Navigating abstinence as a college kid in the 21st century
After a relationship comes to a close, I go through a couple of phases. First, I pound back consecutive bottles of wine while wearing out my copy of Jeff Buckley’s Grace between repeated viewings of 500 Days of Summer.
As stage one winds down, I go on the prowl for a physical distraction — a rebound, so to speak. My understanding is that this is a pretty standard, college-aged behaviour, and many can relate. However, after my most recent break up, I decided to take a different route.
I decided to enter the realm of celibacy.
Well, kind of.
It’s not a self-righteous, morally, or spiritually elite celibacy. It’s more like an abridged celibacy or temporary abstinence. To be totally frank, I’m just exhausted by courtship rituals altogether. But a couple of months after losing the key to my chastity belt, I’ve made some keen observations.
1. I don’t have sexually transmitted infections and nobody is pregnant
Not that I had anything before, but abstinence makes it pretty easy to keep my clean streak alive. Bonus: It is very difficult for people to become pregnant without having sex.
2. Strangers don’t think I’m a creepy pervo
Ever been on the bus and made eyes with a cute girl/boy? Staring to grab their attention is probably the worst thing you can do. They’re not going to come chat—they’re more likely to think, “Why won’t this sketchy dude stop looking at me?”
This isn’t necessarily the case all of the time. These advances are more appropriate at a bar or club than on the bus. In the end, if someone is truly interested, they won’t play cat and mouse with you.
3. My creepy pervo factor has decreased
Whether it’s at school, work, or with friends, there’s always someone you want to get busy with. Unfortunately, to find out who’s down for no-strings-attached fun, you need to awkwardly test the waters.
[pullquote]I pound back consecutive bottles of wine between repeated viewings of 500 Days of Summer.[/pullquote]It turns out that pushing the boundaries of casual conversation to more risqué interactions is not as welcome as you’d think.
In abandoning a sexual agenda, you lose the risk of muddying your reputation or losing a friend. Instead, you get more genuine, authentic connections with classmates and co-workers. People are more inclined to have fun with you when they feel safe around you.
4. I get so much more stuff done
When you don’t place a high priority on courting someone, you suddenly have a wealth of time on your hands.
Instead of flirting over Facebook, heading out to a bar every other night, or sitting through movies that no one wants to watch, you’ll discover more time to develop yourself as a person through exercise, writing music, reading books, or doing homework.
5. I have zero baggage
If and when you finally find someone you want to be with, you’ll want to start fresh. Wouldn’t it be nice to avoid awkwardly breaking it off with multiple friends-with-benefits or covering up inexplicable texts from one-night-stands?
If you still have one foot in the door of bachelorhood and the other in the early stages of a relationship, things will inevitably get messy.
Once you’ve been intimate, people can get hurt, you feel like a jerk, and suddenly a distraction from heartbreak has led to more heartbreak.
While I have no issue with promiscuity, I’ve found some benefits to withdrawing from it. This is by no means a comprehensive “how to” guide for navigating singlehood, as some people handle these situations better than others. Either way, I’m sure someone can relate to my existential musings.
Or you can go back to laughing about how much more sex you’re having than me.[hr]