Alternative Title: IT’S COOL I’M JUST A CACTUS
This started out as a response to the Wicked Wednesday “Celibacy” prompt a little while back. So, shout out to that for first getting my mind juices flowing for this post.
As I continued to write, I grew less convinced that it really fit to with the prompt because it’s more about how my dry spells revealed things about the current state of my sexuality than actual celibacy. And though Marie graciously permitted me to put it up despite it being too long as per the meme rules, I missed the posting deadline.
So here we are now with whatever this is.
Words are important. Impeccability of speech is something I strive for in both written and spoken word because I like to line up with my conversation partners best I can.
Because if we’re all using the same word to mean different things entirely, things go south pretty fast and render our exercises in communication futile.
First of all, let’s define the key terms in my glossary today.
A is for Abstinence.
noun – the fact or practice of restraining oneself from indulging in something
This word gets tossed around most often in reference to the wrong way to conduct sex education.
There is a consciousness about abstinence. Though there may not always be freedom in it— since this “choice” is typically made under the duress of millennia of conservative, fear-mongering religiosity and sexism—it’s the choice to not engage is sexual activity after being told it’s against “the rules” of sociocultural expectations, or it’s straight up against the law of wherever we live.
Note: there are many people who use self-inflicted or partner-enforced abstinence in their kinky play as a means to challenge their capacity for pleasure, which intrigues me because I have yet to explore it myself, but I for that same reason, I don’t have much personal commentary on the matter at this time.
B is for Broken
adjective – having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order
Broken evokes the notion of a defect. It could be innate, or the result of physical or emotional trauma.
Maybe we were born with it, or maybe it was an accident. But for something to be broken, it must have endured strain and to me, this takes some responsibility away from the so-called “broken” person in question.
This loss or barrier is something an individual learns how to navigate lest it consume them. And given the choice, they likely wouldn’t have put themselves in that situation willingly.
C is for Celibacy
noun – the state of abstaining from marriage and sexual relations
Like abstinence, celibacy requires a degree of deliberate thought. But there is something more pious, more venerable about celibacy for it’s often the realm of the service to deities. The “purity” of mind and body then allows the celibate practitioner to be closer to the holy ones.
Abstinence suggests refraining until it is appropriate to act (i.e. after marriage, in the confines of a staunchly monogamous, legally and religiously binding union for the sake of procreation).
Celibacy takes on a tone of greater resolve. It is an oath, generally a lifelong one, for a higher purpose.
So it seems to me that although celibacy demands abstinence, abstinence does not necessarily beget celibacy.
Note: For the sake of this post, I refuse even to touch on the whole Involuntary Celibacy thing because it obviously doesn’t fit *the* nor my definition. So don’t even.
“How’s your love life, Jayne?”
“Well, I’m practically celibate so I don’t know what you want from me.”
The reason I needed to get that glossary out of the way is that I’m still trying to figure out exactly what all these words mean to me.
Over the past few years, I have often joked about being inadvertently or accidentally celibate. But that is grossly inaccurate because celibacy, by the definition I just outlined, eliminates any possibility of simply stumbling into it.
My joke is mired in the fact that, contrary to popular belief, I really don’t engage in sexual activity very often at all. I will go prolonged periods of time without even touching myself, and much, much longer not engaging in partner sex whatsoever.
In fact, I’ve been increasingly disinterested in the latter with every passing year. For a while, I even thought that maybe something was wrong with me, that I was broken, since I’d been rather hyperactive leading up to the first in my series of major droughts.
So what’s going on here?
Now, if I’ve proven to myself that “accidental celibacy” is a huge misnomer, does that then mean that these prolonged dry spells are a result of inadvertent abstinence instead?
I am quite content in these states of sexual dormancy; I don’t have any particular angst about not having sex/getting off for several months at a time. I don’t think I’ve ever said, or even thought to myself at any point in my life that “I just need to get laid” so that’s definitely never been a motivating factor.
But again, I don’t take these breaks consciously. I don’t make the effort to hold back from for the sake of a challenge, or to see how it affects my libido, or for the sake of kink exploration. Nor do I refrain from having playing with fun consenting humans with whom I have undeniable sexual chemistry if the opportunity does arise.
It just kind of… happens. And I’ll wake up one day and realize that the calendar has been flipped many (sometimes very many) times since the last time I literally kissed someone goodbye.
So what is it then? Am I just… Broken?
Before I used the accidental abstinence/celibacy terms, I did think that maybe I might be broken… I was pretty active for many years. But my slut rampage years in particular were way more about reclaiming the power Iost at the hands of my sexual assailants more than they were about me enjoying sex in a healthy and open way.
(Not to say that I was promiscuous *because* of the trauma. I was wildly curious and explored with cautious yet open abandon well before that because I really wanted to.)
So after a some deeper contemplation, I have completely waved off the notion that I might be damaged.
Back to the words
It’s taken a long time to come to terms with other important aspects of who I am that, looking back, were always there. It didn’t help that, until relatively recently, I lacked the words to recognize and categorize them.
I know, I know, we’ve got so many labels for everything these days. But there is a massive power in finding the right word to describe a feeling that was always there but couldn’t quite exist until we have the permission to acknowledge it
Aromatic. Bisexual. Kink Curious. Switch. Queen.
It takes practice to push back at the myth that my sex appeal existed for others (particularly men) and was wasted if I didn’t share it; the myth that I couldn’t be more than a straight female who, though I may genuinely enjoy sex, was still ultimately there for male enjoyment; the myth that I can’t be single and a sexual being and very content with both of those truths all at the same time.
With my new words came the power of deconstruct the myths and rewrite my own canon.
D is for Discernment
noun – the ability to judge well
The mythology I’m subject to also goes that by nature, bisexuals have infinite options because they’re undiscerning, cheating sluts who will fuck literally anyone. And being an erotica writer on top of it? Whew. I must be “one really horny girl” as one asinine bar patron put it to me once.
This rhetoric is hurtful and dangerous and just so disturbingly far from the truth… If anything, I’d argue that I’m even MORE discerning than my super straight friends (many of whom are hopped up on the idea of all the sex that they’re not having because they don’t have the healthiest relationship with it, but that’s a post for another time).
I’ve seen far less action since accepting and owning the nuances of my sexuality (#20biteen, baby!) and doing what I want for me, for the sake of a shared moment with someone whose company I really enjoy (and not simply responding to the wants of others). From here on out, it’s wholesome filth or don’t waste my fucking time.
Maybe that’s because I was slutty enough for all us in my early twenties that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything now. Maybe it’s because when the hyper-sexed side is sleeping, I occupy a comfy, nigh-asexual state.
Mostly though, I think it’s probably because I’m extremely finicky about who I welcome into my bed and my body from here on out, and a even the nicest meat-suit hasn’t ever been enough even to intrigue me to start a conversation, never mind maintain one horizontally. My sexual appetite simply isn’t piqued until after my brain has been stroked good and hard.
I guess that makes me a sapiosexual. But I really don’t care to use that particular word because I think humans at large all like a mental connection with our partners. I’m just a massive snob and refuse to sleep below my intellectual station ever again.
But I’m digressing a bit.
Allowing myself to be more discerning of my partners, and giving myself permission to turn down an invitation, makes for significantly less action between my sheets. But the quality of what occasional experiences to unfurl far surpasses what quantity alone could ever accomplish.
In conclusion… I’m not celibate; I’m a cactus
Yes. Despite my underlying (sometimes overbearing bouts of) historical hyper-sexuality, I endure rather prolonged sexual droughts without a blip of anxiety. But I certainly don’t make the conscious choice or effort to hold off from sexual gratification.
I’m just a cute little cactus — a little prickly, very handsome, and happy to hang out in the blazing sun without even so much as breaking a sweat while I wait for the next rare and beautiful desert storm to come my way.