Abstinence is the worst form of perversion.
- Guy de Maupassant
As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take the course he will. He will be sure to repent.
Marriage may often be a stormy lake, but celibacy is almost always a muddy horsepond.
- Thomas Love Peacock
Why would anyone want to be celibate?
A lot of research needs to be done. From what I have heard in interviews, the impulse to be celibate is immensely varied, a huge range from just "not wanting to live out my sexuality," to a craving to honor something sacred within the self. There is no one thing, no one condition, no one style. I have learned to set aside all preconceived notions when anyone talks about celibacy, and just listen with awe and wonder. The reason behind the impulse is often tender, delicate, intimate, pertaining to something wanting to be born.
With sex, nothing is simple, and things are often the opposite of how they appear. The word celibacy is defined as: 1. Abstinence from sexual intercourse, especially by reason of religious vows. 2. The condition of being unmarried. American Heritage Dictionary
. So celibacy can
mean you do not have sex at all, or it can mean that you are unmarried and that if you have children, they will be illegitimate and not entitled to inherit any property. Or it can mean that you are having sex, but you feel guilty about it, or it can mean that you are only interested in forbidden sex. Or it can mean that you feel sexual electricity, you just want to savor it, let it be sublime, keep it circulating in your body and not release it.
Celibacy can be a form of tantric sex, cultivating the ability to be ravished by an ordinary breath or a glimpse of sunlight on the water. Even an extended period of celibacy can be felt as foreplay.
There are innumerable ways of being celibate. Some people block their sexual impulses and deaden themselves. Others have learned to redirect, to sublimate, to make sublime. Not having sex does not mean you are not in an erotic relationship with the whole universe. Think about it – if you are not having sex and not masturbating, after a few weeks you can get so horny that just the touch of the fabric of your clothes feels erotic and stimulates you to orgasm.
For some people, one of the great things about celibacy, especially when there are lots of other celibates around, is that sex is now taboo, and taboo things are much more desirable. On top of the general electricity of sex itself, you add the deliciousness of the forbidden. So you continue to think about sex every 15 seconds
, but you let the energy build and build.
There was a great episode of Seinfeld
, "The Contest
," in which Seinfeld and his friends make a bet with each other about who can go the longest without masturbating. Who can be "masters of their domain." I don't know where the writers got their ideas, but the meditation courses I was on in the early 1970's were one extended skit pertaining to celibacy and masturbation. People were always setting these intentions, or making vows of abstinence - to become masters of their masturbation, and abstain for as long as they could. I mean really - take a thousand 20-to-30 year olds, put them in a row of hotels on the beach in Majorca for three months, what do you think is going to happen?
Sometimes a vow can be easily set aside, and you move on. Other times act of making a vow, to cut yourself off from some aspect of life, can create long-term inner damage.
Of the delights of this world, man cares most for sexual intercouse, yet he has left it out of his heaven.
- Mark Twain