Bare Naked Ladies: The Truth Behind Our Celibacy [Part 1]


The word celibacy comes with as many assumptions and generalized stigmas as promiscuity does, so here I am: a 26-year-old woman who fell down the rabbit hole in search of herself and landed right in celibacy’s lap. Go on…judge me. No, I am not boycotting sex because I’m bitter. I am not saving myself for marriage. I am not, religious, nor prudish, nor hideously unattractive and lacking in enough character to get a man to look my way. So now that we’ve gotten some of the classic stereotypes out of the way, let me explain.

I’m using the word celibacy pretty loosely. I haven’t, by definition taken a vow to abstain from any sexual or intimate relationships; I’m actually working feverishly to accomplish intimacy with myself. After crossing over the 25 year old and into unchartered “late twenties” territory, I realized that as much as I LOVE SEX (and yes, I had to emphasize how deep my love for it goes by yelling at you through your computer screen), it was time for me to start learning to love myself more.

emptysex1Yes, as cliché as it sounds some of the oldest advice floating around this universe still rings true: you can not expect to find true happiness, love and devotion with any career, partner or success without having found it first within yourself. Like I mentioned earlier, I never set out to practice celibacy, it just happened. After taking a brief hiatus from men to heal some open wounds on my heavy heart, I started to realize that the “bounce back” point where you’re expected to throw yourself back into the game, didn’t seem very appealing to me. I had finally come to a point in my life where I was beginning to get to know myself as a woman and that budding relationship with myself, my fears, my joys, and my passions was too good to give up. Eventually as time started to pass, I found myself turning down any and every invitation I was receiving from the opposite sex. My lust for flesh was replaced with a lust for life and as soon as that fire blew out, everything fell silent and eventually I realized that I was no longer interested in taking offers that I could refuse.

I want to point out that my decision not to let in any distractions by way of men did not come from a place of anger. I love men. I love their complexities as much as I love their simplicities. Of course I miss the electric energy that consumes two people as they discover each other physically. I miss the adventure of it all. Sex, if you’re doing it right, will supply you with a high that no money can buy. But, as fun as it can be, when shared in an empty unattended space, it can become very boring and very draining. As I began to find pleasure in what myself and this life had to offer, I began to take my time and myself more seriously. As soon as that switch flipped and the light inside of me started to burn brighter, my subconscious and accidental decision to shut down the candy shop became a conscious one.

In a twist of fate, I moved across the country from NYC to LA and am now in a brand new and exciting untapped pool of eligible men. This hasn’t caused me to change my mind about my decision to hold off on sex though. In fact, it may have solidified it.

I have experience detaching emotion from sex. I have first hand knowledge of the fact that I am fully capable of having fun and following the “no strings attached” rule. I’m even just as guilty of using sex for just that as some of the men that have angered me by it and none of that has changed, I’m still me. I’m still capable of “doing me”. The only thing that has changed is gaining the knowledge that I can have more. I want more.

Now don’t get me wrong, my impromptu celibacy isn’t about waiting for “the one”. In fact, it’s not about anyone but myself. I’ve taken myself for granted. I’ve devalued myself by allowing myself to accept attention sexually even when my heart told me that it wasn’t just a fling, on those rare occasions that you slip, trip and fall in too deep and learn that even your strongest dose of love may not be reciprocated in kind. My celibacy is just about taking life as it comes, as I wait for that unexpected moment where I can’t ignore the chemistry anymore.


Maybe I’ve become generally unimpressed, or not ready, or the stars haven’t aligned in that order quite yet. Either way, I’m chilling. Even with all of my natural urges and desires, this hasn’t been a stressful or dissatisfying ride. Celibacy isn’t for everybody, but right now it’s the right fit for me.

-Ivana C. Mena