I have always preferred sex within a relationship to one-night stands. The thought of not sharing their company was, and is, unthinkable to me. You can both be relaxed in each other's company in a way that is not possible otherwise. That was the end of the relationship — a decision that my partner made and which, although I took it badly at the time, I now appreciate a lot better.
Yet I could not, in conscience, enter into a relationship bringing the baggage of my illness; it would not be fair to do so. However, people consider celibacy for many and varied reasons; so if you are considering it, I would say that it is not something to fear and can indeed be a positive choice and, let's face it, if you try it and don't like it then you can always change your mind. Daft, but seemingly true. So why am I celibate? Once you remove the potential for sex from the relationship, and both parties are aware of that, it changes the dynamic of the friendship. Yes, but not as much as I thought that I would. After all, it is one thing to think that illness or death may happen to one or other of you half a century hence, another altogether when it may be only five years down the road. Before anybody suggests seeking "relief" with a prostitute — I am a Guardian reader, we don't do that sort of thing. Do I miss sex? I didn't; although it crossed my mind. Break the cycle and, over time, the physical and psychological "need" for sex lessens — you can do without it, hard as that may be to believe. Such was my final decision, and it is one that I have stuck to. I am a single, heterosexual, early-middle-aged male. So would I recommend celibacy to my fellow men? Frankly, I love women. Certainly nothing off-putting to any potential mate. Arguably, sex is an addiction. Of course, being a Guardian reader also helps to make one irresistibly attractive to the opposite sex. The thought of not sharing their company was, and is, unthinkable to me. I appreciate that my circumstances are not normal — and anybody finding themselves in my position would have to make up their own mind on the matter. Look, for example, at the similarly close relationships that some women have with gay men. But what to do after that? I love their company, the sound of their voices, the way that although they occupy the same physical space as us blokes yet they seem to inhabit it so totally differently. More than a decade ago I was in a relationship when I discovered that I had a neurological condition that is likely, in time I know not when , to deteriorate. Share via Email Medieval monks took vows of celibacy — but it's rare for anyone to do the same today for non-religious reasons. Yes, you still think about it, but over time those thoughts lose their power. I could have dived head-first into a flurry of empty, hedonistic sex in a quest for revenge against all women for my ex-partner's abandonment of me.
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