Celibacy isn’t always a choice. Whilst some people voluntarily choose to abstain from sex, others are forced into that position because of circumstances beyond their control. Whether your partner is unable to have sex or chooses not to, here are some tips to help you get through this – hopefully – temporary situation.

Sex in Long-Term Relationships

We live in a highly sexualized society. Every time we switch on the TV or browse social media, we are bombarded with sexualized imagery. Porn is freely available online and the media would have us believe that every adult between the ages of 18 and 80 are at it like rabbits every single day.

The reality is probably very different. Not everyone is having rampant sex from dawn ‘til dusk. Most people in celibate relationships don’t talk about it. It’s one of those issues that people sweep under the carpet for fear of being judged by their peers. Yet many couples don’t have regular sex, for a variety of reasons.

Having children often puts the brakes on a couple’s sex life. Who has the time or the inclination to have sex when you have three children under the age of five? The bed is for sleep, not naughty things. And besides, kids have an unerring knack for knowing when their parents are about to get down and dirty.

Menopause is another huge game-changer. A lot of women lose interest in sex during and after the menopause. Sex can become uncomfortable as estrogen levels fall and night sweats cause insomnia and untold misery.

It’s not always women, of course. Men’s testosterone levels fall as they age. An erection is harder to sustain and embarrassment about their inability to perform can lead to declining activity in the bedroom.

Then there are other reasons why sex is off the menu, such as depression or a physical ailment.

Sex Vs. Companionship

A lack of sex isn’t an issue if you are both on the same page. For many couples, companionship is far more important than practicing the Karma Sutra every night. They would rather snuggle up with a mug of cocoa and watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones than do naughty things. And that’s OK!

But what happens if celibacy is not your decision? That’s a whole different ballgame. You might not be too happy about being rejected in the bedroom. Once or twice is OK, but when your partner makes it quite clear that sex is off the menu for the foreseeable, it is bound to bruise your ego.

We all want and need to feel desired by the person we love, so when they would rather kiss a slug than have sex with us, it can lead to depression and poor self-esteem. Men, in particular, equate sex with intimacy. No sex means no intimacy, and no intimacy can lead to dwindling love and affection.

Let’s Talk About Celibacy

It is very important that you sit down and have a conversation about the lack of sex in your relationship, even if that conversation is exceptionally awkward. Not talking about it will lead to many more problems going forward.

Have a conversation. Be open and honest about how you feel, but not in an accusatory manner. If the situation is temporary, discuss how to handle it. The person who doesn’t want sex may feel afraid of showing any kind of physical affection for fear of triggering an unwanted response. You need to reassure them you can handle it, and if you think it may be a problem, say so.

Find Ways to Cope with Celibacy

Being celibate won’t kill you, although a lot of young men out there will probably disagree with that statement!

The human sexual urge is often all-encompassing. It can lead to a glut of unsuitable relationships and unsatisfactory encounters. We assume everyone else is having better and more sex than we are and FOMO colors our waking lives, and not in a good way. Sometimes, a period of celibacy can reset our sexual and emotional lives. Connecting with a loved one without sex entering the equation lets us explore friendship. We can spend an evening of quiet companionship without wondering whether sex is on the menu and fearing rejection if it’s not.

Celibacy is a way to reconnect with our partner. Couples, where one partner is a sex addict, are often advised to practice enforced celibacy for a set period. Sex therapists recommend this as a way to reprogram the brain. It resets the person’s compulsive urges and lets them achieve a fresh baseline going forward.

Coping Strategies

If you don’t want to bury your sexual urges in a good book and a mug of cocoa, that’s perfectly OK too. One way to satisfy our sexual urges without having sex is to masturbate. Masturbation is a quick and healthy way to relieve sexual tension in a celibate relationship or between partners. You can either masturbate the old-fashioned way or shop for sex toys online. Rabbit vibrators are a fool-proof way for most women to climax on their own. For men, there are other sex toys, such as vibrating strokers.

With such a plethora of internet porn freely available, it’s easy to find stimulation online if you need some help and your partner is unwilling or unable to assist. But be careful not to overuse porn. It’s highly addictive and if you are not careful, you could end up unable to find sexual satisfaction any other way.

Sex Outside the Relationship

This is controversial, but there are some people who decide that the only way they can cope with enforced celibacy is to look for sex outside the primary relationship. Only you can make this decision, but be aware that it’s a high-risk strategy. Even if your partner gives you a green light to sleep with someone else, there is a danger that you could form an emotional attachment with another person, or someone gets hurt.

Celibacy needn’t spell the end of your relationship, but poor communication in a relationship will lead to disaster. Keep talking, no matter what happens. You can get through this!

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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