You didn’t sign up for
celibacy, but here we are. Your sex life is just the latest thing ruined by the coronavirus pandemic and the self-quarantine it requires. But does that have to be such a bad thing? Or could this be an opportunity to unpack all your baggage surrounding sex and re-evaluate what truly satisfies you? In this deep dive, we’re dropping both judgment and complaints around this newly sexless lifestyle and instead looking for the silver lining. How can you make the most of your quarantine celibacy? We have some helpful suggestions.
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Consider it a detox, not a dry spell.
You’ve taken breaks from things before. Think Dry January or Sober October when you did life sans alcohol. While you may have gotten right back on the drinking bandwagon as soon as the calendar changed, you probably learned something about yourself along the way, like that you have more self-restraint than you realized, or that your drinking buddies aren’t that fun when you’re sober. In the same way, by taking a break from sex, you’ll discover that desire doesn’t have to drive your entire life. You'll also give your body a much-needed break.
Go all the way.
...into celibacy, we mean. As discussed in a previous
deep dive, studies show that pornography is probably not improving your sex life. Use this sex-free time to cut out other harmful sexual behaviors, whether that’s bingeing on Pornhub or sexting your ex when you’re bored. If you dare, you could even attempt giving masturbation a time-out. Think of it as an experiment to see how letting go of your long-ingrained habits will change you.
Use your excess energy for new endeavors.
There’s a classic Seinfeld episode called “The Abstinence” in which George’s girlfriend has mono so they can’t have sex for six weeks. Rather than despair, George dives headfirst into celibacy and soon realizes it makes him smarter. He even learns Portuguese – which helps him get laid later. Let this be a lesson. Sexual energy is just creative energy. What might you accomplish or make with all that good juju flowing through you?
Tap into your sensual side.
Sex is best when you’re fully present and mindful about the sensations you’re experiencing. While you’re on a sex hiatus, focus on sensuality by asking yourself: what feels good? Notice the sunshine on your face when you go out for a walk, the hot water on your skin in the shower, the luxuriousness of sleeping on clean sheets, the indulgence of a mouthful of whipped cream. By noticing and being grateful for these everyday delights, you're preparing yourself to fully enjoy the most pleasurable experience known to humankind.
Reframe how you see women.
If your primary motivation for interacting with the opposite sex has been, well, sex, celibacy could reveal women in a whole new light. Though you can’t connect in person right now, maybe you can establish or cement a (gasp!) friendship with a woman online. Or you could get to know your female relatives better. Try reading books or watching Ted Talks by influential women. Learn about female anatomy so you can better please women when you do get back on the, um, horse.
Think about what you really want.
Quarantine means plenty of time for self-analysis. Now’s the time to ask yourself: How has your sex life been thus far? What were your best experiences? What were your worst? What kind of sex would you like to have more of? What kind of sex leaves you feeling depleted rather than satisfied? Dare we suggest you journal some of these thoughts? You might be surprised at the insights that surface.
Remember that restraint will make your next sexual experience even better.
When you don’t eat for an extended period of time, your taste buds get turned up to 11 and you have a new appreciation of the flavors of your food. In the same way, when you take a break from sex, you can rest assured that your next experience will be that much more intense. By having a mind-blowing roll in the hay to look forward to, the lonely days ahead should be more bearable.
Rather than seeing this unplanned celibate period as a punishment from the pleasure gods, look for the learning opportunity in your newly chaste life. Pour the energy you used to use for pursuing sex into things that really matter to you, whether that’s making art, forming closer bonds with friends and family (virtually, of course), or doing good in the world through a volunteer project or donation. You have the rest of your life to have sex, and trust us, you will get laid again. For now, figure out how to best use your time to better yourself – and maybe, just maybe, you’ll become someone who women will want to get close to (and down and dirty with) when this whole pandemic passes.