5 ways celibacy can enhance your relationship

5 ways celibacy can enhance your relationship
5 ways celibacy can enhance your relationship

5 ways celibacy can enhance your relationship

Being celibate may sound like a bizarre choice, especially when in a relationship.

But for some people, the reasons behind wanting to be celibate are valid and make sense, even when they are in committed and loving relationships.

In 2021, we spoke to Sinothando “Sino” Sirunu and her boyfriend Yamkela, who decided to be celibate after having a child together and years in a relationship.

At the time, the couple shared that although they live together, they don’t cuddle or become intimate.

Sino said: “People think we are crazy. But abstaining from sex was spiritually motivated. Celibacy has benefited us in so many ways. Firstly, the guilt of living in sin had put a strain on our relationship with God. Leaving that lifestyle [having sex and cohabitating] makes it easier to pray.”

Psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini says couples who choose to be celibate claim they have deeper intimacy and connection they hadn’t experienced before.

Five ways choosing celibacy can enhance your relationship:

1. You gain focus. Choosing to abstain from sex frees your mind and helps you focus on your career or what’s important to you. In relationships, couples may not deal with the real issue and use sex to connect, instead of resolving underlying struggles. Choosing not to have sex helps both partners focus their energy on resolving the issue and developing a closer friendship of emotional connection. Ultimately, this deepens intimacy.

2. Choosing celibacy can help you and your partner deepen your communication and improve your emotional connection. For some couples, their children seem to take over their relationship and shift their partner’s attention. Deciding to be celibate means focusing on other ways to feel close and connected. After all, sex is only one form of intimacy.

3. Religious commitments. Couples with strong religious beliefs about sex outside of marriage choose celibacy to support their spiritual lives. Their partner’s commitment to supporting their choice for celibacy can build trust and respect.

4. Practicing celibacy helps those suffering from trauma or grief heal faster. Working through grief or trauma may cause high conflict with those closest to us. When you practice celibacy, you have more time to focus on your emotional needs. Talking things out with your partner helps build emotional intimacy, which may be lacking during sex.

5. Practicing celibacy lowers stress. The chance of pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease is a stressful risk many people take. When you aren’t having sex, these stressors vanish.

Of course, choosing to be celibate does not work for all couples. It may happen that one person is for the idea and the other is against it.

If you choose to have this conversation, Mary Jo shares pointers:

1. Be vulnerable and honest with your partner about your feelings. The biggest drawback to practising celibacy within a relationship is how it is communicated.

2. Have a limited time if you decide to practice celibacy. Most couples should begin with a two-week practice to enhance their emotional intimacy. During that time, holding hands, touching each other, and spending quality time together is important.

3. Work with a therapist for trauma or grief issues. If you want to practice celibacy for personal grief work or abuse, you must combine your healing with a therapist.

4. Be prepared for your relationship to change and your self-awareness to increase. When couples practice celibacy, the issues that were swept under the rug become more real.

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