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Becoming Celibate After Being Sexually Active

by Danielle Wright

The journey to celibacy can be challenging as it requires a great deal of discipline and education.

Celibacy is a term that has been misused for many years, with women often looking to abstain from sex until marriage or a serious commitment. However, celibacy is more than that.

This distinct difference is due in part to celibacy being associated with the state of voluntarily being unmarried and sexually abstinent due to religious or personal reasons over an extended period—or think perpetual singlehood. Taking a vow of celibacy after being sexually active means making the decision to refrain from any kind of sexual activity, oral sex included, and opting out of marriage completely. So, is that what you want?


According to Licensed and Family Therapist, Deva C. Segal, MA, MFT, CST, “Maintaining celibacy really comes down to intention. There are so many reasons to opt for celibacy—whether that is refocusing your life balance, ceremonial periods, or figuring out your sexual wants without the distraction of partners.”

A friend of mine has been in a 2-year relationship with her partner, and they are celibate. Both have come to the conclusion that sex is not for them; however, they travel together and are living a beautiful life where they both feel fulfilled in other ways. Their intention is to build a connection outside of the bedroom, which for them has been working wonderfully. It’s all about what your intentions are, as that is what is going to help you stay on track and remain focused.

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"Best practices for celibacy are to make sure you are doing things that increase connection with others in your life besides sex. You want to invest in quality relationships with friends and people with like interests.” Humans are social, so it’s normal for you to feel alone on your journey in the beginning, but joining Facebook groups to find like-minded individuals is also an option because despite how it may feel, we are never really alone in our thoughts.

There is always someone, somewhere thinking or feeling the same way. Hilariously enough, since the emergence of TikTok and with many sharing their daily experiences, comments where users cite things like, “I’ve never had a unique experience” or “I thought I was the only one going through this” are popular for a reason. So, take the time to explore spaces where others may frequent who share your beliefs.


When transitioning from being sexually active to celibate cold turkey, it can have its drawbacks, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Masturbation in the first few months is highly recommended as you slowly wean yourself off receiving penetration from a past partner.

Irina Tracy, Chief Editor for Love Advice, says, “One of the potential advantages of celibacy is emotional stability, as this can help individuals develop a stronger sense of self and reduce emotional dependence on others. Additionally, celibacy has been linked to reduced stress levels, allowing individuals to experience a greater sense of inner peace and tranquility.”

The ability to release sexual tension without relying on a partner can help you feel empowered and enjoy a better night’s sleep. While there are a plethora of options on the market for sex toys, it’s best not to overthink the process. For beginners, start with something that will give you a personalized experience without the extra bells and whistles. For this, we recommend the Flowliper—a clit toy with a unique dynamic pulse. The Flowliper is made with a safe and gentle silicone material for your body and is easy to clean as well as water-resistant.


To start your celibacy journey, this is a great purchase because you can stimulate your clitoris to achieve orgasmic relief without having to be penetrated. Here’s the thing: your body needs time to adjust; going from penetration in conjunction with clitoral stimulation to nothing at all can cause your dopamine levels to drop.

This reduced level of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation can have a negative impact on your day-to-day routine and attitude. So, of course, it’s a good idea to look into exercise, but top it off with a clit stimulator as well. This way, as you adjust to this new lifestyle, you won’t be depriving your body of sexual gratification altogether.


Celibacy is a huge undertaking; some see it through, and others switch to practicing abstinence solely until marriage or a serious commitment. The choice is, of course, yours to make along the way if you realize that you are interested in sex but simply needed a break to re-center and refocus. But don’t take this commitment lightly because for many, it is a religious practice and can be seen as a mockery when people go back and forth from celibacy to sexually active regularly without putting its intended use into practice.

Brave the wave; if abstinence works for you, then don’t feel pressured into getting back on the horse right away. “There is no data regarding the optimal time between sexual partners and maintaining abstinence. In addition to the lay advice (when she feels ready), I would add that it is useful for women not to judge themselves for making the wrong call.

Sometimes, women decide to have sex that they ultimately did not enjoy, felt used, or similar and harshly judge their own choice to be sexual,” Some of the aforementioned revelations can lead women down a road to celibacy or abstinence; this is why it’s important to distinguish which one you’re willing to practice and carve out intent. But make no mistake, you should not be hard on yourself.

Whether you are deciding to go all the way with celibacy after being sexually active or abstaining from sex and wish to go back to being sexually active again within a few months, “it may not be possible to know when you are ready to be intimate again, and that is okay if you misjudged where you were in the moment. As long as you feel safe, this is often a part of exploration, and it is okay to be wrong, even more than once until you find the best solution for you,” Sexual Psychophysiologist, Nicole Prause, PhD, shares.


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