Facts & Info

Celibacy Inside and Outside Poly Relationships

Couple Cuddling in Bed

If you’re like me, going without sex sounds like a horror movie. I want and need human touch, intimacy, the giving and receiving of pleasure, orgasm, kissing, stimulation, and emotional connection.

But some people do go without sex.

Why Some People are Celibate

People who aren’t polyamorous might find themselves between partners and go without for long periods of time. Some people wait for the right person in a long-term relationship and avoid hookups, and that might mean going without.

Some have a partner with low libido or an illness and have to wait that out. Some just stop having sex, maybe after a spouse dies, and don’t bother to pursue it again.

Some folks are involuntarily celibate—they can’t find someone willing to do it with them.

And some folks are celibate by choice, either for a period of time they’ve determined for themselves, or indefinitely. They might have chosen a religious life as monks or nuns in a number of traditions, or they might be asexual or have physical or psychological conditions where relating sexually is painful or difficult and causes more anxiety than living without.

Let’s Talk about Celibacy

Can you live without sex?

Of course. Most of us can and do during some points of our life span. For most people, long-term celibacy is not optimal. There are some people who don’t have any desire for sex at all—they are asexual. But asexuality is rare because humans are sexual creatures. You don’t find many primates, human or otherwise, who are asexual.

For most people, celibacy is a sacrifice, either temporary or permanently. For those who choose monastic traditions in Buddhism, Catholicism, or other faiths, it is a spiritual decision and they recognize it as a sacrifice in order to gain something else. Most religious traditions recognize that celibacy is only for certain practitioners, not for the whole flock.

Sex is a human need for most, as strong a drive as hunger and thirst.

The only two human needs higher are food and water. Sex probably rates higher than “shelter.” How much sex and when varies with each individual, whereas we need water constantly and food frequently, but for most people sex is absolutely essential.

Sex is healthy for mind, body, and spirit.

Doctors and psychologists and other health experts may disagree on what kind of sexual expression is healthiest, but the overwhelming consensus is that sex has many physical and mental health benefits.

Long-term celibacy is not healthy for most people.

We have hormones coursing through our bodies that serve important purposes, and body parts that need oxygen, circulation, stimulation, and more. Most people who choose celibacy still masturbate which is essential to keep all the pipes in working order, encourage circulation to the nether regions, and keep various body parts in working order. Sex isn’t only good for our sexual organs—our brains, complexion, blood vessels, and more benefit from sex.

Intermittent celibacy does have benefits.

Celibacy is not all bad, and nonstop sex for your whole life is unrealistic. Our libidos naturally ebb and flow with age, health, and circumstance. Celibacy has zero risk of disease, for example, and can give someone time to collect themselves psychologically after physical or emotional trauma.

The body can sometimes use a temporary rest. Focusing on other things like family and work have their place too, and for men, ejaculating less often can renew sexual and general energy. It’s all about balance!

What’s the longest you’ve been celibate? Was it a choice? Please share in the comments!

Tell us what you think!

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