Sex talk
Speaking of Celibacy

Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com

Some men have a lot of sex, others not so much. There are guys who can't get laid, no matter how they try.

And then there are those who are celibate by choice.

"I decided a while back that sex was, for me, a waste of time and effort," says one. "So I just stopped. And I really don't miss it...at least most of the time."

Voluntarily restraining from below-the-belt hanky-panky is nothing new – many spiritual traditions recommend it as a path to nirvana or a stairway to heaven. And the secular closet has its restraints, too. But for gay men in the throes of sexual liberation, keeping your dick in neutral can seem rather quaint.

Or not.

"In the past, we queer men defined ourselves largely on the basis of the sex we had," says one longtime observer of the scene. "But now, we tend to view being gay in a broader sense, and men who refrain from promiscuity are not necessarily viewed as oddballs. The younger generations are more likely to abstain, and the so-called 'straight edge' movement has even made celibacy seem rebellious and hip. And then there's HIV."

Certainly, fear of STDs – even those that can be cured with a few pills – has been a powerful motive for a guy to keep his dick in his pants. Says one celibate soul, "OK, maybe I'm acting out of fear. But I'd really rather not pick up some damn disease in the course of getting my rocks off."

But the reasons not to rut can be considerably more romantic than germ-avoidance. "Maybe I sound like a silly schoolgirl," says one 20-something dude. "But I truly view sexual pleasure as something special, and I'd rather save my next fuck for someone I truly love. I mean, I used to trick around a lot, and I got to feeling like some jaded piece of meat. And at times like that, I wasn't too careful about protecting myself. These days, I'd rather that sex mean something."

More rigorous fellows have been known to give up pursuit of the orgasm altogether. One man who doesn't even masturbate enthuses, "My whole energy level is a lot higher, and I'm more focused. The longer I go without getting off, the less I feel I need it."

But one self-described old slut retorts, "Sex is a natural instinct, and I think that many men who say they'd rather do without it have some serious issues, stuff like internalized homophobia and sexual guilt. The whole gay marriage thing and the emphasis on monogamy have taken sexual freedom a step backward. If I want that kind of sermon, I can go to church."

Generalities aside, there can be as many reasons for not having sex as there are for getting laid, and nobody can prove you wrong. Whether you're spiritually inclined, disease-shy, or just plain sick of sex, if you're feeling like you'd rather not fuck, relax – you don't have to. Be clear about your reasons, and frame your decision in positive terms: Rather than running from sex, you'll be doing something good for yourself. Set reasonable goals. Are you taking a temporary vacation from nookie, or a lifelong vow to do without? And should you slip, be nice to yourself. The flesh, after all, is weak. And a hard dick is strong.

In some sex-saturated parts of the gay world, guys who keep their pants zipped might be seen as strange. But queers are the last folks to be giving attitude about what people choose to do with their bodies.

So if you'd prefer not to fuck, just say no. At least you'll never have to worry about making small talk after you come.

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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