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Is Celibate The New Single?

Cropped image woman with condom in her pocket giving thumbs down isolated on gray wall background
Cropped image woman with condom in her pocket giving thumbs down isolated on gray wall background

Have you ever had one of those intimate conversations that just could go on forever? You don’t even realize the hours that have flown by, but your cheeks hurt from smiling and you can’t stop blushing? You share parts of yourself in ways you hadn’t expected, or maybe even experienced. You feel truly known, and you truly know the person across from you: dreams, goals, loves, everything. You are known intimately – not known physically just yet – and even though you’re ready, you’re not in a rush. Imagine if this were the core of your relationship; this love you always express, and this lust you haven’t tapped into. Imagine being intimately and truly seduced, before having sex.

For most couples today, this is not the norm, though that seems to be changing. The idea of celibacy has been made new again, often because people are tired of the same old thing. So many loved celebrity couples seem to be either abstaining from sex, or jumping the broom after abstaining, and people are taking notice. Ciara and Russell are still sexless and going strong, and Meagan Good and Devon Franklin even wrote a book about how they waited until they were married to seal the deal. Maybe when you’re ready to seriously be with someone nowadays, celibacy is an ideal transitional step between dating casually and being committed. What used to be seen as a guaranteed part of a committed relationship is now something people are choosing to go without. It kind of makes you wonder: are us millennials getting back to the ways of the old days?

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There was a time – a time in which we were not alive or probably even thought of – where sex really was an icing-on-the-cake kind of thing. Even if it was the one of the first things on a person’s mind during a date, it was still one of the last things to happen in a relationship. Fast forward to today, where even the thirty-day-rule is thought of as ridiculous. We are serial daters, Netflix and chill-ers, twenty/thirty-somethings who “just want to have fun.” But what happens when “having fun” just isn’t fun anymore?

It’s 2016, and we may be in a new era of singledom. Actually, maybe it’s the old days of being single coming back around, full-circle. There’s something kind of poetic in knowing you have touched every part of a person’s soul before you’ve touched their body. By knowing a person in every way but sexually, and saving that for last, the foundation of the relationship just seems stronger, more stable, almost even … sexier. I mean, seriously – have you seen the way Devon talks about Meagan, or the way Russell looks at Ciara? Even with these loving examples, actually taking the plunge to become celibate can understandably be met with skepticism. The appreciation of a woman as a person, outside of having access to her body, can sometimes seem like a far-fetched fantasy. Many women who may be interested in abstaining might fear that the man won’t stay, or that he won’t be faithful, if he’s even interested in committing in the first place. It can be hard to be hopeful that a man will understand wanting to wait, but maybe more are open to the idea than we think. Maybe they’re just as curious, just as willing. As of late, they sure seem to be.

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I know for some, celibacy will not be considered. At least not right now. You’re focused on work, or not trying to be tied down, so committing to another person – let alone celibacy – just isn’t a priority. So, when you are ready to commit, do you think you could consider becoming celibate? It definitely might make things pretty different for you, and it might not be very easy. Looking at the love that’s stemming from it, though, there’s definitely something to be said for trying something you never have before. Who knows? Maybe it’s worth the wait.

E. Martin is an educator, blogger, and freelance writer. She can be found laughing the loudest, finishing a bag of Sourpatch kids, or roaming a Target aisle. You can find more of her writing at E-said.com.


  1. UPDATE: Russell and Ciara are officially engaged! Any comments on how celibacy might’ve helped get them there?
    -E. Martin

  2. I think it was love at first sight for Russell. I personally don’t think being celibate increased their chances of getting engaged.

  3. That could be true. I hadn’t thought of that. Do you think waiting helped him get to know her better at all?

  4. Speaking from personal experience I’ve always felt objectified by men. I prefer getting to know an individual first but both parties have to be on the same page and personally mature enough to know what one wants in a relationship. People who are incompatible will not last and I think that is self explanatory. However, I see far too many people who stay in relationships far past the expiration date. It’s ok if it doesn’t work. Walk and take away the lesson you were meant to learn in order to develop an idea of what works.

  5. This is such an important article. I feel choosing an intuitive period of celibacy also has to do with knowing yourself and loving yourself well enough not to settle for a person who isn’t right for you in some way. Sexual intimacy causes attachment which hides the real state of a couple’s compatibility until the glow wears off. I also feel that celibacy doesn’t have to be absolute in the sense that an individual tailors their own period of celibacy in terms of what is appropriate for the situation. Many don’t choose celibacy because they feel they may be trapped in it forever. It’s always a conscious choice. When we realise that, the beauty of it can really start to reveal itself. As with all things, it has to be accepted from inside, not imposed from outside. 🙏🏼


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