Voluntary Celibacy Is Becoming More And More Popular — Here’s What’s Behind The Trend

Sex is great and all, but sometimes it can seem extremely overrated. When you’re single long-term and not into casual hookups, you realize just how simple and uncomplicated life can be without it, in fact. Millennials and Gen Z have been said to be in a “sex recession” for several years. But instead of seeing it as a bad thing, many are choosing the sex-free way of life. Here’s what voluntary celibacy is all about and why so many people are finding it so attractive.

What is voluntary celibacy?

Voluntary celibacy refers to the conscious decision to abstain from sexual activity. While most people will swear off all forms of sexual contact, that’s not true for everyone. Some might draw the line at penetrative sex but feel comfortable engaging in other acts. Others may avoid intimacy altogether. It really is down to the individual.

People who practice voluntary celibacy may also choose to live alone and avoid dating. Or, they might be actively engaged with others in non-sexual relationships. There’s no one hard and fast rule. It depends on what the individual (and their prospective partner) is comfortable with. In fact, both partners may choose to be celibate together, even if only for a short period of time.

Why might someone choose voluntary celibacy?

  1. They want to spend time on personal growth. For some individuals, choosing to practice celibacy is a way to focus on self-discovery. They believe that by abstaining from sexual activity, they can better understand their own wants, needs, and desires. Turns out, when you’re not having sex, you suddenly have a lot more time on your hands.
  2. They’re adhering to religious or spiritual beliefs. For those belonging to certain walks of faith, celibacy might be a natural choice. It may be seen as a way to honor and deepen their connection to a higher power. Many religious traditions promote celibacy as a way to attain spiritual enlightenment or draw closer to God.
  3. They just got out of a bad relationship. Some people choose celibacy as a way to heal from past relationship issues. This is especially true if they’ve experienced a string of toxic connections from which they haven’t recovered. They might also want to avoid the emotional complexities and potential heartbreak that can come with sexual relationships. Getting under someone new isn’t a great way to get over someone else.
  4. They don’t have a high sexual drive. If you’re not someone who has a large libido, voluntary celibacy might be an easy choice. If sex isn’t a priority, there’s no reason to force it. Some people might decide not to focus on this area of life whatsoever as it holds no interest presently.
  5. Many want to protect their health. Celibacy can also be a health-conscious choice for individuals who are recovering from sexual trauma. It may also be attractive to those with certain physical or mental health conditions. It’s also the only way to 100% guarantee of avoiding STIs.
  6. They want to focus on their careers. For individuals who are highly focused on their career goals, celibacy can be a way to eliminate distractions and stay focused on their work. They may see sexual relationships as a potential source of conflict or as a time-consuming commitment that could interfere with their work.
  7. They’re taking a stance for a social justice cause. Some people choose celibacy as a way to demonstrate their commitment to social justice issues, such as women’s rights or LGBTQ rights. They believe that by abstaining from sexual activity, they can draw attention to important causes and promote change.

Regardless of the reason, choosing to practice celibacy can be a powerful and transformative experience for those who decide to take this path. It can be a time for personal reflection, spiritual growth, and self-discovery.

How long should it last?

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The length of voluntary celibacy can vary greatly depending on the individual and their motivations for choosing this lifestyle. Some people choose to be celibate for a short period of time, while others may practice celibacy for many years or even for the rest of their lives. Ultimately, the duration of celibacy should be determined by the individual’s personal beliefs and goals, and should not be influenced by external pressure or societal expectations. It is important for individuals to assess their own motivations and comfort level, and to make decisions that are in line with their own values and desires.

Is celibacy good for the body?

Celibacy can have some physical benefits in the sense that it eliminates the risks associated with sexual activity, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy. Additionally, abstaining from sexual activity can reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and provide more time and energy for physical activity and self-care.

However, it’s also important to note that celibacy can have some potential physical drawbacks, such as decreased sexual function, reduced sexual sensation, and increased levels of certain hormones, such as testosterone. Additionally, individuals who practice celibacy may experience a decline in their overall physical and mental well-being if they have not fully considered the implications of this choice and if they do not engage in healthy coping mechanisms and behaviors.

It is important for individuals to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of celibacy and to make informed decisions that are in line with their own personal goals and well-being. They should also seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional if they are struggling with the decision to be celibate or if they are experiencing negative effects from their choice.

Why is voluntary celibacy becoming so popular?

  1. People are sick of the dating world. With the increasing emphasis on mindfulness and self-care, people are choosing to focus on their personal growth and self-discovery. Celibacy may be seen as a way to do so. It’s also a natural response to the disillusionment many are feeling with the dating scene.
  2. People’s attitudes about sexuality are changing. There may also be a shift in attitudes toward sexuality as people become more open to exploring alternative lifestyles and non-traditional relationship models. Sexual identities like abrosexuality and aromanticism (just to name a few) are becoming more and more popular and far less taboo. It’s no longer a foregone conclusion that everyone wants to get laid 24/7.
  3. Pregnancy and STIs are a total nightmare. The rise of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies may also be contributing to the popularity of celibacy. Sure, Plan B exists and most STIs are treatable. There are also such things as birth control and condoms. However, the only way to be sure you’re safe is to abstain.
  4. Career ambitions take a lot of time and energy. For some individuals, the focus on career advancement and success may be a factor in their decision to choose celibacy. They may see sexual relationships as a potential source of conflict or as a time-consuming commitment that could interfere with their work.

How does this differ from involuntary celibacy?

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Voluntary celibacy and involuntary celibacy are two distinct concepts that differ in several key ways:

  1. Choice. Voluntary celibacy is a deliberate choice made by an individual to abstain from sexual activity. Conversely, involuntary celibacy is a situation in which an individual is unable to engage in sexual activity. This can be either due to a lack of partners or other factors.
  2. Motivation. The motivations behind voluntary and involuntary celibacy can be very different. Individuals who choose to be celibate may do so for personal, religious, or spiritual reasons. Meanwhile, those who are involuntarily celibate may experience feelings of frustration, sadness, or insecurity.
  3. Mental Health. The effects on mental health can also be different between voluntary and involuntary celibacy. Individuals who choose to be celibate may experience a sense of empowerment and control. However, those who are involuntarily celibate may struggle with feelings of loneliness, isolation, or low self-esteem.
  4. Duration. The length of time that an individual practices celibacy can also differ between voluntary and involuntary celibacy. Individuals who choose to be celibate may do so for a specific period of time, or indefinitely. Those who are involuntarily celibate may be in this situation for a shorter or longer period of time.

The bottom line

It is important to remember that everyone’s experience with celibacy is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Individuals who are considering celibacy or who are experiencing involuntary celibacy should seek support and guidance from trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals to help them navigate this experience.

Voluntary celibacy is a personal choice. It’s also only one element of a person’s life and not really a big deal. It’s none of anyone’s business whether or not you’re having sex. And, if you choose to be celibate now and change your mind later, that’s okay too. Human sexuality is complex and it’s not linear. Live your life the way you want to and don’t overthink it.

Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia