Random Thoughts on Celibacy

Celibacy is a thorny subject to process, especially for a creative person. It becomes more complicated if you subscribe to the Christian faith. Then, it becomes a subject that must be addressed definitively, otherwise moral conflicts will mess you up. Celibacy has consequences. It’s not rosy, pretty, easy or triumphant, as some try to paint it. It just is.

I’m unsure many really interrogate why they’re celibate. There are many grey lines – celibate in your pants but randy in your thoughts. Celibate but addicted to porn. Far too many good souls struggle with internal sexual contortions, yet they’re “technically” celibate. The pressure is seeping somewhere else.

I believe there should be a healthy form of celibacy – where you’re celibate but not addicted to porn or masturbation. Celibate but not high-strung or prematurely grey.

When I ask young people who are celibate, how they cope with sexual pressure, the answer is typically masturbation. I wonder about Apostle Paul who advised singles to marry, lest they burn. In his day, women married at 16, as virgins. Many don’t marry at that age anymore. In his day, internet porn didn’t exist. So, Paul’s message must be contextualised for today’s demography. While I’m sure there’s grace to be celibate, the last time I checked, grace doesn’t stop you from ovulating every month. So, the struggle is very real.

To compound issues, marriage doesn’t seem to cure sexual dislocations or addictions. One still has to go through recovery. (Many married people remain addicted to porn, for instance.)

I think single people of faith need to talk about sex openly. They need to stop sweeping issues under the carpet, hoping for the day marriage will solve them.

As a creative, a daily issue I face is where to put all the energy that’s released any time I create or achieve. The default solution is to become a workaholic, as one keeps recycling the energy back to work, causes, passions and more work. I dare not be idle, because my mind is a perpetual laboratory of thoughts, images and fantasies. But what about creatives who haven’t yet learnt to discipline their thoughts or to regulate their energies, hence the heavy dependence on masturbation or alcohol, to “settle down”?

Celibacy comes at a cost, so when someone carelessly suggests you should “Go and exercise”, it’s okay to give them the evil eye.

Many times, creatives struggle with mental loneliness. There are people around them but few who truly connect with them. That’s when they begin scrolling through their phones looking for a distraction or someone to call (a.k.a friends-with-benefits). They sometimes use these people – they need someone to hold but not necessarily a relationship. Sometimes, they even get locked into relationships they should never have started in the first place, because they kept sleeping with the wrong person. Now, the friend-with-benefits doesn’t understand why the creative person is irritated all the time and despises them. They never really wanted them to begin with. They just needed temporary sexual relief!

I think we spend a lot of time teaching single people of faith how to avoid pre-marital sex. But, we rarely address the practical daily challenges of celibacy. If you’re one of those people who keep telling young people to marry, don’t forget that there are those who wish to, but haven’t yet found the right ones to marry. They are not being choosy.

In advising people to marry, perhaps you should spare a thought for those who took the advice, then wished they had waited and not married the wrong people. You should consider those who are different. Those who don’t like what most people like and who can’t live with what most people can live with. You should consider those who don’t subscribe to normal cultural sensibilities and traditional tastes. Finally, you should be humble and grateful. There are many people better than you, who don’t have the great relationships you take for granted.

Celibacy is not rosy, pretty, easy or triumphant. It just is. Click To Tweet


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