I’ve heard that millennials have all the casual sex in the world. That we’ve redefined hook-up culture, and talk to strangers on dating apps more than we do our parents. Granted, I’m sure those stereotypes exist, but I can’t relate because, at twenty-seven-years-old, I’ve been celibate for more than four years. This lifestyle definitely sought me out, because I certainly didn’t see myself voluntarily giving up sex in my early twenties. Back in college before I broke things off with my then ex, a friend randomly suggested I read The Wait: A Powerful Practice for Finding the Love of Your Life and the Life You Love. This book was written by celebrity couple Devon Franklin and Meagan Good on their experience of waiting to have sex until marriage.
Initially, I straight up told her hell, NO! I didn’t want to hand over my freedom, and at the time, I hoped to work things out with my ex. Once it became clear that our relationship was beyond repair, I leaped and settled into my new routine of celibacy after a breakup. Choosing to abstain from sex was the best decision I’ve ever made. Still, surprisingly the benefits have had very little to do with what I thought would happen (me manifesting the love of my life) and everything to do with what I’ve discovered about myself in the process. So, let’s dive in and talk about what I’ve learned.
My Mind is Sharper When I’m Practicing Self-Control
What I’ve learned about celibacy after a breakup is that this lifestyle doesn’t take away your desire for sex. Instead, it challenges you to keep your long term goals in mind, which is what self-control is all about. Since I’ve become celibate, I started a business, lost over 60 lbs naturally, and went back to school for my master’s degree. All of those things require immense self-control. Self-control I didn’t possess when I was sexually active. Much like anything that requires you to practice discipline (fitness goals, preparation for an exam, motherhood, marriage, etc.). I’ve discovered that what I needed to learn was how to set boundaries with myself at times.
God and I Communicate Very Well When I’m Paying Attention to Him
My relationship with God is one that I value above everything, but I didn’t interact with him properly until recently. Before celibacy, I thought I was a good Christian because I went to church every Sunday and tithed, but I had no real relationship with this man that I told everyone I loved so freely.
Years into celibacy, it hit me that all I had done was sacrifice things I thought he wanted, but I still wasn’t talking with him. I’d never asked him why he put me on this earth, and what his plans were outside of what I told him I wanted. Spending real time with God was a huge turning point for me; it’s become my favorite self-care ritual, and we discuss everything together now.
As a bonus, read the book Relationship Goals: How to Win at Love, Marriage, and Sex by Michael Todd and watch his sermon series on YouTube. You can thank me later!
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What I Want in a Partner Has Changed Significantly
I read this quote that said, “When you learn to love yourself, your taste in men will change,” and it’s the truth. My requirements for men at one point were that I just wanted to be with someone who loved me for me. And although that’s great, it isn’t enough to build a life with someone. Now, I want a man who has a strong relationship with God, has self-control, is actively working towards his purpose, and [actually] wants to be in a healthy marriage.
I’m More Than Capable of Taking Care of Myself
Often we can feel like we don’t know who we are after a long-term relationship, but there’s beauty in the realization that at one point, you were a whole person. Living, breathing and functioning happily before you ever met your ex-lover. Learning to trust my decision-making as I rediscovered old hobbies and fell in love with new ones empowered me to realize that although I’d been co-dependent, I was quite capable of taking care of myself, on my own.
My Ex Wasn’t the Problem
I’d feel better about myself if I blamed my ex for everything and took no accountability for my actions, but healing doesn’t reside there, ego does. It took years of therapy and overall growth as a person to realize I’d never taken the time to be alone because I’d been in long-term relationships since I was twelve-years-old.
As toxic as my last relationship was, the dysfunction wasn’t the issue – my poor decision making was. When you date hoping to fill the voids that childhood trauma left, pain is inevitable, and rarely do you ever get to know who they genuinely are. You’re often preoccupied with demanding them to help you unpack your emotional baggage.
My Weakness is the Strongest Thing About Me
I used to hide behind the things about me that I didn’t like, I’m naturally introverted, but I’m also outspoken and overly transparent once I’m comfortable. Allowing myself to lean into that vulnerability, allowed me to hold space for the fullness of who I am, and encourage other Black women to do the same.
Although I miss sex at times (because sexual urges are real) I’ve built a life that I can be proud of that isn’t worth anything that I gave up when I made that choice.