Category Archives: Sexual Abstinence

Celibacy vs. Abstinence…There Is A Difference


Name: Richard
Gender: male
Age: 26
Location: Duluth MN
I’ve been practicing periods of celibacy and the way that I practice celibacy is by not ejaculating. I’ll still have fornication with my girlfriend and things like that but without ejaculation. My question is that I notice that when I end a period of celibacy by finally ejaculating that my energy level is extraordinarily low afterwards. Are there supplements I can take to counteract the sleepy feeling I have after I ejaculate? Basically I would like to have the same focus day to day as when I am practicing celibacy but while I have a sexually active life. Any thoughts or answers would be great.

Before I get to your question. Richard, let’s work on some of your vocabulary, shall we? The sexual practice you describe is not a type of celibacy. Celibacy has a very specific meaning. It is the state of being unmarried. Curiously enough you actually happen to be celibate.  Not because you’re practicing ejaculation control, but because you’re not married (you have a GF). For the sake of clarity, the only thing we ought to be able to say for sure when someone identifies him/herself as celibate is that he/she is not married. Period!tantric-sex-is-so-much-more2

You’re not really being sexually abstinent either, which is a concept that is often confused with celibacy. Sexual abstinence is refraining from any kind of sexual activity with others or alone.

Ya know why it’s important to differentiate between the two? I’ll tell ya. There are a lot of people who are celibate (i.e. not married), but who are being sexual, by themselves or with others (like you for example). There are also lots of people who are married (i.e. not celibate), but who are refraining from being sexual with themselves or others for any number of reasons. And, of course, there are celibates who are also sexually abstinent.  Ya see, if we are careless with our vocabulary when describing ourselves, we aren’t able to clearly share with one another who we are, what we are doing, or what we want to do. Get it? Got it? Good!

I’m also gonna go way out on a limb here and guess that you’re a Catholic or a fundamentalist Christian, or was raised as one. Who else would use the term “fornicate” when talking about having sex with his GF?

tantraWhile technically you are correct, in “church-speak” unmarried partners who fuck are fornicating. This is opposed to adultery, which is a when a married person fucks someone other than his or her husband or wife. The term fornicate has a very pejorative connotation. It’s a word religious people use to describe sinful behavior. Is fucking your girlfriend sinful, Richard? If it is, stop fucking her right away! If it isn’t, then don’t refer to your sexual relations with her as fornication. If you can’t bring yourself to use the term “fuck” to talk about what you two do together, there are plenty of other less negative euphemisms. For example, intercourse, or even coitus works. Just not fornication!

Now, on to the very interesting sexual practice you describe in your message. If it isn’t a “type” of celibacy, what is it? I think you maybe talking about a tantric sex practice. You have sex — solo as well as partnered sex — but you avoid ejaculating, right? You don’t really go on to say why you do this other than you seem to believe you conserve energy this way. Tantric practitioners talk about this practice in similar terms — preserving one energy or chi. And that’s what leads me to think what you’re doing is a form of tantra.

Tantric sex is very interesting, if for no other reason it distinguishes between orgasm and ejaculation. Although they often happen at the same time, men are capable of having orgasms without ejaculating. Perhaps, you’re already discovered this. Ejaculatory control, which is what I think you are doing, is what makes it possible for Tantric lovers to harness and extend the energy of orgasm. By refraining from, or holding off on an ejaculation, men can become multi-orgasmic. Some men achieve this by a practice known as edging or controlling the wave of orgasmic energy without ejaculating.tantric-sex

Further, you ask if there are any drugs that can help you regain your strength, or chi after you finally ejaculate. Rather than seek a pharmaceutical solution, why not delve deeper into tantra for the answers you seek. You are already more than half way there. You might want to look into chi power training too. Because, if I’m not mistaken, that’s what you’re actually talking about.

Good luck

What Happens To Men Who Stay Abstinent Until Marriage?

by Sarah Diefendorf

Russell Wilson and his girlfriend Ciara

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his girlfriend Ciara arrive at a White House State Dinner in April.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his girlfriend, the singer Ciara, recently announced plans to remain sexually abstinent until marriage.

It was a vow that came as a surprise to many. After all, sexual purity is a commitment that is historically expected of, associated with – even demanded of – women. However, sexual abstinence is not something assumed of men, especially men like Russell Wilson.

Wilson, an accomplished, attractive athlete, embodies contemporary ideals of masculinity, which include style, wealth and, yes, sexual prowess.

So how does a man like Russell Wilson navigate a commitment to abstinence while upholding ideals of masculinity? Wilson’s status as an athlete and heartthrob is likely giving him what sociologist CJ Pascoe calls “jock insurance.” In other words, due to his celebrity status, he can make traditionally nonmasculine choices without having his masculinity questioned.

But what does it mean for a man who isn’t in the limelight, who makes a similar type of commitment to abstinence? And what does it mean for the women they date, and might eventually marry?

I’ve been researching men who pledge sexual abstinence since 2008, work that comes out of a larger scholarly interest in masculinities, religion and sex education.

While men make this commitment with the good intentions for a fulfilling marriage and sex life, my research indicates that the beliefs about sexuality and gender that come hand in hand with these pledges of abstinence do not necessarily make for an easy transition to a married sexual life.

Who’s Pledging “Purity?”

Comedian Joy Behar recently joked that abstinence is what you do after you’ve been married for a long time. Here, Behar makes two assumptions. One is that sexual activity declines both with age and the time spent in a relationship. This is true.

The second is that abstinence is not something you do before marriage. For the most part, this is true as well: by age 21, 85% of men and 81% of women in the United States have engaged in sexual intercourse.

purity ringIf we compare these numbers to the average age of first marriage in the United States – 27 for women, and 29 for men – we get the picture: most people are having sex before marriage.

Still, some in the United States are making “virginity pledges,” and commit to abstinence until marriage. Most of the data that exist on this practice show that those who make the pledges will do so in high school, often by either signing a pledge card or donning a purity ring.

Research on this population tells us a few things: that those who pledge are more likely to be young women, and that – regardless of gender – an abstinence pledge delays the onset of sexual activity by only 18 months. Furthermore, taking a virginity pledge will often encourage other types of sexual behavior.

Virgins In Guyland

But little is known about men who pledge and navigate this commitment to abstinence.

I was curious about how men maintain pledges in light of these statistics, and also balance them with expectations about masculinity. So in 2008, I began researching a support group of 15 men at an Evangelical church in the Southwest. All members were white, in their early to mid-20’s, single or casually dating – and supporting each other in their decisions to remain abstinent until marriage.

The group, called The River, met once a week, where, sitting on couches, eating pizza or talking about video games, they’d eventually gravitate toward the topic that brought them all together in the first place: sex.

On the surface, it would seem impossible for these men to participate in what sociologist Michael Kimmel calls “Guyland” – a developmental and social stage driven by a “guy code” that demands, among other things, sexual conquest and detached intimacy.

Rather, the men of The River approach sex as something sacred, a gift from God meant to be enjoyed in the confines of the marriage bed. At the same time, these men struggle with what they describe as the “beastly elements” – or temptations – of sexuality. And it is precisely because of these so-called beastly elements that these men find each other in the same space every week.

The men of The River grappled with pornography use, masturbation, lust and same-sex desire, all of which can potentially derail these men from their pledge.

It raises an interesting dilemma: to these men, sex is both sacred and beastly. Yet the way they navigate this seeming contradiction actually allows them to exert their masculinity in line with the demands of Guyland.

Group members had an elaborate network of accountability partners to help them resist temptations. For example, one had an accountability partner who viewed his weekly online browsing history to make sure he wasn’t looking at pornography. Another accountability partner texted him each night to make sure that he and his girlfriend were “behaving.”

While these behaviors may seem unusual, they work in ways that allow men to actually assert their masculinity. Through what sociologist Amy Wilkins calls “collective performances of temptation,” these men are able to discuss just how difficult it is to refrain from the beastly urges; in this way, they reinforce the norm that they are highly sexual men, even in the absence of sexual activity.

The River, as a support group, works largely in the same way. These men are able to confirm their sexual desires in a homosocial space – similar to Kimmel’s research in Guyland – from which Kimmel notes that the “actual experience of sex pales in comparison to the experience of talking about sex.”

A ‘Sacred Gift’ – With Mixed Returns

The men of The River believed that the time and work required to maintain these pledges would pay off in the form of a happy and healthy marriage.

Ciara, in discussing her commitment to abstinence with Russell Wilson, similarly added that she believes such a promise is important for creating a foundation of love and friendship. She stated that, “if we have that [base] that strong, we can conquer anything with our love.”

So what happened once after the men of The River got married? In 2011, I followed up with them.

All but one had gotten married. But while the transition to married life brought promises of enjoying their “sacred gift from God,” this gift was fraught.

Respondents reported that they still struggled with the beastly elements of sexuality. They also had the added concern of extramarital affairs. Furthermore – and perhaps most importantly – men no longer had the support to work through these temptations.

There were two reasons behind this development.

First, respondents had been told, since they were young, that women were nonsexual. At the same time, these men had also been taught that their wives would be available for their pleasure.

It’s a double standard that’s in line with longstanding cultural ideals of the relationship between femininity and purity. But it’s a contradiction that leaves men unwilling to open up to the very women they’re having sex with.

These married men and women were not talking to each other about sex. Rather than freely discussing sex or temptation with their wives (as they had done with their accountability partners), the men simply tried to suppress temptation by imagining the devastation any sexual deviations might cause their wives.

after marriage

After marriage, the men felt left to their own devices.

Second, these men could no longer reach out to their support networks due to their own ideals of masculinity. They had been promised a sacred gift: a sexually active, happy marriage. Yet many weren’t fully satisfied, as evidenced by the continued tension between the sacred and beastly. However, to open up about these continued struggles would be to admit failure as masculine, Christian man.

In the end, the research indicates that a pledge of sexual abstinence works to uphold an ideal of masculinity that disadvantages both men and women.

After 25 years of being told that sex is something dangerous that needs to be controlled, the transition to married (and sexual) life is difficult, at best, while leaving men without the support they need. Women, meanwhile, are often left out of the conversation entirely.

So when we urge abstinence in place of healthy conversations about sex and sexuality, we may be undermining the relationships that are the driving goal of these commitments in the first place.

Complete Article HERE!

The Purity Myth Trailer

Touched for the very first time, Part 2

Look for Part 1 of this two part series HERE.

Let’s pick up where we left off last week, on the perils young people face as they navigate the expectations of virginity and sex, and begin to consider their first forays into partnered sex.

Teenagers face enormous peer pressure when it comes to sex, yet there’s precious little education afforded them in terms of the fundamentals of human sexuality. This dearth of clear, unambiguous information on how our bodies work is just the first way we let down our children. There’s almost nothing available to teens to emotionally prepare them for partnered sex.

Mariana is 17. She writes:

I lost my virginity yesterday, but I did not bleed. Why is this?

Hold on there, missy! That’s it? That’s all you’re gonna say about your first time at bat? Is there anyone else out there who is as perplexed by this as I am?

Maybe I’m reading way too much into this. Maybe it is, after all, par for the course. For some young women, the externals of first-time partnered sex are the more important then the act itself. Maybe that’s because less than 5 percent of women have an orgasm the first time they have sex.

It’s clear that we do put more emphasis on the outward signs of virginity, which, in turn trumps everything else?

I guess, Mariana, I would have liked to know if congratulations are order? Was your first time enjoyable? Are you happy it happened? It’s so amazing to me that you didn’t mention any thing about your first intercourse other than that fact that you didn’t bleed. Maybe that’s your way of saying it wasn’t so special.

Sorry about the diversion there, Mariana, as you may know, the hymen is a mucous membrane that is part of the vulva, the external part of a woman’s genitals. It is located outside the vagina, which is the internal part of a woman’s genitals. Not all women have a noticeable hymen. You may or may not have had one to begin with. However, you are right in thinking that most women do. Simply put, having a hymen and/or having it rupture during one’s first coital experience is not necessarily a good indicator of virginity.

Many girls and teens tear or otherwise dilate their hymen while participating in sports like bicycling, horseback riding or gymnastics. This can also happen while inserting tampons, or while masturbating. A girl may not even know she’s done this, since there may be little or no blood or pain involved when it actually happens. The tissues of the vulva are generally very thin and delicate prior to puberty. Again, the presence or absence of a hymen (or its bleeding) in no way indicates whether or not a woman is a virgin.

Some hymens are elastic enough to permit a penis (or similar object) to enter without tearing, or they tear only partially, and there is NO bleeding at all. As I hope you know, when you are adequately aroused, your vagina will lubricate itself and become more flexible. For many women, it will stretch without discomfort. It’s even possible for a woman to have sex for years without “tearing” her hymen.

Tia, age 19, has a very unusual concern.

I have a problem. I’m still a virgin, but my bf thinks I’m not. It’s really my fault he thinks this, cuz I told him I was all experienced and everything. We’ve been going together for about eight months already, and I really want my first time to be with him, but how am I going to act all experienced when I don’t know what I’m doing.

That sure enough is a pickle you got yourself into, darlin’. You’ve got some “splainin’ to do, Lucy!”

Curiously enough, I’m more likely to hear from young women who are not virgins, but want to know how they can fool a new partner into thinking they are. I guess we can chalk up all this deception and confusion to the powerful associations every culture imposes on technical virginity.

And like most things sexual, there is a huge double standard between the cultural and personal implications of virginity for men and women. The cultural expectations regarding virginity are also tied to age as well as gender. For example, our society expects its 16-year-old girls to be virgins. To be otherwise at that tender age would be a scandal in most communities. But a 35-year-old woman who is still a virgin is considered an old maid—or worse, a (gasp) lesbian.

Of course, things are a bit more fluid when it comes to boys. On one hand, a 16-year-old boy who is not a virgin may raise eyebrows in some communities. But many others in those same communities would praise him for being a “stud.” On the other hand, a 35-year-old man who is still a virgin is not only the butt of jokes—or worse, a “queer”—but he’s also more of a disgrace to his gender than an old maid is to hers. Funny how that works, huh?

I hasten to add that there is a lot to argue with in terms of these arbitrary cultural norms, and I encourage ya’ll to argue away. God knows I do! And just because they’re there, and considered “norms” where you are, that doesn’t mean you have to buy into them. God knows I don’t! So make up your own mind.

But back to you, Tia. I’d love to know why you felt the need to deceive your boyfriend in the first place. Do the people you hang with prize sexual experience over sexual innocence for a woman of 19? And what are the expectations of your peer group regarding a 19-year-old guy? I’ll bet the expectation is that he be sexually experienced—right?

Well, you can see why a lot of people—and not just you—find this whole thing just too damned complicated. And rather than adding to the confusion or the deception, I encourage you to come clean with your boyfriend about the status, as it were, of your cherry.

Here’s why I think this is the best policy. First, if the boyfriend is sexually experienced, it will be very difficult for you to hide the fact that you are not. Besides, like you said in your message to me: “I really want my first time to be with him.” Tell him that! No man is gonna turn that down…ever. In fact, that may be the most sexually charged and treasured sentence in any language.

Begin the big talk with your boyfriend like this: “Baby, I got something real special to tell you. You know how I’ve been saying that I’ve been with other guys and everything? Well that was just my way of keeping all the other guys from pestering me for my junk. Baby, the truth is I haven’t had sex before now. And the best part of this is I’ve decided that I really want my first time to be with you. My cherry belongs to you, baby”

Clearing the air like this will also allow you to relax when the moment finally happens. And relaxation is the key to enjoying yourself. And you should enjoy yourself, because no one can do that for you.

Good luck!

Touched for the very first time…

Virginity is a very touchy issue in just about every culture. Curiously enough, it’s almost always exclusively about female virginity. This woeful double standard gives rise to emotional conflicts for both genders. But again, it is young women and girls who bear the brunt of it.

Let’s begin with Katelyn who’s 18 years old:

My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year. We’ve just started talking about having sex even though we both took a virginity pledge through our church. We love each other very much and plan on getting married in a couple of years. If we are practically engaged do you think having sex now would be like breaking our promise?

I’m pretty sure that the creators of all those “abstinence only” and “virginity pledge” programs out there like to think they’re keeping kids like you safe from the unforeseen consequences of sex. I’d probably have less of a problem with them if they didn’t have at their base some pretty rank scare tactics.

Scaring people away from sex is a time-honored means of controlling people.

If you have sex, you well surely get a disease!

If you have sex, you will surely get pregnant!

If you have sex, you will be breaking the commandments and you’ll go to hell!

If you have sex, you will be a slut and no one will want to marry you!

And my all-time favorite: If he gets the milk for free, why would he buy the cow?

These sex-negative messages only frighten, intimidate and instill guilt. They certainly don’t teach people how to behave knowledgeably and responsibly. And they do absolutely nothing to prepare even those who wind up honoring their pledge of abstinence for the inevitable sex life they’ll have later in life. And that to my mind is criminal. Young people have a natural, healthy curiosity about their bodies and the bodies of others. Stifling this natural curiosity with veiled threats and fear-mongering does very little good—and a whole lot of harm.

But before I respond to your question, I have a question for you. I hope you’re not actually thinking I might help you rationalize away your impending behavior—Oh sure honey, if you’re gonna marry the lug anyway, why not give it up now?—because I won’t go there. Have the courage to make up your own mind. If you’re old enough to be considering sex, you’re old enough to take responsibility for your actions.

If you abstain from sex out of fear or religious duress, then where’s the virtue in that? It’s just as bad as having sex because you fear losing your boyfriend. Neither option suggests to me that you are behaving knowledgeably and responsibly.

Of course, it’s always easier to decide on a course of action when one has all the information. And that’s where I can be of some assistance. I’m not gonna tell you what you oughtta do, but I can offer you some timely information about human sexuality that you apparently aren’t getting from your family, church or your community.

There are many sexual alternatives to full-on fucking. And if you want to remain a virgin, at least technically speaking, you might want to explore these options.

Are you both masturbating? If not, then that’s a good place to begin. You should both be familiar with your own pleasure zones and sexual response cycle before you launch into partnered sex of any kind. I believe that the best sex is mutual sex, where the partners knowingly and without reservation gift themselves to one another. And I don’t see how that’s possible unless you are well-acquainted with the gift…your own body.

I can guarantee that your boyfriend won’t know how to pleasure you, especially if he’s still discovering the pleasures of his own body. And you’d be a very remarkable young woman if you understood the mysteries of male sexuality. So if you’re both unversed in the joys of human sexuality, why not discover them together? Mutual masturbation—as well as oral sex—will help you appreciate the particulars and uniqueness of each of your sexual response cycles. And just think how far ahead you’ll be when you guys actually decide it’s time for full-on fucking. You’ll already know how your bodies work.

Even so, the two of you should be familiar with several different means of birth control—and practicing at least two methods. This is a precaution because, in the heat of the moment, you may decide to escalate things to include vaginal penetration. And if you do, you’ll be prepared. Always have water-based lubricants on hand, even for masturbation. These lubricants work very well with latex condoms. Oil lubricants, like petroleum jelly, baby oil or cooking oil, can cause latex condoms to break. So stay away from them.

I realize that procuring all this stuff is gonna be a challenge for young folks like you. But don’t just blow them off just because they’re not readily available to you. This is a big part of being knowledgeable and responsible about your sexuality. If you’re not prepared to go the distance in terms of preparation, you’re not ready to have sex.

Young men and boys have their share of trepidation about impending partnered sex. Here’s 18-year-old Tabor.

I feel kinda silly asking a complete stranger this, but here goes. I’m a pretty normal 18 year old. I’ve had a few girlfriends over the years, nothing really serious, though. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of this one girl; she’s 20, a junior at my school. I really like her and we’re discussing taking our friendship to the next level, but there’s a problem. I’m a virgin. My girlfriend is way more experienced than me and that makes me a little nervous too. She wants me to decide when the time is right. My question is how will I know when I’m ready for sex?

I have a question for you, Tabor, and I hope it doesn’t sound flippant. When do you know it’s time to eat, or sleep? I know many of us eat even when we’re not hungry and sometimes we don’t sleep even when we’re tired. That aside, I suggest that the same bodily signals that alert you to hunger and exhaustion will let you know when it’s time for sex. You’ll want to have sex when you feel the desire to be sexual. I’m not trying to be evasive; I’m trying to get you to listen to your body, because that’s how you’ll know. To be perfectly frank, that’s how all of us know it’s time for sex. We get a hankerin’ for some pleasure and we pursue that till we’re satisfied. Sometimes that’s solo sex and sometimes it’s partnered sex.

If I were to advise you further I’d want to know how much sex you’ve already had with your GF. Has there been any sex play at all? Probably some, right? Otherwise how would you know you like her well enough to consider taking things to the next level?

Penis/vagina intercourse, or as I like to call it, “fucking,” can bring more intimacy and more pleasure than other forms of sex, but it’s not the be-all end-all either. Fucking also carries far more responsibility, particularly for fertile young puppies like you and your honey.

Is it safe to assume that you are well-versed in the complexities of the human reproductive system? I hope so. Not everyone is, of course, even some otherwise smart people. If you’re not clear on the whole concept, there’s no time like the present to do a little boning up, so to speak. Being responsible about sex is as important as being sexual. And being informed about health risks and contraception is the beginning of taking responsibility for your sexual activity.

Remember what I said earlier—that you’ll want to have sex when your body says so? Well, if you take the time to prepare now, you’ll not need to interrupt the moment when your body tells you I’m ready! You should discuss birth control with your girlfriend in advance of any foolin’ around. You should have condoms and lube available. Don’t expect that you’ll have your wits about you when your dick is hard. Remember, you’re not the one who’ll get pregnant if ya’ll screw up. I’ll bet your sweetheart will be impressed with your forethought, too.

Remember, even if your girlfriend is on the pill or has a diaphragm; condoms are a must. One in every ten sexually active teens carries one or more STDs or as we call them nowadays, STIs (sexually transmitted infections). You can consider dropping the condoms only when you’re in an exclusive relationship.

Good luck!

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