Does a Relationship Need Sex to Last?
By Tolani Osan for BounceBack.com
When E. L. James' 50 Shades of Grey became a New York Best Seller and the unrelenting topic of discussion of every talk show, spoofed on SNL, and talked about some more, it only confirmed what we already know of our society today: We are obsessed with sex. Well, perhaps we blow out of proportion how obsessed with sex we actually are when for most regular citizens and humans alone, sex is just the norm. But for the celibate, whether by choice or not, they're not normal. Media often portrays them as highly dysfunctional 40-Year-Old-Virgin-Andy, or to put it bluntly, "Jesus Freaks". So, if sex is the standard in the world, does that make it an expectation for a healthy relationship?
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So what do we expect of our partner when it comes to the physical aspect of an exclusive relationship? These days, it's pretty safe to assume that sex is written in the contract. But what about those who have a "no sex" clause? It's unfortunate they have received the stigma of socially awkward and dysfunctional individuals, especially if they're over the age of 30. The honest truth, however, is that they're shattering the cliché that most healthy couples must have sex to connect.
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What we know of many who abstain from sex is their choice to do so is often religiously driven. Others who inadvertently practice celibacy have a tough time meeting with people like our resident adult virgin, Andy. But there are others we don't talk about much who choose celibacy for non-religious reasons and function in society just fine. Lady Gaga, overtly sexual in nature, shocked many when she revealed she was celibate by choice. Tim Gunn recently revealed as well he is celibate by choice! In fact, they along with other celibate celebrities and non-celebrities view it as, well… a distraction. A constant hunger for sex kind of devalues them in a sense and devalues the action of expressing love physically. While others just simply don't desire it.
Celibacy outside of a relationship is one thing, but in one things can get a little tricky. There is the fear that he or she will be tempted to find sex somewhere else; the fear that there will be no outlet when words are not enough; the fear that you just won't be able to have a normal relationship. It's a bit hard to identify the positives of a celibate relationship, though there are many. If you can achieve the same level of intimacy sex would provide in a sexless way, kudos to you! Celibacy provides the opportunity to look at your partner in a nonsexual light; appreciate them solely for them with the promise of the physical pleasure they can offer you being miles away.
Another perk of celibacy is how simple you'll find things. While many fights in relationships are about sex or end with one party withholding sex as a punishment, in a celibate relationship you have one less thing to complicate your bond. A major benefit of course is reduced risks of STDs or pregnancies. Sometimes just worrying about the possibilities are enough to turn you off from sex.
Related: Is Staying in a Relationship For Sex Okay?
Celibacy is not for everyone. Some just like to connect physically and it can be a healthy part of a relationship. But for those of you who believe you cannot function without sex, consider a "celibacy cleanse". Abstain for a little and enjoy the positives of celibacy with your partner. You may discover amazing things about your partner and even yourself! Make sure first you and your partner both want it. When one is pushing for celibacy and the other is not, things will get complicated and that is a promise. Talk it out: discuss the pros and cons; discuss the timeline; even whatever it is you wish to accomplish. If things are already complicated between you, a "sex fast" can be the thing to help you through the difficult times.
With the media forcing down our throats and E. L. James and Zane and other erotica writers hopping on the bandwagon, slow down to consider a life without sex and those who live those lives. Don't judge them. Perhaps applaud them? Perhaps try to understand their efforts. Perhaps they're on to something.
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