Celebrities make everything look cool.
Torn denim is ratchet until Beyonce shows up outside wearing cut-off shorts. Short hair is boyish until Lupita rocks it. Celibacy was an unrealistic expectation to place on adults until Meagan Good, Devon Franklin, Russell Wilson and Ciara chose it. Now it’s cool!
It feels good to be celibate today because popular culture says its good. You look less like a sex-deprived religious fundamentalist and more like a self-assured woman who’s making powerful choices in her sex life. What makes celibacy extra-cool is that it’s not just the self-professed Christian celebrities who are doing it. The non-religious ones are into too.
So I’m making the choice to be celibate. But it’s actually a decision that I have been making since I was twelve after my boyfriend broke up with me by getting his boys to sing 112’s It’s Over Now. I probably deserved it. I was diabolical. I manipulated and controlled him because it was kind of nice to have that kind of power over a male.
After that horrible break up experience I made a vow not get a boyfriend until I was sixteen. Four years later I discovered that I liked not having a boyfriend. The constant hook-up and break-up cycle was wrecking my friends’ lives. I discovered that it was actually possible to have a healthy guy friendship without it having to turn romantic. I understood that a sexual relationship with a man is not part and parcel of what it means to be a woman. I felt free to discover who I was as a person.
It’s thirteen years after I first made that decision in a very different context. I want a boyfriend soon and I want to get married one day. I’m not a pubescent teen, I’m a sexually mature woman. Sex isn’t a thing my sister shields my eyes from when a scene comes on the TV screen; it’s an act people around me are doing every single day. And they aren’t shy about sharing the details either! So why, oh why, would I choose celibacy?
1. Because I can’t just walk away.
When I love someone I love them hard. I don’t do half measures. And for me opening myself up sexually to a man that I love would be the ultimate level of vulnerability. I know I couldn’t just move on from a man that I’ve slept with because I’ve shown him a part of myself that no other person has had the privilege to see. I want to entrust that sacred part of myself to a man who is entrusting that sacred part of himself to me – permanently. I want to feel safe to be fully vulnerable and free in a context where we’re both committed to never walking away.
2. Because sex is good motivation for a man.
Sex is the primary motivation for why men pursue relationships with women. My choice to be celibate puts me a in a position where I can encourage him to shift his priorities from sexual to establishing a real emotional and spiritual connection with me. Secondly, I understand that a man who tries to pressure me into sex doesn’t respect me or my values. Thirdly, I know that a man who is willing to sacrifice his sexual needs to win my heart sees my value beyond my physical attributes.
3. Because sex isn’t a test drive.
‘Before we get married, we need to have sex. What if he’s horrible in bed? What if we’re incompatible??’
I’ve heard my share of sad honeymoon fails from couples who got married as virgins. But I think most of their problems could have been solved by pre-marital counselling. The fear of marrying someone you’re incompatible with is illogical at best and selfish at worst. At the very least, if you plan on marrying a man you should at least establish that he has a penis. That doesn’t require sex. The ‘test drive’ mindset stems from a cultural view of sex that defines it like a commercial transaction. Sex is the good and we are the consumers. Like a lipstick in the beauty shelf at Clicks I want to try it before I buy it.
4. Because sex is fantastic motivation for a woman.
I’ve prayed that Jesus doesn’t return before I find the one more times than I care to admit. Because like a kid who gets to eat Choice Assorted Biscuits but once a year, the wait hasn’t quenched my desire, but intensified it. Celibacy isn’t a decision that I made because the priest told me so. It was a choice that I made because I truly believe that sex was created by God to be the fun, exciting, orgasmic experience that joins two individuals together for life.
I’m making the choice to be celibate before marriage. Even if Ciara decides to give up her Goodies. Even if Drake breaks up with Serena and shows up in a slim-fit suit and that beard. Even when it stops looking cool.
Zola writes to encourage women to be powerful people. Get her writing for free when you subscribe here.