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Subject: Celibate FAQ, v1.7
This article was archived around: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 18:54:49 GMT
The Celibate FAQ
"I ask myself, 'Where does lust come from? Is it something to yield to or
be overcome?'" -"Bluer than Midnight", The The
"We commonly speak of the sex 'drive', as if it, like hunger, must be
satisfied, or a person will die. Yet there is no evidence that celibacy is
in any way damaging to one's health, and it is clear that many celibates
lead long, happy lives. Celibacy should be recognised as a valid
alternative sexual lifestyle, although probably not everyone is suited to
it." -J. S. Hyde, Understanding Human Sexuality, 1986
"Celibacy is hereditary. If your parents didn't have sex, the chances are
you won't have sex." -Anonymous
"The position is undignified, the expense ruinous and the pleasure only
momentary." -The Duke of Wellington
"Shopping is better than sex. If you're not satisfied after shopping you
can make an exchange for something you really like." -Adrienne Gusoff
0: Where does this document come from?
1: What kind of people are celibate?
2: Is there really a celibate viewpoint?
3: Let's hear some other opinions!
4: How can you tell people you are celibate?
5: What are the advantages of celibacy?
6: What are the disadvantages?
7: Who are the celebrity celibates?
8: Alternatives to sex?
9: Let's talk about sticky stuff
10: Celibate booklist
11: Other Resources
0: Where does this document come from?
This FAQ is the work of Martin Poulter, M.L.Poulter@bristol.ac.uk . It is
posted by him to relevant newsgroups on a monthly basis. It is available
on the Web at http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plmlp/celibate.html . It was created
in response to the lack of celibate stuff (outside religious contexts) on
the internet, and in response to the 'net's anti-celibate (to say the
I need material for this FAQ. Please send me:
Pointers to magazine articles on celibacy
Quotes from the famous about celibacy
Observations on celibacy from your own life
Pointers to discussion forums where celibacy is a topic
Names of famous celibates (cite your evidence, please)
Celibate merchandise(?!) (What we're on the look out for at the
moment is some sort of ear ring or badge that will indicate our celibate
status and so save us from being targetted by lecherous people at parties
1: What kind of people are celibate?
A celibate is someone who voluntarily abstains from sex. If you are
*involuntarily* celibate, there is a useful web page for you at
(but keep reading anyway!). Often when someone makes a conscious decision
to be celibate, there is a religious motive, but there are several other
There are single people who believe that sex should only happen
within marriage. This might be due to religious belief, or due to a need
The next category is that of monks, nuns, priests and religious
people for whom celibacy is a part of a spiritual path.
There are victims of sexual abuse, for whom sex is too much of an
emotionally loaded thing.
There are people who regard sex as simply not worth the hassle,
often because they have happen to have low sex drives. Included in this
category are people who are happy to go on dates, have emotional
relationships and even marry, but who don't have sex. In some parts of the
US, this kind of relationship is known as the "Lover Lite", or "Platonic
Plus". As concerns grow over AIDS and as women feel more confident to say
"no" to sex, this category is on the increase (see quote below).
The numbers of people with a low basic interest in sex are much higher
than you would think, probably because of the social pressure not to admit
to it. In a survey of women in the UK in 1999, nearly 20% claimed not to
be interested in sex. A large survey published in JAMA (Journal of the
American Medical Association) using data collected in 1992 reported that
15% of men aged 18-59, and 30% of women have a low sex drive (Source:
JAMA, February 10, 1999- Vol. 281, No. 6. Online at:
See also the Salon Magazine article at
Some people who are actually very sexual by nature go on deliberate
temporary "fasts", on the premise that rarity makes the act more valuable.
There are extreme feminists who regard all sex as rape and who see
celibacy as an expression of independence and autonomy.
It has come to the attention of this writer that there are certain
men who call themselves 'celibate' just because they can't get a partner
at the moment. These men are "lads" pretending to be "new men". Get out
of the pool, wimps!
In summary, there are two general reasons for voluntary celibacy. There
are negative reasons, including disillusionment with sex, lack of sex
drive or medical or emotional problems. There are also positive reasons,
including honesty (many people will acknowledge that sex and bulls**t are
difficult to separate), stronger and less casual relationships, spiritual
reward or the prospect of channeling one's hormonal energies into higher
The popular belief that people only give up sex because they are repressed
or have some sort of deep problem is an unfortunate prejudice. My own
experience and my contact with dozens of other celibates has shown
celibates to be a far more happy and settled bunch than this prejudice
would lead you to expect.
The following comes from "The girls of Gen X" by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead,
American Enterprise, 1 January 1998:
According to psychologist Joanna Gutmann, a counselor at
the University of Chicago, asexual couplings are increasingly
common. Gen X men and women may share beds without ever having sex,
or they may start out in a sexual relationship and then eventually
shift to a comfy, asexual living-together relationship for the sake
of companionship and convenience. Passionate, romantic love between
young men and women is increasingly rare, says Gutmann.
2: Is there really a celibate viewpoint?
Western society is pervasively heterosexual. The images presented to us
convey the message that the quality of a man's life is very much dependent
on the quality of the woman he gets to mate with, and vice versa. Being
celibate, like being gay or lesbian, requires you to step outside of this
conditioning. One also has to face the pervasive folklore that people only
choose celibacy because there is something wrong with them, or because
they view sex as "dirty". To express oneself as a celibate is thus to
score a huge victory over peer pressure. Hence while some people use
celibacy to fit in to a social group (usually in religious contexts),
others use it as an ultimate expression of individuality and independence.
Sexual abstinence is interesting as an issue because it is an
issue which cuts across normal boundaries: extreme feminists find
themselves agreeing with religious zealots.
A link between celibacy and eccentricity is suggested by David
Weeks' and Jamie James' book "Eccentrics: A Study of Sanity and
"Eccentrics are usually friendly people, glad to share their
hobbyhorses with anyone who is interested, but they tend to
be solitary by nature and sometimes find it difficult to be
intimate with other people. Nonetheless, most of them do
cherish romance when and if it comes along, and fall head
over heels in love, but when the initial enthusiasm wanes,
they have a hard time sustaining the relationship.
We also found that a rather large number of modern eccen-
trics seem to have no particular interest in sex. Loners such
as Anita, the artist, have chosen celibacy and seem to be
genuinely contented with that way of life."
3: Let's hear some other opinions!
The following are extracts from my page of first-hand accounts of sexual
abstinence, at http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plmlp/celifirst.html . The full
accounts make very interesting reading.
"I also have to deal with the assumptions of other people when I mention
my particular orientation. Because it hurts, people assume I must be
psychologically damaged. Sorry, it hurts in the same way that putting my
hand on a lit stove burner hurts. Just a physical pain folks.
Nothing to panic about as long as we avoid that which causes it. They want
me to seek therapy. For what? If the urges were there I would get
*medical* help for the pain. But they're not. I suppose I could take
hormone therapy for the urges, but good lord, my middle-aged friends can't
get dates and want them desperately. I want to be like them?!"
"Sex is terribly overrated. It is more banal than many people are willing
to admit. The "solution", the "cure", for that banality for some people is
to keep switching partners to find that "honeymoon" feeling again-over and
over. This strikes me as immoral, dangerous and a sad attempt to find in
sex what was never there to begin with."
"I see a tremendous preoccupation that this society has with sex. It is
everywhere, in advertising etc. As a society we put so much energy into
this. I may be in a minority, but it seems like such a waste, actually
kind of boring. All to what end? A temporary pleasure that is gone after a
few minutes. There must be more meaningful ways to connect with each
other. I would like to work on building stronger friendships."
"Socially....ironically...I am able to approach beautiful women much more
freely cause I simply don't have an agenda. I also will put myself in
social circumstances that normally I would want to avoid....frankly
because the transmutation of sexual energy gives me more courage to do so."
"It is a tremendous freedom not to ride the love/sex roller coaster - I
have very serious career goals that takes alot of energy, concentration
and time. The last thing I want to do is spend my spare time listening to
some half-wit in a bar rambling on about
4: How can you tell people you are celibate?
"I am not of an erotic disposition."
"I am not a member of the carnal union."
"I'm not in the vagina business." (line from the film "Peter's Friends")
"I do not intend to unleash my juices."
"I really really like you- I just don't want to get up to any porky
pump-action with you."
5: How can I help my local celibate?
In the battle for acceptance in modern western society, homosexuals have
had to cope with the folk belief that they all want to change their sex,
or that they are all pedophiles who want to "convert" young children.
Similarly, transvestites have had to cope with the mistaken assumption
that they are all homosexual, and attitudes to sadomasochism have been
coloured by a belief that its practitioners are all potential rapists.
While there is no persecution of celibates that compares to the treatment
that the above minorities have had to face, there are still prejudices
that form in peoples' minds due to the fact that the majority of voluntary
celibates are silent, so that the only examples of celibacy that people
hear about are in the context of devout religion or emotional repression.
We celibates as a whole would be very glad if others would free themselves
of the following prejudices. (You may also like to know that, according to
a Mr. G. Clinton, once you free your mind, your ass will follow).
* Perhaps the most inconvenient folk belief is that, if you are not
driven by lust, you must lack other emotions as well. So it is that
people decide that their celibate friend must be incapable of love or
affection, or does not have fun in other ways. This is bizarre
from the celibate perspective, because many of us are using it to
enrich our emotional lives by channelling that energy into other
* In some cases, people have responded to hearing that someone is a
celibate by recommending a doctor or a psychiatrist. This is a BIG
mistake: people need to go to a doctor when they are unwell, NOT when
they are unusual or different.
* As we have seen, some people are celibate because they want a
particular kind of relationship, while others are pleased to be
entirely solitary. If you have a friend who is a celibate and not in a
relationship, it is a good idea to find out which kind they are. The
ones who are happy to be solitary will not be grateful if, out of pity,
you try to matchmake them with someone. The ones who are only giving up
sex might be also feel left out if everyone around them assumes that
they are not into intimacy at all.
* When someone tells you that they are celibate, they are not offering to
tell you absolutely everything personal about themselves. It might not
be a good idea to immediately ask, "So do you masturbate a heck of a
lot then?" (The answer, actually, is that some celibates do and some
don't. What difference does it make to you?)
* Statistics prove that sexual activity makes you very careless with
money. If you're a non-celibate and you have any spare money, it
would be wise to put it in safe hands by giving it to your nearest
celibate. Just go up to them and slap the banknotes into their hand:
they will understand. (Well that probably hasn't convinced you, but it
was worth a try).
6: What are the advantages of celibacy?
A whole load of worries are taken off your mind. You don't even
have to think about contraception, venereal disease, physical
compatibility, who sleeps on the wet patch, impotence, frigidity, bizarre
sexual injuries, whether to swallow, whether your partner is good in bed,
sexual fidelity, how to stop the bed from creaking, shave or not shave,
wash or not wash, whether you know enough positions, orgasm faking,
whether to experiment or which flavour of condom to choose. This must
surely free up several cubic inches of brain tissue.
The enormous amount of time and effort that other people expend in
order to get laid is freed up for other things. No more hanging around in
sweaty nightclubs. No more searching through 'lifestyle magazine' articles
for the latest and cleverest way to pick someone up. No more garotting
your body with tight underwear. No more worry about whether you are
adequately filling out your bra/shorts. No longer will you go to a dull
party just because there's someone there that you fancy.
People you talk to will know that you're not interested in them for
If you don't have sex, you can't have any Sexual Disasters. None of
those embarrassing moments like when you just can't undo her bra, or when
you can't get out of your bondage gear, or when you knock over the bedside
table, or when your parents come home earlier than you expected, or when
you realise that your partner is in fact amazingly ugly, or when you smear
them all over with peanut butter and them remember that you don't like
peanut butter, or when you wake up the next morning and you've forgotten
their name, or their gender.
You will save money. How much money you save depends on how you
were getting your sex in the first place.
Nobody will be able to blackmail you with photographs of you in
flagrante delicto. James Bond would be more effective if he were celibate,
because then attractive enemy agents would not be able to seduce and
I don't believe in God myself, but there are a lot of folks out
there who think that God will look on you more favourably if you are
celibate, or if you avoid recreational sex. Remember "Every sperm is
sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite
irate."? Seriously though, celibacy may contribute to a greater
peacefulness and spirituality if undertaken in the right context.
Celibacy significantly decreases your chances of becoming pregnant.
That is, unless you're a man.
You have a reserve of energy that you can expend on other things.
Life will come into a more sensible perspective when it isn't dominated by
the search for a mate.
If you spontaneously combust, you don't take anyone with you.
7: What are the disadvantages?
You don't get any sex.
Cliff Richard is your role model.
8: Speaking of which, who are the celebrity celibates?
The Pope... okay, I'm not going to mention the religious ones.
Stephen Fry, the British actor, comedian, writer, critic, novelist
and taxi driver, was the UK's most prominent and vocal celibate for
several years, although he has since rediscovered the alleged joys of
Isaac Newton, the mathematician and scientist (said by some to be
the greatest scientist ever), was a virgin all his life. He was also very
unpopular. Let us move on.
Cliff "no soul" Richard, purveyor of family-acceptable and totally
non-threatening pop tunes, is one of the most vocal celibates of modern
times. It may well be this fact which has held back the cause of open
Cosmopolitan agony aunt Irma Kurtz has been a celibate for years
and years with no regrets. Perhaps a Cosmo reader can fill me in with some
Simone Weil was one of the best known European political thinkers
of the 20th Century and, as far as anybody knows, a lifelong celibate.
Also rumoured to be a lifelong celibate was the Dutch philosopher and
theologian Baruch Spinoza.
Dr. Temple Grandin, the American academic whose empathy with
animals has led to her being a highly successful designer of humane animal
management systems, is a voluntary celibate. The reasons are too complex
to go into here, but those interested can read the final chapter of Oliver
Sacks' "An Anthropologist on Mars".
Stevie Smith, poet and novelist, was celibate all her life, after
sampling and rejecting romance and sex in her youth. She was fiercely
critical of those who thought that her life must be emotionally
impoverished by not having sexual relationships anymore, emphasizing
the depth of her friendships, especially her bond with the aunt with
whom she lived.
Pitt the Younger, legendary British Prime Minister, is generally
agreed by historians to have died a virgin.
Nikolai Tesla, who developed the system of alternating electrical
current that is the standard nowadays worldwide, was a self-proclaimed
Carole Channing, the Broadway musical star of "Hello Dolly" fame
was celibate in her marriage to Charles Lowe for 41 years.
Morrissey, the British singer and former member of the Smiths, was
openly celibate for several years.
G. H. Hardy, twentieth century English mathematician who made ample
contributions in number theory and who co-authored the famous
Hardy-Weinberg law of population genetics. He was also the mentor of
legendary prodigy Srinivasa Ramanujan (who was probably also a life-long
Paul Erdos, the most prolific mathematician in history, having
participated in more then 20,000 papers. He was born in Hungary but
never held a home or a job, relying instead on the hospitality of other
mathematicians with whom he collaborated and on the money he received
for conferences. See _The Man Who Loved Only Numbers_, by Paul Hoffman
Antonio Gaudi, the spanish architect most famous for the Segrada
Familia in Barcelona, is said to never have had sex.
Alan Christie Wilson of the blues-rock group Canned Heat was a
voluntary celibate in the later part of his life, according to his
authorised biographer Krisna Radha. The reasons seem to be a mix of
medical, spiritual and issues from childhood.
"Divorced novelist Beryl Bainbridge revealed that she gave up men
because, when she was 56, she felt having a physical relationship with a
man was 'no longer dignified', and anyway her life was far too full of
other things like writing, children and friends." - quote from a Daily
Mail article by Jenny Nisbet (approx.) 1st December 1998.
9: Alternatives to Sex
To be serious, there is a big disadvantage of celibacy that has to
be watched out for: people look to sex for that sense of doing something
*different* or forbidden; the adrenalin rush; the feeling of being
*naughty*. To have an ongoing celibate lifestyle you have to find some
reliable way to create that feeling.
Dancing, yoga or dangerous sports all qualify in being physical
and exhilarating. A less obvious possibility is a once a month gut-blowout
with cocktails and fudge sundaes. Don't just eat: *feast!* (and remember
to do some dangerous sports afterwards to work off the calories)
Anything which breaks you temporarily out of your routine and makes
you feel alive is a good idea. Another example is having a ridiculously
long bath, wrapping yourself up in a towel, putting on some loud music (I
recommend "The Big Sky" by Kate Bush or "Cherry" by Curve) and jumping
about. Drinking extra-spicy Bloody Marys is, apparently, another way to do
Modern culture often expects us to make everything that we do in
public into a dull routine, and then use sex and intimacy to break up that
routine. We need to see through the falsehood that only sex can provide
that exhilaration or aliveness.
Another priority is to make sure that you keep physical contact
with people. Having to respect everybody's personal space without
exception can be surprisingly emotionally wearing, and the celibates of my
acquaintance often bring this up as the major disadvantage of their
situation. Again, there is a social expectation that, if you want to touch
someone a lot, you want to have sex with them (and conversely, that if you
do not want sex, then you not want to touch at all).
How to make sure that keep some sort of intimacy? That's the big
question and I don't pretend to be an expert, but here's a common-sense
point to bear in mind: everybody needs some affectionate touching
(well, I'm skeptical of those who say they don't, having heard from so
many people who live asexually without any regret but who still crave
tactile affection). Hence you're not doing an outrageous thing, and
perhaps something very good, by going up to someone and giving them a hug,
so long as they know you well enough to understand its meaning.
10: Let's talk about sticky stuff
Sooner or later, any discussion of celibacy turns to the question of how
you deal with basic biological needs. This is an area where the
difference between religious and secular celibates is most severe.
Concern particularly centers on male celibates: how long can they avoid...
err... you know... without exploding from build-up of... stuff? I'm not
aware of any studies on this issue, but I can say to such questioners that
regular... umm... thingy is not essential to health in the way they might
think. While it has been claimed by some (famously the pseudoscientist
Wilhelm Reich) that sex is essential to mental and/or physical health,
there is no substantial evidence to back this up, and plenty of celibates
who are of obviously sound mind and body. One of my male correspondents
reports abstaining from sex *and* from... that thing for eight years and
seems very happy.
Part of the reason why celibacy seems so odd in modern western culture may
be to do with this culture's view of sex as nothing more than a way of
answering a biological need: it may seem arbitrary to answer your needs in
one way as opposed to another. If, on the other hand, you recognise that
sex is not just a biological act but a very complex interaction with all
sorts of psychological, economic, medical or social consequences, then it
is no contradiction to refrain from sex but not from... umm....
11: Celibate Booklist
Yes indeed, these books are celibate. No matter how long you spend reading
them, they will not attempt to have sex with other books.
Seriously, though, this is a selection of books which, as far as I can
tell from bookseller's lists and personal recommendations, deal with
celibacy in a secular context. One-paragraph summaries of these books
would be very welcome. There is a list of books which are relevant to
Christian celibacy and its associated lifestyle at
< http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/5953/#booklist >.
There is a huge literature on priestly celibacy which I have
decided to omit: a search on celibacy on a site such as the Internet Book
Shop < http://www.bookshop.co.uk/ > or Amazon < http://www.amazon.com/ >
is a good way to find these.
Some of these books have been reviewed by internet celibates. To give an
idea of our reaction, I will use that following rating system:
A frown :( means that the book is not likely to be relevant.
A smiley :) means that some parts of the book will be of interest.
Double smiley :) :) means that the book is recommended.
These are ratings of the relevance of the books to adult, voluntary,
usually secular celibates, not ratings of their literary merit.
Gabrielle Brown (1976), The New Celibacy : Why More Men and Women Are
Abstaining from Sex--And Enjoying It; McGraw-Hill
Sally Cline (1993), Women, Celibacy and Passion; Deutsch.
Carole Marsh (????), 50 Ways and 50 Reasons You Can Abstain from Sex--And
Why AIDS Will Make You 100% Glad You Did, Kid!; Gallopade.
:( (aimed at teenagers)
Patti Putnicki (1994), Celibacy Is Better Than Really Bad Sex: And Other
Rules for Singlewomen; Corkscrew. ISBN: 094404235X
Joan Avna and Diana Waltz (1994), Celibate Wives : Breaking the Silence;
Lowell House. ISBN: 1565651227
Barbara Moe (1995), Everything You Need to Know About Sexual Abstinence
(Need to Know Library); Rosen Publishing Group. ISBN: 0823921042
:( (aimed at teenagers)
Kristine Napier (1996), The Power of Abstinence : How Parents Can Help
Teens Postpone Sexual Activity & Achieve Emotional Security, Maximum
Self-Esteem, and Stay Healthy; Avon Books. ISBN: 0380783711
Dwight Lee Wolter (1992), Sex & Celibacy : Establishing Balance in
Intimate Relationships Through Temporary Sexual Abstinence; Fairview.
Rolf Zettersten (1995), Sex, Lies & the Truth : A Message from Focus on
the Family; Tyndale House. ISBN: 0842317309
:( (aimed at teenagers)
Netha L. Thacker and Kathleen Rae Miner (1996), Abstinence : Health Facts;
Etr Assoc. ISBN: 1560715022
:) (aimed at teachers, explaining abstinence to students, but presents
abstinence as more than just a teenage issue)
Eleanor Ayer (1997), Its Ok to Say No : Choosing Sexual Abstinence; Rosen
Publishing Group. ISBN: 0823922502
Pamela Pettler, Amy Heckerling and Jack Ziegler (1990), The No-Sex
Handbook; Warner. ISBN: 0446390542
David R. Eyler and Andrea P. Baridon (1991), More than Friends: Less than
Lovers: Managing Sexual Attraction in Working Relationships.; Jeremy P.
Thatcher, Inc. ISBN 0-87477-651-1
ANSLIM (1992), Beyond Sexuality; Phoenix Press
To order: send #4.50 (plus 1 pound for p&p within UK) to
A K Press, PO Box 12766, Edinburgh, EH8 9YE
:) (Covers many alternatives to normal sexuality)
A. W Richard Sipe (1996), Celibacy : A Way of Loving, Living, and Serving;
Triumph. ISBN: 0892438746 (This one seems to be primarily from a
Christian point of view, but I include it here because it seems to be
Liz Hodgkinson (1986), Sex is Not Compulsory : giving up sex for better
health and greater happiness; Columbus. ISBN: 0862872294
John Hoyland (ed) (1993), Bad Sex; Serpent's Tail. ISBN 1852423072 (a
collection of short stories)
Rosemary Curb and Nancy Manahan (Ed.) (1993) Breaking Silence : Lesbian
Nuns on Convent Sexuality: Women's Press
Regena English (1998), Leather Spinsters and their degrees of asexuality;
St. Mary publishing company. (A "Leather Spinster" is a happily
unmarried woman.) See the book's promotional web site:
http://www.leatherspinsters.com/ . They run a leather spinsters' e-mail
newsletter with thousands of subscribers.
Rae Andre (1991) Positive Solitude: A Practical Program for Mastering
Loneliness and Achieving Self-Fulfillment: Harper
Elizabeth Abbott (1999) A History of Celibacy: HarperCollins
Donna Marie Williams (1999) Sensual Celibacy: The Sexy Woman's Guide to
Using Abstinence for Recharging Your Spirit Discovering Your Passions and
Achieving Greater Intimacy in Your Next Relationship: Simon &
There is a facility to see more details on these books and to order them
over the 'net on the Web version of this FAQ, at
12: Other Resources
There is now a celibate e-mail list! To join, send email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and on the Subject: line, put "subscribe"
There is now a web page for celibate personal ads! There are a lot of
adverts there, although some of the entries seem to be from people who
don't understand the word "celibate". Go to
An archive of short first-hand accounts from the Internet and mainstream
media is at http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plmlp/celifirst.html
If you find this Celibate FAQ useful, then I *very strongly recommend* you
visit a similar effort by a group of Russian celibates: the Antisex FAQ.
I don't agree with eveything they say - for instance, the idea of being
"anti-sex" rather than "pro-celibate" seems a bit strong - but their
emphasis is on reasoned argument and they apply a lot of good common
Another strongly recommended link - very easy reading as well - is W. Eric
Martin's article in Healthy Sexuality webzine:
Sexuality Bytes have a nice essay on celibacy, which is similar to parts
of this FAQ, but better written. Sexuality Bytes has now been incorporated
into the Feelgood site, which at the moment is only accessible if you are
on the Microsoft Network. Go to http://www.msn.com.au/ , select Feelgood,
then "Advice & Info".
It is informative to contrast the sunny optimism of the celibates quoted
on my pages with the dark mood of the Sexual Compulsives Anonymous page at
There is a very poetic (in both good and bad senses) essay on the
advantages of celibate life in the Hungry Mind Review, at
Issue 12 of Bi Community News has a report from a "Bisexuality and
Celibacy" workshop. That's on the web at
One paragraph in particular is worth reproducing here:
"Celibacy is not, as is often assumed, an attempt to put a brave face on
the fact that nobody wants to sleep with you: it's not an indication that
one is asexual or incapable of relating to other people. It's a valid
choice whether for life or for a week, and it's a potentially subversive
one at that. In different ways from polyamory or bisexuality itself, it
challenges the social norm that everyone needs to be partnered with a
member of the opposite sex and sexually active to be a valuable member of
Derek J. Wojciech's Virginity FAQ gives a succession of arguments for
virginity and sexual abstinence, at least until marriage. That's at
A long list of books, links, quotes and observations for Christian
celibates is presented at http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/5953/ .
It confronts some Sticky issues, and relates the celibate lifestyle to
other lifestyle choices, such as nonviolence.
Laying the humour on thick are the Asexual Coalition. Their "protest
against dating" has prompted some brief but interesting entries in
their guestbook. "We have nothing against the opposite sex, we
just think that dating them is a lot of work and costs too much to
warrant any usefulness." They are at
An essay on celibacy and its spiritual significance from the Tantra/Yoga
perspective is at
Another recommended resource for Christian celibates is at
Teri Lester's "Healthy Love" is a page written in a question-and-
answer format to promote pre-marital abstinence. It confronts seriously
and realistically the issues around celibacy.
Given the years I have spent studying philosophy, I was still surprised to
see that someone, namely one Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr., has written an essay on
the "Philosophy of Arousal", subtitled "What I wish I had been told about
sex when I was young". This discusses the nature of sexual arousal and the
social and ethical issues arising from it.
Mindy Hung's article "waiting to be unzipped" expresses her thoughts on
being a 24-year-old graduate student and still a virgin. Her celibacy is
not voluntary, but her article sums up the prejudices that celibates
encounter and has a fine dose of humour.
Elizabeth Abbott's article in the Toronto Globe and Mail on "The New
Celibacy" is a taster for her book "A History of Celibacy" (see above).
If you have a high sex drive, celibacy can be hell. If you have a low sex
drive, celibacy is actually a good idea. Then again, some would say that
the more effort it takes to achieve abstinence, the more rewarding it is
when you manage.
People whose brains obey their crotches have a loud voice in
western society, which makes celibacy seem an unusual and abnormal thing.
People who are celibate don't normally feel the need to tell the world
about it: this resulting low profile makes it more difficult for others to
acknowledge celibacy as part of their identity. Analogously, the more
public figures are "out" homo- or bisexuals, the more comfortable it is
for young people to come out. This document is one small blow in the
necessary fight to give open celibacy a higher profile.
MARTIN L: Postgrad. researching philosophy of belief and Bayesian inductive M
POULTER : logic at Bristol Uni., UK. * $665.95 = Retail price of the Beast c
Cult Concern FAQ + Soppy Compliments Page + Celibate FAQ + Gifts from "Bob" Q
Helena Kobrin Page + Scientology Criticism: http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plmlp/ !