Celibacy. It kind of snuck up on me seven years ago. Some look at this issue as a choice and I believe there came a point where it became a conscious choice. But in the beginning? It wasn’t. Terrible things happened to me. If you’ve followed my writing you know this already. It left me with physical issues which cause a question to be asked. What if penetrative sex was not part of a relationship? Once this was asked it became a ‘step back and observe’ period in my life. If pursued I’d be on board up to a certain amount of pushing. Then I was done. Needless to say this caused a lot of anger on certain men’s part.
When people are promised something, or believe they are? Then it is revealed this isn’t going to be part of a relationship things turn ugly very quickly. I could say celibacy became a choice when I experienced this hate directed at me.
Celibacy from relationships of any kind, even friendships became a choice especially after the brain injury. After reading many journals I’d written during the previous period I discovered a common thread. I was seen as property to ‘steal’. See, I’m married and have been separated for eleven years. No man has lived in my house with my children and I. No one but us. This is how it’s been since our move back to this country to live in this state. My three and me since 2004. When I moved here I was married.
A piece of paper says I am ‘owned’ like a piece of property. This isn’t something I am happy about and wasn’t brought up to think this kind of way. I’d been brought up to be a strong woman, an empowered woman who chose her course in life. This is core to who I am. My personal beliefs guide me in the direction where I do not believe in monogamy to begin with. I prefer relationships which are committed, yes, but also are not with a single person. The examples of the happiest people throughout my life have been of those who are not seeking to find every need met in one person. It’s impossible.
So what happens when someone in this situation finds themself in a ‘dry spell’ so to speak?
Major surgeries back to back, recovery, physical therapy for several years and pain medication addiction, then menopause with it’s hormone supplementation addiction. Those things all added up to a singular lonely life. Add to this the issue of financially being below poverty level? There seemed to be no point in being involved with anyone.
So I chose not to be.
I chose to not enter into any relationship. This is how it began. The one venture out had a very serious ending. All due to the celibacy issue in the end. But what I discovered through the experience, if I can take any positive thing away from it, is there is a skewed view of Celibacy.
The dictionary says “sexually abstinent or choosing to remain unmarried”. This becomes confusing as the world tells us many things about what sex is or isn’t. The American view is sex is not sex unless it is penetrative sex. The European view is any kind of touching can be perceived as sexual and therefore is part of sex. Very confusing views. I was brought up to believe in a European way regarding sex. All touching could lead to sex and therefore was part of sex.
So how do I decide what my celibacy is? It is more like a ‘fast’ from sex, kind of like a ‘fast’ someone goes on from food or foods. It’s a choice made and the person makes the rules. It could be a ‘fast’ from anything but water, or from gluten, or from meat and this is what makes it all kind of interesting. It’s not about what is allowed, it’s about what isn’t.
My close friends know I’m a flirt, I love to flirt! Flirting is fun. But there is an art to this also as you have to know when to get up and leave. Its the same with sex.
I have the right to say NO. Okay this has to be said. I have said no over and over I have said no and still been assaulted for saying NO. Surprisingly by persons I would not have thought would have the balls to be such an asshole just because I said no.
Saying NO is often seen as a higher hurdle to leap and if they just keep pushing I would say yes eventually. The sad part of this is it is a physical issue, it wasn’t going to happen to begin with. Saying NO meant NO.
Just because I flirted back did in no way imply consent to sex. Most times my kindness and friendliness was seen as flirting which only served to confuse me more. Where did the line become drawn in the sand of my life? Be nice, be kind and it’s seen as flirting. Flirting means you want to have sex so we’re going to have sex. Wait you said NO? But you flirted with me so this is just a ploy, it really means YES. No really meant you’d say YES eventually.
The other issue I found is the one of my age and being approached by married men.
Men who’ve been married a long time to one person or have been divorced view women differently. They expect they are going to get sex because in a married relationship if they want sex? They only have to roll over to get it. It doesn’t matter if the other person doesn’t want it. They are going to have sex. They claim they NEED sex.
It is not my job to take care of this issue for you.
The other issue is men who either are married or are in a committed (so they say) relationship. They believe any kind of sex talk is just fun. They believe their partner is committed to the relationship, which if they are attempting to talk sex with me I view it as they are already ‘cheating’. So because they ‘have a relationship’ I am supposed to respect this.
No. The protection of the relationship you already have is on YOU, not me.
I saw this far too many times with men I worked with. They would get so upset about their girlfriend ‘making trouble with the wife’. My question was always the same. “Why do you think she is supposed to protect your marriage? That’s YOUR job to protect your marriage not the woman you are cheating with.” See, they sought out the new relationship. They made this choice. Often the new girlfriend had no clue the person they were dating was married.
All of this only served to make me jaded.
So back to celibacy. It became easier to wear a ring to declare myself off limits. The funny thing with this is there is still pushing to get sexual in spite of a ring declaring you are ‘taken’. A piece of paper saying you are off limits only makes certain types more eager to break down this fence. How many times have I been told, “oh, so your married but he doesn’t live here? Ok so you like to cheat.”
I can’t say enough this is not about YOU. It really is about me. My choice for me. The best choice for me.
Celibacy brought a peace to me when I began putting all my energy into my healing, my workouts, my writing, and my art. After a time, especially this year, when I was able to express all the sexuality inside myself into my art things became even more peaceful inside my spirit. It took the stress away. I no longer had to explain anything to anyone. I simply expressed all the conflict, the horror, the pain, the joy and the release into my art.
So my choice of content for my art? Erotica of course. It’s not the in your face type, although I do have those pieces. Its the kind which makes you think about what you are looking at. I view sexuality as a very complicated thing separate from the issue of love. In fact I’ve done a series on ‘Love, it’s not what you think it is” via live streaming and in my writing. Sex is not just sex because really, do we have a clear cut definition of what sex is to begin with?
I take you back to the American vs. European view of sex. It’s not as simple as you think it is. The boundaries are not clear cut and for each person sex means a different boundary broken.
Celibacy really isn’t what you think it is and if it’s ‘been awhile’ you might just have joined the club of celibacy unintentionally. It’s okay, come out and say you are choosing this for now. It didn’t choose you.
More in this series to come, “Sexting”, “Relationships are a 2-way/3-way Street”, “Erotica in the Celibacy State”, “When NO Doesn’t Mean Not Yet”, “The Color of my Skin is Not Who I Am”, “Sizeism Is Alive & Well”