Why I chose celibacy at age 40
I recently posted in a discussion forum to talk about this decision. I didn’t offer a whole lot of detail. Just that my boyfriend died, I went to counseling, and although I want to start dating again, I still don’t want to start having sex yet. I asked for opinions on the matter.
Boy, did they have opinions! Men and women alike were totally against it. I was told everything from I was acting childish to I was mentally unstable. The sentiments didn’t do anything but confirm that this is exactly the riff raff I’m trying to avoid when I start dating. Quite frankly, I have twin toddlers at home. I’m not trying to waste my time with anything that’s not high quality. Any man that gets the time I could be giving to my kids, has to be worth it!
However, the reason I chose celibacy at age 40 is a little deeper than just waiting for Mr. Right. I uncovered it in counseling and didn’t even discuss it with her. It actually made me feel a little shameful, but this is the real reason.
My first sexual assault/encounter was at age 11. It definitely did some damage to my already fragile self-esteem and the subsequent assaults by several different people didn’t help. It distorted my views on sex tremendously.
By high school, sex and relationships had nothing to do with each other. This belief got worse as I got older. I had numerous partners and didn’t care much. Sometimes, I wished I was deserving of love like normal people but tried to settle in the acceptance that I just wasn’t. I was in relationships where I got cheated on and I was in relationships where I was the cheater. I was in relationships where we both were the cheaters. I understood that cheating was supposed to be bad but deep down I couldn’t relate to why.
I have had my feeling hurt and my heart broken before, but I did my fair share of hurting people I claimed to love and care for. It often baffled me because men weren’t supposed to get hurt the way woman do, but apparently, they did. I watched a man I swore I was in love with cry his eyes out because I’d confessed to cheating…again. I promised I’d stop and once again, I lied.
Right before I met my late boyfriend, I decided that I was turning a new leaf. If I was going to enter into another relationship with anyone, I needed to be the woman we both deserved or not be in the relationship at all.
Meeting him was a love of first sight type thing and it startled me. I think it startled both of us. It took us eight months to get the nerve to speak to each other, and that nerve quickly escalated to sex – THAT SAME NIGHT! I was sure I’d jumped right back into my old ways. I was so disappointed because I felt something special in him from the moment I laid eyes on him. I knew I’d blown it!
Oh well. Whaddaya gonna do?
We did continue to hook up for the next few weeks until one day he called me and said something I found strange. He told me that he wanted to see me the next day as planned. However, he made it clear that we were not having sex. He wanted me to see that he was not just spending time with me for sex. I said alright.
We didn’t stop having sex altogether, just less often. He started to put more emphasis on his displays of affection when I saw him. He would invite me over for a dinner he’d prepared. He’d draw a bubble bath for me to soak in before going to bed at night. He’d pick up little gifts like flowers and teddy bears. He’d set lit candles upon the nightstand and play in my hair until I feel asleep in his arms.
It was all very nice. Most women would have been thrilled, but all I could think about was how extra he was being. All this really wasn’t necessary. We weren’t even a real couple yet. However, I went along with it. It seemed to make him happy and it wasn’t the worse thing he could be doing.
Once the relationship became official, it got worse! The gifts got more expensive and spontaneous. The gestures became more elaborate. He would open my car door for me even when I was the one driving! It felt so unnecessary, but he insisted so I didn’t complain.
Although we had our fair share of problems as a couple, cheating was never one of them and his displays of affection never faltered. He insisted on opening my car door and other acts of adoration until the day he died.
After he was gone, I obviously felt a huge void. However, I missed having sex with him too - him specifically. The thought of anyone else touching me ever again made me feel sick. I missed HIS touch. Somewhere inside, I felt like sex should be the last thing on my mind, but I couldn’t help it. I missed that part of him too.
As I moved through the grieving process with my therapist, I talked about the ups and downs of our relationship. I talked about all the bullshit he’d put me through and all the bullshit gestures he’d try to do to make up for it.
But the more I talked about it, the more I realized that those bullshit gestures was all he knew, so he did what he knew. He was a broken man with abandonment issues. He didn’t understand everything required for a healthy relationship. He wasn’t taught true love, honor, and respect, so he took what little he did understand, and tried his hardest to give it to me. He was building an intimate relationship which is probably why it felt so foreign to me.
And I took it for granted.
Even now, I know I’m willing to move on and date someone new. However, there is nothing in me that says the person I’m dating will get to experience a sexual relationship with me if they are not willing to put in that type of effort towards true intimacy. Sex had finally become an intimate experience for me, whether I relished in it or not. I’m not going back to that bullshit I was living in before. Craig showed me better, and that is now what I want - better.
Sex is the act. The relationship dictates what the act expresses. Sex does not manifest passion, love, or intimacy. It must already exist for sex to be an expression of it. That concept gets lost sometimes. I’m not looking for sex. I’m looking for intimacy – a true connection. I’m looking for someone I can feel just as connected and close to clothes on or off.
I say that I’m waiting for marriage, but I haven’t taken an actual vow of celibacy. Celibacy is just a tangible concept. Saying I’m waiting for “the one” sounds abstract. It gives men a false sense of hope or it can make them believe I’m just leading them on. When I say I’m waiting for marriage, they can make their decision to stay or leave with that information. If I give in early, great for them! But if I don’t, they can’t say they were unaware.
My days of chasing scattered ass are behind me. My partner should be in the same position. He should be in search of the same thing I am. I’m sure I don’t need to fuck everyone I date to find him. In fact, I’m sure that not fucking everyone I date, will be the quickest way to find him.
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After spending a year in grief counseling, I started to see that my life needed a major overhaul. Yes, my boyfriend died making me the single mom of our infant twins, but I was still grieving my loss of innocence from decades of abuse. I decided to turn my pain into a new purpose and to share this journey with others that may need some motivation.