I have to look celibacy up. I know what it means, but, without the dictionary, I’m not sure how much it’s a choice thing.
Turns out it depends which dictionary you look at.
It seems fitting, somehow, that lack of clarity. I’m pretty much celibate most of the time, and I’m not sure if that’s a choice thing, either.
When I say ‘pretty much celibate,’ I mean that I might have sex a couple of times a year, but even that is far from guaranteed. I’m thirty-four now and I lost my virginity at seventeen, and, except for a period of four years, it’s been that way my whole adult life.
Does that bother me?
I’m not sure about that, either.
In my twenties, it didn’t, not really. Back then I liked the thrill of the chase – which is something I miss now – but pretty much all of the sex was uniformly awful.
And then I started having regular sex. And sure, when that stopped, for a while, I missed it.
But now? I miss it, but the things that stand in the way of me chasing it have grown more numerous, more insurmountable.
In my teens, I’d seek out sex by getting hammered (which I liked) and going to nightclubs (which I didn’t, but I did like getting fingered, so it kind of evened out). I don’t do either of those things anymore – I’m more self-conscious when I’m drunk, and nobody I know goes dancing. Which again, for the most part, I don’t mind.
Plus, when I was a teen, all I worried about was people noticing the physical side of my disability. I didn’t worry about my mental health, the emotional effects of disability, or my weight (or, I did, but god, I had no idea) – all of which make me crazy fearful of rejection now.
Most of the time I want to walk away from my own body, so the last thing I’m tempted to do is let someone else walk away from it too.
Rejection is exhausting. It’s easy, if you’re straight-sized and able-bodied, to suggest that everyone should learn to handle it, that if you just put yourself out there enough, eventually you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Perhaps. But the fear of rejection sets me back a long way, the reality of it yet further. I like sex, but I miss touch.
And neither seems worth jeopardising my sense of self for.
I’d rather never experience intimacy again.