If you know a couple practicing celibacy or are considering exploring celibacy in your own relationship you may have wrangled with the question of whether this choice makes sense. The answer, as with many inquiries, depends largely upon personal preference and short and long term commitments and goals. Here are some talking points on the subject, guiding self-reflections and your discussions with friends and loved ones.
Celibacy Before Marriage
It is not uncommon for a couple or one partner to want to honor the notion of waiting until marriage for sexual intimacy. Whether for traditional religious or cultural reasons, delaying the sexual part of a relationship may have significant meaning for the partners. It may deepen their connection as they show their commitment to each other and their future life through this gesture. Of course, the self-limiting nature of this practice of celibacy may make it easier to sustain.
Celibacy As An Exploration Of A Relationship
When a couple has consummated their relationship, it may seem ridiculous to turn back time and return to celibacy. It can, however, be a way for one or both of the partners to examine the relationship more closely. This helps them determine what the foundation of the connection truly is. Shared values, dreams, and expectations can be clouded by the urgency of a sexual relationship. As an evaluative period in a relationship, an agreement to forego the sex to see what really binds a couple together is intriguing to some people. With better information about the non-sexual parts of a relationship, a couple can make better long-term plans.
Celibacy As A Spiritual Choice
Eliminating sexual expression from a relationship can simplify matters for both partners. Letting go of the push and pull of the sexual life can create more of a balance for the couple. Calm and reason replace lust, jealousy, and that awkward sense that sexual expression is the barometer of the health of a relationship. Staying aloof from the whirlwind of sexual passion permits an even-keeled life. This is one free from the mixed messages and stress of a life dominated by the desire and disappointment of sex.
Celibacy As A Practical Response
Some couples struggle with illness, fatigue, competing claims on their time, making sex or the lack thereof, one more thing to add stress to an already complicated life. Partners struggle with the perception that a lack of desire for sex when other life events are sapping energy is a rejection. If the couple can put the stress of misaligned sexual desires away during a time when other things are much more important, a joint decision to respect celibacy can be a positive and loving response.
Celibacy As A Deal Breaker
Despite all the explanations above, for some couples, the decision to practice celibacy will destroy or irreparably alter a relationship. If both partners are not united on the importance of pursuing celibacy for whatever reason, it is unlikely it will be a positive thing for the relationship. Intensely personal reasons for celibacy will not resonate with the partner not immersed in the search for a life without sexual intimacy.