Ask Demetria: 3 Years Into My Relationship, I Want to Be Celibate

No ‘sex’ zone


Dear Demetria:

I decided to become celibate three years into a long-distance relationship. He’s so quick to want to have sex, but doesn’t want to communicate or practice being open and honest (i.e., texting other women, using Snapchat, etc.) I told him we will not be having sex until I feel that I can trust him again. Am I wrong to withhold sex? I know this will be harder for him than it is for me. He reacted better than I thought. —Anonymous

You’re never wrong for refusing to have sex with a man you don’t trust and who may be cheating on you. That’s not being selfish. It’s being smart. But it’s also not being celibate as much as it is a woman trying to make her man act right and stop creeping. If he did as you ask, sex would be back in play. That’s not celibacy. That’s withholding sex until you get your way.

I have to admit that my initial reaction to your query was, “I’m sorry, what?!” I got stuck at the part about stopping sex after three years, a unilateral move to eliminate an important aspect of your relationship. I’m a feminist who wholeheartedly believes it’s your body to do with what you want or not. I’m also a realist who understands it’s relationship homicide to change the rules of the game three years into an unofficial contract and seemingly without even a discussion.

Sex isn’t everything in a relationship, but it is a thing—a big thing. Great sex can make a good relationship, well, great. It can keep a mediocre relationship in play just a little bit longer (but can’t save it). It’s not to be underestimated. Or to be eliminated without serious discussion with your partner. You lucked out, kind of, that your man is on board with this.

I say “kind of” because while you may have won this battle, you’re losing the war. He’s texting and Snapchatting lots of women, and the fact that you know this when you live out of town means he’s running amok. He can’t even pull it together the rare times when you’re around. Who knows (I mean other than him) what he’s doing and who he’s doing it with?

But you need to take it a step further and cut him off completely. I get what you’re tying to do here by cutting off sex: make him act right. I hate to tell you that it’s not going to work. He’s nonchalant about not having sex with you anymore because he’s getting cake by the pound at home.


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