For some of you, the perspective of total sexual abstinence may seem frightening. However, the devil is not so black as he is painted. Today’s piece is about celibacy, and how to not make lack of sex put us even deeper in the shallows of unhealthy sexuality.
First, do realize that you’re not gonna die because of that.
Exactly. Sexuality is a natural need of every human being, it does not mean, however, that we will get sick because of its absence, as it would happen with the absence of food or air. On the contrary – the energy that we have put in our sex life so far can be at least partially used in other areas of life that require changes. With this comes our rule number two:
Second – do not deny your sexuality.
The human is, in accordance with his nature, a sexual being, and denying this fact is not only lack of acceptance of your needs, but also the best long-term celibacy sabotage. In my experience, the more we reject our sexuality, the more we want to make it non-existent, pushing it to the subconscious, the more fierce force it becomes in our lives, and the more it becomes perverse in its manifestations. Many people who are struggling to learn healthy sexuality feel a deep sense of guilt because of the very existence of it – but it is usually guilt that undermines their efforts. Celibacy that is based on a sense of guilt can be a great way to deepen your problem. The basis of mental health in every sphere is to accept (not to be confused with indulging in addiction). Therefore, deal with it – you have sexual needs as a human being, there is nothing wrong with that, and despite these needs you decide for a while not to be sexually active. At the same time, you know that this sexual energy will increase and you must find a healthy way to let it out. Which leads to the third principle:
Third – find a way to transform your sexual energy.
This is a mechanism that helps us deal with the situation, which I’m often comparing to a psychological defense mechanism called sublimation (link). You need to express your sexuality through other areas of life, give vent to this powerful energy. Napoleon Hill in his excellent book “Think and Grow Rich” mentions in one of the chapters about how he used his sexual energy to start achieving great success in his professional field. All the passion, which was normally focused on his lovers, seeking women or new experiences, shed light on his professional activity, and thus he became an incredibly rich guy. Sounds like a fairy tale? But it is possible. Many artists poured their sexual energy into art – expressing it in dance, singing, painting or stories. Even in the old days, it was recommended for young men to indulge in intense physical activity, as a way to calm their rampant libido. These are just a few examples of how sexual energy can be used in other areas of life. But this is not easy. You must first understand yourself and consciously express your sexual energy in the activity. To have access to this energy, first of all you cannot push it to the unconscious (see the second rule). In addition, I recommend the method of internal dialogue as a way to work on this aspect of yourself. When staying celibate, from time to time I felt strong, even aggressive, brutal sexual energy that wanted to be expressed. I called this aspect of myself a “Demon”. After a long dialogue, I found a way in which I could express this part of me – an aggressive pursuit of my goals in life. These original, wild parts of me, were there primarily for dominance, with the acquisition. In this way, I found a sphere in which I could express my most primitive sexual needs.
Fifth – no self-pity.
Do not treat your present way of life as a curse, an effect of your illness. Enjoy it. Focus on values which have not yet had your attention – like deep listening, entering into relationships with people, building intimacy, friendship and love. Appreciate this time, enjoy it. Now you have the opportunity to experience deep inner transformation, take a look at some aspects of your life from a different angle and reach conclusions that may help not only you, but also the people around you. I will carry the wisdom, which celibacy gave me for the rest of my life. Altruism is also one of the greatest ways to transform your sexual energy. Try to offer people in your surroundings your friendship and kindness. You’ll see, how you’ll become happier, while focusing more on these values.
These short rules facilitated the survival period of my sexual abstinence and then allowed me to return to a healthy sexuality. This was not an easy time – I have come to the stage where I felt comfortable with celibacy (though having a lot of builded-up energy) and returning to the realm of sex, to my “old” demons, scared me a little. But it was a very important step, because a brand new, deeper phase of healing and working on my habits began, when I returned to an active sex life with this new perspective.
It is also worth mentioning that the mere abstaining from sex does not heal the sexual area. It is necessary to work on the deeper problems that led you to the addiction. I’m talking about the treatment of deep wounds that you carry, open to the world and overcome many other unhealthy mechanisms that you developed over the years. Without it, you will still be attracted to seek escape in compulsive sex. These problems are calling you to heal them – they do that by destroying your sexuality. Take the time and attention they need. Celibacy can be a great opportunity for you to redirect your attention to these issues and to work hard on them.
If you lack a sexual partner, who could help you satisfy this area healthily, you should begin to build the foundations for finding a partner. Being active in this direction, knowing someone and starting to build a romantic relationship can help a great deal in maintaining celibacy, and later in the transitioning from that to a healthy sexuality. Finally, each of us wants to feel loved and supported and able to enjoy their sexuality without guilt.
Also, remember that your body once in a while will remove the sexual tension in the form of so-called.”Wet dreams”. It’s a completely natural process. It should not cause your guilt. On the contrary – I guarantee you that there will be moments when you’ll wait for the wet dream with longing! Why is that? It just brings relief. With men, usually the body reacts in this way after about 2-3 weeks of abstinence.
Try to make celibacy a time for you to calm your mind down, to focus on your inside. Intensive training of mindfulness (or other forms of contemplative practice) may help you strongly throughout the process of healing. Use relaxation techniques. Simplify your life and try to be as relaxed and happy during the day as possible. In this way you’ll successfully persist in abstinence and come back with new forces into the realm of sex life – this time on new sound principles.