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Advice and Support

Advice and SupportMany of the mainstream agony aunts and advice givers are not at all responsible when giving advice about sex. Many tell youngsters that as long as they use ‘protection’ and feel ready, they are OK to have sex. But it isn’t just youngsters who are being given potentially damaging advice. One well-known agony aunt tells adults that if their partner is not giving them enough sex, they should not tolerate the situation and leave such an ‘unloving’ situation. Indeed, many agony aunts are still confusing the concepts of love and sex.

Write to us at Celibrate and you can be assured of a responsible reply. We will never suggest that you need a counsellor just because you don’t want sex. Have a problem or concern? Let us know, and we will do our best to help. Write to us here. We’ll answer as many as we can here, and we will only use your first name or preferred name, so complete confidentiality is assured.

Some recent requests for advice are answered here by Dee. Armed with a degree in psychology and a heart for fellow-celibates, she is well equipped to answer all of your questions and would love to hear from you.

Question:

I am a virgin, 31, and female. I have never been on a date nor asked to go on one. I have barely had even a kiss but it was a looong time ago around age 15. I was forced to give oral sex to a classmate at 16 and that is the only sexual contact I have ever had with anyone. I am uncomfortable with people touching me and only will see female doctors. Anyway, I suffer from depression, anxiety, extreme fear of males and sex. I have been in therapy and unfortunately it is not helping with this issue. I am shy and quiet. How do I know if a life of celibacy is even for me?? I go back and forth between having sexual desires and being afraid, disgusted, and discouraged to try. Sigh. I want to accept a life of celibacy because frankly, I do not think I have strength enough to get over my emotional issues AND pursue a real life relationship (something I have never done before). Any advice you can offer would be great. Honey


Answer:

Thank you for your brave and frank email. What a shocking experience you had when you were so young. I imagine that this experience may have triggered your fear of intimacy, which is testimony to the fact that early experiences, especially traumatic ones, can indeed have an effect on our whole lives. I am sorry that therapy hasn't worked, but this does not mean that things will not or cannot change. I would like to ask you something. Do you WANT sex? I ask because some people - both those who have suffered traumatic experiences and those who haven't - often think that they want sex because they somehow feel that they 'should' want it. Others think that they want it when in actual fact they simply don't want to be alone, or they want to share their life with someone or to be loved. Right now, you are focussing so much attention on how your fears, anxiety and past experience might have damaged you forever, that you are perhaps forgetting that your life CAN be fulfilling and happy without intimacy. It doesn't mean that you have given up and that you're settling for second best. I speak to many people who have had issues in the past and who fight against their demons for so long, that they've forgotten how to live in the moment. Once you stop fighting, and try to enjoy the moment, trying not to worry about the past or the future, then you might find that you feel a sense of peace. I know from personal experience that this is difficult, but I can guarantee that it's worthwhile. You ask if celibacy is for you and insinuate that finding a relationship and having sex would be too much of an effort. So why try so hard? Instead, make a commitment to love yourself, to be good to yourself, and to do things that bring you fulfillment without the burden of it being a chore or something which makes you fearful. Then, you might just find that the depression and anxiety lift too.

Question:

I am so glad I found this site. It really helps to find support and advice from other people in the same situation! I have read through the answers in "Advice and Support" and I have a question, even if some of the answers already helped me. I am 24 years old and I have been a Catholic since I was 12 years old. I have never had sex or never "touched myself". I want to remain celibate. At least until I find the man of my dreams and after our marriage. My problem is, I have a increasing lust after sex that seems to get higher and higher!! I know it's natural but the last years have been terrible when the temptation comes. I get more and more aroused and it takes alot of energy and time to "cool down". It also gives me alot of frustration and sometimes I just want to scream :(. I have tried the normal advices in running, praying and cold showers but it seems like my body is really craving sex. I have heard that if you start touching yourself, it's hard to stop, that's one of the reasons I don't want to go with that option. There must be a lot of others in my situation, that's why I hope for advice and support. Becky


Answer:

I'm so sorry that you are having such a hard time with what appears to be a high sex drive. It's wonderful that you have managed not only to abstain from sex, but also from any form of self gratification, especially since you have such a high drive. I applaud you for that, and what an inspiration you are to others who are struggling and maybe not doing so well. It sounds as though you have tried many different ways in which to distract yourself, all of which are good, but appear not to be working very well. I wonder if there are any particular times in which you feel susceptible to these feelings? Is it a particular time of the month, or when faced with a particular temptation, or having seen or heard something, for example, or when in a particular place or room, or with certain friends? These questions will help you to at least look at possible causes or triggers, so that they can either be avoided or dealt with. If however, it is the case that this is happening all the time and with no particular trigger, I fear that there might be no easy answer, other than to keep using methods of distraction - exercise, enjoyable hobbies, mixing with the right kind of friends who will encourage and uplift you, and general doing things which will take your mind away from anything sexual. I hesitate in suggesting advice from a doctor, because most practice doctors are not qualified in this area and you might well end up with a pill or potion which has unpleasant side effects. There is a natural remedy you could try, however. Many people swear by chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus). It is a herb which is also known as “monk’s pepper” and was purportedly used to dampen libido in the Middle Ages. You can get it from most good health food stores.

Question:

I first want to say how much I appreciate all the information and advice you have provided us with because it's given me a better perspective of my sexual state. I am a 20 year old virgin who is pretty much occupied with studies and I have no plans of finding someone until I finish my studies. I have been advised several times by my parents that relationships and studies do not go well together. I tend to feel awkward when people at work start talking about their sex lives which usually results in me having to lie about my virginity because virgins aren't valued as much in this 21st century. I grew up with a fear that having sex automatically means getting a STD but I have come over that fear and by promising myself that whenever I meet someone special I will make sure that he is tested first if he isn't a virgin.I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to address this issue to my future partner because it is still a puzzle which I haven't been able to solve. How long would I have to wait before asking my non-virgin partner to get tested? I assume that my future partner will not be a virgin because in this world we are living it is really hard to find male virgins which is very disappointing as I would prefer my perfect man to be a virgin :-) Jay


Answer:

You are incredibly wise - not only in terms of putting your studies (and therefore your future) above any kind of temptation, but also because you are concerned about STIs. You are right to be concerned. STIs are rife now, and contrary to popular belief, condoms aren't always effective, especially if user failure is apparent. In fact, they aren't effective at all in the case of some STIs, such as chlamydia, which can leave women infertile. Whilst insisting that your first partner is tested before you commence a sexual relationship might sound a bit mechanical and unromantic to some, it is unfortunately something that is a wise choice in this day and age. If the person you decide to have sex with loves you and is worthy of your love, then he will quite understand your reluctance to have sex without that assurance, and he will also want you to be safe and free from harm. As for feeling ashamed of being a virgin, it should be something to feel extremely proud of. Half an hour ago, I was responding to a woman who has met the man of her dreams after many years of having sex with others. She deeply regrets not waiting for him, and being able to give him the best gift a woman can give. Our mailbox is always full of stories of regret. Somehow, I feel that your story will be a happier one!

Question:

I am an eighteen-year-old Jewish girl who, by choice, has never had a boyfriend. I've been asked out before, but have always said no. Though there is nothing greatly wrong with celibacy in Judaism, it is not applauded, either. However, amongst my friends and family there is less indifference. Recently, I realized that what I am is asexual, and nobody can understand this. When I won't describe myself as straight, they assume I am a lesbian, and when I won't describe myself as a lesbian, they assume I'm straight. My family struggles with my asexuality because they can't comprehend the idea of someone not wanting to get married and have kids, but it was just never something I was interested in, and all this is creating a divide between me and everyone I know. Since celibacy and asexuality is so misunderstood, what can I say to them, or how can I make them understand my life choices? Jamie


Answer:

Thank you so much for your brave and open email. I understand you more than you might realise, and know all too well the lack of understanding attached to asexuality. Many people have never even heard of the word, some believe it to be a disorder, and yet others wrongly assume it's a sexual deviancy. Your family might be struggling with the concept because they have made the assumption that you will one day get married and have children. When expectations are shattered, people (and particularly parents) prefer to pretend the situation doesn't exist, or just hope that it will change in time. However, it is your life, your happiness at stake, and why live a life that you really know is not your destiny? As an asexual, you are still capable of having sex, but feeling a sense of compulsion when you know deep down that it's not what you want will inevitably leave you feeling a whole lot worse than simply being misunderstood. My advice is to try to live your life without feeling that you have to have a label. There is so much more to you than your sexuality. If people are nosy enough to ask your sexual preference, tell them that your asexual, and use it as a fabulous opportunity to educate them on what asexuality is, and the advantages it can have over living a life having to struggle with temptation, STIs and relationships based around sex rather than love. If they cannot comprehend your life choices, it's not your problem, but theirs. Be as honest and open as you can when asked, and never fall into the trap of trying to be someone you are not, simply to please others.

Question:

I am 21 years old and I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years. We are both celibate because of his religious views and I support him and always will. Since we have been together since we were 15 years old, it seems like celibacy has helped us grow up together and love eachother for the right reasons. We are and always have been on the same page with everything in our lives, especially with what we want in the long run. We know for a fact we will marry eachother one day because there's no one better for us but eachother. Last year, he proposed to me. We know its going to be a long proposal because were not the type of people who rush into things and we want to do everything the right way. Two nights ago, he told me he didn\'t mind having sex because he knows we are going to be together forever. I feel the same way. I want to have sex too. We talked about it and we both don't feel guilty for wanting it. I feel confused because when we first started dating, he is the one who gave me the knowledge and will power for celibacy. I don't want to feel like we have given up on our goal if we do it and I want to wait until marrage to make it special and give us something to look foreward to after marrage. But I also fear that if we get married, I don\'t want sex to be so taboo to us that it changes our relationship. I need advice on whether its ok to do it because we have been together so long and we know were only going to be with eachother forever or if we should go ahead and find the power to wait and know that we can accomplish anything together. Joanna


Answer:

I have a sneaky suspicion that you already know the answer to your own question, especially given your last sentence. 'The power to wait and to know that we can accomplish anything together' - how incredible is that! I also feel sure that you will regret it if you give in to temptation now, after having waited so long. The decision you take now will be a part of your lifelong story and your irreversible history. Of course, you might well be together forever regardless, but nothing can be more special than having waited for each other until marriage, to be able to look back and to say, 'we did it!' and to tell any future children and grandchildren that 'waiting IS possible because we did it, in an oversexualised society, too.' If you knew how many people email us to say how much they regret not having waited for marriage, you will be 100% sure of your decision. Take a look at your email, read between the lines, and you will see that you already know the answer - you're just looking for some reassurance.

Question:

Hi, I have always decided that I want to be celibate partly due to my faith as well as conquering my fear that if withdraw sex from my partner our relationship wont last. My boyfriend and I have been intimate for 2 years and its been a struggle to stand confident on my decision. My boyfriend is trying his best to help me along this journey but quite frankly it was my decision and not his. I love my boyfriend for trying to be there, but I often give in after couple months because I see that he is trying and I feel that i am putting him in a situation to deny his sexual drive for my sake. I feel that it is self sabatoge because I fear that it will a vicious cycle of consistency then giving in, and I dont want my boyfriend "suffering" because of my decision, even though he tries and rarely complains but i just know he is not happy. I feel like walking away from the relationship, but me breaking his heart hurts me so much, because he has been faithful and patient with me. Is it better just to walk away, or hope that we will get us to relationship without sex? I pray and write all the time about my fears and questions. I do feel that I am losing a wonderful friend, partner and love, if I walk this journey of celibacy. Why do I feel like I am losing more than I am gaining bu being celibate? Help please. Jacynth


Answer:

How wonderful that you have a boyfriend that is so supportive. He clearly loves you enough to want the best for you, and it is obvious from your email that you want the best for him, too. My feeling is that you are struggling with an inner battle with your faith and fear on one side, and with your wanting to please your boyfriend on the other. It doesn't have to be this way. Had you told me that you or your boyfriend didn't love each other, or that he was being impatient, or that you simply didn't like or want sex, I might have replied differently. However, the truth is that you have a much better future than you can imagine. If faith is your main reason for wanting to stay celibate, then I imagine that you are feeling pretty awful for having sex before marriage. If that is the case, then invest your worry and anxiety into planning your marriage, and stay sexually abstinent until that time, at which point it will have some special significance and meaning because you have both resisted temptation. If fear of relationship failure is your main worry, you need to ask yourself whether this man is the right man for you, and whether you truly want to spend the rest of your life with him (in fact, this should be the first decision you make!). If the answer is 'yes', then once again, I would say, invest the time spent on fear into planning your marriage! It doesn't have to be a lavish or expensive event, and from what I am reading in your email, you love each other very much and tying the knot is likely to give you both peace of mind and contentment.

Question:

I'm 29yrs old and just decided to abstain from sex. I'm tired of having meaningless sex with men and I'm striving to abstain till I meet someone that I will marry. I have so far asked my friends and family for support. The thing is, my sex drive may hit a high peak before I know it. Since I'm new to abstaining since the age of 18, is it OK for me to masturbate or use toys to satisfy my desires? Or will that just make the desires worse? I was also told that I can't listen to certain songs that talk about sex, 'cause that may bring back some kinds of sexual desire also. Not sure what to do and if I may be going about this the wrong way. Thanks in advance! Nia


Answer:

Thank you so much for writing in to us here at Celibrate. First off, congratulations for making such a worthwhile decision, which - unlike uncommitted sex - you will not regret. Abstinence, whilst sometimes difficult at first, will leave you with more self esteem and it will not in itself leave you feeling empty, used or miserable. It's great that you have friends and family who will support you. Now you just need to trust yourself. It's important not to be too strict with yourself at first. Self pleasure and toys are not always ideal, especially not if used excessively, but if this helps to tide you over that first step, then it's so much better than uncommitted sex with someone else. Try not to worry too much about whether your sex drive will ruin your plans. If you don't trust that you will be able to maintain your decision, the best thing you can possibly do is to avoid situations or places which might lead you into temptation, and yes, avoid music which you feel might raise your drive and ruin your plans.

Question:

I am a 26 years old male virgin. I never had girlfriend, sex or even a kiss. I have strong sexual urges but I want to remain a virgin for the rest of my life. I love my single status, but it is not easy because of my sexual desires. How can I live in singleness and still experience fulfillment? Can you help me to find someone who can encourage me ? Andrew


Answer:

First of all, well done for making that decision. It's a tough decision to make but comes with many rewards. In time, your sex drive will decrease. In the meantime, it would be good to avoid situations whereby you will be subjected to temptation. It would also be good if you could find others of a like mind, so that you can support one another in your pledge. We are hoping to launch a meet up facility in the near future, so watch this space! In the meantime, I think that the best advice is to avoid tempting situations, mix with people who will uphold you and not berate you for your decision, and keep active and involved in other pursuits, whether that be sports, reading, studying or whatever non sexual activity keeps your mind occupied and focussed.

Question:

My girlfriend and I enjoy a close, loving relationship. Early on in the relationship we decided that having sexual intercourse would add to our overall experience. We guestimate that having sex and sex related activities amounts to between 5% and 10% of the total percentage of enjoyment we have together. We are now about to embark on a long term relationship and we need your help! How can we regain this 5%-10% enjoment while far away from each other and unable to have sex! Thanks to Skype, we are sure we will be able to enjoy each others company though on opposite suides of the world. However, we will not have physical contact :( As human beings and creatures of habit, i fear we will try to replace what we had with something else. What celibate activities or habits can we nurture to prevent us becoming overcome with unsated lust and having to resort to self abuse, infidelity or the sex trade? John


Answer:

You have assured me that you have a close and loving relationship with your girlfriend, but I wonder how close it is if the glue that is binding it is sex. Many relationships survive distance if yours is grounded in love and commitment to each other, then it will survive the test of time and distance too. However, I can't help but wonder whether you are fully committed to each other, given your worries that distance and a lack of sexual contact might make you stray into the arms of another or, heaven forbid, lead to a dalliance with the sex trade. The fact that you have quantified how much of your relationship is based on sex and the fact that you are willing to go along with the idea that we are 'creatures of habit' rather than people with a moral conscience and a sense of duty to our loved ones, makes me wonder whether the glue that binds your relationship is based more on lust than on love. True love will always stand the test of time and distance, but lust and a preoccupation with sex is doomed to fail. Only you know how much your relationship means to you. If you are as close as you say, then you should not need to worry about such things, since your love for and commitment to your girlfriend will override any urges to destroy what you have. If you seriously feel that you cannot resist your urges whilst away, and if your relationship means that much to you, then you might want to look at ways in which you could move closer together, considering both marriage and possible emigration.

Question:

I have recently turned to God and Christianity, after a difficult year. In August 2009, I separated from my partner of 13 years. We were married for six years and have two children and for most of our time together we shared ourselves sexually on a regular basis. This year, I entered into a new sexual relationship with someone and after three months, the relationship fell apart. At this stage, I am wary of sex in relationships because I feel it can act as a barrier to true friendship and love and may well have been a strong influencing factor in the breakdown of relationships for me. You see, sex for me was, for a long time, more important than true companionship. Sadly I, like many others I know, have grown up believing that no relationship can be fully endorsed without sex. I enjoy sex enormously from a physical point of view, but I know it has caused me to miss out on the bigger picture. Now I feel I need to sit down, reassess my behaviour, my aims and my intentions and really think about how I can improve myself and my chances of achieving a long-lasting loving relationship with a woman without automatically reverting to sex. I am still not entirely sure of the best way forwards. What are your thoughts? Adam


Answer:

Thank you for your well thought out and very open and honest email. It's clear from all that you have said, that you have come to a turning point. Your own experiences have made it clear that sex is not, and has never been, the glue in a relationship. In fact, in your case, as you have pointed out, it might even have contributed its breakdown. It is good that you are self aware enough to question and to want to change certain behavioural patterns. Many don't, and become caught up in a cycle of perpetual loss and meaningless sex, which leaves one feeling empty. The fact that you have such tremendous insight into your own behaviour and thought patterns will inevitably help you in your quest to move forwards and begin the healing process from past hurts. What you need to do now is to learn to live again without any relationship being your focus. You have lost someone you were with for thirteen years of your life, and that can't have been an easy transition to make. But to enter into another relationship so soon means you have had no time to heal and to be able to ascertain whether it's true love, or whether your subconscious craves that companionship, the sex, the need to boost that self esteem after such a blow. The rebound effect can be a strong one. You have put it better than I ever could, in that you have realised that the 'no relationship can be endorsed without sex' message we are sadly accumstomed to in our society is false, wrong, and ultimately damaging. Women in particular want to know that they are loved unconditionally, and from all the men I have spoken to, I believe that deep down, men want the same. Yes, sex may be pleasurable. Yes, it might make you feel alive for a time. But ultimately, companionship and unconditional love usually win hands down. First, you need to learn to love yourself again. Second, you need to discard the emphasis you are placing on a relationship. And third, you need to use your newfound freedom to engage in non sexual pursuits that you might have always wanted to do but never had the time. You have a healthy attitude towards your situation and because of this, more than anything else, I feel sure that things will eventually fall into place for you.

Question:

I have a high sex drive but want to become a Buddhist monk (Therefore have to become celibate). Is it possible to become celibate? Is it a case of mind over matter? Dominic


Answer:

Of course it is possible. In fact, as someone who wants to become a monk, you should be telling me just how possible it is! It is certainly a case of mind over matter. The mind is a very powerful tool and especially since there are so many temptations out there, but of course, it all depends on how much you want to become a monk. If this calling means more to you than sex, then you will find the inner strength and self discipline to resist tempatation, as do many others across the world who have a high sex drive and yet pledge a vow of celibacy. I'm not saying it's easy, but with people around you living a similar lifestyle, you will find encouragement and support which will help and sustain you on the road to a more spiritual and rewarding life.

Question:

I am 19 and I feel that I hurt myself by having sex with guys so they can love me, but they always end up leaving me. So that's why I want to learn how to control my urge to have sex. I want to be celibate to see what true love is really like. Jasmine


Answer:

The fact that you are having sex with guys, knowing that they will leave you, sounds like you do not value yourself enough. How can you expect others to respect you when you have so little respect for your own body? By having sex with different men, you are damaging yourself emotionally and physically. Only you have the power to change this behaviour. Nobody can help you as much as you can help yourself. Self confidence and self restraint is very attractive. If you truly want to stay celibate, set a date on which you will start your pledge, preferably as soon as possible, and stick to it. It will get easier in time, and you will wonder why you ever looked for love in all the wrong places. Let us know how you are getting on.

Question:

I really love your site! I'm a 31 year old woman who has felt that celibacy was the right thing for me since I was an early teenager. It is really one of the greatest gifts in my life, but unfortunately God also gave me a HUGE sex drive :(. I've had this struggle since my teens also but I really don't want to have sex. I truly believe that masturbation also is wrong but sometimes I just can't resist it. I do it maybe 4-6 times a year and I feel terrible about it. Do you have any advice for me? I've tried anything, praying, cold showers, accountability partners, fasting...nothing helps. It's like my body can take a few months without it and then it just builds up with sexual frustration until i can't take it anymore. I just need some help to quit this awful thing. Anna


Answer:

What a shame that you are being haunted by guilt when instead you should be celebrating the fact that you have reached 31 without having sex in what has become such a sexualised society. And with a high sex drive too! YOU are a living example of what can be achieved through willpower and commitment, and you are a role model to those who might otherwise make excuses because of sex drive or other pressures. Please, do not let guilt ruin your life and destroy your sense of self worth because I can tell you, you have so much to be proud of! We seem to get so many letters about this topic and yours is just one of a huge number of them. I always say the same thing - try to stop worrying about it and it will, over time, become less of an issue. Much better that than having a one night stand or using someone else to lessen the sexual frustration. You are harming nobody, and 4-6 times a year is hardly excessive. The more you worry about it and try to avoid doing it, the more it will come back to haunt you, just as those on diets can't stop thinking about food. Try to stop beating yourself up about it and focus on all that you have achieved.

Question:

I have for several years wanted to do without sex. I wanted to focus on myself spiritually and actually get to know people. It is hard in this society to do that. I keep falling into the pressure of society and my own desires. Any advice? James


Answer:

Well done on taking the first step in trying to be the best that you can be, both for yourself, and for others. The fact that you want to remain celibate and to meet people without sex being an issue means that you're more than halfway there. You have to harness the willpower that we all have in order to resist temptation. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you, rather than berate or tempt you, and try to avoid tempting situations such as drinking in clubs and bars or allowing yourself to be alone with someone you feel attracted to. Also, if you find things to occupy your mind - interests, hobbies, groups - this will allow you to focus on something other than sex and temptation.

Question:

I am 19 years old and am the only person among my peers still a virgin. I feel so ashamed and abnormal because of this, but I seem to have a real fear of sex. I can't imagine ever letting someone see me, touch me...the thought disgusts me. I have never had a boyfriend or even kissed a boy. I don't know if maybe there's something really wrong with me, but I worry about it a lot. I think I would like to have sex one day, its not a religious or moral thing with me, it just seems like a dirty, bad thing to do... Anna


Answer:

Please, please don't worry about being 'abnormal', 'wrong' or 'different'. Society makes you feel this way because we are constantly bombarded with sexual images. However, more people than you can imagine feel exactly the same way, but because of the sexual climate we live it, they, like you, don't like to speak about it. Because of this silence, virginity has come to be seen as a taboo, when really it is something that you should feel very proud of. Sex per se is not bad or dirty, but it is easy to think about it in this way when society now presents it as commitment free, done when one feels like it for sheer pleasure alone, devoid of any real love or responsibility. That is not good sex - it's simply lust. Who can then blame you for feeling as you do about sex? However, sex in a mutually respectful, committed, lifelong loving relationship can be anything but dirty. You might not feel it, but you are still so young at 19. I am a decade older than you and still a virgin, by choice. You should not be ashamed, but should feel proud that you can offer someone something that many cannot. You only get your virginity once - when it's gone, it's gone. Take another look around at your peers. Some will have had their first sexual experience because of pressure, some out of curiousity, and some because they thought they loved that person they were with or felt that sex was an inevitable, expected and natural progression of a relationship. None of these reasons are ideal, and are they admirable? No. What you have is something special. Hang onto it for as long as you are able, and then if and when you do find someone you want to spend your life with, you have something very special to offer.

Question:

I'm male 29 year old, never married. I have never had a girlfriend, and never had sex, and was never attracted to such offers. Though I have had the temptation to give in, something like an inner voice prevented me from doing it. I want to remain unmarried, practice celibacy for the rest of my life, except that I have one problem. I can't control my desire to masturbate. The more I try to control it, the more dangerous it becomes, and I almost always end up loosing to it. Later I feel very ashamed of myself thinking of what I have done.I have read many books on controlling it, read websites but I have always been unsuccessful. Do you have any ideas that can help with it? This is the only problem I have and I'm perfectly fine with the rest - no smoking, no alchohol, no desire to watch porn, never accepted a sexual offer and will never do it in my life. Shaw


Answer:

Many thanks for taking the time to write in, and congratulations for listening to your inner voice. You might be surprised to learn that I get asked the question about masturbation quite frequently, especially by young men like yourself. My answer is always the same. The more you focus on it being a problem, the more it will frustrate you. There is nothing wrong with it, as long as it's not becoming excessive and taking over your life, which certainly doesn't sound the case. It's like food and dieting - the more you try to control it, the more it will succeed in controlling you. If you allow yourself to feel calm about it, to try not to feel guilt or worry, then you might well find that, in time, it becomes less of a pleasure and more like a chore. You might also find that in a few years time, this urge will subside naturally. You should be proud rather than ashamed of yourself, for you are clearly living a life that is something many aspire to but don't have the strength to carry out. The very fact that you desire to be the best that you can possibly be is applaudable. The next time you feel ashamed or tempted, try to replace those thoughts with more positive ones that reflect your strength of character, your willpower and your obvious commitment to chastity. Let me know how it goes, and good luck.

Question:

I am 25 yrs old and addicted to pornographic films and pictures through the internet. Although I've had a very high sex drive since my early years, I haven't practiced yet with any females except with my first girl friend. I attend church regularly. I want to be holy and to make God happy with my life. I pray to escape free from this danger before being punished. Besides this, now I have three girl friends who do not know each other. To tell you the truth, I have no love for any of them unlike it was with my first girl friend. I don't know why I made a relationship with them. I've been confused with my situations. Can you help me? Bee


Answer:

Pornography addiction is more common that you might think, but because it is still quite taboo, it's very hard for people to find a place where they can feel comfortable enough to speak out about it. That of course makes the situation worse, because it becomes more secretive, and the more secretive it becomes, the more obsessive too. It's like a vicious cycle, but it can be broken. Firstly, you really need to find someone you can trust who will help you to get through this. That way, you have someone you are accountable to. Do you think that you could confide in your church pastor? If not, what about a long term friend who you know you can trust and who will help to encourage you and support you whilst you try to turn your life around? I am a little concerned that you have three girlfriends, none of whom know about each other and even more concerned when you say that you don't love any of them. If you take some time out in a quiet place to think and pray about why you are doing this, you might find the answer deep within. You have already said that it isn't love. A high sex drive doesn't automatically lead to this behaviour. Is it because you want to feel loved, appreciated, to boost your self esteem? If it is any of these, this is not the way forward, and I think that you already know this. You need to find out what it is that has left such a hole in your life that you are feeling the need to fill it with such destructive and negative behaviour. You say that you go to church and that you want to be a better person, and that starts from the desire to change from within. Tell the girls the truth before many people are hurt and then find someone you can trust and who can help you to be accountable to yourself and to others. The truth can set you free, but only if you are ready to release yourself to that freedom and contentment that is out there waiting for you.

Question:

I am a happily married man, but my wife would rather sleep than cuddle or have sex. I crave physical touch as a 'love language'. But, I often feel selfish and hurt the next morning if I don't get my 'needs' met. I assume she doesn't care, but she assures me she does (and I know she means it). I feel selfish because if we cuddle or have sex she loses sleep, and that means she is not getting her needs met. This morning was another case, but this time I told her I want to stop being immature, practically sulking, when we don't have sex. How do I know whether or not I'm doing the emotionally healthy thing? Dwight


Answer:

You describe yourself as a happily married man. You know your wife cares. But she doesn't want sex and you crave physical touch. It's a question that comes up time and time again, and unfortunately, the words, 'women are from Venus and men are from Mars' is far from adequate an explanation for this common predicament. It's clear, from your willingness to try to change from within, that you care a great deal for your wife and want what's best for her, but it's important that you don't neglect your own needs. As with many relationship issues, my best advice would be to communicate. Tell her that as a married man, in love with her and her alone, that you just crave some intimacy at times but that her need for sleep makes you feel selfish for asking. There are many reasons why a married woman decides that she doesn't want intimacy, from a busy hectic schedule which leaves little room for relaxation, to hormonal changes. Stress, anxiety, depression, frequent arguments or feeling under pressure can also be causes for a lack of desire. If you are feeling so frustrated and guilty, you can be sure that your wife is feeling bad about you feeling bad. If your wife is tired in the evenings, try to find another time of day in which you can both have some quality time together, offer to help with the household chores so that she is not so tired, and try to find out whether there is anything that is troubling her. Lessen any pressure by telling her that you don't expect sex, but that you would like some intimacy, whether that be cuddling on the sofa, holding hands in the park or enjoying a massage once in a while. It seems like a fair compromise.

Question:

I have just recently decided to enter a life of chastity after realizing that I am a 23 year old mother of one daughter and I still have no real concept of what LOVE is. I have been dating since I was 17, but without sex I never thought I could ever maintain a relationship. I have never been an overly sexual person but I kinda felt pressured because I believed that sex is what made relationships work. I never wanted to be alone and I find that now, even though I am currently single,i'm going to be fine. I haven't been sexual for a month now and I feel stronger. I just find that I get lonely at times and wonder if i'm the only one that feels this way in the chaste life. Ana


Answer:

Well done for making the decision to remain chaste, but what is even better is that you have realised what has led to mistakes in the past, so you can now move forward. So many people succumb to sexual pressure time and time again, either from others, including partners; or from a feeling of guilt. Inner voices often say, 'you must have sex to feel loved' or 'you must have sex to keep the person you love' or 'you must have sex to fit in.' Those voices can be magnified in a society that's so geared towards having sex, and leaves little room for telling people how to abtain. You will be fine. In fact, I think that you'll find a lot of self confidence and inner strength through chastity. As for feeling lonely, people who are having sex often feel alone too. Lonliness is a state of mind. If you get into a habit of thinking you are lonely, you will feel so. However, being chaste doesn't mean that you can't have friends and socialise, and neither does it mean that you can't enjoy your own company. In fact, by opting out of the sexual rat race, you are opening doors to other opportunities, dreams and hobbies. Some who decide to begin a chaste life describe it as feeling 'born again'. Enjoy it!

Question:

I have sadly just permanently parted from my husband of 4 years. It was my decision and not taken lightly by any means. Unfortunately he has taken it very badly and does not want to accept it. Sex became less and less important to me and I think to him. Our sex life had been very unfulfilling for me for much of our marriage. I was a very sexual person but sex has lost its appeal. I am 62 this year and on HRT, but our marriage has been unhappy for many reasons for over two years, maybe that's why I lost interest in sex. Now I feel I want to stay celibate, and enjoy life again without the complications of a sexual relationship. I wonder if this is going to be possible if, in the future I start to want to go out with a man for company, because I get on well with men (and also very well with women). I realise it's early days but this whole dating/sex orientated society leaves me feeling there's so much more to life than this. Anne


Answer:

I am always sad when I hear about a marriage dissolving since I believe that, unless violence or unfaithfulness has been an issue, everything else can be worked out with love and patience from either one or, preferably, both parties. Even when the two issues above have been apparent, some have still managed to work through it and come out the other side. You don't mention exactly why you decided to end the marriage, but it would be a shame if you couldn't at least remain friends. Four years is a big investment of time and emotion for both of you, and I can understand why your husband would find it hard to accept. Sex often becomes less important in a marriage as time goes on, but often, genuine love as opposed to lust, replaces this. I am not sure whether you are saying that you are worried because you no longer feel sexual in the way you used to, or whether you are wanting to remain celibate and this was not acceptable to your husband. From what I can glean from your letter it seems that you are already wondering whether you will be tempted on going out on a date. I am a little concerned that you are 'jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire' without truly knowing why. There is certainly more to life than dating, and sex - love is the answer to almost everything, from loving oneself enough to care for your own body, to loving those around you and treating them the way you would like to be treated. I feel that if you follow this approach, and that includes any dealings with your husband, then things will ultimately fall into place.

Question:

I'm a 20yr gay male, but I've never been sexually active with another man. That's the way I would like to keep it, as God does not want us to practice homosexuality. I have just now decided that I would try my best to never practice sexual desires with another man. The problem is that I'm terrified! I know this is the only way to freedom but I'm scared that I will go crazy. I have always thought before this that I was just waiting for Mr. Right, or that the first person that I sleep with should be tested first. I've always had a hope of one day being in a loving relationship and now I know that isn't an option in God's eyes. I've never thought that I'd be considering living a life with out sex, I believe I can do it the problem is that I've never experienced having sex. I'm afraid that I'll give into curiosity. Is there honestly a way to live a life so young committed to no sex for the rest of your life? Is there ways to live happily, without every day feeling lonely and depressed? I'm scared and I guess I'm looking for support or something. Any advice is much appreciated! Because right now I'm totally afraid of myself. My whole future is now crumbling before me. Can I really live a normal life and block out a companionship? Jay


Answer:

Thank you so much for your open and honest account of the situation your are in right now. I have to say that I have so much respect for you, since celibacy is not an easy route to take for anyone in such an overly sexualised society, without the added burden of indentifying with a sexuality which goes against your faith. Firstly, I just wanted to assure you that you are not alone. There are many homosexual people who are single and celibate, some of whom write to us for support. The struggles faced by yourself are actually very much the same regardless of one's sexuality. You will not go crazy and and there is no reason to be terrified. In fact, as time goes on, you will feel so pleased and proud of yourself that you resisted all the pressures, and you will eventually become comfortable in yourself. You mentioned lonliness and depression. These feelings come from deep within and you might be surprised to learn of how many people actually suffer these emotions when in a relationship or not. You don't have to be lonely. Find other friends who you can trust to keep you away from temptation and with whom you can socialise. Join clubs and societies which specialise in subject matters you are fond of. The Bible says, "lead us not into temptation" so be alert and aware of any situations in which you might feel tempted, and try to avoid them at all costs. Gay clubs and bars and the whole 'gay scene' is notorious for sucking people in as innocents and spitting them out as severely damaged people. The same can of course be said for many straight clubs and bars. Try not to consider companionship or a relationship as your future, but rather enjoy life in the here and now. So many people worry about their past or their future and forget to live in the moment. Right now, you have managed to stay celibate. That's something to be proud of. Maybe one day, you'll be teaching others how to say no and telling them of the fulfilling and rewarding life you've had thanks to following your faith and resisting temptation.

Question:

I'm healthy woman waiting to have sex for marriage. I'm already 30 years old. I'm just wanting a happy life, but men around my age are too sexualised. I have normal sexual hunger, but I control myself, so i'm waiting, but I'm getting older and my friends keep saying I'm too consservative and so on. Year by year it's harder to resist my temptations. I feel aroused much more frequently than when younger. Can you give me some advice on how to wait til I find my man? Dot


Answer:

Many thanks for writing in, and well done for waiting! You are not too conservative..you are sensible! In a society in which sexually transmitted infections are rampant and broken hearts too, you have chosen a very wise path indeed. Try not to focus too much on finding a man and enjoy your life in the here and now. Be proud of the fact that you have waited. You have something to offer your future husband, if indeed you do marry, which is so valuable and precious. The only advice I can offer someone who is clearly already wise enough to have waited this long is to continue believing in yourself because it would be a great shame to give in to temptation after all this time. Avoid any situations or people who are likely to be a temptation and surround yourself with those you can trust and who value and appreciate you for who you are.

Question:

Sorry for the inconvenience, but I have a question to ask you. Maybe a couple. I'm 20 years old, wise and dating a 25 year old man and so far the guy treats me nice and respects me. Yes, I am still a virgin, saved and strongly believe that two must be married first. He hasn't even tried to make any kind of moves on me or anything. He's stable. I like him a lot and he likes me a lot. We actually care about one another and have feelings for one another. We've discussed how we felt about each other and where we stood in this relationship so far, but I can't seem to have any quality time with him because his bes tfriend (roomate as well) is always wanting to go places with us. His friend is very rude to me and wild. Everytime we decide to go out to a movie or something, his friend always wants to tag along with us...but with one of his "girls". His friend is not so stable. He has a different woman with him everytime and it worries me. I expressed to my boyfriend that we really need to spend more time alone than going on all these double dates and he told me that the next time we go out it would just be the two of us. But...that didn't happen. Now, I'm not insecure or anything but when someone allows things like that to slide...I can't help but pull back and think that he's done the same things. I'm worried that his friend may influence him to live the same way. I trust my boyfriend and my boyfriend trusts me, but I have no clue what to do...lol. I've tried to bring it to the table, but I can only bring so much until I feel like I'm pressuring him or coming between him and his friend. Ty


Answer:

You are fortunate to have a guy who respects you, treats you well and is happy to wait for marriage. Judging from the letters we get from people struggling with relationships, you have a very good partnership with your guy and it would be a shame to jeopardise that. It seems that both of you are wise and care enough about each other to wait, but you are also naturally fearful that his friend might influence his outlook and behaviour. After all, as you have said, it's his best friend and his room mate, so he obviously spends a lot of time with this guy. It's only natural that you will feel a little aggrieved. But it's important to keep this in perspective and not to become too possessive. It could be that your boyfriend also feels annoyed that his friend is invading his space all the time, but he perhaps doesn't know how to change the situation, especially given the fact that his friend is also his room mate and thus any arguments will inevitably be taken back home. His friend isn't being entirely fair by not allowing you two to have your space. I would suggest that you have a quiet word with your boyfriend and insist on some quality time together without his friend tagging along. Make a specific date and both agree that it will be just you and your bf. If you turn up and find that he's with his friend again, speak to his friend firmly but politely, telling him that your date was supposed to be between you and your bf and that you would prefer him to leave so that you can have some time together alone. Do this every time you arrange a date as a couple. He'll soon get the message. You never know, it could be that your boyfriend is relieved to have the situation resolved without him having to instigate it.

Question:

First of I want to thank you on behalf of all those (young and old) that are looking to better themselves when it comes to sexual issues. I am a 17 year old female that is having a very hard time dealing with sexual temptations with my boyfriend. Fortunately, God has blessed me with parents that love me enough to talk to me about sex and the, not only physical importance of remaining celibate, but the emotional and spiritual importance of saving my virginity as well. I do not have a history of being a partier, drinker, smoker, I go to church, I am a good student, I am an athlete and i proudly wear a chastity ring that my dad bought me when i was 14; however, with my developing hormones I am realizing this year just how human I am. I have learned that I am an extremely sexually driven person, and found that odd, seeing that I am in no way (shape or form) a male. (In my mind I associate the sexual drive with males). Now that I am with a guy that does not push sex on me, it is easier for me to let my guard down with him. I have never had a problem with previous boyfriends, simply because I would never go any further than a simple kiss and a hug. But now that I am with a young man that I trust with my whole heart, it is harder for me to stay celibate. I am now allowing him to touch my breast and we have started to dry hump during heated make out sessions. The ironic thing about this is that I don't feel bad about all of this. heh. I actually feel bad about not feeling bad, because I know that this behavior is probably not the best. The simple fact is that I would never let anyone touch me like I allow him to touch me. I truly believe that God has brought us together due to unexplainable circumstances, and because when we first met all we would talk about was God. We took our relationship very, very slow in the beginning and did not even hug until about the sixth month. We did not kiss until eighth month, and it makes me feel good that our relationship was first founded on God, rather than sexual attraction. But now, sexual temptation has really hit both of us. For example, he has been asking about what underwear I a have been wearing and other things like that. I actually fell worse about telling him things like that than doing things with him. He loves, respects and honors me in every way.He is also a virgin himself. And i am blessed that he helps me along with my struggle. But, like I said I need help with dealing with the temptation. In your opinion what is O.K. and what is not. I need a black & white answer because i am not good with the gray area that i am currently in. I thank you for your patience while reading my lengthy explanation and request for advice. God Bless. Jessica


Answer:

Many thanks for your honesty and openess. You both have so much to be proud of in saving yourselves for each other and, up until recently, resisting temptation. For sure, it is easier to resist temptation when you are not respected or valued by your significant other. However, as you have found out, when someone like your boyfriend comes along - someone who respects and values you and your moral values, it becomes more difficult to resist, since both of you will inevitably be drawn closer by that mutal love and respect. In our sexualised society, it seems like everyone is having sex and thus this can also create a situation where those in a relationship such as yourselves feel guilty for not being prepared to 'please' their partner in this way. Add to this the fact that your hormones are kicking in big time during your teenage years and the difficulties increase. However, this isn't insurmountable and the fact that you have both waited this long shows that you can do it. I can see from what you have written that you are a Christian and thus chastity before marriage will inevitably be extremely important to you. You will no doubt be aware that in the Bible, we are told 'He will not put you (tempt you) beyond what you can bear. He will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.' Notice that He will provide a way out. I think that in your case, your way out is summed up in the Lord's prayer, which says, 'lead us not into temptation'. You need to act now, before it's too late, by making a pact to only see each other when you are in the company of other people who have similar values to your own. Also, quit the dry humping and the suggestive talk and replace it by doing other non-sexual activities that you both enjoy. Curtailing all contact is not going to last - you both care for each other too much for that. But by meeting only when reliable friends are present, or meeting alone during the daytime in a public place, you lessen the chances of being led into temptation. You're both virgins and thus have an amazing testimony if you can keep your vows until your wedding day. Just remember that when you next get tempted, you won't just be letting yourself down, you'll be letting each other down.

Question:

Hi. I'm a 26 year old male and considering celibacy for a minimum duration of 1 year. I have had sex 3 times with different partners and used prostitutes whilst intoxicated and I have never been involved in a relationship nor had sex whilst sober. I very much regret this.I am a Christian and have recently gone back to church. I have decided to abstain from masturbation and alcohol. I understand that my faith will help me with this challenge. I am scared that I will never have a relationship and find myself scared and unable to speak to or approach females. I struggle to relate or speak to them without thinking purely about sex but I do not want to jump in bed with the first person I meet. I find the whole issue of sex really frightening and feel that my experience has made my situation worse. I think that I may struggle to refuse sex if it is offered and think that being able to say no, controlling my thoughts and staying close to Christ may help me change my feelings and attitude towards women and have a positive impact on my life. Although I fear that I will never meet somebody who is right for me. Timothy


Answer:

Your past sexual experiences will have undoubtedly left you with emotional scars and it is clear that you have issues relating to sex, and possibly in relating to people. These issues are most probably what drove you to both the alcohol and to the prositutes, but as you have seen, trying to resolve things in this manner has simply left you with more baggage, guilt and regret! Not only have you put yourself at risk from sexually transmitted infections, but you have also engaged in sex with women who were not really interested in you as a person. Paying for sex is both dangerous and inevitably lowers your self esteem. Sex without love is worthless and your realisation that this isn't the answer to your problems is the first step in the healing process. Your Christian faith will certainly help to strengthen your resolve to stay celibate, but I fear that you will be tempted to backslide if you do not have people around you who can help and encourage you. In this respect, I would encourage you to find a brother at your church who you can trust (choose with care). Once you find a person or persons you feel able to confide in - don’t be afraid to tell them about your fears and your weaknesses. We all have weaknesses in one form or another, and you will be surprised how many Christians struggle with issues relating to sex. Once you have found people who can offer you friendship and hold you accountable, you will find your walk through life that bit easier, and the longer you keep your pledge to stay celibate, the easier it will be. Try not to focus on finding a partner - enjoy life for the moment. Often, the right person comes along when you are least expecting it and hopefully, by the time that this happens, your scars from the past will be well and truly healed.

Question:

I am looking for some support in being celibate. I have been married for 8 years. My husband no longer wants to have a sexual relationship with me , he says this is the way it when men get older. (I am 43 and he is 48). He now has been diagnosed with serious heart problems, so, there is no way we are going to have a sexual relationship ever again.I was raised Catholic. My mother told me that sex was wrong and only done to have children. My parents did not share a bed after my sister (last child) was born, though they stayed together until my father died (my mother is still committed to my father: "in death we do not part" she said at his grave. She will not ever re-marry). I left the Church as a teenager but recently have joined the Anglican church. This seemed to have all the familiar comforts of church without some of the strictness of Catholicism. However, just this week, when my husband has been diagnosed with heart problems, I realise that we well and truly are not going to ever have a physical relationship again, and I wonder if I should go back to the Catholic church where the priests are celibate. I don't like the idea of a vicar having a physical relationship if i am not having one. It seems wrong. I need to be strong and understand that my urges must go. Should I ask my GP for medication? As I am an unwilling celibate, I really need some help and support. My hormones are going crazy.Ii have one child and would have liked a second so perhaps this is also part of the problem. I need to accept being celibate and I am finding it difficult. Vera



Answer:

It is difficult to deal with change, especially when that involves changes in those you love and care about. Not only are you having to cope with adjusting to a celibate life, but you now have to deal with the news that your husband has a serious heart condition. It must seem as though your world is falling apart. You must, of course, put your husband first at this time. If he has a serious heart problem, this could be a major reason why he no longer desires sex. After all, too much physical exertion could literally kill him. He is correct in saying that the sex drive sometimes wanes as one gets older, but this is not the case for all men. Try to find out why he no longer wanted intimacy even before his diagnosis. Is he depressed? Is his job leaving him exhausted? Have you both grown apart? You can live without sex, and you can feel loved without having sex - but this is something you have to work at with your husband. Bearing in mind his medical condition, you must accept that full and very physical intercourse may be a thing of the past, if only for his health and wellbeing. But you also need to explain to him that you still have needs - not necessarily for sex, but the need to be loved and feel appreciated. If you have lost that closeness, try to rekindle that through making time for each other, whether that be candlelight dinners at home, cuddles on the sofa or a break away from routine.You must speak to him about your fears for the future, and about your need to feel loved and appreciated. Could you reach a compromise in which he gives you lots of affection without full sex being expected? If there is no affair involved and if you still both love each other, this can work and indeed bring you both closer in the long run. I personally wouldn't recommend medication, but a trip to the doctor might be beneficial since your concerns about having another child might indicate that your dilemma is not so much about sex per se, but rather a mid life crisis, exaggerated by the unexpected news about your husband's health. As for the choice of church, you don't mention whether your husband is a Christian too, but it would be good if you could attend a church together. Maybe this is something you could both pray about. Praying together and sharing experiences outside of the home together will help you to focus on experiences other than sex and help you to find that closeness in shared activity. Enjoy each other in other ways, and think of the blessings you have, including your daughter, rather than dwelling on the negative and the things you don't have. With your husband's heart condition, it's important to enjoy every moment while you can.

Question:

I've been thinking of starting to practice celibacy for a long time, But could you give me more meaning about the word celibate? I know it is religious and to be able to say I have started to practice celibacy because of religion would really give me more strength to carry it out. Sunil


Answer:

Yes, the word 'celibacy' is mainly used in a religious context, although the dictionary definition simply means 'single and unmarried'. Many people today of all faiths and none understand and use the term interchangeably with 'sexual abstinence'. If you are religious, it gives you that extra conviction because you are doing it for a higher cause rather than simply for yourself or for your own needs. The term 'chastity' is often preferred in religious circles since that term encompasses a whole way of life rather than simply refraining from sex. It includes the way we dress, the jokes we tell (or refrain from telling), the words we use and the lifestyle we lead. One can be celibate but not chaste. I hope that this helps. You might also find this page useful.

Question:

First of all I have to congratulate you on a brilliant website. I'm 26 years old and still a virgin. I would like some advice on a problem I have. I've not really seen myself has a religious person and I wouldn't call myself celibate but I seem to have a fear of actually making the next step to have sex. I have had chances in my past when I've have had the opportunity but seem to get scared and run from it. I do feel a bit stupid has I've lied to a lot of my friends who think I've slept with several people. I do want to have sex but with the right person. I've seen enough friends go through nasty relationships or just plain used by a bloke. When I meet a person who seems nice I start to think he's just like the rest and my barriers just go up. I want to get married one day and have kids but this problem seems to be stopping me finding a person who I could call right for me. I would appreciate it if you could please give me advice on how I could turn this problem around. Ruth



Answer:

Many thanks for your very open letter and for your honesty in speaking about what must be a really sensitive issue for you. At 26, believe it or not, you are still very young. It might not seem that way because being a virgin at 26 these days is seen as unusual, although I think we would all be surprised if we knew the truth - many people who are virgins don't admit it and talk the talk, doing a disservice to those of us who are. You are right in that many girls get hurt, used and abused, but men do too, and not all men are bad. The fact is, you haven't yet met the right person. When you do, your barriers will come down. Don't fight against your those urges to protect yourself - it's a good thing and entirely natural. Many girls who have slept around have lost that ability to sense danger and thus will get themselves into all sorts of problems, emotionally and physically - that inherent gut instinct tells you when you might face danger. The fact that you are a virgin makes that instinct much stronger, for you know subconsciously that once you let that barrier down and give up your virginity, there's no going back. So try to embrace your feelings of reluctance and remember, when you meet the man of your dreams, you will find that the barriers will go down of their own accord. Don't rush, at 26 you have plenty of time. Rather than going to nightclubs or searching the internet for suitable men, join clubs, societies, and organisations where you are likely to meet men who enjoy the things you enjoy. It's worth remembering that many people meet 'the one' when they aren't looking. In the meantime, be proud rather than ashamed of your virginity. When you do meet Mr Right, if he is truly right, he will respect and admire the fact that you have remained a virgin.

Question:

What should one do when one feels the urge to have sex? I have been celibate for over 1 year now but over the last few months I find that during the time I am ovulating I begin to feel a strong need to have sex. I sometimes have dreams where I experience mild orgasms which I have chalked up to the bodies way of dealing with certain needs. Am I right? I also made a conscious decision not to masturbate. Frankly, I am feeling much stronger within myself. I am not currently in a relationship and I know that when I do get into one that I no longer want to make sex a priority. I am nearing menopause so I dont want to have to use birth control, or tie my tubes just to satisfy sexual urges. I am also fed up of the disappointment that so often happens in relationships. I find that sometimes I would become very angry after sex. Now I want o get to know myself on a deeper more spiritual level. I have done some Biblical studies and I attend church regularly. My life has seemed to be a struggle, full of ups and downs and too many broken relationships. Regardless of how good the sex may be there is still disappointment in the end so therefore what's the point? This is what I want to do now. Be celibate. So why am I still having these violent urges? Carla

Answer:

Well done for laying down some positive rules for yourself and sticking to them! Every woman is different, but both ovulation and being close to the menopause will result in hormone imbalances within your body. These imbalances can produce unwanted side effects, but they are not detrimental. In your case, it seems that hormonal fluctuations during ovulation are leading to an increased sex drive. Many women find that this is the case during ovulation. Since this is the time when we are at our most fertile, it's our body's way of saying that it's ready to reproduce, whether we want it to or not. I wouldn't worry about the dreams Carla. I get emails from women and men who worry about what happens during sleep. You cannot control what happens in your dreams. Your waking life, and the things that you can exert some control over, are what really matters in terms of your future happiness and contentment. Try to ignore the urges and you will most likely find that they will subside in time.

Question:

Hi I'm a 42 year old male and for as long as I can remember i have had a low sex drive. I do have two children who I love dearly but the urges for sex were never really there. It was more of a case of....do I have to do this? I have got to a stage in my life where I don't want to be going through this anymore and would love to meet someone of the same opinion. I have health issues - diabetes and epilepsy - and already think that goes against me finding a love in my life. I can't imagine finding a lady then saying......"by the way im wanting a celibate relationship". I have a lot of love to give, just not all the hyped up sex that a lot of people seem to crave. Do you know of any dating sites which may encourage celibates to join?Ii hope to hear from you soon. Michael


Answer:

Whilst wanting a celibate relationship as well as having such medical conditions will inevitably limit your choices, it shouldn't be too much of a problem in terms of finding love. If only you knew how many women write in to say exactly the same things as you, you would see that there are many women out there who would quite happily have a relationship without sex being a part of it. Finding such women is a different matter since, as you rightly said, our society has hyped up sex to such a degree that celibacy has almost become a taboo - an unspoken secret often known only to the celibate themselves. We are considering having a matchmaking facility online in the future. For now, I wondered if you might consider placing an ad in your local paper. They usually allow you to have a special Box which will give you anonymity. I would advise that you are open about your conditions, and that you perhaps say you are looking for a woman who considers themselves either asexual or with a low sex drive.

Question:

Hello I am 44 years old and have been in my second marriage for 7 years to a guy who is 13 years younger than me. I am finding it very difficult to have sex with him and to be happy. I enjoy sex dont get me wrong, but this guy was physically abusive to me 4 years of my marriage at the beginning. He doesn't hit me anymore but I would rather not have sex with him. I told him I want to become celibate. He thought I was being stupid, but I know it's what I want. What advise would you give to a woman who is married and wants to become celibate. I am desparate. When I don't have sex with him I feel normal and quite proud of myself. He said when we first met that all he wanted me for was sex. I wish he had told me that at the beginning of the relationship. Jacqui

Answer:

There are two different issues going on here. One is that you have memories of an abusive past and the other is that you now, perhaps naturally, cannot bring yourself to want to make love to someone who has shown such contempt for you in the past. People can and do change, but to say that he just wanted you for sex is malicious and a type of verbal abuse. Even if it were true, why tell you something so hurtful? If he has said this in the distant past, then maybe he has changed. I usually always tell people that if they are married, they have taken vows 'for better or worse'and thus there is nothing that cannot be worked upon by both parties. However, if there is violence or abuse involved, this can be so damaging that it is better to get out than face the long term consequences. I can imagine that it is difficult to summon up the will to have sex with someone who calls you 'stupid' and who has said he only wanted you for sex. If you really want to work at this marriage, why not set a date, up until which you will remain celibate. Tell him that you need that space and time to re-evaluate your life and to gain some self respect because of what has happened in the past. If he truly cares for you, he will wait. If he starts to become abusive, whether physically or emotionally, then maybe it's time to walk away, for your own sake. Do this, not out of revenge, but for your own self esteem.

Question:

Mentally I'm finding sex very distracting. In my spare time I'm going out all of the time instead of studying or resting, and it is affecting my attitude towards schoolwork and general work very negatively. I've got to know myself very well within the last year, and I would really rather indulge myself and then be able to concentrate on my studies again than consistently be in the position that I am in now. The reason for this whole ordeal is that a while ago I promised myself that I would wait for properly losing my virginity at the age of 15. There is no reason other than that. I do receive safe oral sex and provide manual stimulus to my partners as to alleviate some of the stresses of waiting, but worry that in the future I may feel ashamed that I realised my sexual energy a few months earlier than planned. My 15th is just a few months away, but that length of time is a big impact on what I could be doing academically; as contrary to a lot of other teenagers, abstaining is distracting me from my work, whereas I know in myself that having the irregular safe sex with my boyfriends would not be. Odd as it may sound, it's the way I work. I don't have a good relationship with my parents, unfortunately. I live with my mother whom I interact little with (which has become reciprocal) and have no contact with my father - the sperm donor - at my own behest. The most influential surrogate-parent-like figure I have is a teacher at my school. I suppose that sounds a little dubious, but we do have a well-established relationship. Though he doubtlessly a figure of support, encouragement and sound, unbiased advice, I would rather be sentiently consumed by a renowned serial killer than talk to him about this. I suppose that you may have made me realise that talking to him might be a practical option, but my relationships have always been a closed and unnecessary subject with him... I fear that it would be a very uncomfortable discussion, and whilst I trust him implicitly, and vice versa, I have absolutely no imagination as to how I would bring the subject up without it leading to humiliation. I have never received 'the talk' as my parents decided that I was already educated enough about sex as a result of the media, and I certainly don't want to be the instigator of such a conversation.This is a very awkward situation for me, hence me seeking out your help. I would really appreciate it if you could try to empathise and give your advice from that. I worry a little about being older and reflecting on my age as a mere number, but also realise that when I'm about 30 the averages ages of losing virginity will also have inevitably dropped.Thank you for your time Denise, I hope that you will still respond with some bright ideas, because I unfortunately seem to be lacking in them, regarding this. 14 year old student, UK

Answer:

I know it takes time and guts to share intimate feelings of this nature with someone else, whoever that might be, so I thank you for sharing your feelings and emotions with me.   You write as if someone far beyond your years.  Many highly gifted youngsters are also eager to live their lives according to set, rigid and unbendable rules in a quest for perfection, and this is not necessarily a bad thing.  Your eagerness to lose your virginity at such a young age, and by a set birthday, is in keeping with your desire for your life to go according to how you have planned it.  However, I fear that in your haste to create structure in your life, you are in fact contemplating something that will leave you open to experiences which could be potentially harmful.  Your thoughts about sex are interfering with your studies and will continue to interfere regardless of whether or not you act on your impulses or otherwise.  After all, masturbation releases pressure, but if this doesn't help, then neither will an active partner.  In fact, I am pretty sure that if you did give away your virginity to anyone other than the man you hope to spend the rest of your life with, you will come to regret it later.  It's not a guilt trip I'm trying to send you on, but rather knowledge gleaned from many years of advising other people, many who have lived to regret having sex at a young age.   My fear is that your own upbringing, or lack of it, has caused deep seated doubts in your mind in relation to relationships, marriage and stability.  Many children from broken homes have great difficulties because they have not had a stable mother and father figure in their lives to guide them, love them and protect them.  However, it is possible to rise above circumstance and especially so if you have the capacity to study, to learn and to better yourself. Your decision to stay abstinent until your next birthday is admirable under the circumstances, and if you can hold out that long, why not another year, and then another?  In my humble opinion I think that you need love, respect and someone to value you as a person; not cheap thrills and quick releases that might feel great in the short term, but hold no hope of a stable, happy future.   It would be beneficial, if you are going out all of the time as you have explained, that you go out with female rather than male friends, and preferably avoid places which will lead to temptation and thoughts of sex.  Going out for meals, bowling and visits to the cinema should all help to keep your mind off the seemingly inevitable, and such activities are also an opportunity to bond with your female friends.  However, the female friends of choice should naturally be those with whom you could hold each other accountable.  With friends of a like mind, all willing to hold each other accountable, you are less likely to slip into bad behaviour patterns.   I am not here to tell you what to do - just to give advice in the hope that some of it will ring true and be beneficial to you.  After overcoming a childhood seemingly devoid of the love and attention that many children take for granted, I surely have the willpower and the intelligence to create a future that's of your making.  And I personally don't think that you will be entirely happy with anything less than perfection.  The closest we can get to perfection in relationship terms is to find someone who truly loves us and who we want to be with for the rest of our lives, and vice versa - and even better is knowing you have waited and you're giving that precious one-time only gift of your virginity that person who loves, respects and honours you enough to stay by your side forever.      I think I already said that it is easier to get a sexually transmitted infection the younger you are (and condoms aren't 100% effective, especially not concerning HPV), so you do need to consider the physical implications of your choices on your long term health.  Many make the wrong choices and live to regret it.  You have the wisdom and intelligence to make right choices, but it's down to you - it's your call.  You have the potential for a great future.

Question:

Hello. I'm a male and I live on my own and have not had sex for more than two years, that was about when my last relationship ended. I find it easy to go with out sex for we are in a world that makes men out to be the hunter so I find it easy - I just don't hunt. I feel like I've had enough of performing for the opposite sex to make them want to be with me I've just turned forty and need to eliminate drama from my life.  I thought this would be a good start. In the past a lot of my worries have come from close relationships. I find the opposite sex appealing but would like to date more before having sex and I'm not sure how to go about telling a lady that I would like to wait. Do you have any suggestions? Eosso


Answer:

Many thanks for writing to us and for being so open about your needs and concerns. You know, they say life begins at 40, and it seems that you have made a very positive conscious decision to change yours for the better, so before I even begin, I would like to say a big 'well done'! The fact that you are able to go without sex is half the battle won. Another thing is that you have had the insight to realise that when out 'hunting', you will often find your 'prey', but that will not necessarily be exactly what you are looking for. Take yourself out of the 'hunt' (the places and situations which cause temptation) and your life will be less dramatic, calmer and often, more fulfilling. Whilst out of the dating game, you can use this time to become stronger in yourself, enjoying pursuits that perhaps you might not have had the time for before. Telling a lady that you would like to wait before having sex might feel daunting at first, but I can assure you that many if not most women prefer a man who is willing to wait and who is chivalrous than someone who simply wants to bed them at the first opportunity. Believe me, any woman worth your time will not be put off when you tell them your aspirations. On the contrary, they will respect you more. If you knew how many emails we get from women who are tired of men who they feel just want them for one thing, you will see that women in general would admire your current ideals. When you feel that it is the right time, you might bring up your decision in conversation just as you have done here. If the woman is worth your time, she will respect your decision and be willing to accompany you on your journey of self exploration and betterment.

Question:

I'm twenty-four years old. I'm not a virgin, as I already have a number of children. However, around a year ago I felt the need to take up celibacy to focus on my own search for God. It was something very important to me which I'd been contemplating for a long time. I decided that in the context of sex, I'm judging another person on their looks (something they were born with and have no control over -even long term relationships have a certain component of looks too), and I no longer feel morally able to see others in a sexual light, as I feel I'm disrespecting them. It's not the celibacy I'm having problems with - to me, it feels the right path for my life - but it's others I'm having problems with. Most others think I'm abnormal, insane or just plain weird. Because I'm not part of any organized religion, I'm seen as a lone freak. Many men will talk to me, be nice to me and then become angry when they find out that I don't want to ever have sex again for pleasure!
. They say things like: "But, I'm being nice to you, and would support you in the long run... It's not like I'm just after sex" They believe that if they're willing to support me in a long-term relationship, then I should have no complaints about having sex in that context. Telling people that I\'d like to be respected in my own choice doesn't work either, as most people just become angry and say I'm confused and disturbed. Are there any groups that support people in self-chosen religious celibacy? Or am I alone on this path? Because, in our world where sex is everywhere, I really need to talk to someone who doesn't think I'm confused -because I'm not, I know what I want very clearly. I'm feeling very sad that I always have to make excuses with others why I don't want to go on a date, or why I don't want to share sex fantasies when other girls talk about those things. People think that because I'm not a virgin, I shouldn't have a problem with sex again, or
because I'd be willing to have more children in the future, then I should have no problems with having sex for pleasure. They assume because I'll do, or have done, some things of a sexual nature, then it shouldn't be such a big deal to me anymore. Please help. Kalise

Answer:

First of all, well done for finally taking that step and having the willpower to go for what you truly believe in. Many give up at the first hurdle, thinking that there's no point changing once their past has been less than what they had desired. Good on you for starting over and realising that you can change your future.Many people feel that sense of not belonging or fitting in with the crowd. It's almost like being a square peg in a round hole, and people often have this tendency to want to put people into boxes and label them.If a man doesn’t respect you for your decision, then it's not worth pursuing. Who wants to spend a lifetime with someone who disrespects you from the outset? You are still very young and have the whole world ahead of you. Someone who insists on sex in return for supporting you when they are fully aware that you wish to remain celibate is not respecting you, he's fulfilling his own needs. It sounds as though you have had little time out to focus on your own needs, including celibacy and the self respect you will gain from sticking to your chosen path in life. Try to take some time out from prospective relationships, and avoid mixing with people who disrespect you or who question your motives and choices. Surround yourself with friends and/or family who love and appreciate you for who you are and who respect your decision. In time, you will find that your choice has been liberating, and you will be so sure of your path that you will not even feel the need to make excuses for your lifestyle. You will also find, in a highly sexualised society, that being a 'square peg in a round hole' is not so bad after all. The only expectations you need to worry about are your own, and with strong principles in place, it sounds as though you can expect a positive future. After all, you owe it to yourself, and to your children.

Question:

I saw your Charlotte Baird's story in the Daily Mail and seeing a 36 year old virgin speaking out encouraged me to write in. Like Charlotte, I believe in no sex before marriage, but i think I will never meet the right person who feels the same way as I do. I am 42year old virgin who has never even been kissed.   Women don't seem to love me for who I am. I know I am not perfect and I have imperfections in the face and on the body but it is not supposed to be about that is it? If the women would accept me for me and not for my money or not a fancy car or a nice house I would feel better.  As it is I feel so low and depressed and sometimes feel like committing suicide. Kevin


Answer:

It sounds like you have been let down quite badly by people, and I really feel for you. True love is about loving someone regardless of what they look like on the outside, and if you have been rejected by women solely on the basis of how you look, then maybe it's they who have missed out on the love and commitment you could have offered. True love is unconditional, and many spend a lifetime searching for it. The first thing you have to learn to do is to love yourself, for if you cannot love yourself, how can anyone be expected to love you for who you are? Everyone has imperfections, but if you try to embrace these as being a part of you, accept yourself regardless and be proud of who you are, you might well find that people react differently around you. Inner confidence is often more attractive than outer appearances, which fade over time. Concentrate on your good qualities and try to make a point of dwelling on them whenever you have negative feelings about yourself. After all, you have so much to offer! Your virginity is something you can only give once - and you still have that to give. What a wonderful gift! And your commitment to no sex before marriage is a huge asset in a world which is rampant with sexually transmitted infections. You have such a lot to offer, but you must learn to love yourself first. Clara Meadmore was still a virgin at 105 and didn't regret it. It didn't bother her because she was too busy for sex. Try to keep yourself busy and preoccupied with interests and hobbies, even if just going out to read in a local library, having a drink in a nearby café or travelling somewhere new. If you are busy doing things that you enjoy, you are less likely to be thinking negative thoughts. Suicide is never an answer. Talk to friends, family, and maybe get referred for counselling if you feel that low. If you don't want to speak to people face to face, you can always call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. You can't change your past, but you can change your future. It's worth a chance, isn't it? Please write back and let me know how you get on.

Question:

I am in my 30s and have been abstinent for 2½ years. I entered into a relationship 8 months ago with a man in his 30s who claimed he respected my choice to be abstinent. For the last 3 months , we have had numerous breakdowns in our relationship where I noticed my boyfriend being distant, not communicating, and ignoring me. I am an assertive person and do not mind addressing issues as they arise. When I ask what's wrong several times, he always says, 'nothing'. However, a few weeks ago he finally admitted he has become resentful towards me because we are not having sex. His words were 'the no sex thing has gone from a snow ball to an avalanche' and he gets to the point where he does not want to be around me or near me. He claims he loves me and wants to marry me, however if we do not get through this part there will not be an 'us'. I am trying to be more understanding however I just don't have an answer! Where do I go from here?  Denise


Answer:

I feel for you because you are obviously in a difficult place right now. There are a number of issues which need to be addressed, and which you and your boyfriend must try to do if there is to be any future between you. The most important thing is to talk. You need to be open with him (and yourself) about why you want to remain celibate and for how long. Do you simply wish to remain celibate until marriage, or have you set your heart on remaining celibate long term? If he has a good understanding of the reasons behind your choice, he is then less likely to feel as though it's something he is doing wrong. When two people are in a relationship and one doesn't want sex, it's often the case that the other is left feeling rejected, unloved and full of self blame, which turns into resentment. Self esteem has a lot to do with it, particularly where men are concerned because they have been brought up to believe that more sex = more of a man. He also owes it to you to be upfront about what he wants from you. Did he originally accept a celibate relationship because he thought you would change in time? Could he handle it long term? If his answers to those two questions are yes and no respectively, I would never say never, but it's on rocky ground. You do say that he loves you and wants to marry you, so if you are only intending to stay celibate until marriage, and if you truly love each other despite the recent rows, then maybe making plans for the wedding is something that will bring you closer together.

Question:

I am a 32 year old woman who has been married to my husband since we were 20 years old. He has always had trouble with his sexuality and has always been uncomfortable with sex, although he likes to masturbate. Some years ago, he decided to become celibate. We have not had any sexual contact whatsoever since. Following this, our marriage has lost any sort of intimacy. We have 2 children and I really do not want to divorce him, but I am so lonely. I feel rejected and unloved. *I* did not choose celibacy. We have been to couples counseling at several places for the past 10 years with no change - his mind is made up. I don\'t think I can face a life without sexuality ever again. What on earth can I do? How can I convince myself that celibacy isn\'t so horrible? Annie

Answer:

Celibacy really isn't so horrible, but I can understand and appreciate why you might feel this way after having gone into marriage believing that your sex life will be guaranteed. Unfortunately, nothing can be guaranteed, least of all a marriage without its ups and downs. I feel for you, because when you are married, you come to expect sex as being a standard part of that package. However, I also feel for your husband, for it is clear that he has been struggling with this issue for a long time, and rather than leave, he has done the honourable thing in trying to make it work - in fact, you both have. It is for that reason that I believe it will work, but it will require you both to sit down and talk openly about your feelings, hopes and fears. I don't believe that this is something he is inflicting on you deliberately to cause intentional pain. In fact, it's likely that the guilt and pressure he is feeling is not something he is too proud of either. The fact that you have both had sexual intimacy before despite his difficulties shows that he has tried for a number of years to adapt to all that is expected of him within marriage. The fact that you have both endeavoured to work things out shows that you both care about each other very much. It is really important that you try to disassociate the concepts of love and sex. Just because your husband doesn't want sex clearly doesn't mean he doesn't love you, and even though you feel rejected, it really doesn't have to be this way. What is important is that you both set aside a time to discuss these issues sensitively and without blame or accusation. He owes it to you to be open about why he no longer wants sex, and you in turn need to find it within yourself to accept what he has to say. Once he has been able to discuss his reasons, you might like to tell him how you feel. Maybe, if there is little love and affection shown at present, he might agree to a compromise such as a lot of cuddles, kisses and other ways in which he might show his love for you. I have corresponded with numerous people who have made sexless relationships work, but they only work when love is at the core of the relationship. I have also corresponded with countless people who have had relationships in which sex was frequent but love wasn't. Sex is the glue that can bind a marriage, but love is the superglue..

Question:

I have decided to live a celibate life (and have been doing so for the last year), but what if my partner chooses not to? To what degree can I satisfy her sexual needs ? A kiss is not sex for example, but what about foreplay? I am sure she will not leave me, but it pains me to withhold from her something that she would otherwise enjoy because of my lifestyle choice.  For example,
I enjoy fishing but she will not do it as it is not in her to hurt another creature, and yet I don't feel any need to separate from her because of this so why should I separate from her because she enjoys sex and I don't? In summary: If the woman I love wants sex and I do not then what do I do? Graham


Answer:

One of the most important factors in a relationship is compatibility, and that includes sexual compatibility. Contrary to popular belief, people can live quite happily in celibate relationships (what I call 'celationships') without need or desire for any type of sexual contact. This is usually the case however, when both partners are either asexual and/or have a low sex drive. Put someone who is asexual with someone who is very highly sexed and it can be a recipe for disaster, although again, not always. Love can overcome all boundaries and unconditional love is the most powerful of all, since it transcends all our foibles and weaknesses. It is clear that you love your wife very much, as you are willing to compromise by doing something that you do not enjoy. This is a kind gesture, but ask yourself, for how long could you go on doing something you don't enjoy? My question to you is, what made you decide to live a celibate life? I would forget the compromises for now and focus on what is making you feel that you no longer want a sexual relationship with your wif, especially if this wasn't the case before.. If you think that you might be asexual or simply disinterested in sex per se, then it is worth speaking to her about this. If she truly cares about you unconditionally, she will attempt to understand and will not leave. However, if you continually put yourself through something you clearly don't enjoy, she could well see through your façade in time, and you might also end up resenting her. Your honesty will open the door to being able to discuss other related topics, such as how important having children would be to either of you. In relationships, it is always better to be open and honest at the outset - that way, you won't have to live a life in which you might both end up unhappy .

Question:

I am 28 years old, female, and celibate aside from two sexual encounters that occurred several years ago. I no longer date and I do not plan on ever getting married. I am psychologically comfortable with my celibacy, but I am still a human being with hormones and urges that I find distracting. I am trying to avoid masturbation because it causes me to think about sex. Are there any foods or medications that can help quell my sex drive? Mona

Answer:

Firstly, well done for being strong enough in yourself to know what you want (or don't want) in life without having that dictated by others' expectations. It's always fabulous to hear from fellow celibates who are dedicated to remaining so, regardless of all the pressure put on us from outside.There are medications that help to quell the sex drive in women, but this is usually a side effect of the medication rather than a cure. Certainly, I wouldn't recommend that any medication be taken solely to reduce sexual feelings. More appropriate would be to get plenty of exercise, preferably outdoors. Many medical experts agree that exercise releases chemicals that are the equivalent to those released during sexual arousal, and therefore any exercise will inevitably help to reduce those urges. Other than staying active in a physical sense, it's also good to keep your mind occupied, whether reading a good book, talking to friends on the phone, going to see a film, studing, listening to music or writing - anything that doesn't involve a sexual dimension that will keep your mind occupied is good. As for foods, lettuce has worked for some women, but not others. The herb Vitex Agnus-Castus was was originally used as anti-libido medicine by monks to aid their attempts to remain celibate, but in women, it is usually only used for hormonal imbalances. Staying active, both mentally and physically, is probably the best and most reliable way of quelling those urges.

Question:

I've decided to abstain from all kinds of sexual activity (including masturbation) for a mixture of philosophical and practical reasons. I haven't determined the exact duration for that period but it will probably be at least few years. In short, I found that abstinence gives me more opportunities to be active in other areas of life, to study with better concentration and to enjoy the finer aspects of communication with people. Since I've had a very high sex drive since my early years, my decision for complete abstinence came gradually, after at first experiencing shorter periods of refraining. My question concerns a "problem" that occurred in realization of my decision. I've started experiencing nocturnal emissions but I don't pay much attention to them because if it happens in dream i don't consider it to be conscious breaking of abstinence. However, It sometimes happens that I feel I am close to ejaculation (without prior physical stimulation) while lying in a close to awake state in bed waking from a dream or before I fall asleep. Then I usualy make an effort to concentrate so that the tension diminishes in order to relax and fall asleep ( I also change position so that there is no slightest physical stimulation). However, sometimes it actualy happens that I ejaculate while in this half-asleep or almost fully-awake state and then I feel like I betrayed my abstinence because it happened in a state where I had a degree of consciousness. There is a way I found to put more control over it and lessen the possibility for this to happen and that is to always lie on my back and to sleep without wearing anything on the lower part of the body ( so that I avoid slightest physical stimulation) but forcing myself to sleep in that position make me feel like I exaggerate. I haven't found any posts on the web by someone experiencing the same thing, so I wonder am I uniquely\"hyper sexual" or is this usual and if so, do you have any practical advice that could help? Student

Answer:

It is often difficult for those with a high sex drive to refrain from sex, particularly if one has already had sexual experiences, so well done for having the determination and willpower to persist. Your experience of the ability to stay celibate becoming easier over time is quite a common one, since in most cases, if we decrease a behaviour gradually, the less likely we are to want it once a period of time has passed. However, if we exert too much effort or spend too much time dwelling on what we are trying to achieve, it can sometimes have the opposite effect. You do not say how old you are, but in the case of teenagers and sometimes young men, nocturnal emissions are commonplace and nothing to worry about. Can I assure you that any involuntary actions whilst sleeping, or even whilst half awake, are not compromising your stance at all, or breaking any vow of celibacy. I have a feeling that once you worry less about this happening, the less it will happen. It's a bit like the person who is worried about lack of sleep - the more they toss and turn, watch the clock and panic about not having enough sleep, the less likely they are to sleep. My advice would be to sleep in a position that is comfortable for you and to try and refrain from worrying. Good luck!

Question:

I am a 27 year old woman in Atlanta, Georgia and I've recently decided to become celibate after leading an actively sexual lifestyle. However, I am always left feeling less than a woman afterwards, hurt and EVEN more lonely...is celibacy the right choice for me to gain some kind of happiness and self-worth?  Monica, USA


Answer:

Firstly, congratulations on deciding to give up an actively sexual lifestyle in order to pursue celibacy. From your email, it sounds as if you are searching for a sense of self worth and belonging. This can never be found in a series of sexual relationships, especially if those relationships have no long term commitment from both parties. If this is how you have been conducting your life, then it is only natural that you will feel worthless, lonely and without purpose each time the person you have had sex with leaves. Sex is meant to bind two people together for life. Our bodies were not made for multiple sexual partners, as can be evidenced in the damaging sexually transmitted infections that are so rife at present. You will be protecting your heart and your health, and you will find that eventually, your need to have sex will dissipate. At first, you might find keeping your commitment to celibacy difficult, for you have been used to a different lifestyle, but if you persevere you will find that it will bring contentment and a sense of self worth that you never knew existed. In the meantime, find things to do that will stop you focussing on relationships or sex. Join a new club, surround yourself with friends who will accept you as you are, treat yourself to something you enjoy for each month that you stay celibate, and try to steer clear of anyone or anything that will lead you into temptation. Like someone who has been overweight in the past and has managed to slim down to an acceptable size, enjoy your newfound freedom and throw out those old 'clothes' in which you felt so miserable.

Question:

Well, the thing is that till date, I have had only short-term relationships, the longest of which was perhaps 4 months. And because I did not want to have sex till the relationship had lasted a little longer, I have ended up as a virgin at the age of 27, which is 10 years older than the average age at which people in this country lose their virginity! My personal life is a complete mess, because when the men I date find out I have never had sex, they tell me it's abnormal and unnatural, and dump me. Most people also feel that to never have had a serious relationship by this age reeks of immaturity, although in general, I don't think people would classify me as immature! I was wondering if you could offer me some advice ? Lylah

Answer:

Please, please, please don't listen to those people who suggest that you are abnormal or unnatural just because you are a virgin or sexually inexperienced. You have a treasure that they don't have and as much as it hurts to be called names by those who so obviously have no consideration for your feelings or your future, it will hurt a lot more should you give in. Firstly, I am older than you, and still a virgin. If I dated someone who told me I was not normal or that being a virgin was unnatural I would know for sure that this person only had their own interests at heart. It seems that you have been dating the wrong men, but that's not unusual. Many women, and men, make appalling choices when it comes to dating, but through this, you will learn that you will only be truly happy in a relationship if you are respected and genuinely loved. You say that your life is a mess and that your sexual inexperience has a tendency to reek of immaturity. Lylah, many would crave to start again and to do things differently, and with such maturity and wisdom. Your virginity is a treasure and you have not allowed someone without your best interests at heart to take it from you. Yes, the average age of sexual intercourse in this country is very low. The sexually transmitted infection rate is also the highest in Western Europe and rising year on year. Be pleased that you have waited, for your life could be very different had you made the choices that many are making - and deeply regretting. If it's a happy relationship that you are looking for, look for someone who values you as a person, who will be willing to wait for you, and who admires rather than resents your sexual inexperience.

Question:

Please give me some advice on abstaining from sexual activity until I reach my 15th birthday next year in February. I am not religious, nor am I interested in marriage. This is becoming progressively more arduous, so any good tips would be much appreciated. Rebecca, UK

Answer:

You are only fourteen and have your whole life ahead of you. I appreciate that you are not religious and you are not thinking of marriage, but leaving morals and faith aside, you are still risking so much for so little in return. Why risk losing your virginity, self esteem and the respect of others by giving in so soon? What's more, it is illegal to have sex before the age of consent, so at 14, you would really be risking everything and breaking the law in the process. Also, any guy involved and over the age of consent would risk going to prison for having sex with a minor. Is it really worth it? You don't mention why you are finding it so difficult to abstain: is it because of your own inner struggles with temptation or rebellion, or outer pressures such as those around you putting pressure on you to do something you otherwise wouldn't want to do? Do you already have a boyfriend and is he putting pressure on you, or are you putting pressure on yourself? Do you have a good relationship with your parents to the point where you could discuss your struggles with them? It would be good if you could write back and let me know, so that I can advise further. Your email is very well worded and constructed for someone of fourteen, and so you are obviously academically talented. My advice would be to make a real effort to concentrate on your talents, dreams, ambitions, and to socialise with those who have your best interests at heart and who can maybe act as accountability friends -where each of you look out for each other and ensure that you are not tempted to engage in situations that are not positive or healthy. Remember, not only are sexually transmitted infections at an all time high, but the chances of contracting an STI are much higher the younger you are. You have your whole life ahead of you - don't ruin it before it's really begun.

Question:

I'm 16 and I've been with my boyfriend, who is 8 months older, a year and half as of yesterday. We haven't had sex yet, as we have both admitted that neither of us are ready. While being brought up, I was taught that waiting until marriage was the right answer, however I know that my boyfriend was not taught the same. Or rather, it was quite a taboo topic for him in his childhood, so in fact he's not been given an opinion at all. Because of this, he is more of a believer that if you're in a strong relationship, and you love each other, then sex is the most powerful way to prove it. And the trouble is, not only do I agree with my mum on remaining chaste until marriage, I also agree with my boyfriend. Although my family isn't religious, I do have my own religious beliefs, such as that sex is a gift from god, and I also believe that it should only be given to one person, of course allowing for extreme circumstances. I'm just finishing school, and he is in work, and we're both aiming to be living together in a couple of years time (which he has forbidden me on helping to pay for, I might add, he wants to buy our first home himself). We are planning to get married as well, and I really need you to not be of the opinion that we are just another lovestruck teen couple. We've been through a serious rough patch lately, but we're so much stronger for it now, and if we made it through that we can make it through anything. I know you aren't here to lecture on what is right and wrong, but I'd like your personal opinion anyway - although I do feel under pressure to have sex, it is not because I feel shunned by society if I do not, or that I will be incomplete until I do. Do you personally believe that sex is only acceptable after marriage? Or is it acceptable before so, if it's not being treated as a dangerous hobby, instead being treated as a sign of respect and love for the other person? For example, if a couple were living together and knew they would get married in the future, and neither had had sex with anyone else, would it be acceptable for them to make love? Charlotte, UK

Answer:

Thank you so much for taking the time to write in. You are just sixteen and yet have composed one of the most intelligent and thoughtful letters I have seen on this subject. You are obviously very wise and have thought things through very carefully indeed - fair play to you! It seems that you care about each other a great deal and regardless of what you decide to do, since both of you have been with nobody else, you have no risk of contracting the sexually transmitted infections that are so prevalent in society right now. It is understandable that, coming from a different background to yourself, your boyfriend thinks and feels differently about certain issues, including sex. However, having read between the lines, I can't help but wonder whether you are feeling under pressure. That pressure doesn't necessarily have to come from someone else - it can come from within, from yourself. You clearly care about each other very much, having come through difficult situations together. You know he respects you because he is even insisting on paying the full mortgage once you purchase a house. It is only natural that you will thus feel pressure to please him. After all, you have said yourself that he sees sex as the most powerful way to 'prove' your love. I would disagree. The most powerful way to prove your love would be to give each other your virginity within marriage. There can be no love more powerful than giving to each other the one thing that you choose not to give to anyone else, within the context of marriage. Why marriage though? To be perfectly honest, marriage is not a ticket to lifelong happiness. Indeed, many marriages end in divorce and there are people who don't tie the knot and stay together longer. However, the odds of cohabiting couples splitting up are more than double those of married couples, even after taking age, education, income, ethnic group and benefits into account. If you are considering having children one day, it's worth noting that one in three unmarried couple parents will split up before their child's third birthday compared to one in seventeen married parents. If you wait for marriage, you will be able to show your children by example that you waited. What a fabulous testimony! Marriage is a public commitment to each other which makes it a more difficult vow to break. You have both already waited this long and intend to get married anyway, so a little longer shouldn't be too hard unless, that is, you feel under pressure. If you do, it might be worth speaking to your boyfriend about this. If he truly loves you, he will understand. I'm wishing you both the very best for your future - I have a feeling it's going to be good!

Question:

I would appreciate additional information regarding health issues that may occur if a person remains celibate. With all the doctors saying how great it is for your health and longevity/life span, please could you share additional information? Your q/a portion touched on this briefly but I would appreciate more. Also if you have any thoughts regarding masturbation and if that should also be avoided and why, I'd appreciate that. Great, awesome site - thanks for sharing it. Christina, UK

Answer:

Many thanks for contacting us, and for your interesting questions. The health benefits of remaining celibate are twofold. Firstly, as a celibate practicing total abstinence from all sexual contact with another person, you are protecting yourself from the multitude of sexually transmitted infections that are so prevalent in society today. Many will tell you that condoms will do the same, but in fact, although they lessen the risk, they do not sufficiently protect you from sexually transmitted infections, least of all HPV, which is one of the most common and can lead to cervical cancer. As a celibate, you also avoid the heartache associated with being used physically, you are able to connect to people without letting sex get in the way, and thus you are often more able to protect yourself emotionally. Masturbation is a difficult issue and one that is not easy to advise upon because it depends upon your own feelings about it, the frequency it occurs and whether you are personally happy with the issue. In fact, it's not always related to sex, and is sometimes practiced to relieve tension. Indeed, it isn't harming anyone else, but it can be harmful to you emotionally if (a) it conflicts with your own ideals, (b) it is excessively practiced and (c) it is used as a substitute when the desire is really to find a real life husband or wife.

Question:

I am 22 years old and my fiance and I have a one year old together. We are currently living together and do plan on getting married. Meanwhile, after doing much soul searching, I decided to be celibate until we get married. I am trying to change my life around and put God first. I want to invest my energy in raising my daughter and reaching my goals in life. I also think emotionally it would help me to conquer some thing that I have been battling with,such as having a child out of wedlock and committing fornication. I expressed this to him and he doesn't agree or disagree with it. Do you think it's a good idea for us to continue staying together? Rona,UK

Answer:

You have posed some good questions and it is clear that you are desperately wanting to do the right thing, both for your boyfriend, yourself and your child. You also want to live by a moral code and for this alone, you must be congratulated, since it is often difficult to make a decision to turn one's life around. For sure, and especially as you have a baby together, you should do everything you can to stick together and work through this. Your boyfriend doesn't care about whether you have sex now or after marriage. The fact that he has no strong views on the subject is not necessarily indicative of his disagreement. For now at least, it seems that he is happy to go along with your decision, possibly because he is aware of your past struggles and wants what's best for you. You owe it to your daughter to give her the best possible chance in life and you have a real chance of creating a happy family in which you can teach your children to avoid the mistakes you feel that you have made in the past.

Question:

Hi! Gr8 page I would just like to say that I am a 26 year old virgin and I'm finding it increasingly more difficult to remain so. Most of my friends have lost their virginity and they don't seem to understand why I choose to wait. Most guys I enter into relationships with have previously slept with their partners and most can't understand my reasons why I want to wait. I guess my main reason is moral and I am a spiritual person who is a Christian and believes in God, and also it is very worrying and difficult for women ensuring they are adequately protected against pregnancy. One friend, a girl I used work with, became pregnant from a random stranger she met at a party from a one night stand.I hope to remain like this until I do marry.But I am looking for advice about how I can justify my reasons with future partners as they never seem to understand my reasons and it seems impossible to find a man who understands! Carol, Dublin, Ireland

Answer:

As a virgin who is older than you I can totally appreciate that sometimes, in our overly sexualised society, there is a complete lack of understanding about why one would prefer to wait. And yet, with sexually transmitted infections running rife, you would think that there would be more understanding, not less. People can be quite condescending when they see you living a life that they might secretly wish they had. After all, how many people have regrets as far as sexual history is concerned? Remember that those very people were probably pressured into sex themselves, and now they are doing the same to you when the problem actually lies with them and their own insecurities about the choices they have made. It doesn't matter what others think - be true to yourself. Life is too short to worry about what others think and believe. As for explaining why you prefer to wait, why not send them to this very website? Our page on the benefits of celibacy is a useful starting point.From the emails we receive from men, I can reassure you that there are many men out there who would understand and appreciate your reasons for waiting.

Question:

I'm a virgin in my 40s. Do I need a smear test if I have never had any sexual contact? Lesley, Manchester, UK

Answer:

This is a very interesting question and one I'd been interested in personally ever since I started getting the regular letters to inform me that I had never had a smear and it was due. If you have never had sexual intercourse and you have had no sexual contact with another's genital area then you do not need a smear test. Whilst the vast majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a small number of cases will occur that are not caused by HPV.  Nevertheless, the probability of a virgin acquiring cervical cancer is extremely rare. Lysbeth Duncan, a retired gynaecologist says: 'I would be very hesitant to recommend a HPV test to virgins. The speculum can be very painful especially if the hymen is intact. There's only one woman I've ever seen who had cervical cancer whilst still a virgin, and that was a nun in her 60s. Even then, this was cancer of the cervical lining - not the type of cancer that you pick up on a smear test.' Dr Ted Williams, former Director of Public Health, agrees, saying: 'A person who has never been sexually active has a very small risk indeed of acquiring the disease. The problem with all screening programmes is the issue of false positives. Some people may have a positive or borderline smear but do not have the disease, which can only be confirmed by a biopsy. However, the problem is the anxiety and stress that results'. With this information, a woman must decide whether the benefit that she may gain is worth the risk of a false positive smear. Dr Trevor Stammers, a GP in South West London, says he would advise any woman who is a non-smoker and has had no genital sexual activity at all that she does not need a smear, but warns that oral sex and manual masturbation by another person count as genital sexual activity. Janie, a Health Advisor at NHS Direct says: 'The risk is very very low in women who haven't been sexually active. The risk is so low that it wouldn't be necessary to have a smear test.'

Question:

My boyfriend and I have been together for nine months and he has begun to pressure me into having sex. I am 18 and I want to wait until marriage before having sex, but every time I try to speak to him about it he just gets angry and says that I can’t possibly love him because I’m not willing to prove it. When I mention marriage he says he’s too young for that sort of commitment. He’s 19 and we get on really well except for this issue, which is causing me a lot of grief. Anne,Cambs


Answer:

When someone tells you to ‘prove your love’ through having sex, what they are actually saying is that your feelings don’t matter. If he cared about you, he would not be asking you to do something that you feel uncomfortable with. Certainly, he would not use this type of emotional blackmail. Anyone who asks you to prove your love is taking you for a gullible fool. Someone who truly loves you wants what is best for you. He wants you to surrender your virtue, to compromise your values, to risk getting pregnant, and to throw away your reputation and self-respect. A guy who truly loves you would not hurt you or make you feel uncomfortable in this way. If he truly loves you, let him prove it, at the altar.

Question:

Many of the comments on the website are written by people who do not want sex or have a low sex drive.  We have been dating for our years and we are both 23.  Unlike others, we have high sex drives.  We want to express our love in a physical way very much, but we also feel that we are called to live a celibate life until we are married.  We know that we are going to get married, but for now it isn't financially feasible. Do you have any advice? Jenny, Lincoln, UK

Answer:

Many thanks for being so open and honest about your situation Jenny.   I feel for you because waiting is so much more difficult if you have a high sex drive.  However, the rewards for waiting will therefore be that much greater once you do wed, since the harder we fight for something, the bigger the reward.  You have made an applaudable decision that is to be admired.  For now, it is advisable to stay our of tempting situations, although having dated for four years, you will already know your boundaries.  If you have not already done so, now might be a good time to plan the practicalities of marriage - set a target date, devise a plan regarding how to raise enough money for the particular date you have in mind for your wedding.  Remember that a wedding doesn't have to cost the earth - and I'm sure that your church will help you with the practical aspects of planning for your big day.  You have both obviously thought things through very carefully and would be great role models for the youth of today.  Who knows, one day you might look back and remember your struggles with joy, and you will be able to tell your children that you waited, despite the pressure from society today.  Indeed, you have chosen to give to each other the bedt gift anyone could offer to their future husband or wife.  I wish you the both the best of luck.  Let us know how you get on!

Question:

I am a 20 year old girl going out with a 25 year old guy. We have been happily together for about 2 years now and we have both made vows to remain virgins and wait until marriage. However, it's getting to a point now where we are so into each other that it's sometimes hard to hold back. I know this might sound silly, but do you have any advice as to how to remain true to ourselves? I don't want to regret anything we do and is it normal that we are this way?Megan, UK

Answer:

It sounds as though you have both thought things through and have made some wise choices. Unless you are asexual, it is perfectly natural to feel the urge to take things further, especially if you love each other and have built up a relationship over two years. It would be a shame and great regret to you both to break your vows after keeping them all this time, but as you are going through a difficult patch, here's some advice.  Firstly, try to keep yourselves away from temptation or anything that you know will make it more difficult for you to keep your vows.  For example, don't get into compromising situations that might lead to one or both of you wanting to take things a little further. The fact that you have both made the decision together is really fabulous, because it means that you can help each other when one or the other of you feels tempted and you can rely on each other to remind yourselves of your vows without feeling under undue pressure or guilt. Remember why you made the vows and think of how good you will feel to have kept your promise until you wed. There are many benefits that await you in the future if you both retain your virginity until marriage. Not only will you know that you saved yourselves for each other, but you will have no baggage from other sexual relationships. What's more, as both of you are virgins, you will not have to worry about sexually transmitted infections at all - how good is that!. Best of luck to you both.


Question:

Is there anything medically detrimental for a women to have her physical virginity past a certain age? I don't know any virgins except for myself who are older than 21 apart from nuns. A friend told me that she saw a doctor on Oprah who said that having a hymen past a certain age was unhealthy and she had lost her virgininity for this reason.Moonstar, USA 


Answer:

The answer is a resounding NO! There are huge numbers of women who are still virgins and as far as sexually transmitted infections are concerned, staying chaste and (if getting married), only marrying another virgin is the only way to fully protect yourself. The human papilloma virus (HPV) is virtually unheard of in nuns, and cannot be transmitted if you have not been sexually active.  In this respect, far from being unhealthy, the decision to remain a virgin is very healthy indeed. I cannot comment on what your friend saw, or even whether your friend heard it the doctor correctly, but all reputable, professionally trained doctors would assure you that retaining your virginity at any age has no detrimental effect on your health.

Question:

Does celibacy mean that you can't hold hands or kiss or anything like that? If I'm dating but really want to remain celibate, just how far can I go? John, Essex, UK

Answer:

Of course you can kiss and hold hands. You have to date to get to know someone after all. As for how far you can go, it all depends on where you personally draw the line. Remember that you don't have to have full sex to contract a sexually transmitted infection. The lower you draw the line, the harder it will be to stop. It's a personal choice, but if you want to remain chaste, you need to avoid all the erogenous zones.  Kissing and holding hands is fine, but anything more than that, and you're placing yourself in a compromising situation that you might regret later. How far can you go? Maybe the question should be: 'How much can I save?'

Question:

I've not had sex yet but when I do, I want to know that I have all the facts correct. Should I really be concerned about sexually transmitted infections such as HPV if I make sure a condom is used? I'm getting mixed information from people and wondered if you could tell me the truth because I'm getting very confused! Jo, Norwich

Answer:

In the UK at the time of writing, one out of every two sexually active people have HPV. You don't even have to have sex with someone - just skin to skin contact is enough to transmit the virus. Viral infections cannot be cured, and you are always at risk of infecting a future partner once you have it. What's more, it's currently impossible to test guys for HPV. The scary thing is, more people in this country die from cervical cancer than from AIDS. So yes, HPV is something to be concerned about, for sure. As for condoms, they are almost totally ineffective against HPV. Based on recent studies, if you take 100 teenagers, all using condoms, by the end of the first year, 16 percent would be pregnant. Putting it another way, if you were travelling on an aeroplane and there was only an 84 percent chance of arriving in one piece and unharmed, would you take the risk? A condom is one of very few products that doesn't come with a guarantee. They can be out of date, used incorrectly and they are ineffective against one of the most common sexually transmitted infections - HPV.

Question:

I have been dating my girlfriend for six months now. We are very happy but she has shown no interest in me physically other than holding hands. Could she be asexual? John, Bucks

Answer:

There are many good reasons why people prefer not to take things further sexually. She might be shy or afraid of making the first move, especially if this is her first relationship. Or she might have made a (very wise) decision to wait until marriage before doing anything that might lead to sex. Six months might seem like a long time, but it is actually a very short time in which to be considering getting involved sexually. Why not direct her to this site, saying that you found it interesting. If she is asexual, she might identify with others here and then have the courage to tell you.

Question:

I'm not sexually active but I'm concerned that if and when I am, there is a huge risk of contracting the Human Papilloma Virus, which is so prevalent now. Could you tell me - is there such a thing as a HPV test, either for men or women, and if contracted, does it remain in your body forever?Pat, Bournemouth, UK


Answer:

Dr Richard Barr, Chief Executive of the charity Love for Life, explains: 'There are certain DNA type tests that can be used alongside smear tests in women to detect specific types of HPV.  There is currently no such test in men and therefore people can be carrying the virus for a very long time with no symptoms, passing it onto other sexual partners'. Often, an infected person will eliminate the virus from their body in months but it can remain long term and even lifelong. Someone can therefore pass it on many years after they were infected. Sometimes, someone who has been infected presumes that their current partner has been unfaithful, which might not be the case if either person has had previous sexual contact. A good reason to remain a virgin until marriage, and preferably marry another virgin. That way, you can be sure of a HPV-free future!