Like A Virgin: My Story of Abstinence
I’ve always been a firm believer that if two people want the same thing for different reasons, and it makes them both happy, then it is no bad thing… I’ll be honest… Usually this relates to sex. I have used people who have used me and we’ve both had some gratification – sometimes it’s the need for validation, sometimes intimacy, sometimes orgasm, sometimes NRE. Oftentimes people’s reasons for going to bed with each other do not match, and it doesn’t matter. But today my little belief relates to the complete opposite… Abstinence!
Recently my partner suggested a period of abstinence while we tackle other life pressures. We’ve not yet decided how long it will go on for, and at first I was reluctant, but I’ve started to see how temporarily having a sexless relationship with someone you want a long term future with could be a huge game changer.
Not having sex makes time for other things…
When I talk about my relationship, apart from when I talk about the family side – becoming a stepmother figure – I often talk about the sex. So it’s no surprise that I mentally divide the time I spend with my partner into ‘family time’ and ‘sexy time’. And I don’t really think about our bond outside of that. Abstaining from sexual activities can strengthen the bonds of a relationship by helping you discover (or appreciate fully) the other things that make up your relationship that you often take for granted.
Often when I make plans with my partner they involve coming over for dinner after work and staying the night. Nine times out of ten when I turn up, I automatically envision our evening ending with a bit of inny-outy or some sucky-sucky! Not having this expectation will allow me to appreciate my partner for everything else we do together. I won’t be so quick to try to turn him on while watching a film in bed. It’ll give us more time to have meaningful chats and to connect psychologically and understand each other better. It’ll give us time to rest, to sleep and to be!
It’s also inspiring me to get more creative with how we spend our time together. I’m going to make more effort in the kitchen (maybe finally learn to cook!) and for our first ‘date’ since making this decision, I’m planning to prepare a picnic. We’re going to get out the flat and get some air and hopefully have a fun day and make memories rather than messy sheets (that’s not to say the sex isn’t memorable!). And it’s getting me to think about what I bring to the relationship other than a rocking set of tits, a vagina and a mouth. It’s allowing me to try to up my girlfriend game.
But what about intimacy?…
I was worried when my boyfriend first suggested the idea of abstinence that we would lose intimacy within the relationship. The truth of the matter is we will, but it’s only the sexual intimacy that is temporarily on hold. We’ve discussed boundaries and we’re still ok to cuddle, kiss, hold hands (yay!) and stroke (no sexual areas). So we will still have a lot of physical intimacy that it just between us two.
Not seeing your partner as a means to your sexual gratification can help you truly connect with the person you are sharing your life with. This will help you develop a stronger sense of spiritual and psychological intimacy, so when you do go back to making sweet love with one another, it’ll be far more than two people bumping uglies. You’ll be more connected in every way. Not seeking sex as a means to validation – validation of your worth or the strength of your relationship – is a great way to find that self worth and the belief in your relationship in other ways.
All long term relationships go through dry spells, and making a conscious decision to abstain temporarily can be a great way to prove you yourselves and each other that when that time comes, you’ve still got the rest of the relationship keeping you together. It’ll prove to you that it’s not all about the sex. It’ll show you how deeply your love flows, and I think that could do wonders for you in terms of trust. If you can understand how much you love one another without sex, it’ll diminish fears of ‘if I’m not giving it, he/she will get it elsewhere’.
So how should we go about setting up this period of abstinence?…
If you and your partner have decided to try abstinence for any reason(s), it’s important to communicate clearly. Perhaps this will be a good incentive for you to work on those all important communication skills that keep strong couples together.
1. How long for?
It’s important to have a timeline or a set period of how long you want to go sex-free! It could be until you resolve a situation. It could be a month. It could be 100 days. It could be indefinite, just make sure that you tell your partner how long you intend the period of abstinence to last.
It’s often one partner’s idea for abstinence and the other partner’s job to agree to it. It’s important to discuss the reasons you have for wanting this for the relationship to avoid hurting your partner’s feelings. Remind them that they are loved and that you are doing this because you need to or because you feel it would benefit the relationship. Also, remember to say ‘you look nice/pretty/beautiful’ to your partner when you’re thinking it whether they are male or female. We all love flattery, and if you’re not showing that flattery in physical ways, paying compliments it a good way to reassure your partner that you’re still into him or her.
3. Set some limits
We all have different buttons that, when pushed, get us all worked up and ready to go. It’s important to discuss each other’s boundaries when choosing abstinence. If stroking your partner’s bum is going to cause arousal, then don’t. It’s quite interesting, really. Once you’ve set the boundaries and you play by your new rules, you might actually accidentally discover other ways that you turn your partner on! As well as discussing what you can’t do, make sure you outline what you still want to do. For me, it’s hand holding, kissing, cuddling lots and back stroking. Foot stroking – yes. Foot sucking – no. It’s amazing what you discover about your partner in these discussions and negotiations. It’ll also make you appreciate all the things you can do after the period of abstinence is over. For me, I’m looking forward to stroking my partner’s upper inner thigh with a new sense of innocence. It’s like that Madonna song!
It’s like they say – you always want what you can’t have, and I’m hoping that this period of abstinence will give me and my partner something close to NRE if and when we get back to ‘business’.