Is celibacy the same as abstinence from sex?
Are there any health benefits linked to staying away from sexual activities for an extended period of time?
Should people who are sexually active suddenly abstain from sex?
These and many other questions will be answered in this guide.
Celibacy has often been misconstrued for abstinence and has since stood as a wrongly interchangeable term defining the stage of self-exemption from sexual activities.
It is important to understand the disparities in order to chase the benefits. What is celibacy and what are the benefits of celibacy?
Celibacy can be referred to as a self-imposed vow to abstain from every form of sexual indulgence.
In another form, it can be defined as a vow or lifelong commitment to remain unmarried.
What is the difference between celibacy and abstinence?
While celibacy is a promise to remain unmarried and avoid every form of sexual activity, usually a life-long commitment, abstinence, on the other hand, is a personal decision to desist from participating in penetrative sexual activity for a specified period of time.
Abstinence maybe for a short or long period of time, depending on motives. Some popular motives to abstain from sex is to remain unaltered until marriage or to heal from unpleasant relationships.
Are there disadvantages to celibacy or abstinence?
Many relationships are by nature sexual. Abstinence or celibacy often makes it difficult to maintain romance in relationships.
As physical desires are introduced into the mix, it may become a burden to the partner who isn’t celibate or in an abstinence commitment.
Those who are either celibate or abstinent may feel like they are missing an essential phase in life that is most adventurous and experimental.
Low libido may develop in rare cases from constantly suppressing sexual urges. One may discover an unconscious reduction in sexual attraction to their partner due to the successive clampdown of urges.
There is, of course, no proven fact that lack of physical restrictions was or is responsible, rather it may stem from a compilation of unsorted relationship issues.
Benefits of celibacy or abstinence
There are undoubtedly substantial benefits of celibacy and abstinence alike, some of them are:
- There is NO risk of unplanned pregnancy
- The risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease is reduced to an absolute zero
- The inconvenience of birth control measures and possible accompanied expenses is completely absent
- There is usually a better understanding between physical and emotional attraction between the two parties
- One can really get to know their partner on a personal level when sexual activities are put on hold
Is it possible to practice celibacy or abstinence while in marriage or a relationship?
The decision to practice abstinence and celibacy in a relationship or marriage may be a bit easier in theory than in practice as this can present with numerous but expected challenges.
This largely depends on one’s reason to embark on this journey. It is usually best to fully communicate intentions and reasons with one’s partner before making this decision.
Many marriages and relationships are often challenged by the availability of physical activities, levels of intimacy and fulfilling fantasies.
Some make conjugal vows with high expectations, especially when it comes to sex.
Imagine making a decision of abstinence while paired with a partner who has waited their whole life for the glorious experience of sex after marriage… or perhaps, marriage with a celibate, sworn to maintain his or her vow of celibacy.
One may ask, why then should a person get married if such a person prefers a life of celibacy? Or why start a relationship while abstinent?
The answer is simple, companionship. However challenging it might be in practical, it is very possible to maintain abstinence or celibacy in a relationship or marriage.
Many people who have practiced this have been able to understand themselves on a deeper level and have found meaning to a lasting relationship.
This, of course, is for very few people and is quite uncommon. A high level of communication is required in order to pull it off and in some cases, other physical activities with the exception of penetration may be used to support intimacy.
The dos and Dont’s of celibacy and abstinence
- open up all lines of communications, no secrecy
- Ensure that your partner fully understands your need to be celibate or to abstain from sex
- Make sure that he or she understands how important this is and is fully prepared to follow on this journey
- Equip your partner with all the information they need in order to make their own choices as well. Do not become a regular tease as this can affect the objective
Do not make a decision as important as celibacy or abstinence without formally discussing with your partner, in order to avoid conflicts.
What to expect during abstinence or celibacy
When an individual decides to go into celibacy, either through devotion to a particular religion, sect, or personal reasons, there are a few things to expect.
The individual is likely to face peer pressure, discrimination, and various forms of disrespect as well as admiration from those around them.
This is mostly the same for abstinence. However, the advantages over a period of time can be immense.
Celibacy is strict and cannot be compromised upon, however, abstinence allows a bit more flexibility without the actual penetrative intercourse.
This may be useful to couples who are trying to find a balance while remaining true to their commitment.
I want to be celibate, is it so bad?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to abstain from sex or being celibate. In many cases, it has improved relationships in many ways.
Often times the idea of sex can obscure real feelings and makes the relationship seem more genital-based that love-based.
While practicing abstinence it wouldn’t be out of place to maintain optimal health in private areas. For women, this can be done by:
- Practicing Kegel exercises
- Visiting a gynecologist as often as required for a comprehensive check-up
- Wear clothing that allows air circulation in order to prevent yeast infection
- Good hygiene practices
- Seek the support of close friends and family
- Practice therapeutic touching