn't find that comment utterly disgusting is beyond me.

      • mena

        12/03/2012 at 4:46 PM

        That article was her opinion of herself. Why would I find that disgusting? If that is how she feels having sex outside of marriage would be for her, then that is her.

        I have 2 female friends that have been in orgies. That lifestyle isn't for me and i would feel used up if i ever experienced that. However, they loved them. Should they be disgusted b/c i don't agree with that lifestyle for myself and said that i feel like i would be all used up? The problem I had with the way you wrote that post was how you disregarding her feelings and projected your own into how YOU feel like she should feel. None of us are in her shoes so what's the point in arguing how she should or shouldn't feel about sex. That's her life. Let her live it.

      • Eri Cad

        12/30/2013 at 4:44 PM

        I did find it utterly insulting and I commented on that article. I get so disgusted with that mindset because what its really saying is if your not a virgin your worthless. Your value has been diminished because u had sex. I think that speaks to a bigger issue on womens bodies and sexuality but thats a whole other ball of yarn. Women like to trot out celibate like everytime they are intimate with a man and it doesn't work out he just used her or that it was a waste of her precious body. I wish people were more free to explore their sexuality to decide when and who they wish to have sex with without their worth being called into question. Its great if you need a minute to recharge and self assess before engaging in sex again but who lets a dude hit it raw cause he came over and one thing led to another? No glove no love PERIOD.

  6. mena

    12/03/2012 at 8:15 AM

    This article had so many gems. First, the writing style was sweet and to the point. Second, this one should be highlighted:
    "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." Take both of your behinds down to the clinic and converse while the blood work is being drawn.

    This was a well written and thought out post.

    • Smilez_920

      12/03/2012 at 10:19 AM

      Great point. I feel like we encourage women to be open sexually ( which is good) but when it comes to asking men certain question especially pertaining to relationships were taught to be carful, choose wisely , it's like walking on egg shells.

      • lincolnanthonyblades

        12/03/2012 at 12:39 PM

        Asking men which questions?

        • mena

          12/03/2012 at 3:11 PM

          What's your status? When were you last tested? Were you tested after your last sexual experience? Did you come back clean?

          • Eri Cad

            12/30/2013 at 4:50 PM

            I've asked that question to guys but I just aire on the side of caution no matter what because 1. People lie. 2. It can take awhile for HIV antibodies to show up in the blood stream so someone can get a negative test but still have the virus.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      12/03/2012 at 12:39 PM

      Maris is a excellent writer and makes a lot of good points on her Twitter too: @amaris_acosta

  7. jdoubleu

    12/03/2012 at 11:21 PM

    Solid post!

    “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." <— it could all be this simple, but we'd rather make it hard.

    My thing w/ celibacy is I can respect it when a woman is staking claim to it for sensible reasons. Don't hold out b/c you're tired of wandering into pseudo-relationships thinking the guy would change once he got lost in your rabbit hole. Or hold out b/c you spent a huge chunk of your 20s being community coo-ca and now you wanna "preserve" something for that special guy. Do it because you put value on the currency of intimacy and sex. Do it because your emotional sanity and security means more than a few humps. although, my standing theory dealing with a woman's celibacy is the more she professes it, the less likely she is to actually keep it.

  8. Pingback: #25Ramblings – Celibacy, dating, and the gray area | From Jay to Z

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