See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
==================================== The Celibate FAQ Version 1.7 ==================================== "I ask myself, 'Where does lust come from? Is it something to yield to or be overcome?'" -"Bluer than Midnight", The The "We commonly speak of the sex 'drive', as if it, like hunger, must be satisfied, or a person will die. Yet there is no evidence that celibacy is in any way damaging to one's health, and it is clear that many celibates lead long, happy lives. Celibacy should be recognised as a valid alternative sexual lifestyle, although probably not everyone is suited to it." -J. S. Hyde, Understanding Human Sexuality, 1986 "Celibacy is hereditary. If your parents didn't have sex, the chances are you won't have sex." -Anonymous "The position is undignified, the expense ruinous and the pleasure only momentary." -The Duke of Wellington "Shopping is better than sex. If you're not satisfied after shopping you can make an exchange for something you really like." -Adrienne Gusoff Contents: 0: Where does this document come from? 1: What kind of people are celibate? 2: Is there really a celibate viewpoint? 3: Let's hear some other opinions! 4: How can you tell people you are celibate? 5: What are the advantages of celibacy? 6: What are the disadvantages? 7: Who are the celebrity celibates? 8: Alternatives to sex? 9: Let's talk about sticky stuff 10: Celibate booklist 11: Other Resources 12: Conclusion 0: Where does this document come from? This FAQ is the work of Martin Poulter, M.L.Poulter@bristol.ac.uk . It is posted by him to relevant newsgroups on a monthly basis. It is available on the Web at http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plmlp/celibate.html . It was created in response to the lack of celibate stuff (outside religious contexts) on the internet, and in response to the 'net's anti-celibate (to say the least) bias. I need material for this FAQ. Please send me: Pointers to magazine articles on celibacy Quotes from the famous about celibacy Observations on celibacy from your own life Pointers to discussion forums where celibacy is a topic Names of famous celibates (cite your evidence, please) Celibate merchandise(?!) (What we're on the look out for at the moment is some sort of ear ring or badge that will indicate our celibate status and so save us from being targetted by lecherous people at parties etc.) 1: What kind of people are celibate? A celibate is someone who voluntarily abstains from sex. If you are *involuntarily* celibate, there is a useful web page for you at http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/~ad097/ic-home.html (but keep reading anyway!). Often when someone makes a conscious decision to be celibate, there is a religious motive, but there are several other possible reasons. There are single people who believe that sex should only happen within marriage. This might be due to religious belief, or due to a need for security. The next category is that of monks, nuns, priests and religious people for whom celibacy is a part of a spiritual path. There are victims of sexual abuse, for whom sex is too much of an emotionally loaded thing. There are people who regard sex as simply not worth the hassle, often because they have happen to have low sex drives. Included in this category are people who are happy to go on dates, have emotional relationships and even marry, but who don't have sex. In some parts of the US, this kind of relationship is known as the "Lover Lite", or "Platonic Plus". As concerns grow over AIDS and as women feel more confident to say "no" to sex, this category is on the increase (see quote below). The numbers of people with a low basic interest in sex are much higher than you would think, probably because of the social pressure not to admit to it. In a survey of women in the UK in 1999, nearly 20% claimed not to be interested in sex. A large survey published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) using data collected in 1992 reported that 15% of men aged 18-59, and 30% of women have a low sex drive (Source: JAMA, February 10, 1999- Vol. 281, No. 6. Online at: http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v281n6/full/joc80785.html See also the Salon Magazine article at http://www.salonmagazine.com/health/sex/urge/1999/11/23/sexdrive/ ) Some people who are actually very sexual by nature go on deliberate temporary "fasts", on the premise that rarity makes the act more valuable. There are extreme feminists who regard all sex as rape and who see celibacy as an expression of independence and autonomy. It has come to the attention of this writer that there are certain men who call themselves 'celibate' just because they can't get a partner at the moment. These men are "lads" pretending to be "new men". Get out of the pool, wimps! In summary, there are two general reasons for voluntary celibacy. There are negative reasons, including disillusionment with sex, lack of sex drive or medical or emotional problems. There are also positive reasons, including honesty (many people will acknowledge that sex and bulls**t are difficult to separate), stronger and less casual relationships, spiritual reward or the prospect of channeling one's hormonal energies into higher experiences. The popular belief that people only give up sex because they are repressed or have some sort of deep problem is an unfortunate prejudice. My own experience and my contact with dozens of other celibates has shown celibates to be a far more happy and settled bunch than this prejudice would lead you to expect. The following comes from "The girls of Gen X" by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, American Enterprise, 1 January 1998: According to psychologist Joanna Gutmann, a counselor at the University of Chicago, asexual couplings are increasingly common. Gen X men and women may share beds without ever having sex, or they may start out in a sexual relationship and then eventually shift to a comfy, asexual living-together relationship for the sake of companionship and convenience. Passionate, romantic love between young men and women is increasingly rare, says Gutmann. 2: Is there really a celibate viewpoint? Western society is pervasively heterosexual. The images presented to us convey the message that the quality of a man's life is very much dependent on the quality of the woman he gets to mate with, and vice versa. Being celibate, like being gay or lesbian, requires you to step outside of this conditioning. One also has to face the pervasive folklore that people only choose celibacy because there is something wrong with them, or because they view sex as "dirty". To express oneself as a celibate is thus to score a huge victory over peer pressure. Hence while some people use celibacy to fit in to a social group (usually in religious contexts), others use it as an ultimate expression of individuality and independence. Sexual abstinence is interesting as an issue because it is an issue which cuts across normal boundaries: extreme feminists find themselves agreeing with religious zealots. A link between celibacy and eccentricity is suggested by David Weeks' and Jamie James' book "Eccentrics: A Study of Sanity and Strangeness". "Eccentrics are usually friendly people, glad to share their hobbyhorses with anyone who is interested, but they tend to be solitary by nature and sometimes find it difficult to be intimate with other people. Nonetheless, most of them do cherish romance when and if it comes along, and fall head over heels in love, but when the initial enthusiasm wanes, they have a hard time sustaining the relationship. We also found that a rather large number of modern eccen- trics seem to have no particular interest in sex. Loners such as Anita, the artist, have chosen celibacy and seem to be genuinely contented with that way of life." 3: Let's hear some other opinions! The following are extracts from my page of first-hand accounts of sexual abstinence, at http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plmlp/celifirst.html . The full accounts make very interesting reading. "I also have to deal with the assumptions of other people when I mention my particular orientation. Because it hurts, people assume I must be psychologically damaged. Sorry, it hurts in the same way that putting my hand on a lit stove burner hurts. Just a physical pain folks. Nothing to panic about as long as we avoid that which causes it. They want me to seek therapy. For what? If the urges were there I would get *medical* help for the pain. But they're not. I suppose I could take hormone therapy for the urges, but good lord, my middle-aged friends can't get dates and want them desperately. I want to be like them?!" "Sex is terribly overrated. It is more banal than many people are willing to admit. The "solution", the "cure", for that banality for some people is to keep switching partners to find that "honeymoon" feeling again-over and over. This strikes me as immoral, dangerous and a sad attempt to find in sex what was never there to begin with." "I see a tremendous preoccupation that this society has with sex. It is everywhere, in advertising etc. As a society we put so much energy into this. I may be in a minority, but it seems like such a waste, actually kind of boring. All to what end? A temporary pleasure that is gone after a few minutes. There must be more meaningful ways to connect with each other. I would like to work on building stronger friendships." "Socially....ironically...I am able to approach beautiful women much more freely cause I simply don't have an agenda. I also will put myself in social circumstances that normally I would want to avoid....frankly because the transmutation of sexual energy gives me more courage to do so." "It is a tremendous freedom not to ride the love/sex roller coaster - I have very serious career goals that takes alot of energy, concentration and time. The last thing I want to do is spend my spare time listening to some half-wit in a bar rambling on about blahblahsexblahblahbestblahmyplaceblahblah --YUK!" 4: How can you tell people you are celibate? "I am not of an erotic disposition." "I am not a member of the carnal union." "I'm not in the vagina business." (line from the film "Peter's Friends") "I do not intend to unleash my juices." "I really really like you- I just don't want to get up to any porky pump-action with you." 5: How can I help my local celibate? In the battle for acceptance in modern western society, homosexuals have had to cope with the folk belief that they all want to change their sex, or that they are all pedophiles who want to "convert" young children. Similarly, transvestites have had to cope with the mistaken assumption that they are all homosexual, and attitudes to sadomasochism have been coloured by a belief that its practitioners are all potential rapists. While there is no persecution of celibates that compares to the treatment that the above minorities have had to face, there are still prejudices that form in peoples' minds due to the fact that the majority of voluntary celibates are silent, so that the only examples of celibacy that people hear about are in the context of devout religion or emotional repression. We celibates as a whole would be very glad if others would free themselves of the following prejudices. (You may also like to know that, according to a Mr. G. Clinton, once you free your mind, your ass will follow). * Perhaps the most inconvenient folk belief is that, if you are not driven by lust, you must lack other emotions as well. So it is that people decide that their celibate friend must be incapable of love or affection, or does not have fun in other ways. This is bizarre from the celibate perspective, because many of us are using it to enrich our emotional lives by channelling that energy into other experiences. * In some cases, people have responded to hearing that someone is a celibate by recommending a doctor or a psychiatrist. This is a BIG mistake: people need to go to a doctor when they are unwell, NOT when they are unusual or different. * As we have seen, some people are celibate because they want a particular kind of relationship, while others are pleased to be entirely solitary. If you have a friend who is a celibate and not in a relationship, it is a good idea to find out which kind they are. The ones who are happy to be solitary will not be grateful if, out of pity, you try to matchmake them with someone. The ones who are only giving up sex might be also feel left out if everyone around them assumes that they are not into intimacy at all. * When someone tells you that they are celibate, they are not offering to tell you absolutely everything personal about themselves. It might not be a good idea to immediately ask, "So do you masturbate a heck of a lot then?" (The answer, actually, is that some celibates do and some don't. What difference does it make to you?) * Statistics prove that sexual activity makes you very careless with money. If you're a non-celibate and you have any spare money, it would be wise to put it in safe hands by giving it to your nearest celibate. Just go up to them and slap the banknotes into their hand: they will understand. (Well that probably hasn't convinced you, but it was worth a try). 6: What are the advantages of celibacy? A whole load of worries are taken off your mind. You don't even have to think about contraception, venereal disease, physical compatibility, who sleeps on the wet patch, impotence, frigidity, bizarre sexual injuries, whether to swallow, whether your partner is good in bed, sexual fidelity, how to stop the bed from creaking, shave or not shave, wash or not wash, whether you know enough positions, orgasm faking, whether to experiment or which flavour of condom to choose. This must surely free up several cubic inches of brain tissue. The enormous amount of time and effort that other people expend in order to get laid is freed up for other things. No more hanging around in sweaty nightclubs. No more searching through 'lifestyle magazine' articles for the latest and cleverest way to pick someone up. No more garotting your body with tight underwear. No more worry about whether you are adequately filling out your bra/shorts. No longer will you go to a dull party just because there's someone there that you fancy. People you talk to will know that you're not interested in them for their body. If you don't have sex, you can't have any Sexual Disasters. None of those embarrassing moments like when you just can't undo her bra, or when you can't get out of your bondage gear, or when you knock over the bedside table, or when your parents come home earlier than you expected, or when you realise that your partner is in fact amazingly ugly, or when you smear them all over with peanut butter and them remember that you don't like peanut butter, or when you wake up the next morning and you've forgotten their name, or their gender. You will save money. How much money you save depends on how you were getting your sex in the first place. Nobody will be able to blackmail you with photographs of you in flagrante delicto. James Bond would be more effective if he were celibate, because then attractive enemy agents would not be able to seduce and capture him. I don't believe in God myself, but there are a lot of folks out there who think that God will look on you more favourably if you are celibate, or if you avoid recreational sex. Remember "Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate."? Seriously though, celibacy may contribute to a greater peacefulness and spirituality if undertaken in the right context. Celibacy significantly decreases your chances of becoming pregnant. That is, unless you're a man. You have a reserve of energy that you can expend on other things. Life will come into a more sensible perspective when it isn't dominated by the search for a mate. If you spontaneously combust, you don't take anyone with you. 7: What are the disadvantages? You don't get any sex. Cliff Richard is your role model. 8: Speaking of which, who are the celebrity celibates? The Pope... okay, I'm not going to mention the religious ones. Stephen Fry, the British actor, comedian, writer, critic, novelist and taxi driver, was the UK's most prominent and vocal celibate for several years, although he has since rediscovered the alleged joys of wanton carnality. Isaac Newton, the mathematician and scientist (said by some to be the greatest scientist ever), was a virgin all his life. He was also very unpopular. Let us move on. Cliff "no soul" Richard, purveyor of family-acceptable and totally non-threatening pop tunes, is one of the most vocal celibates of modern times. It may well be this fact which has held back the cause of open celibacy. Cosmopolitan agony aunt Irma Kurtz has been a celibate for years and years with no regrets. Perhaps a Cosmo reader can fill me in with some more specifics. Simone Weil was one of the best known European political thinkers of the 20th Century and, as far as anybody knows, a lifelong celibate. Also rumoured to be a lifelong celibate was the Dutch philosopher and theologian Baruch Spinoza. Dr. Temple Grandin, the American academic whose empathy with animals has led to her being a highly successful designer of humane animal management systems, is a voluntary celibate. The reasons are too complex to go into here, but those interested can read the final chapter of Oliver Sacks' "An Anthropologist on Mars". Stevie Smith, poet and novelist, was celibate all her life, after sampling and rejecting romance and sex in her youth. She was fiercely critical of those who thought that her life must be emotionally impoverished by not having sexual relationships anymore, emphasizing the depth of her friendships, especially her bond with the aunt with whom she lived. Pitt the Younger, legendary British Prime Minister, is generally agreed by historians to have died a virgin. Nikolai Tesla, who developed the system of alternating electrical current that is the standard nowadays worldwide, was a self-proclaimed celibate. Carole Channing, the Broadway musical star of "Hello Dolly" fame was celibate in her marriage to Charles Lowe for 41 years. Morrissey, the British singer and former member of the Smiths, was openly celibate for several years. G. H. Hardy, twentieth century English mathematician who made ample contributions in number theory and who co-authored the famous Hardy-Weinberg law of population genetics. He was also the mentor of legendary prodigy Srinivasa Ramanujan (who was probably also a life-long celibate). Paul Erdos, the most prolific mathematician in history, having participated in more then 20,000 papers. He was born in Hungary but never held a home or a job, relying instead on the hospitality of other mathematicians with whom he collaborated and on the money he received for conferences. See _The Man Who Loved Only Numbers_, by Paul Hoffman (Hyperion, 1998). Antonio Gaudi, the spanish architect most famous for the Segrada Familia in Barcelona, is said to never have had sex. Alan Christie Wilson of the blues-rock group Canned Heat was a voluntary celibate in the later part of his life, according to his authorised biographer Krisna Radha. The reasons seem to be a mix of medical, spiritual and issues from childhood. "Divorced novelist Beryl Bainbridge revealed that she gave up men because, when she was 56, she felt having a physical relationship with a man was 'no longer dignified', and anyway her life was far too full of other things like writing, children and friends." - quote from a Daily Mail article by Jenny Nisbet (approx.) 1st December 1998. 9: Alternatives to Sex To be serious, there is a big disadvantage of celibacy that has to be watched out for: people look to sex for that sense of doing something *different* or forbidden; the adrenalin rush; the feeling of being *naughty*. To have an ongoing celibate lifestyle you have to find some reliable way to create that feeling. Dancing, yoga or dangerous sports all qualify in being physical and exhilarating. A less obvious possibility is a once a month gut-blowout with cocktails and fudge sundaes. Don't just eat: *feast!* (and remember to do some dangerous sports afterwards to work off the calories) Anything which breaks you temporarily out of your routine and makes you feel alive is a good idea. Another example is having a ridiculously long bath, wrapping yourself up in a towel, putting on some loud music (I recommend "The Big Sky" by Kate Bush or "Cherry" by Curve) and jumping about. Drinking extra-spicy Bloody Marys is, apparently, another way to do this. Modern culture often expects us to make everything that we do in public into a dull routine, and then use sex and intimacy to break up that routine. We need to see through the falsehood that only sex can provide that exhilaration or aliveness. Another priority is to make sure that you keep physical contact with people. Having to respect everybody's personal space without exception can be surprisingly emotionally wearing, and the celibates of my acquaintance often bring this up as the major disadvantage of their situation. Again, there is a social expectation that, if you want to touch someone a lot, you want to have sex with them (and conversely, that if you do not want sex, then you not want to touch at all). How to make sure that keep some sort of intimacy? That's the big question and I don't pretend to be an expert, but here's a common-sense point to bear in mind: everybody needs some affectionate touching (well, I'm skeptical of those who say they don't, having heard from so many people who live asexually without any regret but who still crave tactile affection). Hence you're not doing an outrageous thing, and perhaps something very good, by going up to someone and giving them a hug, so long as they know you well enough to understand its meaning. 10: Let's talk about sticky stuff Sooner or later, any discussion of celibacy turns to the question of how you deal with basic biological needs. This is an area where the difference between religious and secular celibates is most severe. Concern particularly centers on male celibates: how long can they avoid... err... you know... without exploding from build-up of... stuff? I'm not aware of any studies on this issue, but I can say to such questioners that regular... umm... thingy is not essential to health in the way they might think. While it has been claimed by some (famously the pseudoscientist Wilhelm Reich) that sex is essential to mental and/or physical health, there is no substantial evidence to back this up, and plenty of celibates who are of obviously sound mind and body. One of my male correspondents reports abstaining from sex *and* from... that thing for eight years and seems very happy. Part of the reason why celibacy seems so odd in modern western culture may be to do with this culture's view of sex as nothing more than a way of answering a biological need: it may seem arbitrary to answer your needs in one way as opposed to another. If, on the other hand, you recognise that sex is not just a biological act but a very complex interaction with all sorts of psychological, economic, medical or social consequences, then it is no contradiction to refrain from sex but not from... umm.... stickyness. 11: Celibate Booklist Yes indeed, these books are celibate. No matter how long you spend reading them, they will not attempt to have sex with other books. Seriously, though, this is a selection of books which, as far as I can tell from bookseller's lists and personal recommendations, deal with celibacy in a secular context. One-paragraph summaries of these books would be very welcome. There is a list of books which are relevant to Christian celibacy and its associated lifestyle at < http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/5953/#booklist >. There is a huge literature on priestly celibacy which I have decided to omit: a search on celibacy on a site such as the Internet Book Shop < http://www.bookshop.co.uk/ > or Amazon < http://www.amazon.com/ > is a good way to find these. Some of these books have been reviewed by internet celibates. To give an idea of our reaction, I will use that following rating system: A frown :( means that the book is not likely to be relevant. A smiley :) means that some parts of the book will be of interest. Double smiley :) :) means that the book is recommended. These are ratings of the relevance of the books to adult, voluntary, usually secular celibates, not ratings of their literary merit. Gabrielle Brown (1976), The New Celibacy : Why More Men and Women Are Abstaining from Sex--And Enjoying It; McGraw-Hill :) :) Sally Cline (1993), Women, Celibacy and Passion; Deutsch. ISBN: 0233988041 :) :) Carole Marsh (????), 50 Ways and 50 Reasons You Can Abstain from Sex--And Why AIDS Will Make You 100% Glad You Did, Kid!; Gallopade. :( (aimed at teenagers) Patti Putnicki (1994), Celibacy Is Better Than Really Bad Sex: And Other Rules for Singlewomen; Corkscrew. ISBN: 094404235X :( Joan Avna and Diana Waltz (1994), Celibate Wives : Breaking the Silence; Lowell House. ISBN: 1565651227 :) Barbara Moe (1995), Everything You Need to Know About Sexual Abstinence (Need to Know Library); Rosen Publishing Group. ISBN: 0823921042 :( (aimed at teenagers) Kristine Napier (1996), The Power of Abstinence : How Parents Can Help Teens Postpone Sexual Activity & Achieve Emotional Security, Maximum Self-Esteem, and Stay Healthy; Avon Books. ISBN: 0380783711 :( Dwight Lee Wolter (1992), Sex & Celibacy : Establishing Balance in Intimate Relationships Through Temporary Sexual Abstinence; Fairview. ISBN: 0925190535 :) :) Rolf Zettersten (1995), Sex, Lies & the Truth : A Message from Focus on the Family; Tyndale House. ISBN: 0842317309 :( (aimed at teenagers) Netha L. Thacker and Kathleen Rae Miner (1996), Abstinence : Health Facts; Etr Assoc. ISBN: 1560715022 :) (aimed at teachers, explaining abstinence to students, but presents abstinence as more than just a teenage issue) Eleanor Ayer (1997), Its Ok to Say No : Choosing Sexual Abstinence; Rosen Publishing Group. ISBN: 0823922502 Pamela Pettler, Amy Heckerling and Jack Ziegler (1990), The No-Sex Handbook; Warner. ISBN: 0446390542 David R. Eyler and Andrea P. Baridon (1991), More than Friends: Less than Lovers: Managing Sexual Attraction in Working Relationships.; Jeremy P. Thatcher, Inc. ISBN 0-87477-651-1 :) ANSLIM (1992), Beyond Sexuality; Phoenix Press To order: send #4.50 (plus 1 pound for p&p within UK) to A K Press, PO Box 12766, Edinburgh, EH8 9YE :) (Covers many alternatives to normal sexuality) A. W Richard Sipe (1996), Celibacy : A Way of Loving, Living, and Serving; Triumph. ISBN: 0892438746 (This one seems to be primarily from a Christian point of view, but I include it here because it seems to be particularly wide-ranging). Liz Hodgkinson (1986), Sex is Not Compulsory : giving up sex for better health and greater happiness; Columbus. ISBN: 0862872294 :) :) John Hoyland (ed) (1993), Bad Sex; Serpent's Tail. ISBN 1852423072 (a collection of short stories) Rosemary Curb and Nancy Manahan (Ed.) (1993) Breaking Silence : Lesbian Nuns on Convent Sexuality: Women's Press :) Regena English (1998), Leather Spinsters and their degrees of asexuality; St. Mary publishing company. (A "Leather Spinster" is a happily unmarried woman.) See the book's promotional web site: http://www.leatherspinsters.com/ . They run a leather spinsters' e-mail newsletter with thousands of subscribers. :) :) Rae Andre (1991) Positive Solitude: A Practical Program for Mastering Loneliness and Achieving Self-Fulfillment: Harper :) :) Elizabeth Abbott (1999) A History of Celibacy: HarperCollins :) :) Donna Marie Williams (1999) Sensual Celibacy: The Sexy Woman's Guide to Using Abstinence for Recharging Your Spirit Discovering Your Passions and Achieving Greater Intimacy in Your Next Relationship: Simon & Schuster/Fireside :) There is a facility to see more details on these books and to order them over the 'net on the Web version of this FAQ, at http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plmlp/celibate.html 12: Other Resources There is now a celibate e-mail list! To join, send email to email@example.com and on the Subject: line, put "subscribe" There is now a web page for celibate personal ads! There are a lot of adverts there, although some of the entries seem to be from people who don't understand the word "celibate". Go to http://www.laslett.com/singles/lists.htm An archive of short first-hand accounts from the Internet and mainstream media is at http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plmlp/celifirst.html If you find this Celibate FAQ useful, then I *very strongly recommend* you visit a similar effort by a group of Russian celibates: the Antisex FAQ. I don't agree with eveything they say - for instance, the idea of being "anti-sex" rather than "pro-celibate" seems a bit strong - but their emphasis is on reasoned argument and they apply a lot of good common sense. http://www.ktk.ru/~cm/go.htm Another strongly recommended link - very easy reading as well - is W. Eric Martin's article in Healthy Sexuality webzine: http://www.bewell.com/healthy/sexuality/1999/celibacy/index.asp Sexuality Bytes have a nice essay on celibacy, which is similar to parts of this FAQ, but better written. Sexuality Bytes has now been incorporated into the Feelgood site, which at the moment is only accessible if you are on the Microsoft Network. Go to http://www.msn.com.au/ , select Feelgood, then "Advice & Info". It is informative to contrast the sunny optimism of the celibates quoted on my pages with the dark mood of the Sexual Compulsives Anonymous page at http://www.sca-recovery.org/ ! There is a very poetic (in both good and bad senses) essay on the advantages of celibate life in the Hungry Mind Review, at http://www.bookwire.com/HMR/Review/norris2.html Issue 12 of Bi Community News has a report from a "Bisexuality and Celibacy" workshop. That's on the web at http://bi.org/~bcn/issue12/celib.html One paragraph in particular is worth reproducing here: "Celibacy is not, as is often assumed, an attempt to put a brave face on the fact that nobody wants to sleep with you: it's not an indication that one is asexual or incapable of relating to other people. It's a valid choice whether for life or for a week, and it's a potentially subversive one at that. In different ways from polyamory or bisexuality itself, it challenges the social norm that everyone needs to be partnered with a member of the opposite sex and sexually active to be a valuable member of society." Derek J. Wojciech's Virginity FAQ gives a succession of arguments for virginity and sexual abstinence, at least until marriage. That's at http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Park/6461/vfaqhtml.html A long list of books, links, quotes and observations for Christian celibates is presented at http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/5953/ . It confronts some Sticky issues, and relates the celibate lifestyle to other lifestyle choices, such as nonviolence. Laying the humour on thick are the Asexual Coalition. Their "protest against dating" has prompted some brief but interesting entries in their guestbook. "We have nothing against the opposite sex, we just think that dating them is a lot of work and costs too much to warrant any usefulness." They are at http://members.tripod.com/~asexual/ An essay on celibacy and its spiritual significance from the Tantra/Yoga perspective is at http://www.hmt.com/kundalini/yoking.html Another recommended resource for Christian celibates is at http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Andes/3501/ Teri Lester's "Healthy Love" is a page written in a question-and- answer format to promote pre-marital abstinence. It confronts seriously and realistically the issues around celibacy. http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7783/healthy_love.htm Given the years I have spent studying philosophy, I was still surprised to see that someone, namely one Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr., has written an essay on the "Philosophy of Arousal", subtitled "What I wish I had been told about sex when I was young". This discusses the nature of sexual arousal and the social and ethical issues arising from it. http://www.vgernet.net/diogenes/arouse.html Mindy Hung's article "waiting to be unzipped" expresses her thoughts on being a 24-year-old graduate student and still a virgin. Her celibacy is not voluntary, but her article sums up the prejudices that celibates encounter and has a fine dose of humour. http://www.salonmagazine.com/it/col/guest/1998/11/04guest.html Elizabeth Abbott's article in the Toronto Globe and Mail on "The New Celibacy" is a taster for her book "A History of Celibacy" (see above). http://www.fact.on.ca/Newpaper/gm99030j.htm 13: Conclusion If you have a high sex drive, celibacy can be hell. If you have a low sex drive, celibacy is actually a good idea. Then again, some would say that the more effort it takes to achieve abstinence, the more rewarding it is when you manage. People whose brains obey their crotches have a loud voice in western society, which makes celibacy seem an unusual and abnormal thing. People who are celibate don't normally feel the need to tell the world about it: this resulting low profile makes it more difficult for others to acknowledge celibacy as part of their identity. Analogously, the more public figures are "out" homo- or bisexuals, the more comfortable it is for young people to come out. This document is one small blow in the necessary fight to give open celibacy a higher profile. -- MARTIN L: Postgrad. researching philosophy of belief and Bayesian inductive M POULTER : logic at Bristol Uni., UK. * $665.95 = Retail price of the Beast c Cult Concern FAQ + Soppy Compliments Page + Celibate FAQ + Gifts from "Bob" Q Helena Kobrin Page + Scientology Criticism: http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plmlp/ !