I can recall the exact moment that I confronted my deepest struggle within my faith: it was exactly three years ago on Saturday, November 17, 2012. I was spending time alone to reflect on life – my faith, my relationship status, my career, where I should be [in life] and where I was. At the age of 34, I expected to be happily married with at least one kid, in a flourishing career and enjoying life to the fullest. This is what society exploits us into believing our journey should be, except mine wasn’t. Instead, I was caught in a whirlwind of lust that altered my outlook on sex, faith and celibacy.
Many things played a hand in getting me to this point: failed relationships, going through pregnancy loss, and finally ending a two year situationship that eventually prompted my celibacy. But the fact that I wasn’t married and engaged in premarital sex stuck out like a sore thumb.
What the hell was wrong with me? Had I not prayed the right prayer, studied the right scriptures, served enough in the church and in my community in order to stay true to my faith and my values? Had I not followed all the rules and properly prepared myself to be someone’s wife?
As I wrote out my thoughts and gave myself permission to be in that moment and feel whatever it is that I was feeling, I knew something had to change. Something different had to happen right then and there; there was no room for procrastination and putting it off until tomorrow or next week. I had to choose me and that was the start of my celibacy journey.
By far, it has been one of the toughest crossroads that I’ve encountered.
Giving up amazing sex with Mr. Situationship was tough, but so needed. There’d be no more intimate encounters that would leave room for temptation. There’d be no more daily conversing, even though we connected on a much deeper level. [He] was my weakness, my addiction; and like an alcoholic or drug addict, if I didn’t change my environment, it’d be too easy to relapse.
I’ll be first to admit that abstaining from good sex is rough; the first few days were hell! But I’m committed to doing what it takes to stand firm on my promise for myself.
So far, hard days have turned into easier months which allowed me the opportunity to reconnect with myself and my faith. Prayer and meditation have become more than just a twice-a-day routine. Now, I find myself in deep conversation with the Creator more often. What’s been truly amazing, empowering and rewarding throughout this journey has been clarity. Without that clarity, I wouldn’t have uncovered that my irrational decision making, bouts with heartbreak, battles with self-love, and the pain of never experiencing real love stemmed from sex, the sacred place meant for only my husband.
The connection that I had with this man and his unconventional love for me was just sex and it never filled the void of the things I longed for: real love. That situation hindered me from being true to myself and compromised my being true to my faith. While the commitment to celibacy has been challenging, it does come with perks. I’ve learned how to weed out men who are only looking for benefits with no real commitment. I’m upfront with them about my journey and if they’re not on the same page, I refuse to waste either of our time.
What I hope women who are considering celibacy know is that your journey is solely about you. It is something that you will have to come to terms with early on or you will be miserable and fail drastically. In the beginning, I started over more than once. Now, being three years in, I know that such pitfalls can be avoided and want to share five steps with you.
5 Ways to Managing Celibacy
Choose you first and always.
At the end of the day you’re no good to anyone else if you don’t first take care of yourself. So by choosing you first, you’re allowing yourself to extend the best part of you to someone who’s worthy.
Be honest with yourself and why you’re making the commitment.
At the heart of your journey is your why. It’s important to be honest with yourself on why you’re making the commitment or else you’ll find yourself falling back into a lustful trap. Being honest with yourself also helps you to create boundaries and teach people how to treat you.
Set goals on what you hope to accomplish and what you will require of yourself.
Setting goals are just a part of life. Seriously! Without them you have no clear expectation of the task at hand. But don’t go beating yourself up making super complex ones that seem so far fetched that you’re bound to crash and burn. Make them simple and adjust them as you progress and don’t forget to write them down where they will become a visible reminder daily. As you make strides check them off and create new ones that will continue to help you on your pursuit.
Prepare with prayer and meditation.
Substitute for whatever you feel is necessary to give yourself permission to feel and go through the emotions.
Show up for yourself.
If you fall off, know that it’s okay to start over until you’re where you want to be. You’re not in competition with anyone else, so remember that you don’t have to prove anything to anyone other than yourself. Do this with purpose and choose not to give up on yourself.
Shanti is a legal professional by day and a #GIRLBOSS by night. She’s the Founder & Editor-in-Chief over at CandidlyShanti.com, a lifestyle website for women who love to engage in candid conversations about life, entertainment and inspiration. Shanti is also the go-to girl for curating lifestyle content that encourages and empowers other women. When in boss mode you can catch her partnering with womenpreneurs and assisting them with business growth strategies. Catch her being social on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @candidlyshanti.